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TV highlights Dec. 9-14

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THE SOUP
10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9
E! (Comcast Ch. 40)

When you get down to it, other than a few moments of bitchiness and/or stupidity every week, reality shows are pretty boring. Given that, why waste brain cells watching television’s crop of vapid reality shows when you can just catch a weekly dose of the juicy parts from “The Soup”? An offshoot of the old E! show “Talk Soup” (which focused on daytime talk shows back in their heyday), “The Soup” is an often hilarious look at the special brand of stupidity that results from reality television. With clever takes on politics, culture, TV and movies, it’s a welcome dose of fun at the end of the week.



REMADE ORIGINALS
Tuesdays in December
Turner Classic Movies (Comcast Ch. 30)


Hollywood, it seems, has lost its mojo. The clearest sign of this is the current infatuation with remakes, with studios taking up the pick and shovel to unearth the corpses of films that weren’t that good in the first place. Here, every Tuesday night in December, Turner gives viewers the chance to see 20 originals as they were before Hollywood gave them the old slice ’n’ dice. Included are greats and not-so-greats like “Cape Fear,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” “The Ladykillers” and (showing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 — the day before director Peter Jackson’s big-budget remake hits screens) the original “King Kong.”



SHAKESPEARE MARATHON
5 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14
Turner Classic Movies (Comcast Ch. 30)

Turner also has a present under the tree for friends of the Bard: an all-day marathon featuring 11 films based on the plays of William Shakespeare. After a 5 a.m. “Silent Shakespeare” kickoff (featuring seven silent shorts from the early days of film, including such rarities as an 1899 version of “King John,” “King Lear” from 1910 and “Richard III” from 1911), the hits just keep on coming, including “Othello” (1922), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1935, with James Cagney and Mickey Rooney), and “As You Like It” (1936, with Sir Laurence Olivier). Call in sick to your comparative lit class, grab thyself an ale and a mutton chop, and expand your mind.

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