Castle (Monday, 10/9c, ABC)
Enjoying a ratings boost this spring thanks to its Dancing With the Stars lead-in, this enjoyable light mystery swaps coasts as Detective Beckett goes rogue, defying orders as she heads from New York to...
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
This is delightful history." So declared TV's reigning queen of news, Barbara Walters, as the newly wed Catherine, now Duchess of Cambridge, emerged from Westminster Abbey alongside her prince Friday morning to pealing bells, cheering crowds and a gawking worldwide TV audience estimated in the billions, soaking up a jubilant moment in the often rocky life of the British royals. In shared media moments like this, we are all uncommonly privileged commoners, granted a front-row seat to rubberneck at will at a lavish ceremony, festooned with wacky hats, that seemingly went off without a hitch. Watching in high-def (a first for a British royal wedding), I was struck by both the intimacy and grandeur of what the cameras captured: best man Harry's sly look backward at Kate's long approach down the aisle while his brother faced forward — he apparently whispered, "Wait till you see her" — the sideways amused glances between Kate and William revealing that they were keeping it real amidst the pomp, the prince's struggle to place the ring on her finger, all set against sweeping long shots, including staggeringly beautiful aerials of the entire abbey, like something out of a classic movie romance....
The Cleveland Show (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, Fox)
An ill wind is blowing through Fox's "Animation Domination" lineup — well, the Seth MacFarlane variety, anyway. In a crossover sweeps stunt, a hurricane storms its way through Stoolbend (Cleveland Show), Quahog (Family Guy) and Langley Falls (American Dad). On Cleveland, the storm wrecks the Brown/Tubbs family vacation plans. On Family Guy, the stress of the storm (never easy on dogs) drives Brian to overindulge in questionable substances. And on American Dad, the hurricane wreaks havoc on the Smiths, who foolishly decide to ride it out at home. As for Springfield... The Simpsons go to the Jersey Shore, so apparently they didn't get the memo.
Cee Lo Green
Glee (Tuesday, 8/7c, Fox)
Too much isn't always a good thing for this erratic yet always exuberant series, but with Lady Gaga music as the hook (including "Born This Way," which doubles as an episode title), this week's outing expands to 90 minutes. With prom looming, Quinn aims her sights on the title of queen — but so does the super-sized Lauren. Meanwhile, Mr. Shue is using the Gaga playlist to teach the glee club more musical life lessons in self-acceptance and embracing what makes each of them special.
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Question: I don't understand why more people are not watching Fringe. I admit Season 1 was a bit rocky, but Season 2 was great, and so far this season has been the best, in my opinion. It's the only show that seems to fill The X-Files void for me. Last Friday's "LSD" episode was brilliant. I still crack up every time I picture the "How wonderful!" thought bubble above cartoon Walter. And how hilarious was tripping Broyles? He's the only character I've never liked on the show, because he's so rigid, but it was nice to see him loosen up a bit. Too bad it took a bad trip of LSD to do it. Anyway, I know it was renewed for a fourth season despite the poor ratings, but do you think that will be the end? I mean, how can they afford to keep such a low-rated show around?
This weekend, HBO offers up a comedy special (Talking Funny), a new movie about an historic TV phenom (Cinema Verite) and the return of a distinguished drama series (Treme). All are worth a look. It's actually an HBO grand slam if you count Game of Thrones, the triumphant adult fantasy series that was renewed for a second season shortly after the first episode aired. (HBO has a tradition of doing this, but rarely in recent years has the network's enthusiasm been so well deserved.)
In Thrones' eventful second chapter (Sunday, 9/8c), you begin to sense the series' range, as many characters begin disparate journeys through the sprawling land of Westeros: dutiful Ned Stark heads out with...
Matt Smith and Karen Gillan
Supernatural (Friday, 9/8c, The CW)
Winchesters, meet Colt! As in: the real Samuel Colt, whose infamous demon-destroying gun has loomed large throughout Supernatural's mythology. This week, Dean gets to play cowboy — Sam is less thrilled — when Castiel sends the brothers back in time to the Wild West to get some guidance from the proverbial horse's mouth. Speaking of weapons, over on Fox's Fringe in the same time period, an apocalyptic scenario is triggered when Walternate revs up the doomsday device "over there," in hopes of rocking our (and specifically Peter's) world.
Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles
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Question: I have watched All My Children and One Life to Live for 40 years. I watch GMA and stay with ABC just waiting for them to come on to see what has happened. They are an escape from reality with spice, and ABC wants to give us more reality? There are mannnnny other stations for that. If ABC cancels my soaps, I will not watch them ever again any time of the day or night. AMC and OLTL are icons. Regis retires in November and Kelly understands. AMC and OLTL are a part of our lives and our friends. This is a wrong choice that ABC needs to reconsider or I'll be watching The Early Show, Matlock, In the Heat of the Night, Gunsmoke and Walker Texas Ranger, not reality. Oprah's leaving. Put the new shows there, or move the soaps around, just do not cancel them. 40 years of loyalty cuts deep and never heals. Why did they move AMC to LA and hire the veteran head writer just to cancel? Someone's thinking is screwed up. — Mary Alice
Cougar Town (Monday, 9:30/8:30c, ABC)
Don't ever do that to us again, ABC — by which I mean, depriving us of this blissfully daffy comedy for a long mid-season hiatus. After watching tonight's return episode in a special post-Dancing With the Stars time slot, you'll know what I mean when I say Cougar Town's absence kicked "butt". To celebrate its return, everyone get out their Penny Cans as Bobby and Laurie try to make the silly pastime a thriving business ("The game is dumb, but it is so addictive," admits Laurie), while Jules rethinks her...
Susan Lucci, Erika Slezak
There will come a time when we tell future generations about the good old days when serialized soaps blanketed the daytime TV landscape — the way prime time once was overrun with Westerns, variety shows and big-ticket miniseries, among other fondly remembered, now-faded formats. The latest death knell, not unexpected but still a shock when it sounded, came late this week when ABC confirmed that the venerable, iconic All My Children and the similarly long-running One Life to Live had been taken off life support. Word of their demise had circulated for some time — AMC takes its final bow in September, One Life to Life will soldier on until January — but it's still a jolt to the system when confronted with the unmistakable signs than an era is ending. Changing viewing habits and economics have conspired against scripted daytime dramas in favor of cheaper-to-produce talk/lifestyle shows. Just as the remnants of variety TV can be found in the results shows of reality competitions American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, soap intrigues have been upstaged by celeb-reality high jinks: the plastic casts of Bravo's various Real Housewives shows, the debauched antics of Jersey Shore, which is being spun off while the daily soaps dwindle to a mere few...