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Entertainment we're thankful for, from 'The Good Wife' to 'Monsters University'

Of course we're thankful for family, friends, good health and the food on our table. But this year, our entertainment staff wanted to offer up some thanks for the blessings the world of arts and culture -- if you can call "Teen Mom" culture -- brings to our lives. Pass the drumsticks.

Val Chmerkovskiy, Julianna Marguilies inABC, CBS, Pixar

TELEVISION

Val Chmerkovskiy on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

The pro, who in previous seasons lived in the shadow of big brother Maks, really came into his own this season, taking over as the new heartthrob of the show – minus the bad-boy attitude, and with added charm.    --Anna Chan

Val Chmerkovskiy and Kelly Monaco.Adam Taylor / ABC

Rick from ‘The Walking Dead’

At the time of this writing, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is in the prison picking up a mysterious phone call. It’s me, telling him he’s the baddest zombie killer on TV and I’d trust him to lead me anywhere after the apocalypse.  --Kurt Schlosser

Andrew Lincoln plays Rick onGene Page / AMC

'The Good Wife'

Truly the best show broadcast TV has to offer, “Good Wife” is witty, surprising and full of taboo-busting characters and subject matter. Quit pre-empting/delaying it for sports and “Amazing Race,” CBS!    --Randee Dawn

Julianna Margulies inDavid M. Russell / AP

The end of original ‘Teen Mom’

Haters say the show glamorized teen pregnancy, but sit down and watch, and it becomes clear “TM” was practically a form of birth control. But as the young women claimed more tabloid headlines and their little ones got older, the original purpose of the docuseries became muddied. This was a good time to hand the torch to “Teen Mom 2.”     --A.C.

Gorging on 'Downton Abbey, Season 2'

Thanksgiving last year meant introducing “Downton” to Mom, and we watched the entire season during my visit. This year, in anticipation of season 3, we’ll be scarfing WWI melodrama along with turkey leftovers as we chow down on all of season 2. Cheerio!    --R.D.

Maggie Smith playsDowager Countess Grantham inNick Briggs / PBS

'Homeland'

I binge-watched the first season of the Emmy-winning show, taking in almost the entire run in one sitting. Which is why I wasn't sure if it would hold up the same way for season two. Would I feel it was as action-packed if viewed one episode at a time? Could I possibly wait a week for questions and issues to resolve? The answer is roundly, yes. The creators of the show have built something that is truly fantastic and has not once let me down. --Courtney Hazlett 

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis inKent Smith / Showtime

'Grimm'

People who look normal but are really these fairy tale monsters who turn into said monsters when provoked. Totally believable, right? I know. But if you care to suspend belief for just an hour a week, you will be rewarded with a fun, quirky and surprisingly clever hour of television. In its second season now, "Grimm" remains one of the week's bright lights.   --C.H.

Silas Weir Mitchell inScott Green / NBC

MUSIC

New Nine Inch Nails

It’s been four years since Trent Reznor released a new album and three years since the farewell tour. This month, he revealed to Rolling Stone he’s working on new NIN material, and possibly even some live shows in the future. Hallelujah!   --A.C.

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch NailsMichael Buckner / Getty Images file

Rediscovering obscure 1970s tunes on the radio

Some of us still listen to the radio. In the car. When our husbands aren’t interested in our iPod collections. But that’s good, because then you can discover the joys of true ‘70s cheesy wonders like Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” and Walter Egan’s “Magnet and Steel.” Ah, easy listening.    --R.D.

Jimmy Fallon, music man

Forget the bands playing late night TV, just give the host and The Roots some kiddie instruments or office tools and set them loose with a pop star for the most fun you can have with a hit you’ve heard way too many times.    --K.S.

Jimmy Fallon and The Roots rock out with Christina Aguilera.Lloyd Bishop / NBC

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis videos

MTV may be dead in the minds of music video lovers, but YouTube is alive and well. Few musicians are making videos as cool to look at as the hip-hop stars. Check ‘em out here and here for starters. Seattle, represent!    --K.S.

MOVIES

A new James Bond movie for my birthday

I was born under a lucky star: For over 10 years now, whenever there’s a new James Bond movie, it comes out right around my Nov. 15 birthday. Cake, candles … and Daniel Craig. There’s no better present for me.    --R.D.

The two Emmas

Watson and Stone sounds like a PR firm. In this case it could specialize in the handling of things related to a pair of actresses who – when other young stars demonstrate less sound judgment – continue to make good choices and look happy and healthy along the way.    --K.S.

'Monsters University'

Having a daughter let me rediscover kid movies just as they are hitting what might be a golden age. Bless you, Pixar and all your little Pixar elves. I'm now eagerly awaiting "Monsters University," the prequel to "Monsters Inc.," which is scheduled to hit theaters in June. Monsters Mike and Sulley are depicted as college frat-boy rivals who somehow come around to friendship. Can't wait.  --Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

EVERYTHING ELSE

Redbox

No more unwieldy Netflix queue to manage or forgotten discs sitting around my house. Now, whenever I’m in a movie mood, I take a two-block jaunt to my nearest Redbox and pay $1.07. It’s cheaper, and I’m watching stuff I want practically the moment I want it.    --A.C. 

Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic

"Mystery Science Theater 3000" has been off the air for a decade, but the hilarious people who staffed it now run two other groups -- Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic. Both offer variations on the humorous riffing they did on MST3K, and you can watch them online, via DVD, or in live or kind-of-live theater experiences. Don't miss Rifftrax's take on the bizarre "Birds" homage "Birdemic," or CT's turn at chopsocky film "East Meets Watts." Keep circulating the tapes!  --G.F.C.

Free sample chapters of books

I don't own a Kindle, but I have the free Kindle app on my iPhone, and it's crammed like a hoarder's bookcase with all kinds of free sample chapters. Classics, new releases, true crime, westerns fiction, nonfiction, you name it. If I like the chapter, buying the book is just a click away. The future is now!    --G.F.C.

'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee'

People, this is what comedy can be-: just funny people hanging out being their funny selves. In this Jerry Seinfeld-driven (no pun intended) web series, no one is getting ruthlessly mocked, there's nothing mean. It's just a nice pick-me-up and in a great format. If this is the future of the web series, I'm all for it.    --C.H.

 

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