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Pet programs
By HANNAH BROWN
24/01/2013
While YES premieres the dog channel, it also airs the perennial favorite ‘The Good Wife'.
 
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.

The 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.

Dog 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.

It’s 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.

But 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.
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