Michael Zegen and Denis Leary
HAWAII FIVE-0 (Monday-Friday, starts at 9 am/8c, Spike TV)
Time to book 'em! You've heard so much about CBS' upcoming remake you've developed a nostalgic taste for the original? You're in luck. All week, Spike TV is airing daylong marathons (9 am-6 pm/ET) comprising the entire first season of the 1968 original, starring Jack Lord as the implacable Steve McGarrett and James MacArthur as boyish Danny "Danno" Williams...
J.K. Simmons and Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
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Question: I absolutely love The Closer! It's one of my favorite shows and I am always so eager to watch that I usually don't even wait for my DVR to get ahead enough to allow me to skip commercials. This season started off with a bang and I've loved it, but I'm a little concerned. What will happen if Brenda does become chief? On one hand, as a woman, I think it would be great for the character to be a female Chief of Police in Los Angeles. On the other hand, I am afraid for what that would mean for her position as a "closer." If she gets some distance from the cases, how can she possibly get all of those confessions that have the audience on the edge of their seats? Plus, I have not enjoyed the rather jerk-like qualities this whole process has brought out in Pope. I know he's got his heart set on being chief, but it seems a little uncharacteristic for him to be such a jerk now when he has not gone completely into that territory before. Please tell me that whatever is in the works is going to maintain the same quality of scripts and keep Brenda right in the middle of the action! Do you have any insight into the rest of the season or what impact this whole development would have for the future of the show? — Beth
Matt Roush: Now that's a true sign of devotion, watching a show in real time, not DVR time. I'm very fond of The Closer as well....
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH (Friday, 10/9c, Starz)
The epic miniseries wraps as Jack returns to Kingsbridge to finish work on the cathedral, but not without more threats and attacks from the villainous likes of Regan, William and the ever-scheming Waleran. Expect the body count to rise before all is said and built...
Jon Hamm, Julianna Margulies
Most years, the best we can hope for from an Emmy night is a few new winners and a few (arguably, as always) correct winners. This year, the probability for fresh blood at the winners' podium is especially high, given what a terrific season it was for freshman series. (The same will not be said for the batch of new shows about to premiere over the next month.) What follows aren't exactly predictions, because that game can be such an unhappy crapshoot, given the capricious nature of Emmy voters, who tend to vote for what they've always voted for, year after year — until they suddenly don't. (For a list of nominees, and a chance to play along, click here)
This is my take on how I'd like to see things go in the major categories, with some handicapping on why some are more likely to win than others...
Christopher Gorham, Covert Affairs
IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON'T RISE (Monday-Tuesday, 9/8c, HBO)
Returning to the scene of his monumental Emmy-winning documentary When the Levees Broke, Spike Lee revisits New Orleans five years after the calamity of Hurricane Katrina. It begins on a joyous note with the Saints' Super Bowl win, but turns somber as more environmental tragedy strikes with the BP oil spill. We feel helpless all over again as we watch...
Matt Passmore, The Glades
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Question: I am a long-time follower of your columns and reviews, and I just want to thank you for all the great series you have steered me toward over the years. The latest is Breaking Bad, which I never would have gone near if not for your raves. What an amazing show. Now I'm wondering if you have been watching The Glades and what you think of its development. Being from South Florida, I am always curious about shows located there. Most shows don't get the feel of the place (we won't even speak of that CSI show), but this one seems to be doing it right so far. And talk about someone coming out of left field: Where did this amazing guy Matt Passmore come from? Because I know he is Australian, I'll forgive his lack of a Chicago accent, but he has developed such an interesting and believable character (thank you also, writers) and is such a charismatic lead. After Lost, I never thought I could appreciate Kiele Sanchez in anything, but I am enjoying her performance as well. Thanks again for all the enjoyable hours of TV and please keep writing your columns! — Susan
Matt Roush: Well, thanks for that encouraging feedback. With The Glades, I'll fess up that I haven't seen every episode...
EUREKA (Friday, 9/8c, Syfy)
Fans of Colin Ferguson get double the pleasure this weekend. In a new episode of the quirky fan fave Eureka, directed by Joe Morton, there's more tension between Sheriff Carter and Dr. Grant on the Allison front. But things get really rocky elsewhere when townspeople begin turning into stone. (Hate when that happens!) On Saturday night, Ferguson switches occupations to heroic game warden as the hero of Lake Placid 3 (9/8c, Syfy), a campy sequel to the deadly-croc franchise co-starring genre faves Yancy Butler and Michael Ironside...
Kids in the Hall
Memo to the gods of summer TV: Enough already! These are the dog days of August, I understand that all too well (as I wring out my socks after every muggy walk home from work), but the last thing we need in this summer of original-programming bounty is a pack of actual barking dogs pretending to be comedies.
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Two make their bow Tuesday night, with back-to-back episodes challenging you to make it to that second half-hour.
First up: ABC Family's retro snooze Melissa & Joey, or: The Manny. Not Manny as in the wonderfully precocious Manny (Rico Rodriguez) of Modern Family, but male nanny, Who's The Boss? style.
Joey Lawrence fills that role, as "Joe," a down-on-his-luck commodities broker who lost his fortune and family in a financial meltdown. Let me be the first to say: "Whoa." He moves in, platonically, to work ...
The Vampire Diaries
Question: I've only recently started watching The Vampire Diaries, as I wanted to wait for the overall reception of Season 1. But once I started, I got fully sucked in and I'm absolutely loving it now. [POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT] However, I'm having a hard time letting go of my lovely namesake Anna. With her ambivalent personality traits and the story line she was given, I thought she was one of the most interesting characters on the show. I have to admit that her demise in the finale hit me quite hard. Is there really no chance at all that she survived somehow? — Anna
Matt Roush: Looked to me like she was a goner, but you know how it goes on shows like this: Just because you die, or die again as the case may be, doesn't necessarily mean you're dead for good. And even if she did bite the eternal dust, I'd think there's potential for some juicy flashbacks as we get more of everyone's back story. And don't you imagine she'd at the very least haunt Jeremy's dreams? Beyond that, I haven't a clue whether we'll see Anna again, as I refuse to get ahead of the story, especially on shows like this. From a critical point of view, though, it's important to believe that characters like this can actually perish even in a supernatural series, or there'd be nothing at stake (pun unintended). Keeps you caring, I'd think...
The Big C
Who's up for a death comedy jam? Don't everybody raise their hands at once.
Leave it to an adventurous network like Showtime to develop a series that confronts the age-old maxim about how "dying is easy but comedy is hard." That's certainly the case with The Big C, an affecting yet uneven tragicomedy that comes to life whenever its heroine confronts her mortality but tends to die any time the story line goes overboard on the wackiness...