John C. McGinley, Skylar Astin
The "upstairs downstairs" framework we've come to love on Downton Abbey translates fairly well to the world of corporate workplace romantic comedy in TBS's Ground Floor, a likable if decidedly modest bauble from sitcom vets Bill Lawrence (Cougar Town) and Greg Malins (Friends), working in the too-often-disparaged mode of traditional multi-camera comedy. (The first two episodes air back-to-back Thursday starting at 10/9c.)
Nicole Beharie, Tom Mison
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Question: Last Sunday's "Hitting the Fan" episode of The Good Wife lived up to the hype. It was a game changer, but I guess it left me feeling slimed. Alicia has always taken a righteous position and walked a fine ethical line. On Sunday, I feel like she fell off a cliff — not only was she a party to trying to download files which I'm not sure is illegal but certainly not ethical (notwithstanding the ends-justify-the-means argument), but she also seemed gleeful about Peter using his political position to her gain. As Will seemed so right to point out, she seems to have no idea how bad she has become. This is not the good wife that I have been watching. What were your thoughts? — Megan
Clotilde Hesme and Pierre Perrier
You were maybe expecting monsters on Halloween? Less than a week after NBC so disastrously attempted to "re-imagine" Dracula, cable's Sundance Channel scores again — in a year that has already given us the exceptional Top of the Lake and Rectify — by subtly yet audaciously flipping the zombie thriller in the eight-part French import The Returned (with English subtitles). In this quietly creepy and profoundly unsettling supernatural mystery (Thursday, 9/8c), the undead are portrayed not as Walking Dead-style flesh-eaters but as deeply and unmistakably flesh-and-blood human.
Today's history lesson: You shouldn't always believe what you hear. Long before TV, let alone social media like Twitter and Facebook, the medium of radio held sway over the public consciousness — and more to the point, the collective imagination — in a way that now seems hard for many to fathom. One visionary who understood its potential and power was Orson Welles, "prodigy and provocateur," who at the astonishingly precocious age of 23 triggered a Halloween eve panic in 1938 with his innovative and infamous CBS Radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds.
Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette
Simplicity can be a helpful thing for an effective thriller — and that, sadly, is an attribute CBS's overwrought, underwatched Hostages (Monday, 10/9c) lacks altogether. The more complications this show introduces, the sillier it threatens to become. It's hard to imagine a subplot of less interest than the money problems of foxy hostage-taker Sandrine ...
Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies
Can't they all just get along? Perish the thought.
Few spectacles are more exciting and satisfying than watching a great series reinvent itself with bold strokes and high drama. In its five seasons, CBS's The Good Wife has never played it safe in boardroom, courtroom or bedroom — but nothing could have prepared us for just how explosively entertaining the war within Lockhart/Gardner was going to be.
Once upon a very different time, Lisa Kudrow owned Thursday night along with her other TV Friends during NBC's now-distant era of "Must See" supremacy. She's back on the same night, on a different network, but once again she's landed on the buzziest show of the moment: ABC's Scandal (10/9c), where she begins a recurring role as Josephine Marcus, a Democratic Congresswoman — and outspoken critic of the Grant administration — who tangles with First Lady Mellie (the awesome Bellamy Young). What drew Kudrow back to network TV? May have something to do with her longtime friendship and working relationship with producing partner (and guest actor Emmy winner) Dan Bucatinsky, who plays Cyrus's excitable partner James on the show. While she's reason enough to tune in, the Pope & Associates subplot also sounds like fun, as they take on as a client a politician notorious for snapping photos of his unmentionables. (Sound familiar?)
Aw, heck. Is it really worth making a fuss over The Middle's 100-episode milestone? It hardly seems in character for a family like the Hecks of Orson, Indiana. When she's reminded that they volunteered to drive a giant cow float in Orson's centennial parade, Frankie (Patricia Heaton) whines, "This is what happens when we drink: We sign up for stupid committees. Or get Brick."
But as Orson itself expresses in a self-deprecating new town motto: "Why not?" This episode (Wednesday, 8/7c, ABC) truly is cause for celebration, as TV's most heartfelt and hilariously relatable family sitcom reflects on what brought Frankie and Mike (Neil Flynn) to Orson in the first place, while giving their lovably imperfect offspring a chance to shine in clever-to-wacky subplots. (Sue's attempt to make Darrin jealous by cozying up to her flamboyant BFF Brad is especially genius.)
Most Bones fans will likely agree with its title character (Emily Deschanel) when Brennan declares to her intended, Booth (David Boreanaz), "We've waited long enough." The wait is over, as the brusque forensic anthropologist and her impetuous FBI baby-daddy finally head to the altar — although for most of this endearing episode (Monday, 8/7c), nearly everyone in the Jeffersonian lab, including a full complement of returning Squints, is laying bets that the wedding will never happen. There's a new case, after all, and the real challenge is to keep Bones from becoming too distracted. Cyndi Lauper (returning as psychic Avalon Harmonia) is on hand to perform at the ceremony, but what she should really be singing is "Get Tempe to the Church on Time." There are additional complications and intimations of cold feet before the lovely finish, but Angela (Michaela Conlin) probably says it best: "You don't want your fingers to smell like death when Booth puts on the ring."
She's right. And: ew.