The Artist (USA): Do you think life on the sets of 1930s Hollywood musicals was all charming banter and quirky side characters? It is for George, Peppy, and Uggie! And maybe they solve mysteries sometimes too, for some reason?
The Descendants (HGTV): HGTV explores the subtle family dramas that underpin every land inheritance and real estate deal, which audiences will love just as much when it entails a cattle ranch a spell outside Grand Forks as they did when it revolved around George Clooney in Hawaii.
Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close (CBS): The producers of The Amazing Race bring you a heartwarming new take on scavenger hunting. Plucky Thomas travels from the boroughs of New York to the heartland of America, helping the families of 9/11 victims recover mementos mori—and learn lessons about, I dunno, closure or something—in a way that isn’t remotely exploitative at all.
The Help (ABC): After triumphing over 1960s racism, Skeeter, Aibileen, Minny, and Celia return to champion 1970s women’s lib the best way they know how—as a team of elite crimebusters. Thrill each week as the Ladies from H.E.L.P. bring their trademark aplomb and treacle to combatting chauvinism, oppression, and international jewel thieves.
Hugo: The Animated Series (Cartoon Network): When Papa Georges invents a wondrous device that magically transports audiences into the movies, everyone’s favorite Parisian scamps, Hugo and Isabelle, find adventure and excitement crisscrossing the cinemascapes of the early 20th century. Join them as they swashbuckle with Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood, jeer the Klan in Birth of A Nation, and help a lonely entertainer reconcile with his father in The Jazz Singer.
Midnight In Paris (The History Channel): Fitting quite snugly with History’s current brand of “set in the past, maybe, but not too heavy on the learning stuff,” this fantasy travelogue whisks today’s artists and entertainers back to classic settings. Follow James Franco’s trip to Summer of Love Haight-Ashbury, Joss Whedon’s sojourn to Elizabethan London, and Ryan Murphy’s vision quest in 1980s Dallas.
Moneyball (Food Network): In a shocking upset, Food Network outbids ESPN and Fox Sports for the rights, so they can launch their new flagship program Pitt Stop, in which Brad Pitt snacks his way through every profession in America.
The Tree of Life (Fox): Rambunctious children, a surly father figure, a thirty-second glimpse of dinosaurs, and huge swaths of viewers who didn’t get the point. You didn’t realize Fox had already optioned this movie and turned into Terra Nova, did you?
War Horse (AMC): Stranded in Weimer Germany during the inter-war period, the battle-scarred and embittered Joey is scraping to get by. When an emerging political party offers him the opportunity to turn his life around, can he resist the twin pulls of power and cablesque moral grayness? And when the next war comes…which side with this horse be on?
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