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Television: ‘Clickbait’ grabs and takes hold; Karen Rogers is tops in weather at Channel 6

Finally, after a few months of drought since “Mare of Easttown” stopped airing, a series emerged that entertained while building and maintaining suspense that kept me, at least, glued to the TV.

“Clickbait” on Netflix might be the first program I watched in two sittings, mere hours apart, since “Ozark” appeared on the same network four years ago.

“Clickbait” has an engaging story that unfolds in clever and unexpected ways while calling attention to the mischief someone technologically savvy can make if he or she uses key tools modern computers render so easy and routine.

“Clickbait” is primarily a murder mystery, but while it reveals clues about whodunnit and why, it addresses various relationships, not only between spouses or couples but between parents and children, siblings, in-laws, colleagues, and civilians vs. people in authority.

Episode by episode, nothing can be taken for granted. Every time it appears that a situation is clear and all salient information is known, creators Tony Ayres and Christian White come up with a new wrinkle, new consideration, or new angle that makes you doubt all you thought you knew and changes your attitude, back and forth, about individual characters. It’s as absorbing to see the solution emerge, false conclusions included, as it is to see how characters are affected by information that seems to be definitive but somehow collapses when a next discovery is made.

You don’t always know what is true as new clues regularly erase the certainly of previous ones, but you can’t help but be fascinated at how thoroughly false impressions and fictions can be created by someone who knows how to make a computer achieve his or her nefarious intentions. It is also captivating to see the range of emotions people go through as they learn and believe evidence that is often purposely misleading.

In addition to intriguing, “Clickbait” is well-produced and boasts several excellent performances, in particular by Phoenix Raei as a detective, Zoe Kazan as the victim’s sister, Betty Gabriel as his wife, and Liz Alexander as his mother.

Rogers moves up at Channel 6

The surprise may be small, but the delight is abundant that Karen Rogers will replace the retired David Murphy at the weather map as the meteorologist assigned to Channel 6’s weekday morning editions of “Action News.”

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of Karen on the air, I picture her in the weather role even though she has been the bright and able utility player on the morning news and other Channel 6 shows for years, 25 years to be exact. Karen arrived at 6 ABC in 1996 as backup to Wally Kennedy on the station’s “AM Philadelphia.”

Her versatility is a sign that Karen is primarily a broadcaster, handy in that she can fit into specific positions, such as the meteorologist on newscasts and play a general role as a reporter, interviewer, host, moderator, or traffic reporter when necessary. She also gallivants all around the region with Adam Joseph and others for Channel 6’s weekend magazine shows.

Channel 6 has always been canny about placing talent. By giving Rogers the meteorologist post, the station preserves a congenial morning team that interacts organically. The others are anchors Matt O’Donnell and Tamala Edwards and traffic monitor Matt Pellman.

Interesting discussion with Tamron Hall

Like a coach on “The Voice,” which begins its new season tonight on NBC (Channel 10), I turn around suddenly when I hear something startling on the television that is always on behind my desk.

This particular morning, last Monday to be exact, I must have concentrating on what I was doing because my habit is to turn from Channel 6 when “Live with Kelly and Ryan” ends at 10 a.m. to Channel 10 to watch (or listen to) Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager’s hour of “Today.”

One reason is to avoid “The Tamron Hall Show,” which I find gushy in a way I haven’t liked, enjoyed, or appreciated since the days when Phil Donahue inaugurated the emotion-oriented talk format in the ‘70s. (Heaven forfend I should ever be subjected to hearing even a second of “The View!”)

On this occasion, the quick swivel was caused by Eboni K. Williams, one of “The Real Housewives of New York,” another show I’d have to be paid four figures at least to sit through.

Williams, now age 38, was talking about how people, e.g. her fellow N.Y. housewives, criticize her at times because of a “shoplifting incident” she had at age 17. She explained simply and sensibly how she is not going to allow detractors to use a mistake she made as a teenager to challenge her credibility today.

Tamron agreed when Eboni said people have to be reasonable and realize that something done at such a young age and so far in the past no longer matters. Not only did she agree, but she did not quibble in any way with Eboni’s point of view.

“Hosanna!,” I thought as I listened to the exchange. Here were two mature women of some intelligence saying what I’ve been advocating for more than a decade, that what others may allege to be trespasses do not usually matter for all time and should not be a basis for someone losing his or her job or being prevented from being given a new one.

I found it interesting, and selective, that Williams expects perspective about incidents like hers. I agree with her. I thought – think – she is being more than reasonable She’s absolutely right.

What I wonder is whether she or Tamron Hall would apply such understanding and forgiveness or, to use my usual terms, perspective and proportion, in other people’s cases. I’d be curious to know who would get the benefit of Eboni’s enlightened attitude and who might, in her or Tamron’s mind, deserve the disdain they’ve received.

No doubt there are some whose transgressions are so great, they need to be kept from positions of influence.

To my mind, these are few and do not nearly apply to celebrities such as Roseanne Barr, Curt Schilling, or Mike Richards, among others in the way they might to Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein.

I admired both Williams’s sentiment and the clarity with which she expressed it.

That sentiment should be more the common watchword than the McCarthyism that has plagued the entertainment and other industries in recent years. (One newspaper editor “resigned” from his job after staff at his publication objected with outrage to him granting op-ed space to a U.S. Senator!!!)

Television, more than any medium, has the power to change minds. It also has the power to mold minds. If more popular celebrities expressed the same attitude as Williams and more hosts nodded in agreement, as Hall did, the world would be a far more mature and fairer place.

I’m glad my routine was interrupted so I could see Williams and Hall’s exchange. Not only was I gratified by it, but it made me think I should give “The Tamron Hall Show” more sampling and find out more about what Eboni K. Williams has to say.(“The View” remains verboten.)

A good AGT this year

This year’s competition on “America’s Got Talent” moved me so much, I actually sprang from my TV, the one in my living room, to my office to vote for my favorites in the hope one of them would be named this season’s champion, earn $1 million, and receive a contract for a Las Vegas run.

Three of my favorites were in the Top Ten. Two made the Top Five. The performer I gave 10 votes, the maximum, was Aidan Bryant, a self-taught teenage aerialist. The other two I wanted to help were a singer, Brooke Simpson, who was magnificent in a duet with Idina Menzel on “AGT’s” award show, and Gina Brillon, a sharp and funny observational comedian.

Bryant came in second, Simpson fourth, and Brillon somewhere between six and ten according to votes that came directly from the “AGT” audience and not from judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel.

The winner was a magician, Dustin Tavella, whose ability to predict reactions and responses is astounding.

All of the final 10 acts, and a few other, received enough national exposure and support to catapult into lucrative careers. Bryant, Simpson, and Brillon will undoubtedly get agents, bookings, and the opportunity to display their talent to a wide audience. Tavella will head to Las Vegas.

It isn’t worth getting disappointed or angry if someone else’s favorite wins. “AGT” makes it point by having among its finalists 10 acts that would be welcome in any theater.

Tonight, two new competitions start. Three, actually.

In terms of variety performance, NBC begins a new season of “The Voice” with Arianna Grande joining Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and Blake Shelton as a coach while ABC launches a new season of “Dancing with the Stars.” CBS complicates matters with a fresh season of “Survivor.”

Thank goodness for DVR and On Demand.

A new ‘Addams Family’

Netflix is bringing a live action version of “The Addams Family” back to series television.

Casting continues to take place, but three of the principals and several key supporting players have been named.

Most exciting of all is the series will return to the little screen under the leadership of Tim Burton, filmdom’s current master of the macabre with movies such as “Edward Scissorhands,” “Beetlejuice,” “Frankenweenie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (conceiver and producer actually), and Sweeney Todd” to his credit.

“The Addams Family” seems right up Burton’s imaginative alley, especially when you see the homage he pays to the clan’s creator, cartoonist Charles Addams, in several of his movies.

Morticia, the Addams matriarch who is enamored with death, will be played by Oscar- and Tony-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. Gomez, the romantic, adventurous patriarch will be played by veteran character actor Luis Guzmán, whose face is immediately recognizable from dozens of film and TV roles but who has never led a major TV series. He had long-running parts in shows such as “Code Blue” and also appeared memorably on “Oz” and “Narcos,” but is likely to become better known as Gomez.

Jenna Ortega, who played Jane as a child in “Jane the Virigin,” is cast as Wednesday, the Addams daughter who enjoys beheading her dolls and being tortured by her brother (Pugsley).

Wednesday is the key figure in the Netflix skein. She goes off to a school, Nevermore, that caters to children with occult and supernatural talents. Most of the performers cast play fellow students, Nevermore administrators, or people, often dismayed, from the town in which Nevermore is situated. It’s the actors playing Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Lurch, Itt, and Thing that have yet to be named.

Neal Zoren’s television column appears every Monday.

Source: Berkshire mont

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