Alice St. Clair, Dan Amboyer
Who says nothing happens on the weekend before Labor Day? (And we're not talking storm preparations on the East Coast — at least not in this space.) Nowadays, TV almost never takes a holiday, and such is the case this weekend. A few highlights:
Torchwood: Miracle Day (Friday, 10/9c, Starz) I wish I could report that last week's terrific episode (Jack's 1920s flashback, which went from romantic to disturbing in a bloody flash as he was revealed as "the blessing") represented a return to form for this otherwise woefully uneven season of Torchwood. But I'm afraid we're back to the present day this week, and the action is just as ridiculously clumsy and the characters (Rex and Esther in particular) as aggravating as ever. Still, with only two episodes to go after this, I'll watch to the end.
Doctor Who (Saturday, 9/8c, BBC America) In much happier genre news, we resume the crackerjack sixth season (the second starring the marvelous Matt Smith) with an outing titled "Let's Kill Hitler." The search continues for companion Amy's purloined baby Melody Pond (who we now know to be River Song in her adult incarnation), taking the TARDIS to 1930s Berlin, where (according to the BBCA synopsis) "the Doctor [comes] face to face with the greatest war criminal in the Universe — and Hitler." Whee!
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William & Catherine — A Royal Romance (Saturday, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel) If you must. Take a break from perusing the snaps from the Kardashian wedding to check out this swollen bonbon, the second TV-movie to chart the royal lovebirds' courtship. (Though filmed after the wedding, unlike Lifetime's earlier quickie movie, there's still no attempt to recreate the ceremony.) Most notable for the casting surrounding the bland couple — Wills is played by an American with a full head of hair, if you were curious — which includes Victor Garber as a stuffy Prince Charles, Jean Smart as a good-natured Camilla (talk about your designing women!) and Jane Alexander as an unusually robust, tall Queen Elizabeth, playing yard darts and Wii to endear herself to the commoner who would be princess.
MTV Music Video Awards (Sunday, 9/8c, MTV) For one night a year, MTV pretends it's still a music channel, and the 28th annual extravaganza will include performances from Lady Gaga (opening the show with "You and I") — who we hope has left the meat dress in the freezer — Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Adele and other usual suspects. Adding some class to the night: living legend Tony Bennett, there to honor the late Amy Winehouse, with whom he recorded a duet of "Body and Soul" to be released next month.
Leverage (Sunday, 9/8c, TNT) Wrapping a strong summer season — new episodes return Nov. 27 — the team heads to Dubai on Sterling's behalf to pull off a high-tech caper during an international chess tournament. Win or lose, they've already been guaranteed a fifth year on TNT.
True Blood (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO) Continuing one of the more entertaining seasons of this supernatural free-for-all, "all hell breaks loose in Shreveport" (HBO's words) after the witches' ambush at the Tolerance Festival. And while Bill leads a vampire retaliation against the Moon Goddess Emporium, others (including Sookie, Jason, Jesus and Lafayette) try to rescue Tara and Holly, trapped within.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Sunday, 10/9c, HBO) Larry David clashes with Wanda Sykes (who "pre-empts Larry's training schedule," we're told), which is always good for a laugh.
Breaking Bad (Sunday, 10/9c, AMC) The tension continues to mount in the summer's most searing drama, following last week's declaration by Bryan Cranston as Walt White that "I am the danger." This week, he certainly seems a danger — to himself, if not to others, as he leans on lawyer Saul and partner-in-crime Jesse in his frustration over not being able to get near his nemesis, Gus. Meanwhile, brother-in-law Hank is finally mobile enough to pursue his own suspicions, taking a trip to Los Pollos Hermanos, where if the fried chicken doesn't kill you, the boss just might. Absolutely gripping.
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