D.W. Moffett, Lea Thompson
It's not a wonderful alt-life on ABC Family's Switched at Birth (Monday, 8/7c), as this endearing family drama imagines a "what if" scenario that hinges on Regina having gone public about the switch after she discovered it when the girls were but 3 years old. (The fact that she kept it a secret until their adolescence was the crux of an argument last week between her and John Kennish that ended with him collapsing from what appeared to be a heart attack.)
In this entertainingly skewed though ultimately grim version of events, which thankfully for all only lasts for a single hour of revisionist fantasy, Regina loses custody of both girls — Daphne, the one she raised from birth, and her biological daughter, Bay — and no one lives happily ever after. Daphne in particular (the impressive Katie Leclerc) has morphed from earnest overachiever into a spoiled, entitled brat who, despite having adapted to a cochlear implant and with no knowledge of American Sign Language, still uses her disability to manipulate her spineless parents. At least one thing remains the same: Emmett (Sean Berdy) is still a catch. And when both girls go in search of the mother one forgot and the other never knew, the point of this exercise becomes painfully clear. Despite their differences, this uneasily blended family can't survive without each other.
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On a particularly timely "guess who's coming to dinner" episode of The Fosters that follows at 9/8c, tolerance for homosexuality or the lack thereof is on the menu when the two moms invite the religious parents of their adopted son Jesus's girlfriend Lexi to dinner (played by Carlos Sanz and Six Feet Under's Justina Machado), and if they weren't already worried enough about what their guests will make of this unconventional family, Stef's conservative dad (Sam McMurray) shows up, adding fuel to the fiery debate.
THAT'S A WRAP: Quite a lot happens in the first-season finale of Syfy's Defiance (9/8c) — an election result for town mayor, which comes with various betrayals (at least one if not more fatal), power grabs and mystical sacrifices — but very little feels truly fantastic in this drab Western-with-aliens hybrid. ... If the fourth-season finale of Warehouse 13 (10/9c) delivers a better time, give some credit to guest stars including Anthony Stewart Head as the evil alchemist Paracelsus and his Buffy cohort James Marsters as the newly mortal, and none too happy about it, Professor Sutton. Mortality is on just about everyone's mind, as Paracelsus scrambles to become immortal and take over the Warehouse while Myka and Pete fret over her cancer diagnosis and the irony that the one person who may be able to cure her is their new nemesis. This cliffhanger sets up next year's shortened six-episode final season.
BE THEIR GUEST: Emmy winner Tom Berenger (Hatfields & McCoys) begins an arc on TNT's Major Crimes as Capt. Raydor's long-estranged husband Jack, a lawyer now working as a court-appointed attorney. Sharon isn't pleased to see him, but Rusty takes to him pretty darn quick. (Seriously, isn't this Rusty's third strike by now?) ... More guest stars on A&E's hit dramas: Corbin Bernsen (Psych), well into his dad phase, shows up on The Glades (9/8c) as Jim's pop. ... Busy and always welcome character actor Lee Tergesen appears on Longmire (10/9c) as an ex-cop from Philly who isn't exactly welcomed by Vic (Katee Sackhoff).
THE MONDAY GUIDE: Among the vintage Tonight Show interviews being replayed on Carson on TCM (8/7c): Doris Day, Charlton Heston, Chevy Chase, Dean Martin and Tony Curtis (the latter followed by a screening of the classic Some Like It Hot at 9/8c). ... Remember the deputy who made the mistake of shooting into the dome on CBS's Under the Dome last week? He's gone rogue, spurring a manhunt in episode three (10/9c). And what about the show's most irritating character, Junior, the one who's got the screaming girl trapped in a bunker? He tries to escape the dome by burrowing underground. I think we can all agree we'd like to see him get fried, and I think we all also know we're not going to get that lucky just yet. ... They may be afraid, but at least the 10 teams participating in NBC's new extreme-adventure reality-competition series Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls (9/8c), set in the wilds of New Zealand's South Island, aren't naked. Yet. And at least they're not faking it, like the actor-"contestants" on NBC's scripted dud Siberia (10/9c). ... Or maybe you'd rather spend time with BBC America's Dangerman: The Incredible Mr. Goodwin, though you can call him Jonathan. He's a daredevil escapologist who, in the premiere (10/9c), attempts a stunt in the California desert that defeated Harry Houdini three times. ... In a sequel to his Oscar-nominated documentary about the environmental perils of fracking, Josh Fox's Gasland Part II (HBO, 9/8c) revisits American citizens whose lives (and water supplies) were impacted by living near fracking wells and travels to Australia as the controversial practice goes global.
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