Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk
Casa Tranquila, my eye! (Or, rather, Gus's eye.)
They rarely make TV-movies like Lifetime's Five (Monday, 9/8c) anymore, and I really wish they would. A sensitively told issue-of-the-week anthology in the classic life-affirming tear-jerker tradition, the high-profile talent is on both sides of the camera in these intertwined vignettes dealing with breast cancer. Though the subject matter is wrenching, the tone here is more about emotional uplift, emphasizing the importance of bringing loved ones along for the fight.
Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Friday night is cult night, which may be why Rachelle Lefevre, the original Victoria in the first two Twilight movies, is joining CBS' A Gifted Man (8/7c) as Dr. Kate Sykora, among the candidates Michael is interviewing to run the clinic. ... Elsewhere, Jensen Ackles directs an episode of the CW's Supernatural (9/8c) in which Sam follows a lead on a demonic case from his youth. Firefly's Jewel Staite appears as the ...
Leslie Knope has literally written the book on Pawnee, Indiana. (Actually, the writers of Parks and Recreation have, and the very amusing mock guidebook — Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America — is available now.) In tonight's Parks episode (NBC, 8:30/7:30c), Leslie's promotional tour for said book lands her on public radio — a satirical spin courtesy of guest Dan Castellaneta (moonlighting from his suddenly contentious Simpsons gig) — and then on Pawnee Today, where the town's chirpiest cheerleader experiences a bit of an identity crisis, courtesy of "Gotcha!" host Joan Calamezzo (the hilarious Mo Gaffney). The episode is just fine, but from what I've skimmed — who has time to read this time of ...
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE A HAUNTED HOME: To hell with Casper. The ghosts are decidedly unfriendly these days. Not content to go "Boo!" in the night, the malevolent spirits that haunt FX's terminally twisted American Horror Story (10/9c) have a tendency to get under the skin, playing sexually charged and violent mind games with their victims.
But how frightening is this haunted-house creep show? Depends on whether you're of the "less is more" or "more is more" school of terror. Horror Story errs on the side of overkill, reminding us of the perilously thin line between what's scary and just plain silly. From Ryan Murphy (Glee) in his garishly gothic psychosexual Nip/Tuck mode of wretched excess, this is so overstuffed and disjointed in its reckless piling on of nasty shocks-for-shock's-sake, it often feels as if it were edited with a Cuisinart on "chain saw" setting.
Still, I defy you not to get goose bumps anytime a character descends into the Cellar Where Disgusting Evil Lurks, starting with the classic prologue — set in 1978, the year Halloween premiered, and ...
Idina Menzel, Lea Michele
WHEN YOU'RE A GLEEK: (Apologies to the "Jet Song," as we prepare our audition for West Side Story — or in Kurt and Blaine's case, West Hollywood Side Story?) The best way to enjoy Glee these days is to accept and even when possible to embrace its imperfections. Kind of like the way the characters get past their own perceived shortcomings and insecurities to embrace their inner star. (Just watch Mercedes blossom this week into full-blown diva mode, for better and inevitably for worse. It's pretty thrilling.) You can tell, from last week's and especially this week's impressive "Asian F" episode (Fox, 8/7c), that Glee is trying awfully hard to improve from the mess of last season. The music is better integrated into story, the story is better integrated into character, and sometimes the characters even make sense.
Question: In previous years I followed CBS shows Shark and The Unit to their new time on Sunday evenings that ended up to be their last season. Because of the preceding football game, one never knows when a certain program will start, with delays that can last as long as an hour. This, of course, prevents one from switching to another network for a later program. Since we still have a video tape recorder that automatically fast-forwards over commercials (most of them), I would end up taping those shows, with an extra margin of half an hour. I don't know whether a TiVo type recorder can even adjust to such delays. It appears that The Good Wife will follow the same pattern. Perhaps this time I will watch it online, or On Demand. But I have to wonder how much this new time slot will affect its viewership (in addition to the new direction and hair style). — Hanna
Matt Roush: This is a perennial problem for viewers in the time zones where football overruns impact the start of CBS' prime-time lineup. (Rule of thumb: If you're not watching live, set the ...
Happy Early Halloween: Turner Classic Movies launches a month-long series of Monday night horror marathons with the special A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King (8/7c), an enjoyable survey of the genre by one who knows. "Terror is something that lives in the head whereas the reaction we have to horror is ... visceral," the prolific author explains during a discussion of The Exorcist, one of many seminal movies featured here, including the original Cat People, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Living Dead and, of course, Halloween. Bela Lugosi's Dracula, however, never impressed the King: "To me, he looked like some kind of wacked-out concert pianist." Tonight's lineup of spooky classics includes the original 1931 Frankenstein and the notorious Freaks, plus in the wee hours the silent masterpieces Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu and Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera.
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Jail-House Rock: The eighth season of Fox's House (9/8c) begins with the imprisoned doctor imparting a little jailhouse wisdom: "Me and humanity, we got together too young." Sadly, House is showing its age, and watching the professional grouch alienate a new branch of a ...
Tonight's Top Pick: When worlds collide, Fox's cult gem Fringe (9/8c) is at the top of its game. You've never seen a murder-mystery manhunt like tonight's chilling and provocative episode, in which the Fringe team from the "other" world enlists "our" Olivia to cross over to track down a serial killer in the alt-universe — by bringing along the madman's doppelganger from our world, who happens to be a professor specializing in forensic pathology and profiling. The "what-if" vibes are fascinating as the professor — and by extension everyone in the dual-universe loop — considers the vagaries of fate and environment when confronted with "the path not taken." The story is suspenseful, poignant and wonderfully original. And in case you're wondering why Walter stays behind, surrounding himself with a cacophony of music: It may have something to do with that nagging disembodied voice he can't stop hearing. Hurry home soon, Peter Bishop!
Showtime is about to raise the dramatic stakes on Sundays, which were already plenty high. Network TV's finest adult drama, CBS' The Good Wife, recently moved to the night, ABC just launched a delicious piece of escapism in Pan Am, the second season of HBO's deluxe Prohibition period piece Boardwalk Empire is already underway, and in two weeks, AMC resurrects its terrifyingly graphic zombie ...