By now you may have heard all about Dog TV, the Israelicreated international
channel featuring entertainment for homebound canines that is now available here
on the YES Cable network (Channel 39). It just went live last week, and I can
address the burning question that every other news outlet had ignored: Is it
suitable viewing for cats? After all, we know that there is a long history of
animosity between felines and canines, so will this channel fan the flames of
inter-species hatred or foster closer ties between the two?
Based on a very
unscientific experiment in my home, I can report with confidence that this
channel is not likely to affect the centuries-old conflict. My two cats, aged
four and nine, have shown zero interest in Dog TV, although they will never walk
away from the opportunity to hiss at and even claw at an actual dog.
day’s broadcasts are divided between Relaxation and Stimulation. Relaxation is
sort of like colorful test patterns with soothing music. Stimulation is footage
of dogs doing things like playing on the beach, with soothing background music.
The broadcast day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. – reasonable hours
for the typical dog. But for my cats, it all just put them to sleep.
owners I know told me that their dogs seemed mildly interested in the
Stimulation segments but said that their dogs were far more interested in other
pursuits, such as barking at birds.
BACK IN the human realm, there has
been an embarrassment of riches in terms of strong and interesting female
characters on television in recent years. But while there have been many
wonderful women on the small screen – in sharp contrast to the situation on the
big screen – there is one series that, against all odds, seems to consistently
top itself. It’s The Good Wife, currently in the middle of Season 4 (and
available on YES). The series, which stars Julianna Margulies (Carol
Hathaway on ER) as Alicia Florrick, the wife who stood by her politician husband
(Chris Noth, who played Mr. Big on Sex and the City) after he was arrested for a
scandal that involved his cheating on her with prostitutes. The twist in the
set-up is that after he goes to jail and she goes back to practicing law, she
finds herself for the first time.
In the previous four years, the series
has had an enormous number of complex plot turns, but it manages to maintain
interest in its major characters while constantly adding new ones.
also been quite effective in attracting some of the best actors working today,
both well known and lesser known. Perhaps the most welcome recent addition has
been Stockard Channing (Abby Bartlett on The West Wing) as Alicia’s mother, a
much married woman trying to get an inheritance from her recently deceased third
husband. She strides around the law firm where Alicia works trying to get Will
Gardner (Josh Charles), Alicia’s former lover, to read Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A
New Biography. In the process, she thoroughly embarrasses her daughter, as well
as the normally unflappable and sometimes diabolical head of family law at the
firm, David Lee (Zach Grenier).
Eccentric and brilliant defense lawyer
Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston, a very versatile actress who also plays Arlene
on True Blood) will also reappear soon, when she is unfairly arrested so that
she cannot defend an athlete against doping charges before a panel of snooty
European sports judges. Michael J. Fox’s recurring character, the utterly
devious lawyer Louis Canning (who suffers from Tourette syndrome, a substitute
for the Parkinson’s disease that Fox actually has in real life), has a scheme up
his sleeve that could undermine Lockhart- Gardner, the law firm where Alicia
works. Meanwhile, the courtappointed bankruptcy trustee (Nathan Lane, the
Broadway star), struggles to bring the firm’s finances under control.
as the series creators Robert and Michelle King weave in all their twists, it’s
Margulies, with her defiant glamor, vulnerability and dignity, who holds every
episode together. We enjoy all the characters, but we love Alicia and tune in
week after week to see what she will do next.