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They Are Super . . . And They Have Moved Over to TV

The TV Scene
darrylg@lakevillejournal.com

Countless live action movies starring comic book characters have appeared in theaters worldwide. Between Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Superman and Batman, superheroes are dominating the silver screen — and now comic publishers are hoping to take over your television.

Let’s start with Marvel, the publisher that kicked off an impressive cinematic universe with the first “Iron Man” film in 2008, which led to Captain America, Thor and other heroes joining him to form “The Avengers” in 2012.

Clones, an Assassin, And, Yes, Conspiracy

The TV Scene

Imagine you’re at a train station and you see someone who looks exactly like you commit suicide by jumping in front of the oncoming train. What would you do? Go to Ancestry.com and start tracing your family tree?
Con artist Sarah Manning decides to impersonate her dead doppelganger in an attempt to drain her bank account, and quickly realizes she’s stolen the identity of a cop. That event kicks off “Orphan Black,” a conspiracy-filled television series that just entered its second season on BBC America.

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In the Mood for Laughs, And Getting Them

TV Scene: ‘Silicon Valley’

As a “Game of Thrones” fan, I was glued to my television on Sunday for the première of the fourth season. It was superb, as I expected.
Immediately following that dramatic episode, a new comedy debuted on HBO titled, “Silicon Valley.” I was in the mood for a laugh after all of the “Game of Thrones” murder and mayhem, so I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did, because it’s a hilarious look at the technology-centric culture of northern California.

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John Lennon, Revealed And Remembered An Remembered

I come from a generation comfortably acquainted with the “Give Peace a Chance” era of John Lennon, a perennial figure in any college dorm. For this reason, it came as a shock to watch the international beacon of peace curse his mother and ditch school regularly as a youth. Yet both these images surface in director Sam Taylor-Wood’s 2009 biopic “Nowhere Boy,” which chronicles the formative years of the young and troubled John Lennon.

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McConaughey Meets Midas, And Oscar, Too

TV Scene

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar on Sunday for his work in “Dallas Buyers Club,” proving that we are all living in the McConaissance. History books will tell of the age in which everything McConaughey touched turned to gold, including “Mud,” “Magic Mike,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “True Detective.”

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For Children From Memories

People: Lane Smith

Amusement parks have a special place for illustrator Lane Smith. While he studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, he paid his bills by working as a janitor at Disneyland. Each day after class, he put on the white suit and took his pan and broom and shot the breeze with the balloon vendor until the park closed. He swept the Haunted Mansion, dodging motion-activated spooks as he reached for soda bottles that had rolled beyond his reach. Smith thinks that the nights he spent alone in the park played a role in the formation of his otherworldly aesthetic.

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The 25 Days of Ho Ho Ho

The (Holiday) TV Scene

The holidays are just around the corner, which means festive films will soon be played at my house on a continuous loop. Frosty, Rudolph and their pals can probably be found on every channel from now until New Year’s Day, but my wife and I are usually drawn toward ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, which starts on Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 25.

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The Joys of Mixing Politics and Comedy

For Laughs

Two years ago Mark Russell, the warbling, piano-playing political satirist, decided to pack it in and announced his retirement. Two years later, he has un-retired.Why miss all the fun?
“I’m not making this up,” Russell told me in a telephone interview last weekend. “It was a year ago last summer, a group of congressmen went over to the Middle East. They got drunk and went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee.
“That was funny. If they’d drowned, it would have been funnier. Plus, the presidential campaign was going on, and I didn’t want to miss it.”

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Another Netflix Winner (for Some)

The TV Scene

I’ve really been enjoying “Derek” on Netflix. First, let me say that I am a Ricky Gervais fan. Second, I can tell you right now that “Derek” isn’t for everybody. It’s a very odd show, with its mix of crass humor and heartwarming scenes.
“Derek” is a mockumentary-style show (in the same vein as “The Office”) set in a nursing home. The title character is played by Gervais, who hunches over, juts out his jaw and constantly pushes his hair off his forehead.

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A Poet’s Mission

On Poetry

Richard Blanco is a hot property. This Cuban-American immigrant, trained as an engineer to build bridges and highways but with a master’s degree in creative writing, was selected by the inaugural committee to write and read a poem at President Obama’s second swearing-in last January, a poem he wrote in three weeks. Ever since, he has been in constant demand. On Sept. 27 he will be the first speaker in The Salisbury Forum’s fall schedule.

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