Television | 'Don't have a cow, man': Religion and 'The Simpsons'

WASHINGTON — It's not every day that the Vatican newspaper declares that a fictional character from the world of television is a Catholic — and a cartoon character at that.

But that's what L'Osservatore Romano did in early October when it asserted that Homer Simpson, the patriarch of the 21-season Fox sitcom "The Simpsons," is a Catholic. Oh, and bratty son Bart, too.

In Fox's prime time, ingenious doesn't always mean tasteful

NEW YORK — Starting out nearly 25 years ago as the little network that could, Fox made a name for itself by launching brash and bawdy comedies. Then something happened: quality. Think "The Simpsons," "The X-Files" and the G-rated appeal of the past decade's top show, "American Idol."

Fox still innovates; "Glee," showered with Emmy nominations, is the most recent example. But not every innovation edifies the viewing public, as professional philandering and sex with death-row inmates — the launching pads for two of its new series — will likely prove.


TV Reviews | CBS' new shows play it safe

NEW YORK — When you're on top, do you play it safe or do you take risks? CBS, which has more people watching it than any other network — especially older viewers — is doing both, resurrecting a chestnut of a police drama in "Hawaii Five-O" to play it safe, and taking a big chance introducing a sitcom with a title so profane it wouldn't be printed in newspapers. While success typically breeds success, one never knows when it brings a clunker.


"$#*! My Dad Says"

Thursdays, 7:30-8 p.m.,

TV shows in upcoming season are a mixed bag

NEW YORK-- The documentary series "Who Do You Think You Are?" (NBC) follows celebrities as they explore their ancestry and discover various secrets hidden amid the family tree. In the pilot episode, airing Friday, March 5, 9-10 p.m., actress Sarah Jessica Parker learns that her forebears were involved in two of the most significant incidents in America's past: the 1849 California gold rush and the Salem witch trials that convulsed colonial Massachusetts in the 1690s.

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