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Here’s what you’ve been missing on HBO’s True Detective

What separates HBO’s crime drama True Detective from other series that obsessively catalogue dead female bodies or attempt to find the human side of serial killers is the show’s ambition in style and scope.

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Star Trek: TOS panties


Thinkgeek's Star Trek TOS panties are steeped in the romance of a bygone era of space-exploration (there's also matching boxers). The mix-n-match possibilities are endless: "doomed redshirt and sympathetic medical officer"; "arrogant captain and standoffish (but secretly intrigued) Vulcan science-officer) -- I could go on.

Star Trek TOS 3-pack Panties

Scalzi's Redshirts coming to TV

John Scalzi's Hugo-winning, existentialist comedy space opera novel Redshirts is being adapted into a TV series by FX -- it's a natural! This is just wonderful news -- intelligent, funny science fiction from a novelist who plays with the tropes of the field, it's just what TV needs. Congrats, John!

Here's my review of Redshirts: "Redshirts both realizes and transcends its premise, and is at once a tribute to, and a piss-take on, the best and worst that space opera has to offer. It's the sort of thing that science fiction is especially good at, and the sort of thing for which Scalzi is justifiably loved."

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'H.R. Pufnstuf,' the complete 1969 television series

Sid and Marty Krofft brought us some of the best television ever. While we can debate which of their fantastic, trippy, off-beat explosions of color should be regarded as 'best,' H.R. Pufnstuf remains at or near the very top of any list.

Gullible 11 year-old Jimmy ignorantly gets in a strange boat with his magic flute. Lo and behold, who sent that boat his way? None other than that wacky old witch, Witchiepoo, that's who! With a wave of her wand, Jimbo's pleasure cruise is over, and the boat attacks him! Luckily, H.R. Pufnstuf, fashionable Mayor of the Living Island, is on the scene. With his reliable deputies Cling and Clang, Pufnstuf rescues Jimmy and a famous friendship is born.

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A brilliant Justified strings together seemingly infinite conflicts in a pressure cooker [Episode 5 recap]

There are few shows that know how to tell an audience right off the bat they will not be messing around on a given night better than Justified. In the first four episodes of this season, Lee Paxton would have wondered about Boyd’s death, stewed about it for 10 minutes of screen time while other schemes commenced, leading up to a final turn that reveals Boyd is still alive—before kicking the narrative can down the road to another episode for the fireworks. But not this week; Boyd has decided to embrace the ego that says he’s still Boyd Crowder, the rightful criminal ruler of Harlan County, hangers-on and high-class pushers be damned. He’s ready for action, so when Lee Paxton pulls that lamp chain, there’s Boyd, sitting in a bedroom chair, a deadly snake with a venomous snake ready to deliver unto Paxton an impassioned final monologue:

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Entire run of Seinfeld: $59 for 33 discs


The 33-disc, nine-season box set of the complete run of Seinfeld is $59 on Amazon right now. (via Super Punch)

Community: “Analysis Of Cork-Based Networking” [Recap season 5 episode 6]

 

With Pierce’s essence preserved in an energon pod and Troy off circumnavigating the world in a sailboat with LeVar Burton, the cast of Community has thinned out. And instead of another madcap theme episode or a special meta-commentary on death or saying goodbye to friends, Community can now get back to its own special kind of normal. Too much philosophizing can get distracting, so it’s nice that this week shifts to the joke-a-minute pace within a plot that explores the Greendale underbelly as a reflection of the real-world political favors needed to accomplish even the simplest task.

“Analysis Of Cork-Based Networking” divides rather easily into three discrete plots with just a hint of overlap; so this review breaks down to follow that organizing principle.

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Weatherman knees prankster raining on his parade

Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore takes care of a jokester attempting to disrupt his on-the-scene report. (Vine)

What do we always say is the most important thing on Justified? Family. [Recap, s5 ep4]

And so, without any immediate family left in town, Raylan Givens gets drawn back to Harlan because of poor, stupid Wade Messer. He’s one of the dumber men who tried to kill Raylan, but also one of the few who nearly succeeded, conspiring with Dickie Bennett to string Raylan up in a tree for torturing. So it’s not surprising that Raylan greets news that the U.S. Attorney’s office used Messer as a Confidential Informant with contempt, both at the choice and that he wasn’t told.

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Community: Lava World confronts the imminent departure of Troy Barnes [Recap, season 5 episode 5]

How do you say goodbye to someone you love? Do you shake a hand, give a hug, and then get it over with? Do you write an epically long letter and leave it under the windshield wiper of a car and hope it’ll get read?  Or do you create an elaborate party game designed as a mental coping mechanism and stall tactic to deny that you ever really need to say goodbye at all?

“Geothermal Escapism” is essentially a Community paintball episode without the paintball, and without the external conflict of an invading rival school. In fact, it’s an even more juvenile version of those episodes, since “Hot Lava” is a game for little kids (and the occasional freshman dorm), and the logic behind the game starting stems from Dean Pelton’s affinity for the study group, as opposed

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Animal Planet's "nature" shows: whistleblowers detail crimes, animal cruelty, fakery

Mike from Mother Jones writes, "Mother Jones' James West looks into the dark side of the network's turn toward wildlife reality TV, and uncovers some disturbing revelations about a hit show. It boils down to this, West writes: 'The raccoon incident is just one of numerous instances on 'Call of the Wildman' sets of alleged animal mistreatment and possible infringements of state and federal law, the result of what sources describe as cavalier and neglectful production practices. A seven-month Mother Jones investigation -- which drew on internal documents, interviews with eight people involved with the show's production, and government records -- reveals evidence of a culture that tolerated legally and ethically dubious activities, including: using an animal that had been drugged with sedatives in violation of federal rules; directing trappers to procure wild animals, which were then 'caught' again as part of a script; and wrongly filling out legal documents detailing the crew's wildlife activities for Kentucky officials.'"

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On Justified, Raylan keeps causing more trouble than he fixes [Recap]

Raylan Givens has trust issues. I don’t mean that in the conventional sense, although he does seem to exist as an island too remote for any permanent bridge to reach. Raylan’s problem is that he’s tempted to trust too much, and the implications of his trust suggest that he’s waiting for people to disappoint him so that he can intervene in the most macho way possible that allows him to channel his innate anger and violence into his work.

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Internet Archive looking for software to extract political ads from TV archives


With election season coming up, the Internet Archive is looking to publish collections of political ads from earlier US campaigns. They have a massive archive of digitized US TV footage, along with searchable full-text closed captions. Now they're hoping someone can point them to some software to auto-extract the political ads from the corpus.

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Against all odds, Community delivers an all-time classic [Recap season 5, episode 4]

“Cooperative Polygraphy” attempts to wrangle an incredible amount of different goals that it wants to accomplish in the span of 20 minutes. It’s an episode that deals with the death of a major character, beginning the arc that will see off a second character, comments on both actors leaving the show behind the scenes, loops in references to those actors’ relationships with creator Dan Harmon, and once again attempts to air all grievances between a group of longtime friends prone to secrecy and frustration.

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On Justified, Raylan helps protect an old friend [Recap, season 5 episode 2]

The last time Raylan Givens saw Loretta McCready, she had become the surprising but not unexpected beneficiary of pot empress Mags Bennett’s money, and Raylan instructed her not to spend all of it on a Lexus or having Van Halen perform at her birthday party, lest he’d come around to haul her off for spending ill-gotten gains. Over a season later, Loretta lives at a nicer house (it certainly looks better given where Raylan drops her off toward the end of the episode). But everyone knows better: you can take the girl out of Harlan, but you can’t take the Harlan out of the girl.

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