Second chances

  • 0 COMMENTS

“90210”
Tuesday 8pm, CW

If you’re one of the legions who tuned in for last season’s premiere, and then promptly tuned out because it sucked, I urge you to give this Spellingvision redux another shot. Now in its second season, lessons have been learned, the cast has been tweaked and the show has become infinitely more entertaining. Most of the credit goes to AnnaLynne McCord’s Naomi, who balances her delicious bitch-on-heels diva with surprisingly sympathetic character moments, and the fact that the producers apparently realized that everyone in America hates both the new Brenda-type character, Annie, as well as the irritating actress who plays her. In roughly three episodes they have turned Annie’s life into a living hell involving social ostracism, quasi-date rape, nude photos texted to the entire school and the crushing guilt that she killed a man while driving drunk—and still hasn’t told anyone about it! Fingers crossed that she spontaneously combusts come sweeps.

“Private Practice”
Thursday 10pm, ABC

When last we saw the doctors of Oceanside Wellness, things looked bleak: The business was on the verge of financial ruin, a power struggle left its leader packing up her desk, and one of the staff was fighting for her life after a crazed patient showed up at her doorstep intending to snatch the still-gestating baby right out of her womb. Yikes! The “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off found its identity in Season 2 by firmly embracing its wilder, soapier elements (not that “Grey’s” isn’t out there—ghost sex, anyone?), and you can look for even more of that as its third season begins tonight.

“Bored to Death”
Sunday 9:30pm, HBO

At first I thought HBO had simply retitled “Entourage” to reflect our nation’s ennui with its go-nowhere premise. But no, the cable net actually has a new comedy, an idiosyncratic little piece about a slacker writer who decides to get out of a massive personal slump by pretending to be a private detective. It stars Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) as a fictional version of series writer/creator Jonathan Ames, whose love of Raymond Chandler novels leads him into a life of danger, sex and deceit he maybe has no idea how to handle. Also on hand are Ted Danson as Jonathan’s editor boss, Olivia Thirlby as Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend, and the indispensable Zach Galifianakis, who basically does the Zach Galifianakis thing as Jonathan’s comic artist best friend.

Comment Policy

Second chances

  • 0 COMMENTS

“90210”
Tuesday 8pm, CW

We’re now a month into the new “90210,” and I remain conflicted about the show. On the one hand, I enjoy all of the adult characters, from OG West Bev kids Brenda and Kelly to the new versions of the Walsh parents, including Jessica Walters’ feisty grandma. (No, I don’t care that she seems to still be playing Lucille Bluth; I think every show could use some Lucille Bluth.) And I like most of the new girls just fine, especially gorgeous, complicated Silver and long-in-the-tooth Naomi and her sartorial misadventures. But man, the guys on this show suck. The characters are uninteresting. The actors leave virtually no impression. And—let’s just say it—they are the homeliest bunch of teen soap stars ever. Steve Sanders would be preferable to these losers. Steve Sanders!

“Private Practice”
Wednesday 9pm, ABC

This “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off might be one of the few shows that actually benefited from last year’s writers strike. A truncated first season allowed the creative types to take a long, hard look at what was right and what was wrong and did some tinkering over the summer break. So, if your interest waned over the course of the first nine episodes, you might want to give the show another shot. One of the main changes is a reported return to form for Dr. Addison Montgomery, the character we followed over from Seattle Grace. Last season, Addison was kind of, well, a ninny. This year, the writers have allegedly addressed that, bringing her back to the smart, competent, but flawed redhead we know and love. Also: more sexy doctors having sexy sex. And with a cast featuring Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Taye Diggs and Kate Walsh, that’s a lot of sexy.

“The Ex List”
Friday 9pm, CBS

This new show has one of those totally lame but perfectly winsome rom-com set-ups: A woman goes to a psychic and is told that she has already dated the man she’s destined to marry. And if she doesn’t lock him down in the next year, she’ll be alone forever. So she has to go over all the guys she’s discarded and find out which one was the one. Way to tap into the neuroses of the home-alone-on-a-Friday-night audience, CBS. Beyond the cutesy concept (it’s actually an adaptation of a successful Israeli show) there’s some trouble behind the scenes. The creator and exec producer (she also worked on “Veronica Mars” and “Dirty Sexy Money”) left the show earlier this month, reportedly due to conflicts over its direction. And its star is Elizabeth Reaser, best known as the incredibly annoying Eva character from the last two seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Comment Policy

Second chances

  • 0 COMMENTS

"30 Rock"
Thursday 8:30pm, NBC

I initially wrote off this "Saturday Night Live"-inspired sitcom after its fairly flat pilot. But then I caught a couple episodes toward the end of last season and discovered that it had matured into one of the most delightfully cracked-out comedies on TV. Tina Fey is so damned likable as put-upon writer Liz Lemon; Jane Krakowski puts her "Ally McBeal" zaniness to better use as a desperate, dim-bulb comedian; and Tracy Morgan makes up for years of wasting space on "SNL" with his parody character, Tracy Jordan. But the real star of the show is Alec Baldwin, who squeezes every drop of mind grape juice from his Jack Donaghy, unquestionably the role of his career. The show also puts guest stars to ingenious use (Isabella Rossellini, I still dream of you and your Big Beef ‘n’ Cheddar); this season, look for Edie Falco, David Schwimmer and, allegedly, Al Gore.

"Charlottesville Inside-Out"
Thursday 8:30pm, WHTJ

This new interview program hosted by local singer/songwriter Terri Allard takes its name from its format: episodes begin with Allard introducing the guests from inside WHTJ’s Mall-side studio and then head into the city and county to explore their areas of expertise. The debut episode features segments with Mark Thompson, brewmaster at Starr Hill Brewery, and Susanne Kogut, executive director of the Charlottesville- Albemarle SPCA. This season, look for interviews with City Schools Superintendent Rosa Atkins, UVA prez John Casteen, filmmaker Paul Wagner, Monticello’s Dan Jordan and others.

"Heroes"
Monday 9pm, NBC

It was inevitable that "Heroes" would return from its super-successful first season with a sophomore slump. The show has taken a beating both in the critical press and the ratings, shedding nearly 3 million viewers from last year. But honestly, folks, the show isn’t that bad. I urge fans to remember that Season One started out very, very slowly and built into a tight, surprising and surprisingly emotional epic by season’s end. The producers have admittedly made a few frustrating decisions (separating Hiro from the rest of the cast again; Peter’s jump to a deserted future New York is just too similar to Hiro’s jump last year; enough with the Maya death-eye thing). But I’m enjoying several of the arcs, and have fallen totally in love with newcomer Monica, who has even made Micah bearable. Stop the hate, people.

Comment Policy