On the 12th day of December, with only 12 days (gulp) until Christmas Eve, here's a dozen topics of interest — or possibly disinterest — regarding today's unusually busy, for mid-December, TV lineup.
Mother's Day: On CBS's biggest Monday hit, Two and a Half Men (9/8c), Mimi Rogers drops by the Malibu manse as Walden's mom. Alan, naturally, is smitten (ewwww), but in the opposite-of-nurturing tradition of mothers ...
First, weighing in on two cable movies, one of which thoroughly chilled me and another that left me cold.
Leave it to oddball Brick Heck (Atticus Shaffer) to stumble across the reason for the season: "Mom, you never told me church was based on a book." The Middle (ABC, 8/7c) leads off a night of holiday-themed sitcom episodes with an instant classic in which Brick's incessant questions about the Good Book lead sister Sue to enlist pied-piper roving Reverend ...
"You ask for a simple white Christmas ..." and everything goes to cartoon hell on Eureka, already the most animated of Syfy's quirky series, and a natural to be brought back for a one-night-only Christmas special, a gift for fantasy fans, packaged with similarly themed episodes of Warehouse 13 and Haven. The Eureka special (8/7c) is especially inventive, as the isolated mountain town's overtaxed Super Photon Generator interacts with a child's hologram-generating storybook, and abracadabra, everyone becomes a cartoon character (including Sheriff Carter's much-abused Jeep, cleverly and petulantly voiced by The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons).
Question: As we approach the annual barrage of year-end Top 10 lists, I'm dreading the fact that one worthy, excellent TV show will be overlooked by most critics: The Vampire Diaries. Don't get me wrong, I love Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones as much as any sane person, but I also think TVD is one of the most expertly paced, perfectly plotted shows on TV right now. Unfortunately, I don't think many professional critics bother to watch it, though they'll analyze lesser shows like True Blood and The Walking Dead just because of the networks they air on. Even if critics don't think The Vampire Diaries is Top 10 worthy, I think it at least deserves to be part of the year-end conversation. Why is it so hard for a show like this to be taken seriously? — Donnie
Matt Roush: I like Vampire Diaries and probably give it more consideration than ...
Is he a good Santa or a bad Santa? Sounds like a case for Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick), and in a very campy Christmas episode of TNT's The Closer (9/8c) — one of many holiday episodes we'll be weighing in on this week — the Santa is ...
First, a few words about fairy tales, one of the more unexpectedly hot trends of this TV season ...
Always a popular (if sometimes contentious) topic in my Ask Matt forum, Fox's Bones refutes any notion that its heart isn't in the right place in this week's ultimately touching episode (9/8c). Ralph Waite (forever Papa Walton to many of us, though nowadays better known as Jethro's dad on NCIS) makes a welcome return as Booth's grandfather, bearing some unwelcome news that has the very pregnant Bones (Emily Deschanel) wondering how best to reach ...
Comedy is very hot this TV season — thank ABC's best-of-class Wednesday comedies (all in repeats tonight), CBS' Monday blockbusters, NBC's cult faves and Fox's giddy New Girl — but two lousy new sitcom arrivals buck the trend, leaving a sour aftertaste.
Normally I'd celebrate at any circumstance that shrinks The X Factor to 90 minutes, but in this case, it opens the door for Fox's unpleasant I Hate My Teenage Daughter (9:30/8:30c), which traps two gifted comedians — My Name Is Earl's Emmy-winning spitfire Jaime Pressly and two-time Tony-winning scene-stealer Katie Finneran — in no-win roles as shrill moms who used to be ugly ducklings and are now cowed by their bratty offspring (forgettably rendered by Aisha Dee and Kristi Lauren), who are turning out to be the sort of spoiled mean girls who tormented the moms back when they were in high school.