“Punk’d,” “Game of Thrones,” “Adventure Time”


Thursday 10pm, MTV
MTV revived the “Candid Camera” format back in 2003 with “Punk’d,” a celebrity-prank show from the “mind” of puckish Ashton Kutcher. The series became a pop culture touchstone, and in its heyday, had some pretty amazing episodes—the bit where Justin Timberlake cries because he thinks the IRS is repossessing his house, cars, and property is classic. After eight seasons exec producer Kutcher stopped the show in 2007, but now it’s back, featuring a different celeb pranker each week. The premiere sees Justin Bieber terrorizing poor Taylor Swift, making her think she inadvertently blew up a yacht on which people were getting married. Other targets including Liam Hemsworth and Khloe Kardashian, who has to deal with a delivery man who gets his testicles stuck in his fly. (I’ll admit it, I laughed.)

“Game of Thrones”
Sunday 9pm, HBO
HBO scored last year with its adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy-novel series. As a fan of the books I was worried; it’s a sprawling story with dozens of characters, and the plot doesn’t really kick in until three-quarters of the way through the first book. But now that the exposition is done, shit is about to get real. The presumptive hero is dead. The “bad guys” are in control of the throne. The main family is separated and plagued by a multitude of enemies—and that’s not even mentioning the zombie knights. Season 2 will tackle the second book, A Clash of Kings, which introduces new characters, kills off some established ones, and develops several others. Rumor has it some substantial liberties are being taken with some plots and characters this season, but the showrunners have earned my trust.

“Adventure Time”
Monday 7:30pm, Cartoon Network
My art-nerd friends worship this show, and it is hard to resist its bizarre, endearing charms. The cartoon follows Finn, a teenage boy who loves going on adventures with his best friend, Jake, a smartass dog who can stretch his body at will. Finn has a crush on Princess Bubblegum, ruler of the Candy Kingdom, who is a frequent target of the Ice King, a lonely old man who keeps stealing princesses for company. Other characters include Beemo, a sentient video-game console; Lumpy Space Princess, a spoiled floating cloud; and my favorite, Lady Rainicorn, a rainbow/unicorn hybrid who loves the viola and speaks only in Korean.