Matt's Picks: October 4-7
House (Monday, 8/7c, Fox)
Amy Irving makes a rare guest appearance as the patient of the week, a suicidal children's-book author whose puzzling medical conditions may have led to her emotional instability. To crack the case, House looks to her books for clues. Meanwhile, he and Cuddy go on a double date with Wilson and his gal pal Sam (Cynthia Watros). Following House, a new season of Lie to Me gets underway, replacing the unfortunately low-rated Lone Star, the season's first casualty.
Caprica (Tuesday, 10/9c, Syfy)
As the scheming Sister Clarice, pitching a vision of virtual resurrection to her monotheistic acolytes on Gemenon, Polly Walker upstages the brooding male anti-heroes (Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales) as this dense Battlestar Galactica prequel returns to finish up its first season. This sci-fi parable, located at a deadly crossroads of politics, religion and futuristic technology, is for hardcore genre fans, a lot darker and heavier than the Syfy norm these days.
Michael Feinstein's American Songbook (Wednesday, 8/7c, PBS; check local listings)
Michael Feinstein juggles a career of performing the standards while cataloging the history of the American popular song. This three-part series — part biography, part musical history lesson, part "really big show" — follows Feinstein on the road as well as on the hunt for musical artifacts. He brought a room full of TV critics to their feet (a rare happening) this summer, singing with a big band. Let him work his magic on you. The songs, and the stories, are well worth hearing.
The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town (Thursday, 9/8c, HBO)
For a time capsule of more recent musical history, this rock 'n' roll documentary takes us back to the late '70s, with rare black-and-white studio footage during the creation of Bruce Springsteen's masterpiece Darkness on the Edge of Town. As my colleague Joseph Hudak notes: "Especially thrilling: a clip of Springsteen and E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt joyfully improvising a song — with the future Sopranos star playing drums on a couch cushion."
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