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Best Local Artist

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Primal Screen

J.J. Abrams' 'Revolution'

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo


HBO or Showtime might have dug into the moral complexities of this story, but Fox wants Grace to be a standard sympathetic prime-time heroine. In episode one, the network has already hit rock bottom in terms of shamelessness. Which means, of course, that I can’t wait for episode two.

Be Good Johnny Weir (9pm Mon, Logo)
Johnny Weir, the gay Olympic figure skater, is “feeling really lost” in his reality series’ new season. He’s decided to stop skating competitively and go showbiz as a singer and impresario. This opens him to mockery, even from his own agent. “I hate when people don’t think I’m serious,” he says. “It’s extremely motivating.”

When Weir is motivated, watch out. He has an athlete’s intensity, though he also owns up to his fears. We get close enough to him to share his anxiety — always expressed with sharp wit – as he casts about for something to do post-skating. In short, he comes across as an authentic guy, even in the context of reality-show artifice.

I, for one, think he’s serious.

American Experience (8 pm Tue, PBS)
With a new TV season upon us, I’ve been straining to find critical superlatives for the September premieres: “Dazzling,” “hilarious,” “a thrill a minute.” In the midst of all the fun, “Death and the Civil War” has the effect of the Grim Reaper at a garden party. This gloomy production tries to bring home “the unimaginable slaughter” of the War Between the States, with the help of mournful music and distressing battlefield images. “Death invaded everyone’s life one way or another,” notes an ashen-faced historian. And now death is about to invade your life, courtesy of earnest documentarian Ric Burns.

I will admit that “Death and the Civil War” is informative. We learn that the carnage forever changed the U.S. government, making it more responsible for taking care of citizens. Public hospitals and federal relief organizations were among the initiatives that sprung up to deal with survivors.

So I guess I need to find a critical superlative for this broadcast, too. Okay, here goes: If you see one program about unimaginable slaughter in 2012-13, make it “Death and the Civil War!”

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