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BEST TV STATION Minneapolis 1999 -

Readers' Choice: KARE-TV (Channel 11)

Oh, how we yearned to give this one to KTCA, our diligent and earnest friends at public television. How we wish we could say that we really wanted to watch all that wholesome, informative TV. But faced with the classic desert-island conundrum (if you could view just one station, which would it be?), the choice is clear: Fox. Sure, the Twin Cities' Fox affiliate is a guilty pleasure. But what is television good for if not guilty pleasures? WFTC's daytime offerings leave something to be desired: Twice-daily broadcasts of Who's the Boss, for instance, are more than even a shut-in should have to endure. But when the workday is through, Fox shines. The dinnertime lineup, a double serving of The Simpsons followed by Seinfeld, probably does more for the collective mental health of the Twin Cities than a battalion of shrinks and pharmacists. And, of course, WFTC provides a welcome alternative to the repetitive and endless early-evening newscasts that air on other stations. Fox's prime-time lineup provides a fabulous rationalization for those who can only watch trashy TV in the guise of a cultural critic. After all, what station can rival Fox as a measure of the zeitgeist? In its prime-time "reality" specials, Fox documents, with a titillating and nearly pornographic zeal, the dark weird corners of contemporary American life: footage of 300-pound ovarian tumors, redneck car chases, convenience store shootouts, pit-bull attacks, etc. And the network's dramatic series The X-Files remains the scariest hour on free television--aside from the Home Shopping Network's harrowing Gallery of Dolls.

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