Matt's Picks: January 31-February 3
Lie to Me (Fox, 9/8c, Monday)
Call it the unsocial network, as the "to tell the truth" procedural wraps its third season — let's hope it's not the last — with a strong episode that plays like the murderous flip side of The Social Network. When a murder occurs during the contentious wrangling over profits of a hot social-networking app, Lightman's steely focus falls on the smug creator — or so he says — of the site (played by former Nikita co-star Ashton Holmes in a variation of Jesse Eisenberg's take on Mark Zuckerberg). An hour earlier on NBC (opposite a fresh episode of the much-moved-around Human Target), a pivotal episode of Chuck airs that would have been the season finale if NBC hadn't extended the show's order. It's Chuck vs. psycho villain Volkoff (the very entertaining Timothy Dalton), and that should be great fun.
31 Days of Oscar (TCM, Tuesday)
The 17th annual edition of the month-long stunt, saluting Oscar-winning or nominated films of the past, kicks off with films packaged together for reasons that will delight the movie-trivia buff. In the afternoon, starting at 1 pm/12c, we get three classics in which the stars directed themselves to Best Actor nominations: Orson Welles as Citizen Kane, Charlie Chaplin as The Great Dictator, Laurence Olivier as Richard III. Then in prime time (8/7c), a showcase for three actors who earned Oscar nominations for playing Henry VIII: Charles Laughton in The Private Lives of Henry VIII, Robert Shaw in A Man for All Seasons and Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days.
Blue Bloods (Wednesday, 10/9c, CBS)
As the family-oriented police drama continues its successful limited run on Wednesdays, it's a big episode for Donnie Wahlberg's hot-blooded Danny Reagan. His father, and boss, Frank (Tom Selleck) assigns his detective son to solve the shooting of an undercover counter-terrorism agent — presumably not Jack Bauer — with sworn-to-secrecy orders as well as the mandate not to interfere in the activities of the sleeper cell the agent had infiltrated. Can Danny keep his cool?
The Big Bang Theory (Thursday, 8/7c, CBS)
While "shippers" may still be holding out for Penny and Leonard to get back together someday, the relationship that matters most in terms of pure comic gold is the one between Sheldon and Penny. (Cue up a rendition of "Soft Kitty," please.) In this episode, kicking off the February sweeps month, Sheldon asks Penny, a famously failed actress wannabe, to give him acting lessons in hopes of becoming a more effective teacher. If you think Sheldon is going to be an easy student, think again. Opposite Big Bang on NBC, Community kicks off a full night of comedy with an episode devoted to Dungeons & Dragons. It should come as no surprise that quirky Abed is the ringleader of this adventure, devised to help a lonely student ("Fat Neil") come out of his shell.
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