This week in T.V.

New Year’s Eve specials There are so many NYE specials, and honestly, they’re all pretty similar: annoying host, fame-whore cameos, ball countdown, and some questionable live music performances. Here’s a rundown of the major entries: the venerable “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” will air on ABC starting at 10pm, preceded by a two-hour special […]

This week in TV

“Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”  Friday 8pm, BBC America You read C-VILLE Weekly, so obviously you are intelligent, witty, and urbane. So I’m sure you already know all about “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”; National Public Radio has been broadcasting the news-panel game show for more than a decade. Host Peter Sagal corrals a group […]

This week in TV

WWE Tribute to the Troops Tuesday 9pm, TNT When professional wrestlers and America’s armed forces come together, the first thing that comes to my mind is that episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” where the boys decide to wrestle for the troops, and Frank—as his garbage-eating alter-ego The Trash Man—ends the whole thing by […]

This week in TV

Snowmaggedon  Saturday 9pm, Syfy Are you sick of touchy-feely holiday movies, what with their morals and sappy endings that make you waste the precious booze in your system by shedding what people with real feelings call tears? This year, forgo the miracles and the wonderful lives and tune in to Syfy Saturday for Christmas films […]

This week in T.V.

"Mystery Movie Night"  Tuesday and Wednesday 8pm, TNT Given TNT’s success with original and recycled crime procedurals (“The Closer,” “Bones,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” those never-ending “Law & Order” marathons), it only makes sense that the cable network would stick to a proven formula when making made-for-TV movies. The Mystery Movie Night slate will feature six […]

This week in TV

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”  Thursday 10am, NBC I still love the Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s my official kickoff to the holiday season, and I still have vivid childhood memories of being transfixed by it when I should have been getting the house cleaned for the impending Turkey Day festivities (and equally vivid memories of dad […]

This week in TV

“America’s Next Top Model”  Wednesday 9pm, CW We’re nearing the end of Tyra Banks’s “all-star” cycle, and this week’s recap episode is the only thing between us and the Final Four. However, the proceedings haven’t been nearly as cracked out as I imagined they would be when the 14 returning contestants were announced. Fully half […]

This week in TV

“Vietnam in HD”  Tuesday 9pm, History Channel As President Obama prepares to bring an end to one of the most controversial military engagements of our time, History Channel looks back at an even more contentious deployment with this six-episode mini-series. Following a similar format to 2009’s award-winning “WWII in HD,” “Vietnam” explores the Vietnam War […]

This week in T.V.

“Hell on Wheels”  Sunday 10pm, AMC Those still lamenting the loss of the late, great HBO Western “Deadwood” might want to give this new offering from AMC a try. This basic-cable channel, currently riding high on the massive success of zombie thriller “The Walking Dead,” continues to take chances with a series set in the […]

This week in T.V.

“Beavis and Butt-head” Thursday 10pm, MTV First “Pop-Up Video,” now “Beavis and Butt-head”—the ’90s are alive and well on basic cable. The original “Beavis and Butt-head” ran on MTV from 1993 to 1997, a crudely animated show following two tasteless Texas high-schoolers who pepper their sociopathic outings with critiques of music videos. The cackling-idiot duo […]

Life is not a fairy tale

 Life is not a fairy tale “Scream Awards” Tuesday 9pm, Spike Spike’s “Scream Awards” are somewhat misleading. While the ceremony does honor the horror genre (mainstream horror, at least), it also doles out trophies to sci-fi, fantasy, and comic-book movies. Categories include everything from the mundane (Best Supporting Actor, Best TV Show) to the more […]

The horror, the horror

“The Onion News Network” Tuesday 10pm, IFC “The Daily Show” has been winning Emmys for years for its cynical news parodies, but The Onion has been doing that shtick for decades now, and must’ve wanted a piece of that sweet Old Spice advertising budget. “The Onion News Network” debuted in January of this year and […]

Life choices

“Homeland” Sunday 10pm, Showtime Claire Danes returns to series television with this new political thriller. It’s terrifying to think that Danes, now 32, got her big break back in 1994 as a 15-year-old actually playing a 15-year-old on the short-lived but iconic teen drama “My So-Called Life.” Now she’s all grown up, with some major […]

Reboots and re-imaginings

 “The X Factor” Wednesday-Thursday 8pm, Fox Simon Cowell exports his other hugely successful televised talent show to America, and it’s already courting controversy before the first episode airs. British pop-star Cheryl Cole was initially on the judging panel, but was booted after early auditions and replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who was initially hired […]

In with the new

 “Ringer” Tuesday 9pm, CW Buffy is back! Well, not really, but Sarah Michelle Gellar returns to TV with this new thriller about identical twin sisters in trouble. Recently sober Bridget goes on the run after witnessing a professional hit job. She turns to her estranged sister Siobhan, a wealthy Manhattanite who has kept her past […]

Trendsetters and jumpers

“Pawn 90210”  Wednesday 10pm, E! Pawn-store shows are big right now, between “Hardcore Pawn” and “Pawn Stars.” E! never met a trend it didn’t want to cash in on, so this special follows three formerly rich Californians looking to liquidate their assets at the “Taj Mahal of pawn stores.” One is a divorcee and widower […]

Boldly Going

“Star Trek: The Next Generation”  Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 1-6am, SyFy It’s Labor Day weekend, which means two things: Summer is officially over, and there’s nothing on TV until the new season starts next week. So why not spend the holiday simultaneously going to the past and the future with this “Next Generation” marathon. “Next” originally […]

The end is nigh

“Buried Treasure” Wednesday 8pm, Fox You may have noticed that our country’s not doing so hot at the moment. We’ve got a $14.5 trillion national debt. We just finished that whole debt-ceiling drama and had the resulting drop in credit rating. And unemployment is around 9.1 percent nationwide. The average American family is hurting, and […]

Put it out, take it back

“The Hour” Wednesday 10pm, BBC America Likely encouraged by the critical and ratings success of AMC’s “Mad Men,” the period drama has seen a major re-emergence in the past couple of years. You’ve got “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO, “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club” set to debut this fall, and this new British spy thriller […]

Make it your own

“Karaoke Battle USA” Friday 9pm, ABC Karaoke is undeniably big business. Practically any decent bar has a karaoke night, and the good ones not only get packed, they get competitive. ABC has finally gotten in on the televised singing competition that has worked wonders for Fox’s and NBC’s ratings—because really, what are “American Idol” or […]

Inhuman nature

“Man vs. Food Nation” Wednesday 9pm, Travel Channel My niece and nephew are wild about this show, which features “food enthusiast” Adam Richman as he crosses the country stuffing his face in restaurant challenges. The current fourth season features a twist, in which Richman takes on locals at each stop and coaches them through the […]

Let’s make a deal

“Web Therapy” Tuesday 11pm, Showtime Lisa Kudrow takes another stab at the sitcom with this new, improvised series. Kudrow plays a self-absorbed psychiatrist who got bored with 90-minute sessions, and now bullies her clients into three-minute, web-based hit-and-run counseling bursts that are about as ineffective as they are offensive. Kudrow is of course best known […]

Critical darlings

“Damages” Wednesday 10pm, DirecTV Channel 239 Satellite-TV provider DirecTV scores its biggest coup yet, snatching up FX’s critically acclaimed but only moderately watched legal drama as the latest in its exclusive-content offerings. “Damages” returns for a fourth season (it’s also been renewed for a fifth, to air next year) with Glenn Close returning as tough, […]

Won’t you die, already?

“Torchwood: Miracle Day” Friday 10pm, Starz This popular spinoff of the “Doctor Who” series returns for a pseudo-reboot, with a much more American slant. That’s because this is a co-production between the BBC Worldwide and Starz, and us Yanks actually get to see it before the Brits. The sci-fi series will feature the three remaining […]

I’m afraid of Americans

“Necessary Roughness” Wednesday 10pm, USA USA continues to crank out its female-friendly dramas with this new series about a soon-to-be divorced therapist who finds financial and professional fulfillment head shrinking a team of unruly professional football players. It’s a novel-enough concept, the pro-sports setting should provide some interesting footage, and USA has basically perfected the […]

What do you see?

“Wilfred” Thursday 10pm, FX Well, here’s something different. Elijah Wood stars as Ryan, a down-on-his-luck young man who finds help from an unlikely source: his neighbor’s dog, Wilfred. To everyone else Wilfred is a regular pooch. To Ryan, he is an Australian dude in a shoddy dog costume. He can talk, he can walk, he […]