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SMART LIST

'Dexter' season finale: the big showdown

Plus: 'Nine,' 'The Jacksons' TV show, Jeff Bridges in 'Crazy Heart' and more.

December 13, 2009

You should talk about: the "Dexter" season finale.

It's one shocker after the next: Debra unearths a deeply hidden truth -- just not the one she expected to find. Rita takes a hard look at her marriage. And at long last, the Dexter and Arthur showdown is upon us. The wait for Season 5 will be a long one. (Today)

You could talk about: the movie musical "Nine."

Daniel Day-Lewis stars as once-great director Guido Contini in the throes of a midlife crisis, recalling all the important women -- played by Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard and Penélope Cruz among others -- who've affected his life. More so than in "Chicago," director-choreographer Rob Marshall really lets his inventive moves shine. The standout number? Fergie's epic "Be Italian." (Friday)

I wonder how many will talk about: "The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty."

The A&E reality series will follow the remaining Jackson brothers in the aftermath of Michael's death. That means watching them, allegedly for the first time, talk about the demise of the Jackson 5 amid tears and an apology from Jermaine. But will every episode be as dramatic? (Today)

Oscar-watchers will talk about: "Crazy Heart."

Jeff Bridges, who plays a washed-up, alcoholic country singer who gets his life back on track thanks to a journalist played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, will no doubt be up for best actor. (Wednesday)

Will we talk about: NBC's "The Sing-Off"?

Real-life "Glee." That's what NBC would like us to think about its a cappella group competition. But will it be as fun without Coach Sue? Or Kurt? And have we forgiven them for calling off a "Glee"-ful Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? (Monday)

Can't wait to talk about: new albums from Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys.

Mary J. Blige's "Stronger With Each Tear" and Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom" are out this week -- and if you can remember their "American Music Awards" performances, you're expecting good things. Blige's single "I Am" is an old-school treat, while Keys' "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart" is angsty '70s R&B goodness. (Tuesday)

-- Denise Martin

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