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Underrated/Overrated

Aaron Paul from ‘Breaking Bad’: Now that we’re finally catching up with this remarkable show on DVD, Paul has been a revelation for us as the tweaked-out sidekick to terminally ill meth-chemist Bryan Cranston. Cranston earns every bit of praise he’s gotten as the show’s center, but Emmy voters should reward the pathos Paul brings to the bumbling Jesse, who somehow keeps earning our sympathy even as his actions often defy it.

Lost in the Trees: Take the delicately wistful folk-pop group Iron & Wine and have it run out of gas outside a classical music festival and you’ve got some idea about this North Carolina chamber-folk collective. Mixing a swoony sort of song craft with occasionally rambunctious rock guitar and swirling strings that echo Terry Riley, the group’s recently released debut, “All Alone in an Empty House,” is a lush summer surprise.

Ersatz ‘Mad Men’ campaigns: We recognize that it’s a tough time for advertisers in the DVR age, but tumbling down the meta-commercial wormhole of soap advertisements about ‘60s ad men airing during a show about ‘60s ad men makes our head hurt. Please, we know it’s an irresistible premise, but we’re pretty sure even Don Draper would agree that tricking viewers into watching your ad isn’t the best way to endear yourselves to them.

The food truck revolution: Let the record show that the many unexpected delights found in the vibrant food truck trend sweeping L.A. streets officially went on life support in the summer of 2010. Our heart still pumps Sriracha for Kogi, but beware Pyongyang Express, a “North Korean” food truck that’s just a viral campaign for an upcoming videogame about a U.S. invasion. Finally, corporate marketing that can literally leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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