Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Watch 'Real Husbands of Hollywood' tonight: Reality-TV squabbling was never this good

May I make a brief recommendation that you watch tonight’s second episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood? This new fake reality, semi-scripted, all-funny, feels-true show debuted to big ratings on BET last week. It deserved its large audience. Led by Kevin Hart, Real Husbands spoofs Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise while getting at some truth — namely, that this reality-TV genre is a ridiculous sham that only needed (a) a slight push to make the ridiculousness hilarious, and (b) it’s time men were made to look as foolish as women do on the Bravo shows. READ FULL STORY

'The Following' premiere review: Kevin Bacon, Edgar Allan Poe, violence, vodka, and regret

Because it is the first new series to premiere containing substantial gore since the killings in Newtown, CT, The Following has taken an unfair amount of criticism for depictions of violence on television. As always with pop culture, drawing direct lines to entertainment that “glorifies” or even inspires violence is a vexed proposition. The Following is certainly no more violent than, say, American Horror Story: Asylum, which is wrapping up what’s turned out to be a very artful season this week, or Criminal Minds, which has long been drearily cynical.

Creator-producer-writer Kevin Williamson played horror for giggles in Scream, but the horrors of a mass murderer get a grim, humorless treatment in The Following. It’s a series that makes the most of the gaunt face of star Kevin Bacon. Bacon, whose previous TV acting consisted mostly of pre-stardom soap opera roles, was ripe for a television series: In his early 50s, he’s got the trim, wiry body of someone at least a decade younger. He’s become the Iggy Pop of soulful acting. READ FULL STORY

Poetry at the Presidential inauguration: The Richard Blanco poem 'One Today,' its form and meaning

Richard Blanco became the fifth poet to read at a Presidential inauguration today. Advance publicity about the choice of Blanco emphasized that he was the youngest, first Latino, openly gay poet to act as an inaugural poet. The new poem he wrote for the occasion, “One Today,” garnered warm words from President Obama (to be expected), and from Beyonce (who could be seen congratulating him afterward on national broadcasts). Here’s the text, followed by some analysis of it: READ FULL STORY

Presidential inauguration music: Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor, and the 'Wow!' factor: VIDEOS

There were a lot of whoops and hollers of encouragement to be heard, picked up by the TV networks, as the President took his oath of office today. It was followed by Obama’s rich inaugural address — stump-speech content raised to a higher level of discourse — and then two musical performances: Kelly Clarkson’s rendition of “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” and Beyonce’s interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” READ FULL STORY

'Chasing the Saturdays' premiere review: Brit girl-group sobs and screams in new reality show

Wedged between two new episodes of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Chasing the Saturdays is an E! channel reality show about a hit English-Irish girl-group trying to make it in America. The premiere edition on Sunday night did a decent job of establishing these women’s personalities if not exactly showcasing their music, even as it suggested they’ve got a ways to go before they can reach the exalted heights of fame that the Kardashians have achieved. READ FULL STORY

'Fringe' series review: Darker than amber, lighter than air

In the end, Fringe — which concluded with a back-to-back, two-episode wallop on Friday night — fulfilled nearly every promise it made to its audience over the course of five seasons. It remained true to its core values: the primacy of family, the sacredness of trust, the joy of a good joke, the exhilaration of intellectual inquiry, and the jolting power of love. READ FULL STORY

Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey: Power and celebrity trump truth and contrition

In the end (and it hasn’t ended yet), it always comes down to power. Lance Armstrong still has control: He’s the one Oprah Winfrey agreed to appear alongside, and being interviewed by her confers more of Winfrey’s mass-appeal influence upon his already-extensive power. What do I mean by power in this context? Imagine following Lance Armstrong around today, January 18; I’ll bet you’ll see no lessening of the deferential treatment he’ll receive from nearly everyone who comes into contact with him. This is not a man who has been so disgraced he’s no longer treated like a V.I.P. For all his pious confessions of guilt, of bullying, of helping to destroy careers, he remains addicted to control and the impact he’s had on the sport he’s helped to traduce. READ FULL STORY

NRA's new videos attack Obama's gun plan as hypocritical, citing the President's daughters: VIDEO

Today, TV news channels broadcast live President Obama’s new, extensive proposals to try and stop more gun violence. Among his many recommendations was that “Congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds. We don’t benefit from ignorance.” But most of the President’s plan was directed at guns. The push-back in the media was immediate. READ FULL STORY

'Continuum' premiere review: Can this Syfy show be your new sci-fi obsession?

Continuum is a crisp, crackerjack series that premiered on Monday night on the Syfy channel. It’s a hit in Canada, where the Vancouver-filmed and -set series has already aired its first season, and it deserves a substantial audience in America. READ FULL STORY

Golden Globes review: Fey and Poehler presided over a night loaded with surprises

You knew going into it that The Golden Globes were bound to be funny. Nearly every joke told or stunt pulled by hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was solidly, often exceedingly, funny, from Poehler’s line “When it comes to torture I trust the woman married for three years to James Cameron” to Fey’s admonition to Taylor Swift to “stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son” — startled-looking, handsome Sam Fox, this year’s Mr. Golden Globe. READ FULL STORY

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