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Florence + The Machine, unplugged on MTV

Florence Welch, of Florence and The Machine performs

Florence Welch, of Florence and The Machine performs live at KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night Two in The Gibson Ampitheater in Los Angeles. (Dec. 11, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

THE SHOW "MTV Presents Unplugged: Florence + The Machine"

WHEN|WHERE 11 p.m. Sunday on MTV and MTV.com

REASON TO WATCH The lovely Florence Welch and her magnificent band The Machine have blossomed into a Grammy-nominated indie-pop powerhouse on the strength of their first two albums and the hits "Dog Days Are Over" and "Shake It Out." But the best way to experience their music isn't on CD. It's in concert. And thanks to MTV's revived "Unplugged" series, Florence + The Machine took over one of New York's most beautiful concert venues, the Angel Orensanz Center, for a perfect pairing of location and music. "This is a real moment for me," Welch said, introducing "Breaking Down." "To be doing an 'Unplugged' session is amazing."

MY SAY Unfortunately, there's a whole new generation of music lovers who don't know how amazing an "Unplugged" session actually can be because MTV de-emphasized this kind of music programming years ago in favor of the less expensive reality shows that now fill its schedule -- a business decision to be debated some other time. Along with "TRL" and its Video Music Awards, "Unplugged" is one of MTV's major contributions to the music industry, and it really should cherish it more. Viacom says there will be eight "Unplugged" shows this season spread among MTV, VH1 and CMT. (Of the artists announced, VH1 will get The Civil Wars, and CMT will get Dierks Bentley.) When the results are as gripping as the Florence episode, though, the network really should commit to something more regular, even if it's the ratings Siberia of Sunday at 11 p.m.

BOTTOM LINE Surprise! MTV offers high-quality, original music programming

GRADE A-

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