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Thursday: ‘Iconoclasts’

[IMG:L]Iconoclasts — 10/9c on Sundance Channel

Thursday night is jam-packed with TV’s juggernauts: NBC’s neo-Must See TV lineup of The Office, Scrubs, 30 Rock, My Name Is Earl and ER; ABC’s dynamic duo of Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy; CBS’ three-headed monster of Survivor, CSI and Without a Trace; and Fox’s reality slate of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader and Don’t Forget the Lyrics!.

It also boasts the best show you’re (probably) not watching: Sundance Channel’s Iconoclasts. Granted, Sundance Channel is not free like the aforementioned networks, but this show alone is well worth the cost.

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Each week throughout Iconoclasts’ six-week run, two “creative visionaries” are paired together to discuss their lives, influences and art, and the result is a real and often insightful glimpse into celebs and non-celebs alike.

The two subjects chat it up, curse it up, laugh it up and sometimes smoke/drink it up, but more interesting still is getting to know the icons in a rawer way than any other forum would allow. In fact, each hour-long episode can be thought of as a mini-documentary.

[IMG:R]And with past pairs like Samuel L. Jackson/Bill Russell, Renee Zellweger/Christiane Amanpour, Robert Redford/Paul Newman, Paul Simon/Lorne Michaels, and Dave Chappelle/Maya Angelou, you can’t dismiss the show as too “indie” just because it airs on the Sundance Channel. For example, the best episode thus far would have to be last season’s formidable matchup of Fiona Apple and Quentin Tarantino, who at the time was working on Grindhouse in Austin, Texas, where he also watched his friend Apple play a concert on her first tour in several years.

This season, Iconoclasts’ third, hasn’t been a letdown, with the premiere episode featuring a surprisingly chatty Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer, the celebrated author of Into the Wild, which Penn recently adapted for the screen.

This week’s episode figures to be no less intriguing, as Mike Myers and Deepak Chopra pal around in New York City while discussing the importance of humor, the Beatles, and everything in between.

[IMG:L]The whole world is familiar with Myers from the Austin Powers and Shrek threequels, but Chopra doesn’t exactly have as large a fan base, at least not outside the medical or philosophical communities. The Indian author/physician has been highly influential in the current state of the New Thought Movement. He has also written over 40 books, taught at esteemed U.S. medical institutions, and posted frequently on The Huffington Post. In other words: Myers and Chopra–a divine juxtaposition!

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Only three Iconoclasts episodes remain after Thursday’s: Howard Schultz/Norman Lear on Nov. 15; Wynton Marsalis/John Besh on Nov. 22; and Madeleine Albright/Ashley Judd on Nov. 29.

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