“Lost,” “24,” “Two and a Half Men”

 “Lost”  Sunday 9pm, ABC It’s the end for one of the most talked-about series of the past decade. Will the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 finally get off that literally god-damned island? Will all of your remaining questions get answered? Don’t count on that last bit; the producers have admitted that they simply won’t have […]

“The Hills,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Happy Town”

“The Hills”  Tuesday 10pm, MTV Since ratings have plummeted and its original star has left the series, MTV is pulling the plug on this once hugely influential “reality” show at the end of this sixth season, which begins tonight. The cast has been doing its damnedest to ratchet up drama. Dim Audrina has been nabbing […]

“Deadliest Warrior,” “Gravity,” “nto the Universe with Stephen Hawking”

“Deadliest Warrior”  Tuesday 10pm, Spike I can’t decide if this is brilliant or goofy. “Deadliest Warrior,” which begins its second season tonight, uses computer-animated and live-actor dramatizations, as well as forensics investigations, to determine what fighting forces are the fiercest. Each episode features a specific showdown; say, viking vs. samurai, or yakuza vs. mafia, and […]

“Glee,” “High Society,” “Romantically Challenged”

 “Glee”  Tuesday 9:28pm, Fox When we left the musical rejects of McKinley High last December, everything had been wrapped up nicely. The glee club won sectionals. Mr. Schuester discovered that his wife was a lying sociopath and hooked up with the adorable guidance counselor. Finn realized he didn’t knock up his girlfriend. And Sue Sylvester […]

Tiger by the tail

“Chopped”  Tuesday 10pm, Food Network While we patiently wait for a new season of “Top Chef” (the next will be set in Washington, D.C.; in the meantime “Top Chef Masters” returns this week), we have “Chopped,” which is essentially “TC” for the ADD set. Each episode of “Chopped” features four different chefs, who are given […]

We need help

“American Idol”  Tuesday, 8pm; Wednesday 9pm, Fox There was a moment in the last week of the semi-finals where I thought we could possibly salvage this miserable season. But then Lilly Scott, Katelyn Epperly and Alex Lambert got sent home. They each had flaws, but they were musicians with unique voices and points of view. […]

The facts of “Life”

 “Life” Sunday 8pm, Discovery In 2006, Discovery aired the BBC Natural History Unit’s sprawling nature documentary series “Planet Earth.” The 10-part program explored our global ecosystem by focusing each chapter on a different kind of habitat (grasslands, jungles, caves, etc.). No joke, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Now […]

“The Celebrity Apprentice,” “The Pacific,” “America’s Worst Driver”

“The Celebrity Apprentice”  Sunday 9pm, NBC I swore off this show last season after Joan Rivers—who I love—inexplicably won, but goddamned Donald Trump has sucked me back in with this cast. Delightful ’80’s pop star Cyndi Lauper! Baseball star/cautionary tale Darryl Strawberry! Disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich! Hunkalicious wrestler Bill Goldberg! Surprisingly charming hairband refugee Bret […]

Who is Jerry Seinfeld to judge?

 “The Marriage Ref”  Sunday after the Olympics, NBC Can someone please explain to me why America still likes Jerry Seinfeld? He was always the least entertaining part of his eponymous sitcom, and since that ended he’s mostly been known for acting like a smug, entitled jackass. And yet, NBC is counting on his new show […]

Pregnant pause

“16 and Pregnant”  Tuesday 10pm, MTV   One of the more controversial entries in MTV’s reality programming is “16 and Pregnant,” about young mothers-to-be, which begins its second season tonight. There are two ways to think about the show: First, it’s deplorable because it exploits minors during the most stressful months of their lives, while […]

The winter of our content

 “Past Life”  Tuesday & Thursday 9pm, Fox On the one hand, kudos to Fox for not using “Idol” to try to launch another terrible reality show. On the other, this new drama is yet another procedural. However, it has a twist: it’s about a pair of odd-couple investigators who look into crimes that may involve […]

Super sized

“Phineas and Ferb”  Sunday 8am-5pm, Disney XD You’ve got a big Super Bowl party to put together. You have screaming children demanding to be entertained. What to do? Plop them in front of the electronic pacifier for a whopping eight straight hours of this hit Disney cartoon. “Phineas and Ferb” is a cute comedy about […]

Blades of glory

“The Tonight Show” Weeknights 11:35pm, NBC In June, Conan O’Brien took over “The Tonight Show” from 17-year host Jay Leno, who apparently didn’t really want to leave. To placate Leno—and to shore up holes in its pathetic primetime schedule—NBC gave the big-chinned “comic” his own show at 10pm, five nights a week. “The Jay Leno […]

Here we go again

 “American Idol” Tuesday-Wednesday 8pm, Fox The big news for Season 9 is, of course, the departure of Paula Abdul from the judging panel. The four-person panel definitely wasn’t working—a number of last year’s episodes ran over because of the judges’ ceaseless prattling—but Paula wasn’t the problem. She might have been totally incoherent and hopelessly uncritical, […]

Homer run

“Cougar Town” Wednesday 9:30pm, ABC You can sneer at the title, but I actually kind of like “Cougar Town.” It’s totally unsubtle, but I think there’s something fascinating—and very real—about a sexy, unattached older woman trying to navigate the landmine-riddled modern dating scene. Plus, I like Courteney Cox in just about anything. (I even sat […]

Season's beatings

“Crazy Christmas Lights” Friday 8am, TLC One of my favorite holiday activities is driving around, looking for ostentatious light displays. I’ve never understood how vomiting candy-colored bulbs all over your lawn shows off your love of Santa or Baby Jesus, but the more your home looks like a cathouse, the happier I’ll be. Charlottesville is […]

Doctor's orders

“Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars” Saturday 9pm, BBC America In roughly two weeks the Brits will get to meet the new Dr. Who. We’ll get him in America eventually, a few months after the Christmas/New Year’s two-parter bids adieu to current series star David Tennant and replaces him with Matt Smith, who will play […]

Going Gaga

“Barbara Walters: 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009” Wednesday 10pm, ABC News maven Barbara Walters unveils her annual list of people she deems “fascinating.” This year’s selections range from the obvious tabloid/pop culture fixations (Kate Gosselin, Adam Lambert) to the curiously still-relevant (Brett Favre, Tyler Perry), to people who don’t know when to shut the […]

Down the rabbit hole

“Alice” Sunday 9pm, Syfy Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is super-hot right now, between the anticipated Tim Burton/Johnny Depp flick coming out next year and this mini-series premiering this week on Syfy. Much like last year’s “Tin Man” extrapolated from L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “Alice” uses many of the themes and […]

Guns, pumpkins and rock 'n' roll

“Lock N Load” Wednesday 8pm, Showtime The hidden-camera series wraps its first season tonight with an episode about a Christian couple that loves its guns as much as the Lord, and a feisty senior citizen who owns a small arsenal of vintage firearms. The series follows charming gun store owner Josh T. Ryan, who is […]