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Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012

CHANNEL SURF

New version of Mukoda's 'Hanayome'; 'breaking news' from archaeology digs; CM of the week: Real Ukon

The late Kuniko Mukoda wrote television family dramas that were considered more realistic than the usual sentimental fare. On Monday, TBS presents a new version of an old favorite, "Hanayome" ("Bride"; 9 p.m.), starring Pinko Izumi, who is usually the muse of Sugako Hashida — probably the most famous TV dramatist after Mukoda. Izumi has never acted in a Mukoda drama.

She plays Chiyo, who as the drama opens has just finished the service commemorating the seventh anniversary of her husband's death. At the same time, she is being forced to move out of the home where she raised her family. Not knowing where to turn, and disinclined to move in with her eldest son's family, she decides to take a job as a live-in housekeeper.

Her older daughter, Setsuko (Ayako Kobayashi), tries to talk her into marrying Kurosaki, a widower who was her father's best friend, but Chiyo's younger daughter, Tomoe (Yukie Nakama), is scandalized by the suggestion.

Archaeology is the subject of TBS's five-hour special "Kinkyu Scoop" ("Urgent Scoop"; Tues., 6:30 p.m.), which sends celebrity reporters to three of the world's biggest excavation projects right now.

One report is from Mexico, where archaeologists continue to work on ruins associated with the Mayan pyramids. The second site is related to the ancient civilization of Thrace in present-day Bulgaria. Thrace is believed to be the oldest "city of gold" in the world. And Emperor Nero's own palace of gold is the object of the third dig in Rome; or, at least, the experts think there's a palace of gold.

The purpose of the program is "to be there" at the moment when a historical discovery is made.

CM of the week

Real Ukon: Actor Tadanobu Asano stands on the sound stage in a scene from what looks like a Western movie, dressed in a ridiculous cowboy outfit. An agent hands him a bottle of Real Ukon, Coca-Cola Japan's energy drink. Asano winces. Though he has agreed to do the commercial, he'd prefer to not actually drink the product. "I just don't go for these kinds of drinks," he says.

But the agent insists he'll like it. "It's delicious," he says, and so Asano starts drinking, and before he gets to the bottom his eyes light up in carbonated joy. Everybody on the set cheers as he shakes the last drops into his open mouth. The commercial is saved!



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