Mark Dawidziak

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For 170 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 59% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 40% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 1.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Mark Dawidziak's Scores

Average review score: 68
Highest review score: 100 Joan of Arcadia: Season 1
Lowest review score: 0 The 100: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 170
170 tv reviews
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    We have fifth-season banquet of delights spread before us.... With each season, that load is spread out more and more, with young players coming into their own and crafty veterans added to the cast. The storytelling also gets stronger and more assured, pushing Game of Thrones to greater and grander heights.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Writer David Farr updated le Carre's novel with expert care, and his script is stunningly realized by a sensational cast guided by the unerring direction of Susanne Bier. Indeed, just about everything goes right in this sexy, riveting and suspenseful miniseries.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Still standing magnificently tall in its fifth season, Justified more than justifies its place as one of television's best dramas. That's a crowded field, of course, but, in this critic's opinion, it is not just one of the best. It is THE best.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    HBO made four of the 13 new episodes available for review. Taken as a whole, they stand as compelling proof that the series' creator and executive producer, David Chase, still is in complete control of the brilliantly constructed crime saga. [4 Mar 2001]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    An intense, intriguing and exciting mix of action and horror. [22 Sept 2004, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    From the first frame, it's clear that Jackie Robinson is a genuine labor of love. The warmly crafted two-part, four-hour PBS documentary from filmmaker Ken Burns positively glows with its admiration for the man and his accomplishments. ... Another mighty home run for PBS.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    It's where quirky meets quixotic, and the mix is enchanting - equal parts wit and whimsy. [8 Oct 2000, p.11]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    No drama mixes the profoundly painful with the profanely funny more expertly than Rescue Me, Denis Leary's FX series about New York City firefighters. As laughter wraps itself around anguish on this Manhattan landscape, you wonder if what's unfolding is an epic American tragedy or a raunchy workplace comedy. [12 June 2007, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Generous with the laughs. A wonderfully quirky and stylish series from a creative team headed by director-producer Ron Howard, this isn't merely the best new comedy of the season. It's the best new show of any kind.[2 Nov 2003, p.J1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Patience and attention to detail are rewarded handsomely, however, as Legion serves up a an instantly compelling narrative laced with an intriguing sense of mystery and wonder. It makes for a riveting adventure packed with razor-sharp dialogue, clever visual touches, surrealistic flourishes and wonderfully winning performances.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    A four-alarm run of fiery performances laced with hurt and hilarity. It means writing that swerves brilliantly from racy humor to lacerating pain, from steamy encounters to brutal insights. And it means spending quality time with some of the most human, street-level, flesh-and-blood characters you're likely to encounter anywhere in the television realm. [30 May 2006, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 79 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Amber Tamblyn (yes, she's the daughter of "Twin Peaks" star Russ Tamblyn) shines in the title role. Her Joan is a delightful adolescent mix of hope, doubt, joy, anger, anxiety, yearning and skepticism...Viewers searching for a promising new drama will do no better this season than Joan of Arcadia, which walks that tricky line of being spiritual without becoming preachy, touching without turning treacly, humorous without going for the cheap jokes. [26 Sept 2003, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 95 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    The Americans stands tall in a crowded field of quality dramas. It keeps getting stronger and stronger, a realization underscored by the arrival of the fourth season.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    "Justified" and Game of Thrones, each in its own way, has done its share to raise that bar to dizzying heights.
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    His character is brought low often enough, but no comedy soars higher.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Like "Freaks and Geeks," however, Undeclared is considerably smarter, sharper and slicker than your average network series. If at times the comedy strays below the belt, it justifies these moments by appealing to our hearts and minds. [25 Sept 2001, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    Under the guise of fantasy, Roswell manages to be insightful, profound, romantic, eerie, mysterious and funny. It artfully uses the alien characters as engaging stand-ins for countless teenagers who, rebelling against pressures to conform, feel like beings from another planet. [6 Oct 1999, p.1E]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 68 Metascore
    • 100 Mark Dawidziak
    The cast is first rate, delivering sympathetic and believable performances. The writing is intelligent, providing intellectual grist to the grisly moments. And the direction is as crisp as it is clever. [20 Sept 1999, p.1E]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    The remarkable thing is that, even with a bigger cast, Kohan never sacrifices a whit of clarity or energy. Orange Is the New Black is as fresh and as vital as ever, and you don't always see that in a fourth season.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Although the promising drama has its self-conscious moments when the offbeat stuff seems a trifle forced, Laurie delivers a consistently fascinating performance as the abrasive diagnostician. Even with the labored interludes, the series stands as, to borrow an old rock lyric, “a very, very, very fine” House. [16 Nov 2004, p.E4]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Perhaps the most astonishing thing about this stylish, wonderfully atmospheric British production is how fresh it seems. It's not as if this is a tale rarely told.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Although some liberties have been taken with the characters and plot, it is an immediately intriguing, wonderfully textured realization of Dick's challenging book.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    If you have a strong enough stomach to get through the yuck-and-yikes surgical procedures, the dramatic rewards are great. If you prefer shows with an edge and an attitude, make your appointment with Miami partners Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Christian Troy (Julian McMahon)...And if you like your television served up with wit, intelligence and a bit of daring, you won't have much to say if someone asks, "Tell me what you don't like about Nip/Tuck. "[22 June 2004, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    The writers do take the occasional misstep along the trail. The series has it didactic moments, to be sure, as well as the occasional cartoonish character (usually among those chasing the runaways). But these drawbacks are more than offset by the riveting narrative, the outstanding lead cast and a seamless weaving of the greater historical context into the ongoing story.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    The Walking Dead still has a strong grip on our imagination as it continues to aim at all three levels--brain, heart and stomach--with deadly accuracy.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Stylish and briskly paced, Boomtown clearly shows the impact of "Pulp Fiction" in its quirky dialogue. The impact of "Rashomon," Kurosawa's film about a murder recounted in different ways, is most obviously seen in the program's structure. [29 Sept 2002, p.J1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Every bit as intriguing as it is intelligent. [13 Jun 2005]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 64 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    It’s raucously funny in its own right and in its own way. If the first season’s remaining nine episodes are anywhere near as laugh-out-loud hilarious as tonight’s opener, Barbershop: The Series will be nothing less than Showtime’s strongest entry yet in the comedy field. [14 Aug 2005, p.J1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Already TV's most literate and stylish horror drama, "Penny Dreadful" is adding new and intriguing elements to the ambitious structure as the third season begins.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    It's a sentimental journey, to be sure, but it never gives in to sentimentality. And while Tyson leads the way on this trip of a Lifetime, she is surrounded by co-stars adding illumination at every turn.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Director Michael Apted and writer Michelle Ashford masterfully guide you back into the Masters of Sex story, providing a beautifully textured framework for these wonderfully nuanced performances.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Although technically listed as a drama, make no mistake, it's one of the funniest programs on TV this season.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    The show has lost none of its expert knack for building suspense and tossing surprises.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    A smart, stylish, sexy romp full of sizzling patter and clever chatter. Behind the glitz and glamour of Sin City are solid performances by Caan and his immediately likable co-stars. [22 Sept 2003, p.D7]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    This is hardly a one-character show. Ray is at the center of the movie-land maelstrom, to be sure, but everything around him is intriguing. And everything speaks to danger.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Sarcastic yet engaging, edgy yet heartfelt. [2 Oct 2001, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    The show wins points for innovation, intelligence and solid production values. [6 Nov 2001]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Weaving the lives of these three towering Roosevelts into one triumphant 14-hour film, Burns has found another ideal prism for examining the American character and the American story.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Drenched in whom-do-you-trust paranoia and dripping with suspense, "Invasion" grabs you by the throat in the opening seconds and never lets go.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Stark and disturbing, The Wire, like HBO's "Oz" and "The Sopranos," is not for those of tender sensibilities. It is often violent and vulgar. But, make no mistake, it is often brilliant. [1 June 2002, p.E6]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    This trio of tales uses plot elements from the original stories in wonderfully inventive and deliciously brilliant ways. In other words, knock the dust off of 221B Baker Street.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    It easily lives up to its advance billing as the best new show of the fall season.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    Travolta's cartoonish Shapiro is the exception, after all, and even most of the peripheral performances court favorable verdicts.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    '24' seems to have smartly reinvented the intriguing formula, getting itself back on track for what could be the best season to date. [9 Jan 2005]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Mark Dawidziak
    The marvelously textured performances and addictive narrative remain the most compelling reasons to watch Outlander.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Matching last year's blistering pace is a dizzying challenge for Netflix, but this is the team that can get them off to a flying start.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Checking in means checking out what's in store for the second season, and the tantalizing possibilities are gleaming like the surface of a highly-polished knife blade.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Mr. Selfridge has some enticing items to tempt those shopping for a quality viewing experience. At the top of this list is the gift that keeps on giving: Jeremy Piven's wonderfully textured portrayal of Harry Gordon Selfridge.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Like "The X-Files," a series it resembles in both look and tone, "Threshold" is as much a horror show as it is a science-fiction program.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Murder in the First is an immediately engaging crime drama boasting a deep cast and crisp direction.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    If some plot elements in the third season seemed forced (and they did), then Fellowes seems to have completely regained his balance in the fourth season. And that balance means expertly bouncing between the upstairs and downstairs worlds of Downton, letting the plot turns flow naturally, carrying us along joyously for the posh ride.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    There is a razor-sharp focus, as well as a renewed sense of purpose, in the six new episodes Netflix made available to critics in advance of the fourth-season premiere.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Not all of the plots work at a high level. Still, even when things go wrong, you know the grand performances will save the Downton day. You're always in good company with this series.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Aspects of Battle Creek seem familiar, to be sure, yet it registers high on the giddy scale thanks to energetic direction, clever writing and the comic chemistry generated by Duhamel and Winters.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Beneath all of the insanity, BrainDead again and again demonstrates it has a brain in its head. It's goofy-good-time stuff, all right, yet it has a point.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Part prime-time soap opera, part wicked social satire, this unpredictable newcomer has a blast poking around at the dark edges of a sunny and seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood. [3 Oct 2004]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Much of this sounds grim, but Breakthrough is anything but depressing in its overall tone. After putting towering problems into chilling perspective, the series humanizes the issues, keeping the focus on individual stories.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    A darker, more complex reimagining of the Archie universe. Did I say dark? Let's add moody, murky and, at times, creepy. It also is surprisingly engaging, thanks in no small measure to the winning performances of KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    There is a warm sense of family in this series. There is a distinctive sense of style--of being its own kind of show. And there is a sly sense of humor. On all three counts, Jane the Virgin delivers.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    What truly makes the Bays-Thomas collaboration smarter than your average sitcom is the storytelling chances taken by the script.
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    This show manages to give us the hilarious, horrific and heroic... and it has brains.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    With a cast led by Michael Chiklis and CCH Pounder, The Shield isn't just pushing boundaries. It's bashing through them like police officers wielding those door-destroying battering rams. The results are often quite arresting... Chiklis and Pounder are terrific. Their co-stars aren't even close to being in their league. [12 Mar 2002, p.e5]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    The tone of the second season is slightly different from the first, yet he remains remarkably true to his stated metaphoric mission. Have no fear, it's the same Penny Dreadful, but Logan is shaking things up in all kinds imaginative ways.... No if about it. Penny Dreadful works.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    The documentary not only is a moving tribute to the prolific director who died at 84, it's a reminder of what's too often missing from so much of television and pop culture--conversation... real, in-depth, smart, respectful, insightful conversation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Once this crime thriller lures you in and really gets going, it's an off-to-the-races ride that never forgets to delve deeply into the dark sides of the central characters. Derivative? Yes, but in endlessly sly and fascinating ways.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Although "Reunion" has its labored and lackluster moments, it is an admirable attempt to try something a little different with traditional prime-time formats. Give this one major innovation points.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    The result is a delightful horror hodgepodge packed with eerie surprises, colorful characters and Gothic plot twists.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    It is packed with towering performances that boldly and magnificently reinterpret characters who have become part of our national folklore.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    despite some clunky moments, Daly's The Fugitive sprints well past the vast majority of this fall's freshman series. [6 Oct 2000, p.5E]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    "My Name Is Earl" is a good show that doesn't quite have the feel of being the next "Seinfeld" or "Cheers." But like Lee's Earl, Garcia's feel-good concept is strangely effective. If not brilliant, it is ambitious, and it is definitely funny.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    While The Strain is pretty much a cauldron churning with familiar ingredients, the dark brew bubbling inside is served up with a great deal of panache.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    It's familiar enough territory, to be sure, yet it's covered in lively fashion, thanks mostly to Katims' breezy script and the delightful comic chemistry between Walton and young Stockham.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Even if you're bothered by the "oh-come-on" moments, you're more than compensated with the sheer number of "oh-wow" moments. They are in huge supply over the course of this opening four-hour run.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Serve up enough great moments (and The Normal Heart certainly does), and Ryan's occasional missteps are easily dismissed as mere annoyances, not major gaffes.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    It's quite a good one. It boasts a brisk pace, strong direction by Rick Famuyiwa and a superb cast led by Kerry Washington as Hill and Wendell Pierce as Thomas.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    And yet, given how derivative it is, (say it with me now), Humans turns out far better than you'd think possible. The performances, pacing and direction are that compellingly good, at least in the first two episodes made available to critics.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    While the political dynamics have changed greatly, House of Cards remains an addictive mixture of over-the-top soap opera, wicked dark comedy and sly melodrama.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    '24' is back in top storytelling form, spinning an intricate new web of mystery and suspense. [29 Oct 2002]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    While often great fun, the series' premiere occasionally shows the strain of trying to blend all of those genres into one sleek package. On the plus side of the Firefly universe, the show is expertly paced and is full of those wickedly humorous asides that fans of "Buffy" and its ever-improving spinoff, "Angel," expect from the mischievous Whedon. [20 Sept 2002, p.E1]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    It starts at a dead run and never slackens its pace.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Visually very different from the film, TV's Rocky Horror Picture Show also boasts superior choreography and wildly inventive costuming. It's a wonderfully dark castle packed with twisted delights.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    While unquestionably a strange brew, No Tomorrow also is quite bewitching. It's fun falling under its spell.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Peyton List stars in this immediately riveting mix of police drama and time-bending fantasy.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    As raw and raunchy as the comedy sometimes gets on Crashing, there's something incredibly endearing and downright sweet about this new HBO series. That something is the performance of the immensely likable Pete Holmes.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    Typical of the series, Yost and his team tackle something deceptively difficult to do well and make it look easy.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    The two-tiered, supersized season premiere tells its compelling story with flashbacks intercut with what's happening in the present.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Mark Dawidziak
    The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend premiere also was full of surprises, taking oddball twists and turns with, not only Rebecca, but the supporting characters as well. All in all, an impressive prime-time debut for Bloom as star, co-creator and executive producer of the slyly crafted show. That's the good news. The great news is that, from what the CW has revealed of future episodes, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend appears to be staying on the wild and unpredictable track.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    It's moving so fast that the missteps never turn into a full-fledged fall. More than compensating, Anderson and Mulroney deliver big time, while Gross and Erenberg make a surprisingly winning odd-couple team. If there is a weak link in this cast, it's probably Taylor, who has yet to convince us she's a savvy and experienced FBI agent.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    The potential definitely is there for a bloody good finale. The setup is intriguing enough.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    If not a triumphant return to form, Big Little Lies is the best new Kelley series in quite a while. It contains all of his considerable strengths (sharp and clever dialogue) and some his weaknesses (precious and labored moments). It is nothing less than fun, if never much more than that. But that's more than enough to keep you engaged and keep you watching.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    [These] episodes find the celebrated series running true to form. That means an occasional misstep, to be sure – too much time inexplicably spent with one of the blander characters or a less-than-intriguing subplot. But, for the most part, it means elegant storytelling that richly blends social commentary, comedy, soap opera, romance, intrigue, tragedy, melodrama and razor-sharp satire.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    If not top-tier TV terror fare, Under the Dome certainly is solid second-level stuff. And given the state of horror on television these days, that's a bloody good compliment. Even while acknowledging the occasional misstep, give Under the Dome credit for getting a lot of things right.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    If it's time for a new military comedy, this is a good one. It marches to the beat of its own dumb drum.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    As brilliant as many of the storytelling flourishes are, the narrative frequently suffers from awkward construction, clumsily bouncing among three time periods.... It's a brainy drama, to be sure, and it's a challenging one. The riveting lead performances are what keep you engaged when the going gets static--something more than engaged, actually.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    America doesn’t exactly need another urban crime drama, but this one demands and deserves attention. [22 Sep 2004]
    • Cleveland Plain Dealer
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    This first hour is all about reinvention. It's a rather clunky attempt to remake the 1993-2002 vehicle in a manner that will please loyal fans and new viewers. The second episode, with guest star Doug Savant ("Desperate Housewives"), pushes this redesigned vehicle into a higher gear.... Now this is the X-Files we fondly remember. Can they push this to yet a higher gear? Why, yes, they can, and they do with the third episode.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    It hits a few sour notes, to be sure, and there are some off-key moments, but, for the most part, Empire artfully draws you into its high-stakes game of throne envy.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    A riveting, suspenseful, briskly paced drama packed with intriguing performances.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    Much of this takes a by-the-numbers approach, but the cast is strong, and you get the feeling that the second episode is more indicative of where the show is heading.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Mark Dawidziak
    What Mars lacks in consistency, it makes up with scope and scale.

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