Joshua Alston

Television: 'Better' Than a 'Mess'

Black Entertainment Television's controversial new show "We Got To Do Better" (formerly "Hot Ghetto Mess") attracted over 800,000 viewers when it debuted on Wednesday night, a healthier-than-expected audience presumably made up of car-crash gawkers who tuned in to see if the show was the racist, classist sideshow its critics have portrayed it as.

'Hairspray' Problem: Segregation Wasn't Fun

If you plan on reading any reviews of "Hairspray," the new movie musical that opens today, prepare to be soaked by the word "fun." And it's a perfectly apt description: "Hairspray" is an energetic, crowd-pleasing musical set in the swinging '60s, so it's replete with bouffants, sherbet-colored culottes and the dangerous, auspicious "race music" of the era.

Smashing Pumpkins Not So Smashing

Between Michael Bay's impossibly awful "Transformers" movie, Thomas Harris's "Hannibal Rising" and the inevitable debut of trans-fat free Chicken McNuggets, it seems lately that there's no  shortage of opportunities to obliterate our positive associations with once-reliable brands.

Is Reality TV Over?

Donald Trump has a natural gift for spinning bad news in his favor. When his reality competition show "The Apprentice" turned up conspicuously missing from NBC's fall line-up, he immediately pounced with a statement saying that he wasn't being fired from the show, he was quitting to work on another "major new TV venture."Trump's "Apprentice" business partner, reality TV's eminent creative mind Mark Burnett, will have much more trouble untangling himself from the wreckage.

TV: The Last of 'Lost'--So Far

SPOILER ALERT: This commentary contains huge spoilers about the third season of "Lost." If you haven't watched it yet and plan to at some point, it might be a good idea to click the handy Back button on your browser.There's good news, more good news and bad news about this "Lost" commentary.

Is YouTube Losing Its Populist Appeal?

Somewhere in America, there's a young person with a web camera, a broadband internet connection, and an enviable surplus of free time. All that kid was missing was a brass ring to reach for, the goal of having his video—the one of him detailing the reasons why Jessica Alba should marry him—lauded with a shiny figurine and adored by the masses.

Film Review: 'Black Snake Moan'

There's no polite way to describe Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan," so let's get it over with. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Lazarus, an old black bluesman who tries to cure Rae (Christina Ricci) of nymphomania by tethering her to his radiator with a steel chain.

Fox Tries Funny

Back when I lived in Atlanta, I spent my Sunday mornings with Ike Newkirk, host of "Open Line," one of the few liberal talk-radio shows on southern airwaves.