A&E’s Family Plots debuts tonight.

A&E’s Family Plots debuts tonight.
A&E’s reality version of HBO’s Six Feet Under debuts tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Family Plots follows the staff of the Poway Bernardo Mortuary in San Diego, which includes a father, his three daughters, and three others. Judging by critics’ reactions, it’s DOA.

The show gets zero stars from the New York Daily News’ David Bianculli, who says it’s “the most repugnant series in prime time,” in part because the show doesn’t “shy away from showing bodies being worked on by morticians.” He also says it’s guilty of “lazy theft” for stealing the concept of Six Feet Under and the theme song from “Showtime’s comedy-drama about the afterlife, ‘Dead Like Me.'”

The Boston Globe calls the series “an irritating trifle that exploits the emotions of mourning relatives and the corpses of their loved ones.” The series does find a fan in the Baltimore Sun, which says the first two episodes “are seductive in an easygoing, quirky sort of way” and show “skill and thought.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.