“Sons of Anarchy”
Tuesday 10pm, FX
“Anarchy” is loosely based on Hamlet, as it centers around the young second-in-command of a Northern California motorcycle gang who questions his allegiances—and his life—after his father dies and his ruthless new stepfather ascends to the crew’s leadership post. The show stars Brit Charlie Hunnam in the brooding prince role, Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as the usurper king and Katey Segal—the artist formerly known as Peg Bundy—in a revelatory performance that recalls another of the Bard’s iconic characters, Lady Macbeth. Season 2 starts tonight; look for the addition of Adam Arkin and Henry Rollins as a couple of white supremacists, plus massive internal strife within the gang.
“2009 Video Music Awards”
Sunday 9pm, MTV
I’ll spare you the joke about MTV barely showing music videos anymore and start the snarking at the host. Brit comic Russell Brand returns after doing an awkward job presiding over last year’s edition. Oh, I hope he makes another lame joke about the Jonas Brothers’ virginity! I just don’t get the fascination. He’s not funny, he’s not sexy, he’s not charming—and he’s British! Those people are charming even when they’re being assholes! Brand aside, I’m actually excited for this year’s awards, since pop music seems on the cusp of something big. Specifically Lady Gaga—who will perform during the show—has the naked ambition, desire to shock and ear for a hook that characterized a budding Madonna 20-something years ago. Other performers include Pitbull, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Green Day, Taylor Swift and Muse (who opens for U2 on October 1). Thanks to MTV in advance for sparing us the horror of a live Katy Perry performance.
“The Oprah Winfrey Show”
Monday 4pm, NBC29
The Big O kicks off her 24th season by interviewing the biggest musical comeback queen since Britney stopped shaving her head (cue Oprah voice): It’s Whitney HOUUU-STOOON! Whitney’s “I’m Back, I’m Beautiful and I’m Off the Crack” media tour churns on after a successful concert on “Good Morning America” last week. (I love that “Million Dollar Bill” song.) Let’s hope Oprah does a better job with her follow-ups than Diane Sawyer did in an interview eight years ago. When Whitney’s denial of drug use basically comes down to “Show me the receipts,” how do you not respond that most drug dealers, in fact, do not give out proof of purchase?