Designer imposters

“NCIS” Tuesday 8pm, CBS “NCIS” is one of those shows that all moms love. Ask your own; 2-to-1 odds that she just loves that Mark Harmon, and wishes that DiNozzo and Ziva would just get together already. The truth is, as far as procedurals go, “NCIS” does it right. The show has steadily increased in […]

Catering to your needs

“America’s Next Top Model” Wednesday 8pm, CW We’re down to the Final Five of Cycle 12, and I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Tahlia. Not because the burn victim was a good model—she’s the least modelesque contestant this show has ever had. I miss her because without the drama she inspired, this […]

The kids are alright

“90210” Tuesday 9pm, CW “90210” version 2.0 had a rough freshman year, as it struggled to live up to unrealistic hype. Some stuff worked, as Silver, Adrianna and Naomi are great new characters, and old-school cast member Jennie Garth has done a great job reprising her role of Kelly. But a lot has also failed […]

Unexpected developments

“Bravo A-List Awards” Wednesday 10pm, Bravo Let us be clear: No one involved in this awards show is remotely A-list. When your guests include Tori Spelling, Traci Lords and the bizarre new couple that is Tila Tequila and Billy Corgan, you’re barely cresting the D level. Still, if you’re a Bravo fan, there’s much to […]

Who's bad?

“The Unusuals” Wednesday 8pm, ABC Oh, look—another cop show! Oh, but this is a different kind of cop show, mixing dark humor with the typical procedural stuff you can find on almost any channel at almost any time of day. They’re promoting it as a cop version of “M.A.S.H.” but the abundance of quirk has […]

Blasts from the past

“100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the ’80s” Tuesday-Friday 10pm, VH1 A few years back, VH1 provoked my ire by naming Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” as the No. 1 song of the ’80s. As if! But you can’t go wrong with a topic this cheesy. Relive some of the most infectious choruses and atrocious […]

They sing, they dance, they act

“In the Motherhood” Thursday 8pm, ABC This new sitcom started its life as a series of webisodes starring Leah Remini, Chelsea Handler and Jenny McCarthy. Unfortunately, none of those women are attached to the network TV version, which instead features Megan Mullaly (“Will & Grace”), Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), and Jessica St. Clair (“Best […]

Reduce, reuse, recycle

“Better Off Ted” Wednesday 8:30pm, ABC More “Dilbert” than “The Office,” “Better Off Ted” follows Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington), a nice-guy single dad who is the director of research and development for Veridian Dynamics, a morally questionable business that creates, say, gourds that double as WMDs, and isn’t above creating the world’s most soothing hemorrhoid […]

Reduce, reuse, recycle

“The Chopping Block” Wednesday 8pm, NBC This cooking competition is essentially a pastiche of several previously existing reality shows. From “The Restaurant,” we get the premise of examining what goes into opening a restaurant in New York City, but in this case it’s two competing, neighboring restaurants. From “Hell’s Kitchen,” we get the overbearing British […]

Clone wars

“Make Me a Supermodel” Wednesday 10pm, Bravo Season 2 of Bravo’s “Top Model” knockoff debuts, with massive changes to the panel. Only co-host/mentor Tyson Beckford remains, joined by Australian model Nicole Trunfio as the girls’ mentor, plus the judges: designer Catherine Malandrino, model Jenny Shimizu, photographer Perou, and model scout Marlon. I’m not sure that’s […]

Hey, hey we're the monkeys

“Dark Days in Monkey City” Tuesday 10pm & 10:30pm, Animal Planet One of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen on TV was an episode of the amazing “Planet Earth” documentary miniseries in which a pack of monkeys declared war on a rival gang of monkeys and snuck up on them military style—signals and everything—and […]

Nearing the finish line

“Top Chef” Wednesday 10pm, Bravo We’re down to the final four, and I find myself torn. Not about who should win—the answer is obviously Stefan, who has been a dominating force since day one. But about how I feel about the season as a whole. I prefer the contestants as people to the obnoxious batch […]

Doll parts

“Nip/Tuck” Tuesday 10pm, F/X I had given up on this outrageous plastic-surgery drama a few seasons back. Then I caught a recent episode and nearly flipped my shit. The show is crazier than ever, and I love it. Storylines include a woman with a family history of breast cancer who is so convinced that she’ll […]

Everybody wants to rule the world

“51st Annual Grammy Awards” Sunday 8pm, CBS I actually like most of the Grammy nominees this time around. It’s a tough call for Record of the Year; I’d be pleased if it went to soulful British chanteuse Adele for “Chasing Pavements,” Coldplay for the sublime “Viva la Vida,” or M.I.A.’s undeniable “Paper Planes.” I’m still […]

Sashay, shante!

“Puppy Bowl V” Sunday 5pm, Animal Planet “Puppy Bowl” is counterprogramming to the “Super Bowl,” which I basically refuse to write about. You all know it’s happening (Sunday at 6pm on NBC), you all know who’s playing (Steelers versus Cardinals), and I have nothing to add to the conversation that the cadre of useless sports […]

The L words

“Lost” Wednesday 8pm, ABC “Lost” gives “Heroes” fans hope. After wading through two seasons of terrible subplots, unlikable new characters and a general feeling of no direction, loyal viewers were rewarded with the terrific Season 4, in which the show totally got its groove back. (Is it a coincidence that comic book genius Brian K. […]

So hip it hurts

“American Idol” Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm, Fox “Idol” remains America’s No. 1 TV show in the ratings, although the numbers have started to slide the past few seasons. Part of that is due to the natural laws of pop culture thermodynamics —all things lead toward entropy—but the show wasn’t helped by the overwhelmingly crappy Season […]

Many happy returns

“Scrubs” Tuesday 9pm, ABC In one of the more baffling moves in recent TV history, ABC opted to pick up an eighth season of NBC’s hospital comedy “Scrubs” after the Peacock gave it the ax. This is despite the fact that the show has never exactly been a ratings bonanza (last year it came in […]

New year, new shows

New Year’s Eve TV Wednesday, multiple channels My fellow shut-ins and social pariahs: Let’s all vow to close out 2008 the way we spent most of it, with our asses glued to the couch and our peepers set squarely on the tube. Who needs to interact with actual people anyway, right? New Year’s Eve offers […]

A very homicidal Christmas

“A Home for the Holidays” Tuesday 8pm, CBS Yeah, it’s a concert special, with performances by Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Gavin Rossdale, Jamie Foxx and Melissa Etheridge (not a bad lineup, really). But it’s also a special to bring awareness to the importance of adoptions, specifically through the foster-care system. As such, actors including Kristin […]

When you're good to Momma…

“Momma’s Boys” Tuesday 10pm, NBC Ryan Seacrest, does your evil know no bounds? The self-styled heir to Dick Clark’s throne produces this new reality dating show in which 32 single women compete for the affections of one of three eligible bachelors. But there’s a catch: The boys are totally whipped by their mothers, and the […]

Oh, you'd better watch out…

Oh, you'd better watch out…

Next March will see the release of Watchmen, a movie that comic fans have been both anticipating and dreading for 20 years. Anticipating because Watchmen is arguably the most important comic work of the modern age: a turning point for the industry that proved that comics could be literate, thoughtful, and certainly not just for […]

Brian Williams gets in the ‘Spirit’

“Little Spirit: Christmas in New York” Wednesday 8pm, NBC This new animated holiday special tells the story of Leo, a little boy from the Midwest whose family moves to New York City right before Christmas. Leo is taken aback by all the people, buildings, and sights and sounds, and ends up losing it a bit […]

How do you define “fascinating”?

“Eight Crazy Nights” Thursday 5:30pm, MTV There are approximately five billion Christmas specials airing between now and December 25, but there are surprisingly few Hanukkah-themed projects to entertain the Chosen People. Back in his manboy heyday, Adam Sandler tried to make the Festival of Lights cool for his fellow Jews by giving us “The Hanukkah […]

Variety is the spice of life

“Rosie Live” Wednesday 8pm, NBC Rosie O’Donnell has been itching to bring back the primetime variety show for about as long as I can remember. (Then again, she also used to openly lust after Tom Cruise and talk about taking over “The Price is Right,” so take that as you will.) Now she gets her […]

Girls, girls, girls

“Paris Hilton’s My New BFF” Tuesday 10pm, MTV I tried to resist, I swear I did. I find Paris Hilton as loathsome as the next basically functioning human being. But whilst flipping through the channels I came across a bunch of trashy young women pecking and scratching at one another, and I was hooked. The […]

What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

“Top Chef” Wednesday 10pm, Bravo A mere five months after it wrapped the mostly unsatisfying fourth season (although winner Stephanie is totally awesome), Bravo returns with the fifth installment of its top-rated food competition. This time the cheftestants will throw down in New York, so expect some of the Big Apple’s culinary staples to get […]