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On The Tube

In the face of evil

6/18/2014

Dominion_ShowState government prepared for the students’ arrival by buying armor-plated tanks and machine guns. White supremacists stocked up on nooses. Mainstream Mississippi politicians thundered about “crushing the enemy,” meaning outsiders who dared to question racist practices. And they meant “crushing” quite literally, evident in the murder of three activists at the start of the operation.

But the forces of good refused to back down. On the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, the documentary is a moving testament to idealism in the face of evil. “We were young and foolish,” says a former volunteer, explaining why they risked their lives in the cause of justice.

“Dominion”

Thursday, 8 p.m. (Syfy)

This new series begins with an intriguing assertion: “Twenty-five years ago, God disappeared.” If you think “that can’t be good,” you’re right. Heaven turned against humanity, with the evil archangel Gabriel (Carl Beukes) waging apocalyptic war.

“Dominion” is set amid the tacky ruins of Las Vegas — now known as Vega — where two dynasties battle for political control and Gabriel’s forces mass for another attack. If that’s not enough excitement for one pilot, a lowly soldier (Christopher Egan) engages in a forbidden affair with a powerful leader’s daughter (Roxanne McKee). Plus, everyone murmurs about “The Chosen One,” who may or may not show up to save the day.

“Dominion” boasts a rich cosmology, eye-popping effects and exciting action sequences. I especially like the scene where the toxic angels descend on Vega like flying monkeys and all hell breaks loose. Or, I guess I should say, all heaven breaks loose.

“Almost Royal”

Saturday, 9 p.m. (BBC America)

BBC America’s first original comedy series takes a “Borat” approach. Actors posing as British aristocrats — Poppy (Amy Hoggart) and Georgie (Ed Gamble) — interact with unsuspecting Americans, ad libbing in character.

With their posh accents and Buckingham Palace wardrobes, Poppy and Georgie are cartoon royals: imperturbable and a bit dim. In the pilot, they “mingle with the natives” in Los Angeles at the start of a nationwide tour, their goal to better understand this perplexing country. They manage to insult a Hollywood agent, a casting director and a pretentious plastic surgeon with their seemingly innocent questions.

If Poppy and Georgie continue their tour in this fashion, they might spark another war between America and England. And this time, the English would have the advantage with their deadpan satire. CV

Dean Robbins is a syndicated TV columnist from Madison, Wis. He graduated from Grinnell College and went on to become an award-winning journalist, but he’s been a committed couch potato long before he figured out a way to get paid for watching TV. See more of his work at www.thedailypage.com.

Barmuda