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TV Lust
Television reviews and recaps
For TV watchers, the past has never been hotter

The past has never been bigger on TV than it is today. From Norsemen invading England circa 800 in "Vikings" to Chinese immigrants heading to Orlando circa 1990 in "Fresh off the Boat," series set in the past are all the rage.

Some, like AMC's 1960s drama "Mad Men," are known for their scrupulous devotion to historical accuracy. Others, such as Starz's 18th-century pirate adventure "Black Sails," take a more liberal interpretation. But in all cases the series revel in their settings.

Of course, tales of the past always have enthralled audiences. "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" were stories from long ago even when set down in the eighth century B.C. Shakespeare's first surviving play was about Henry VI, England's ill-fated king from a century earlier.

So in some ways it's surprising that TV shows set in past eras haven't been more common. But before the era of high-definition, it rarely paid off to make the investment in period sets and costumes.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Westerns...

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Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'The Americans' on FX

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TV listings for the week of Jan. 25 - 31, 2015 in PDF format

This week's TV Movies


 

SERIES

Secrets of the Dead The season premiere follows up on human skeletal remains found in the basement of Ben Franklin's British home, which may have been illegally used for science. 7 and 10 p.m. KOCE

The Mentalist Abbott's (Rockmond Dunbar) career will be over unless Jane (Simon Baker) can pull off a complicated scheme. Robin Tunney and Tim Kang also star. 8 p.m. CBS

The Middle Frankie and Mike (Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn) search for second jobs to help pay Sue's (Eden Sher) college tuition. Brock Ciarlelli and Alphonso McAuley guest star in this new episode. 8 p.m. ABC

American Idol Auditions continue in this new episode. 8 p.m. Fox

SoCal Connected This new episode investigates the effect of global warming on a local ski area and other businesses. 8 p.m. KCET

Nature The new episode visits the Antarctic...

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From Sia videos to 'Dance Moms,' 12-year-old dancer steps into pop culture fame

PITTSBURGH Fame might well be fleeting, but Maddie Ziegler is keeping pace.

It has been quite the year for Maddie, who has a global following from her appearances on Lifetime's "Dance Moms." She dwells in that fuzzy realm of reality television, which often crosses from "actually real" to "not-at-all-real," but there's little doubt her star is ascending.

"I have a lot of hopes," said Maddie, 12, who lives in Murrysville, Pa., with her mom, Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni, little sister Mackenzie and stepfather Greg Gisoni. "But I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, let alone in the future."

Here's a start: Maddie, her mother and sister are in Los Angeles for three weeks shooting "Dance Moms." The show starring studio owner Abby Lee Miller will shoot in Ireland next month. Then it's on to Australia and more time in Los Angeles as Miller works on establishing a West Coast version of her Abby Lee Dance Company.

"It's crazy; I feel like I spend more time on airplanes or in the car than at...

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Duff Goldman 'Ace' of two Food Network shows now

At the start of Duff Goldman's new Food Network show, "Kids Baking Championship," which premieres next week,eight pint-sized pastry-chef contestants are lined up onstage to meet their co-hosts, Goldman and actress Valerie Bertinelli.

As the two make their entrance and approachthe kids, a trembling boy whispers to the child next to him, "I didn't think they were real."

I don't know about Bertinelli, kid, but Goldman is definitely real.

The last time I saw Goldman, back in 2011, he was winding up the last season of "Ace of Cakes," the Food Channel show that made him TV-famous, and was about to open a new bakery in Los Angeles as a complement to the home office in Baltimore. He held nothing back about the life passage he was navigating.

I asked him if he was nervous about the big L.A. gamble, and his unprintable answer involved being so "scared" that bodily functions were altered.

With Goldman, you get it raw with almost no showbiz blah-blah-blah.

And so it was again when we reconnected...

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'Gotham' recap, 'Welcome Back, Jim Gordon'

Good to have you back, Jim, even if your coworkers don’t agree.

Jim’s on a mission to put every bad guy behind bars. But the bad guy this time isn’t the predictable super-villain or a mafia crony. Instead, it’s the most insidious and hardest to catch: a corrupt cop.

From start to finish, the fast-paced “Welcome Back, Jim Gordon” traces the deep-seated roots of corruption in the GCPD precinct.

Jim and Harvey arrive at a crime scene in a warehouse with a body hanging from a machine. Arnold Flass, a narcotics cop you know is up to no good, is there to tell them that the victim is a low-level drug dealer.

It’s a “public service homicide,” Harvey quips.

Jim, as always, is determined to find justice, even when Harvey’s given up. As he’s searching the body, he finds mini blue drug bags in the heel of the victim’s shoes. Even more promising for their case is a witness who can ID the killer.

Don’t celebrate just yet. The informant is stabbed in the back with an ice pick as he’s waiting for the...

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'The Bachelor' recap, Farmer Chris and his sisters in Week 4

We first learn that tonight’s episode will feature a “sneak peek” into the new "Cinderella" movie. What they should have said is that this episode is a promo for the new "Cinderella" movie, but you know, they can’t give too much away.

As is typical, Chris Harrison starts with a dramatic introduction, reminding the women that Bachelor Chris is there to meet his wife and believes she is waiting in this room. He surprises them with this week's “unexpected plot twist” – Bachelor Chris is getting help from three “people that know him better than just about anybody … his sisters.” They all pretend they’re excited.

FIRST-DATE CARD

Becca, America’s Sweetheart, opens the date card to read to the room.

It reads, “Megan, Kaitlyn, Ashley S., Ashley I., Juelia, Samantha, Mackenzie, and Kelsey -- Let's do what feels natural… Chris.” And we learn that not only is this going to be a “sneak peek” into the new "Cinderella" movie, but also an episode of completely obvious innuendos. And more Ambien.

The...

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