For the last 10 years I've been competing in the Ted Marshall Open, a contest to predict 10 shows on broadcast TV that will be cancelled during the coming season. Mike Burger began the game 17 years ago as the Alison La Placa Open, naming it after a great comedic actress who starred in the short-lived shows Suzanne Pleshette is Maggie Briggs, Duet, Open House, Stat, The Jackie Thomas Show and Tom. When La Placa lost her sense of humor about the name in 2008 and sent a cease and desist letter, the contest was ... read more

I'm a huge fan of Noah Hawley's Fargo TV series, which just completed its third season on FX. This post contains spoilers, so bail out now if you're avoiding them. I enjoyed the season but thought it didn't live up to the greatness of the earlier ones. For most of the season, the villain V. M. Varga lacked a protagonist formidable enough to be a credible challenge. It wasn't until the final third when the bridge-playing parolee Nikki Swango brought up her game to put his evil scheme in genuine doubt. Now that ... read more

Adam West died Friday at age 88. As a child of the '70s, I thought West was a giant of Hollywood. I watched the Batman TV movie and show as often as they came on. When cable TV arrived and my parents let us watch movie channels with precious little oversight, it was quite a shock to see him in The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood. Holy titillation, Batman! West was underrated as a comic actor. His deadpan Batman performance was legendary, but he could do a lot more than that. Around 15 years ago a TV series called ... read more

A few years ago, in one of Apple's last big marketing campaigns while Steve Jobs was alive, the company mocked Microsoft by having Justin Long portray a Mac and John Hodgman a PC in TV commercials. Long's comfortably scruffy dude in sneakers was supposed to be cool, while Hodgman's pudgy businessman was supposed to be a dork who couldn't quite catch up to the times. I wrote in 2007 that the commercials were doing something for Microsoft it couldn't do for itself -- make the company lovable. The Mac hipster ... read more

There's an amusingly awkward exchange between Mad Men actor Elisabeth Moss and New York Times interviewer Andrew Goldman in a new Q&A: Q: You were brought up as, and continue to be, a Scientologist. I feel as if everyone who's not a Scientologist sees it as a cult. Does this bother you? Moss: It doesn't bother me, but I don't want to talk about it. For me, you gotta make up your own mind about anything in your life, whether it's a relationship or a job or religion -- or Pilates. Q: You said of your very short ... read more

The Florida Republican Party recently began running a TV ad here that attacks former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Republican who left the party and became an independent during his unsuccessful 2010 Senate run. The ad shows old clips of Crist praising President George W. Bush and Sarah Palin and declaring he was "about as conservative as you can get." That statement turned out to be as true as Mitt Romney calling himself a progressive when he wanted to be governor of liberal Massachusetts. Crist endorsed President ... read more

Last night's episode of Two and a Half Men ended with this end-of-show text from series creator Chuck Lorre, who puts vanity cards at the end of his shows that only can be read by pausing the TV: I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I've had chest x-rays, cardio stress tests EKGs and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce stress. I don't ... read more