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Martin Starr

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  • TV Picks: 'Community,' HBO Sunday series, 'Brothers Hypnotic'

    TV Picks: 'Community,' HBO Sunday series, 'Brothers Hypnotic'
    "Community" (NBC, Thursdays). Ratings have been reported historically low, but that this show, which now bears almost no relation to anything we have heretofore recognized as a sitcom, is surviving at all on a broadcast network seems miraculous to me. (And not a miracle I expect to be infinitely extensible, but one for which I am grateful.) With temporarily ousted creator Dan Harmon back in charge, "Community," which is set at a highly metaphorical, relentlessly postmodern community college, is now often being directed and shot as if it were a drama. (When it is not being animated, as it was last week, as if it were an episode of the 1980s cartoon series "G.I. Joe," complete with ads, but on the subject of aging and death.) In part, this is because parodying other forms of television is in its charter, but it's also because its characters are, to the last man and woman, pretty messed up, even for an ensemble situation comedy. (The addition of "Breaking Bad's" Jonathan Banks accentuates the darkness.) If Harmon sees something funny in this -- the show is still a comedy, and I'd say a great one, though one that is not begging you to laugh -- he does not mock the wounded or parade the freaks, as bad TV comedy often does. Where last year's non-Harmon year could trend sentimental -- he has moved on from referring to it as the "gas leak year" -- the new shows feel authentically deep. There is a strange, sad tenderness in Harmon's gazing upon his creation -- and some hopefulness: They have one another, characters and characters, characters and creator, each as real and unreal as the other, for as long as it lasts.
  • Review: Mike Judge's funny code in 'Silicon Valley'

    Review: Mike Judge's funny code in 'Silicon Valley'
    Mike Judge is nothing if not consistent. His films "Office Space" and "Idiocracy" and his cartoon series "King of the Hill" all betray an affection for small lives distorted by moneyed interests; a disdain for institutional double-speak; a distrust of...

    Mike Judge dives gleefully into the tech world with 'Silicon Valley'

    Mike Judge dives gleefully into the tech world with 'Silicon Valley'
    There was a time when Mike Judge feared that he'd missed the Google bus to the tech boom. The writer-director, best known for creating MTV's "Beavis and Butthead," first thought of a TV series about the digital world in 1999. At the time, he was in...

    TV Picks: 'Wrong Mans,' TV Guide, 'MasterChef Jr.,' 'Burning Love'

    TV Picks: 'Wrong Mans,' TV Guide, 'MasterChef Jr.,' 'Burning Love'
    "The Wrong Mans" (Hulu, beginning Monday). James Corden and Mathew Baynton, both from Britain's "Gavin & Stacey," co-wrote and costar in this fine action comedy, co-produced by Hulu and the BBC. As the title suggests, it's Hitchcock times two, comically....

    Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'MasterChef' on Fox

     Wednesday's TV Highlights: 'MasterChef' on Fox
    Customized TV Listings are available here: Click here to download TV listings for the week of July 7 - 13, 2013 in PDF format This week's TV Movies     -------------------- SERIES MasterChef "Desperate Housewives'?"...