16 years ago, geek culture transitioned to the mainstream (Commentary)

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eek culture is indisputably mainstream today (as evidenced by the 57 superhero shows on TV), but that wasn’t always the case. So when did the transition happen? It was a gradual process, but I like to point to the game show “Beat the Geeks” (2001-02, Comedy Central) as a fulcrum. Like many great geeky things, it didn’t last long, but it did signal that it was safe for geeks to come out of the woodwork, and safe for non-geeks to show their geek side.

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First episode impressions: ‘Roadies’ (TV review)

Showtime publicity photo

“Roadies” (10 p.m. Eastern Sundays on Showtime), the new series from Cameron Crowe, feels a little more like “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” or “Love Monkey” than it feels like “Almost Famous.” The pilot episode has more bark than bite; however, it’s better than, say, Crowe’s second-rate “Garden State” “Elizabethtown,” and the fact that it’s about the same subject as “Almost Famous” might allow him to recapture a bit of that old magic in upcoming episodes.

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John’s top 10 songs from ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ so far (TV commentary)

The CW

Two new shows I kept on my viewing schedule have already been canceled – “Wicked City” and, for all intents and purposes, “Minority Report,” which had its episode order cut to 10. But the TV networks have kept the best fall show: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” I’m setting myself up for more disappointment, perhaps, as I’m now not only hoping for a DVD and soundtrack, but also for a second season.

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30 years later, ranking the 12 tracks of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ (Music commentary)

Some people called Bruce Springsteen a sellout for delivering 12 radio-friendly hits (seven became top 10 singles) on “Born in the U.S.A.,” which hit record stores on June 4, 1984. Others, including his producer/manager Jon Landau, said it didn’t have enough singles (“Dancing in the Dark” was written in order to fill this perceived gap).

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A look back at the best albums of 2012 (Music commentary)

Making a list of my favorite albums of a year is fairly simple: I think of which discs I spun most often in my Jeep in 2012, then subtract the ones that weren’t released in 2012 (even though I may have discovered them during that calendar year). For me, three albums got the most airtime in my vehicle last year. They are:

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Fall TV 2012: New shows a huge letdown, but returning faves still deliver appointment television (Commentary)

Two years ago, I labeled Fall 2010 as the worst batch of new shows ever. The highlights were “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” which was hardly a new concept; “No Ordinary Family,” which was throwaway fun; and “The Walking Dead,” which wasn’t the show then that it is now.

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First episode impressions: ‘Nashville’ (TV review)

“Nashville” (8 p.m. Central Wednesdays, ABC, starts Oct. 10) starts off with a good-but-not-great first episode (it’s now available on Hulu); among “going inside the industry” shows it’s considerably better than “Smash,” but not as free-wheeling and fun as “The L.A. Complex” or — to go back a few years — “Love Monkey.”

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