James Poniewozik

James Poniewozik writes TIME magazine's Tuned In column, about pop culture and society. Tuned In, the blog version, is about the stuff we used to call "TV," whether it's in your living room, on your computer or - once the networks figure out the technology and line up the advertisers - in your dreams themselves.

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Lost: Booking Its Return Flight?

I opened my mail this morning and found a DVD of the first episode of Lost after its hiatus, which tells me–actually, let’s linger on that point a minute. I have the new Lost. I have the new Lost. I got the new Lo-o-o-ost, and you ain’t got none, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah…

OK, now that I’ve got it out of my system: I rarely get

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Idol Wins Idol

American Idol returns tonight, and last night’s Golden Globes could not have been a better promotion for it had the awards been held on Fox. The Globe for best supporting actress in a film went to Idol also-ran Jennifer Hudson for her work in Dreamgirls. And not to take anything away from Hudson’s acting, but let’s face it, in large

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Surfing the Cosmic Waves

Before I went to the HBO panel on new series John from Cincinnati, I didn’t know much about it. Having seen a reel of clips, and having heard creator David Milch (NYPD Blue, Deadwood) hold forth on it for a half-hour, I know even less.

As best as I can summarize: It’s about several generations of a surfing dynasty in Southern

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HBO Goes to Hell

Last summer at the TV critics’ tour, there was a minor brouhaha when a reporter charged that many of the TV journalists left a conference room before the presentation by Roger Ailes of Fox News–the implication being that liberal TV critics were staging a walkout against the conservative Ailes.

Conservatives who were offended at the

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It's Not TV Press Tour, It's HBO Press Tour

Today is HBO day at the cable press tour. It would be impolite to say so, since today also featured presentations by AMC, GSN, Sundance and sundry other abbreviations and nouns. But charmed as we were to see the world’s greatest cat at the GSN luncheon–to promote the network’s airing of the Cat-Minster cat competition, we met last

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A Good Dealer Doesn't Use His Own Product

Television is the most influential and widely enjoyed entertainment medium in the world. Except, apparently, among the people who make and work in television. If you cover TV for any length of time, you learn that people in the TV biz watch, or at least say they watch, incredibly little TV. Especially their direct competition.

At the

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Lifetime Mans Up

There’s nothing a man likes better than sitting down in an easy chair with a cold brewski and spending a night with the Lifetime network. That, at least, was the message, slightly exaggerated, from that channel’s presentation at the TCA tour this afternoon. Producer Mark Gordon, fielding a question from my colleague Aaron Barnhart,

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ESPN: Not Playing Hardball Anymore

ESPN’s presentations–the funny promotional ads, the energy, the explosive graphics–are almost enough to make me wish I actually cared about sports. Even the opening panel in ESPN’s morning, about NASCAR–which I should have identified with having survived the slog up the 110 to Pasadena list night–didn’t quite do the trick for me,

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Where the Coffee's Free and the Girls Are Pretty

PASADENA — Oooh! I love bylines! Makes me feel all reporter-y!

People who say that being a TV critic involves nothing more than sitting on your can and pretending to care about TV shows don’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes it involves sitting on your can and pretending to care about the people in TV shows. This week is the

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Operation D-List Storm

I’m traveling today to California on vitally important TV-critic business. That means I’ve been spending time on research, such as studying up on the new Transportation Security Administration rules to see if they allow me to bring an In-N-Out burger on a plane as a carry-on for the return trip. Don’t you judge me.

So I haven’t taken …

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The Apple announcement of its iPhone came today, and was characteristically heralded by TV news with the fanfare reserved for terror alerts and cellphone video of dead dictators or live celebrities. (I’ll leave it to my pal Lev Grossman to explain the details, but apparently you can speak to people on it, even if they are not physically

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How I Met Middle Age

Last night on How I Met Your Mother, the five main characters reminisced about how they each lost their virginity. The capper was a fake reminiscence by Barney (Neal Patrick Harris) that lifted the details from the movie Dirty Dancing, which the show cleverly depicted by replaying the "Love Is Strange" scene from the movie, with Harris’

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