Arrested Development 8:30pm, Mondays on FOX
Will PEOPLE PLEASE WATCH THIS SHOW!!!! it's BRILLIANT. okay, enough screaming, but please, America, i beg you for the second time to give this show a chance. in its third (and possibly last) season, the show is quirkier and even more ludicrously sardonic than ever. Ron Howard, who does the documentary-ish narrations, has infused his voice-overs with with a less-than-objective twist of actually mocking the characters. and those crazy characters--each member of the Bluth family is still hopelessly selfish and appalling. God, i love them. and this show. can any other sitcom rival its genius?...
My Name is Earl 9:00 pm, Tuesdays on NBC
well...Earl is setting itself up to be the cleverest new sitcom since...well...since Arrested Development. Earl, Jason Lee's shady redneck alter-ego is both smarmy and charming (trust me, the mustache works for him) and the show plays like a mini-movie: each ep has Earl (and his lovably dense brother--"oh no he DIDN'T") seek redemption by way of Carson Daly (again, just trust me) to undo all the horrible things he's done in his life. all 248 of them (or something like that). you see, he's won the lottery...gets hit by a car...lost the ticket...regains the ticket...and is thus set on his mission. the dialogue is smart, the set-ups are downright laugh-out-loud hilarious (exhibit A: gay club dance scene) and the low-life characters are actually empathetic ones... sounds like a recipe for success to me...
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart 8pm, Wednesdays on NBC
is it wrong that i love Martha? suddenly, she's this whole new person that i truly respect. sure, call me manipulated by the production whores, but i'm enamored with softer, gentler Martha. pre-white-collar-jail, Martha seemed so out-of-reach from the audience...her sets were almost as austere as her chilly demeanor. post-white-collar-jail: she's all warm hues and regal elegance...on her new daytime show (yes, i watch it, sue me!), she does fun craft/cooking projects with her celebrity guests...and she actually exudes patience in lieu of pointing out their incompetence. its charming, really. and on HER version of The Apprentice, she epitomizes female success. and unlike Trump's stupid-ass "business" tips...Martha actually doles out useful, relevant advice. and she's stern ("women don't cry in the business world my dear) but not bitchy. AND, to extend the soft side-- she write letters to the candidates she "lets go." LETTERS. dude. my new hero. okay, i'll stop gushing now.
How I Met Your Mother 8:30pm, Mondays on CBS
since when did CBS begin courting the coveted 18-35 age group? isn't this the old fogies network that features sappy shows like Judging Amy?no longer. nudged between mediocre family staples like Two and a Half Men (again, someone explain to me the appeal?) and King of Queens, is the above-mediocre-with-loads-of-potential Friends-like comedy, How I Met Your Mother. as the ads say, its a love story in reverse-- an unseen father in year 2030 (the voice of Bob Saget) is telling his teenage kids the long long LONG story of how he met their mother. flashback to present day NYC, where the doofily charming and neurotic Ted (played by Josh Radnor), gets a case of serious wedding-envy when his best friends (one of whom is played by American Pie's i-get-off-on-a-flute Alyson Hannigan) get engaged. Um, wha? A MAN...in NYC...with WEDDING ENVY? does such a man exist? hm...not sure. BUT, neil patrick harris is pretty funny as ted's dumb-ass bachelor friend and the ensemble has a natural enough chemistry that may endear themselves to a new generation of twenty-somethings suffering through yet another quarter life crises. i loved the first two eps...but the third one was drab and beyond contrived (licking the Liberty Bell as a metaphor for living in the moment, WTF?)...i'm holding out hope that things will get better.
Amazing Race: Family Edition, 9pm Tuesdays on NBC
as reality shows go, Amazing Race is definitely the cream of the crop. teams of two race around the world, duking out each other in physical and mental competitions with $1MM at stake. as teams traverse the globe, storylines emerge organically: under the burden of exhaustion, language barriers, and personal contentions, teams learn life lessons and test their both their physical limits and their social adaptability (and yes, the label Ugly American does rear its nasty head). but for this, the eighth iteration of the race...producers are ratcheting up the drama notch by expanding the teams into "families" of four. what use to be a compelling reality show that brought the world's nether regions to the American TV-watching masses has turned into a show about the Worst Family Roadtrip Ever. lots of camera time focusing on families bickering in the car. to be fair, only two episodes have aired so far. but so far, the teams haven't left the country yet (its been a journey through American history-- NYC--> Philadelphia--> Washington, D.C.) and the challenges seem contrived to induce a sense of American patriotism. not sure if this format works, but there are still 9 legs of the race to run...
Lost 9pm, Wednesdays on ABC
this show is going to drive me crazy. i literally watch on the edge of my seat, clutching my hands and scared of polar bears. but when the show ends, i end up reeling with questions. questions that usually begin with WHAT THE F---? inside the hatch is some grand scientific experiment? The Others are just a Lord of the Flies version of the other half of the plane? or ARE they? who is Desmond and where the hell is he running off to? exactly exactly. i still love the slow-reveal format of each character's psyche-- journeying deep into their past puts more context around each person's individual reaction to the island happenings. BUT. and this is a big BUT. the mysteries are starting to spin out of control-- at what point do the dots connect and will they ever?
Grey's Anatomy 10pm, Sundays on ABC
love this show. i really do. its cutesy without being annoying. its moving without being overly manipulative. and sandra oh rocks. love her. her character's friendship with ellen pompeo's meredith makes meredith's i'm-a-fragile-porcelain-doll routine much more bearable. and did ANYONE predict that the ultar-dorky Ronald Miller from Can't Buy Me Love would turn into the hot Dr. McDreamy? HELLO!
Alias 8pm, Thursdays on ABC
okay. this is sad to admit...but i fear i may have to just let this show go. there. i said it. but i can't seem to buy into the crazy Rimbaldi-Prophet-Project shit anymore. and killing off a major character who's relationship with Jennifer Garner's Sydney was the major romantic thread of the show...it just seems so wrong. i mean, i still love Victor Garber (Best Spy Daddy Ever) but i can't watch Sydney Bristow screw things up and furrow her brow for the umpteenth time. i can't. i'm sorry. bring back Lena Olin or else i'm switching to Everybody Hates Chris.