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Matt's Picks: October 11-14

The Good Wife

God in America (Monday, PBS, check local schedules)
Is that Benjamin Linus in Puritan drag? Michael Emerson is among the familiar faces in historical recreations (as John Winthrop) as two of PBS' most prestigious franchises, American Experience and Frontline, team for a six-part (over three nights) survey of American history as seen through the prism of religion. From the nation's origins, built on the principal of religious freedom, the series winds its way through wars and social revolutions including the civil-rights movement, exploring the part religion has played in shaping this country's melting-pot nature... read more

Poll: Which Glee Cast Member is the Best Performer?

Glee

Gather round, Gleeks, we want to hear from you! Which Glee cast member do you think is the best performer? Rachel is usually New Directions' biggest star with all the solos, but Mercedes can really belt it out. Kurt stole the show after his father's heart attack, but Brittany's dancing makes us a slave for her. Sound off in our poll after the jump... read more

Matt's TV Week in Review

Michael Shannon

Let's get this week's highlight reel started on a positive note.

TEARJERKER OF THE WEEK: Kurt Hummel plaintively singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on Glee as we relive home movies in his mind, showing bonding moments with his (now comatose) dad Burt, including a tea party where the little boy playing Young Kurt is an uncanny dead ringer. A catch in his voice, a lump in our collective throats, a Kleenex run at the commercial break. Chris Colfer's sensitive yet tough performance as a boy sticking by his non-beliefs during a trying time is the highlight of "Grilled Cheesus," a tricky, affecting exploration of faith, religion, friendship and family. Amber James' soaring renditions of "I Look to You" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (the latter backed up by a church choir) also top this week's Glee Hit Parade, and or course Rachel turns to Yentl for inspiration. Even a friend's dad's coma can't rain on her Streisand parade. We also learn Sue has turned from God because of the cruelties visited upon her beloved sister, and Emma shows uncommon wisdom as she opens Finn's eyes to the folly of praying to a sandwich. The best Glee episode in quite a while, reminding us why we stick with this show even when the notes sometimes seem sour.

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God got quite a workout this week on some of TV's best comedies... read more

Watercooler: Exclusive First Look at Smallville's 200th Episode

Smallville

OK, Smallvillagers, get ready to fly into a frenzy! On Friday, October 15, the series celebrates its 200th episode, but you can get the party started with this exclusive peek at the official promo for "Homecoming" right here and now.

Built around Clark's high-school reunion and featuring the return of James Marsters as a much-less nasty Brianiac, "there are all kinds of nods that go back to the beginning... a lot of glimpses," promises exec producer Kelly Souders, who has also packed in a lot of geeked-out goodies (check out those magazine covers!). And just wait until you see what happens when Clark pays a trip to his future... and runs into himself at the most "Man of Steel" moment the show has thrown at us so far.

A second version of this trailer will appear at the end of tonight's "Supergirl" episode on the CW at 8/7c.

Check out the video after the jump... read more

Keck's Exclusives: Which Magician Will Magically Appear on The Defenders?

Penn Jillette

One of Las Vegas' most popular showmen has been cast in a bewitching role on CBS's The Defenders. Penn Jillette, currently appearing at the Rio Hotel with his silent partner Teller, will play a colorful Sin City magic shop owner/magic scholar named Reuben Charles in the Nov. 11 episode. He gets wrapped up with the Defenders when they take on a case involving Las Vegas' most famous magician... read more

Cheers & Jeers: Community Makes the Grade

Alison Brie, Community

Cheers to Community for avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump.

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The second season of NBC's under-the-radar sitcom may not be making a Big Bang in the ratings, but you can't deny it's explosively funny. The show has perfected the formula of well-chosen guest stars (Daily Show vets Rob Corddry and John Oliver, alt-comedy god Patton Oswalt, and, yes, Betty White, who's better in small doses like this week's cameo); snappy, pop-reference-rich dialogue; physical shtick from the masterful likes of Chevy Chase and Ken Jeong; and unexpected moments of M*A*S*H/Scrubs-esque sincerity.

This week's episode, "The Psychology of Letting Go," worked in meaningful ruminations on life, death and religion as Chase's Pierce refused to accept his mom's demise... read more

The Hub: A New Family Network With a Retro Feel

Logo courtesy Hub Network

The Hub, a joint venture network between Discovery and toy giant Hasbro, launches Sunday in approximately 60 million U.S. households on the former Discovery Kids channel. "We love the name," says CEO and President Margaret Loesch. "It means to us a place where kids and their families can... read more

Martha Stewart Previews Her Halloween Special

Brendan Fraser and Martha Stewart

For her Halloween special this year (airing Sunday at 9/8c on Hallmark Channel), homemaking guru Martha Stewart stirs up some mischief with Mummy star Brendan Fraser and shows us how to celebrate the holiday in... read more

Keck's Exclusives: Which St. Elsewhere Doc is Heading to ABC's Off the Map?

Ed Begley Jr.

Off the Map, ABC's new mid-season medical drama from Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes (think Grey's in the jungle), has enlisted an alum from... read more

Keck's Exclusives: What Big Screen Villain is Playing a Janitor on Modern Family?

Danny Trejo

An upcoming episode of ABC's Modern Family will find Claire (Julie Bowen) taking on the feared janitor at Luke and Manny's school. And who better to evoke dread than feature film character actor Danny Trejo, who has killed countless onscreen? Danny, a reformed drug addict who was in and out of the slammer for 11 years, most recently terrorized moviegoers as the title character of the Robert Rodriguez-directed movie, Machete.

The Modern Family episode finds Claire in charge of an upcoming school dance at the boys' school.... read more

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