James Spader, Megan Boone
After the Games, the deluge. Now that Sochi's Closing Ceremony is but a glittery, shimmering memory, time for TV to get back to normal — which means everything new is finally new again. And for NBC, it signifies another big week, as it tries to keep the momentum going, using a new season of The Voice (8/7c) and its irresistible Blind Auditions to fuel ratings on Mondays and Tuesdays, with a visceral assist from The Blacklist (10/9c). Red's latest target: a woman from his shadowy past played by Jennifer Ehle, who'll always be my favorite Elizabeth Bennet (from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice).
After an opening week buoyed by blockbuster guests and an Olympic promotional platform, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will probably come down to earth relatively soon — but a good first impression was made, and that could pay off in the long run. Will the same be said for Late Night With Seth Meyers? Since he can't simply duplicate Weekend Update for a full hour, even with Amy Poehler as his first guest (with Joe Biden tasked to follow Michelle Obama's killer Fallon appearance as the requisite opening-week politician), this show is one of late night's bigger question marks in a while.
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Some quick thoughts on the rest of a busy night, emblematic of a non-stop week of first-run TV:
SPACE SIDE STORY: Stop me if you've heard this alien teen-romance before. Did someone say Roswell? Because of last Monday's holiday, I neglected to weigh in on the premiere of The CW's drab, derivative Star-Crossed (8/7c), which weighs down its Romeo-and-Juliet story with trite allegory about peer prejudice and government oppression of the Atrian aliens, co-opting imagery of the civil-rights movement in the cheapest way imaginable. Friday Night Lights' Aimee Teegarden is the earnest human high-schooler who befriends 90210's Matt Lanter as the hunk from Planet Abercrombie, and they're both so overripe, in classic CW tradition, they might as well be attending Crow's-Feet High. This premise is showing its age, and unlike Roswell (with its echoes of The WB's glory days), Star-Crossed lacks humor, suspense or even heat. In another time-dishonored CW device, this week's episode stages most of its intrigue at a big social event (a school carnival), because just like in The Vampire Diaries' Mystic Falls, if there wasn't some festival or other to go to, how would they ever move the plot along?
AND KEEP IN MIND: From the truer-words department: "You're not half the man your daddy was," Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) huffs at John Ross (Josh Henderson) as the third season of TNT's Dallas gets underway (9/8c) — and this Dallas isn't half as good as the landmark soap whose legacy is tarnished by the cardboard pawns of the next generation, carrying out their sexual mergers and secret agendas with a uniform lack of conviction or dynamism. Who can blame Sue Ellen (Linda Grey) for hitting the bottle again next week? ... CBS's best Monday comedy, the underrated Mom (9:30/8:30c), welcomes back Oscar winner Octavia Spencer as Regina, so desperate for character witnesses at her embezzling trial that she turns to the damaged-goods tag team of Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney). Meanwhile, friends and family fear Christy is returning to her addictive ways, neglecting home and work to hook up with David (Nick Zano), her hot mess of a pothead hunk-firefighter boyfriend. Sample joke: Christy asks David how high he is, "on a scale from Woody Harrelson to Willie Nelson." ... As CBS's How I Met Your Mother staggers to an end (8/7c), Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) has a hangover on the morning of his wedding on what is surely the longest weekend ever. ... If ABC's Nashville isn't a guilty enough pleasure for you, TNT goes the docu-soap route with the new Private Lives of Nashville Wives (10/9c), modeled after you-know-what franchise. Because there's not enough of that going around. ... I'd rather spend time with the 14 new contestants on the sixth season of Logo's RuPaul's Drag Race (9/8c), with names like Adore Delano, Laganja Estranja, Magnolia Crawford and Vivacious — the latter pretty well summing up this flamboyant competition. ... If you're suffering from Olympics withdrawal, consider the inspiring PBS documentary Ice Warriors: USA Sled Hockey (10/9c, check tvguide.com listings), which profiles the members of the U.S. Paralympics Sled Hockey team, defending its 2010 gold model in a sport likened to "murderball on blades."
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