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Underrated/Overrated

April 08, 2012|By Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times

UNDERRATED

Junip's 'Fields': Like a futuristic European version of Crosby, Stills and Nash, this Swedish band's 2010 album is one of the addictive indie-rock pleasures of the decade. Led by the crushed velvet vocals of singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez and a spacey mix of churning guitars, burbling keyboards and driving African percussion, "Fields" grows more enchanting with every listen. Spring gets only sunnier with the one-two punch of "Always" and "Rope & Summit."

AMC's 'The Killing': Fans of this remake of the Danish series "Forbrydelsen": It's time to come off the ledge after this show supposedly reneged on its promise by not solving its mystery last season. First, the original series was 20 episodes as compared with 13 for "The Killing," and this is not a show that benefits from time compression. Second, from its moody look to its subtly powerful performances, it's one of the most compelling shows on TV. Let's move on.

OVERRATED

The return of 'Mad Men': Maybe it's a hangover from the stylish show's layoff, like a power hitter in spring training who can't find his swing, but something seems off with Matthew Weiner's much-beloved baby since its comeback. Don Draper looks half-asleep, characters have been drifting into caricature and drab generational cliche and fortune tellers are seemingly falling from the sky to underscore plot points. But hey, at least the show still looks good.

'Titanic,' again: Considering that superheroes, remakes and sequels have become the safest bets in Hollywood, maybe it makes perfect sense to simply re-release a 15-year-old blockbuster with fancier special effects (see "Star Wars"). And as fun as it may be to watch the big boat sink into your lap, the real question is how James Cameron will have again earned your money for an overlong, over-the-top story you already saw. "King of the world," indeed.

chris.barton@latimes.com

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