TV shows set in past, future can illuminate present – if they dare

Awhile back, I engaged in a chicken-or-egg-style argument with a co-worker about mid-20th-century civil rights legislation: Were the laws piggybacking on public sentiment, or did they shape public sentiment? The more I think about it, neither extreme is correct. Many citizens were ahead of the law (they believed blacks and whites should have equal rights, and hoped someday that laws would reflect that) and many other citizens were behind the law (once legislation was in place, they accepted that people should be treated equally). Simply put, law is not the sole cause of behavior, but nor is it irrelevant in shaping behavior.

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First episode impressions: ‘The Carrie Diaries’

My approach to reviewing "The Carrie Diaries" (7 p.m. Central Mondays on The CW) will be different from most since I've never seen a single episode of "Sex and the City." Granted, these voiceover-laden early adventures of Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb), based on Candace Bushnell's books, are not intended to dovetail perfectly with the established mythology (similar to "Smallville's" relationship with prior "Superman" works), but most viewers will be thinking of Sarah Jessica Parker's portrayal and seeing this as a prequel anyway.

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