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Picks and Pans Main: TV

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Liz & Dick

Lifetime, Nov. 25, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


Completely miscast as Elizabeth Taylor, Lindsay Lohan makes a reckless but brave dive into a pool that anyone can see is empty. And yet she survives. The Liz showcased in this unrevealing bio is Taylor in the years of her stormy, world-publicized life with Richard Burton (Grant Bowler). By this point in her career, nearing 40, the legendary beauty was giving way to the gauzy celebrity who sailed through decades on a golden barge rowed by paparazzi. Lohan suggests this Taylor in a few carefully lit close-ups: She’s gorgeous, full-faced, worn. But she has none of La Liz’s generously displayed voluptuousness, none of the sloppy good humor that endeared her to the public … not even that glass-scratching voice. This is not Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. But Lohan, despite all her career troubles, is still a star, and one star playing another makes for a fascinating performance, if not a great or even good one. Lohan attacks the part with a relentless, huffing-and-puffing determination that rivets attention-it’s an approach not much different from Taylor’s own performances. And while Bowler (Ugly Betty) is a flawless Burton, Lohan’s single-minded fierceness obliterates him. Jack Black could have played Dick, and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Go On

Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT |



When Go On premiered in August, I wrote that this show about a grieving sportscaster and his eccentric support group wasn’t the right vehicle for Matthew Perry. Surrounding such a subtle comic actor with a cast of zanies, it seemed, was like sending a man on stilts out onto a floor of bumper cars. But I was wrong. Go On has become a gently silly, exceptionally kind comedy about overcoming the blows of life. Even Perry’s conversations with the spirit of his dead wife politely fade in and out without being mawkish. And the zanies, like Perry, are just lost souls trying to latch onto happiness. When two of them danced in honor of old musical star Cyd Charisse, I sort of melted.