Reasonable Facsimiles


Tuesday–Wednesday­ 7:30pm, NBC29
The eggheads at IBM decided to build a computer that can answer questions with the speed, accuracy and confidence of a human. Because they’ve apparently never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. To test said machine, dubbed Watson, they’re pitting it against two of “Jeopardy”’s biggest champions: Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. For three days (the event started Monday) the two men and one computer will answer trivia questions for a $1 million prize. Should Watson win, IBM will donate all the cash to charity, which seems unfair. Certainly a computer that smart, with that kind of moolah, could find a way of making Weird Science a reality. I’d be way more interested in seeing a computer create flesh-and-blood replicas of 1985-era Kelly LeBrock than correctly answering questions about potent potables.

“Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior”
Wednesday 10pm, CBS
The selling out is strong with this one. “Suspect Behavior” is a spinoff from “Criminal Minds,” admittedly one of the more intense procedurals on the CBS schedule. Both shows follow teams from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit bent on tracking down especially nasty criminals. This one features a squad led by Forest Whitaker, who has gone from winning a Best Actor Oscar to being a TV star in less than five years. He’ll be joined in career purgatory by Janeane Garofalo, Beau Garrett (Tron: Legacy), and o.g. “Minds” tech geek Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), who will be a full-time cast member on both shows simultaneously. That lady is going to be rolling in syndication residuals.

“The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business”
Sunday 8pm, CBS
The first “all-star” season of “The Amazing Race” was a huge disappointment. The last several seasons of “Race” have been even crappier—I typically gave up after three or four episodes—and for the show’s 18th season it’s doing the “all-star” thing again, bringing back some of the less-crappy teams from seasons 12–17. There are some likable squads here, like father and daughter Ronald and Christina, father and son Mel and Mike, the Globetrotters, and cowboy brothers Jet and Cord. But there are also some super annoying ones, like hateful cheerleaders Jaime and Cara, cute but forgettable Amanda and Kris, and irksome sisters Jen and Kisha. And don’t even get me started on Margie and Luke, who should have been easy faves (he’s deaf and gay!), but who bugged the shit out of me the first time around.