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Matt's Picks: July 26-29

MasterChef

Huge (Monday, 9/8c, ABC Family)
In this episode, set on "movie night" at Camp Victory, Nikki Blonsky sings. (As any fan of the movie Hairspray knew she ultimately would — although some probably expected it to happen in the talent-show episode.) As the summer crushes escalate in this diverting series, Will (Blonsky) channels her jealousy over Ian's crush on Hayley into writing a love song. Will it be music to the campers' ears? read more

Ask Matt: Damages' Rescue, Summer Crime Drama, The Choir and More!

Damages

Send questions to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: Just wanted to get your thoughts/reaction to DirecTV saving Damages from FX's cancellation fate. I am beyond thrilled one of my favorites and one of the best dramas on TV was rescued! (On a side note, I think Damages was robbed of a Best Drama Emmy nomination.) It will be a long haul to wait until summer 2011 for new episodes, but will be worth it to see Patty spar with Ellen again during a thrilling legal battle. — Kevin

Matt Roush: I'm always pleased when a show I like gets a new lease on life. Was overjoyed for Friday Night Lights when DirecTV came to its rescue (allowing the show to recover from a very flawed second season and move on to new heights) and feel the same for Damages, especially since the show regained its mojo in year 3. In fact, the season was so satisfying I would have been OK if that had been all we got. Still, two more arcs for Patty and Ellen? Who'd complain about that? But for the dark lining in this silver cloud, read on... read more

Comic-Con Gets Hot for TV Guide Magazine

Julie Benz

What happens when you take a couple of aliens, a doofy superspy, two burgeoning superheroes, and a vampire diarist, and throw them all together? A lot of whoopin' and hollerin'. At TV Guide Magazine's Hot List panel at Comic-Con on July 23, some of television's most genre-riffic stars — V's Morena Baccarin, Elizabeth Mitchell and Morris Chestnut; The Cape's David Lyons, Keith David and Summer Glau; No Ordinary Family's Julie Benz; Human Target's Chi McBride; Chuck's Zach Levi; and Vampire Diaries executive producer Kevin Williamson — gathered for the ultimate Con-vergence... read more

Keck's Exclusives: Dexter's Michael C. Hall Reveals Season Premiere Shockers

Dexter

Comic-Con fans were treated to an early glimpse of Dexter's heartbreaking Sept. 26 season premiere, which features the return of Julie Benz as the lifeless body of Dexter Morgan's murdered wife, Rita. "It's heavy," Hall told TV Guide Magazine... read more

Scoop on Being Human's Second Season

Aidan Turner

A beguiling British mash-up of Friends and The Vampire Diaries, the charming Being Human (Saturday, 10/9c, BBC America) returns for its second season with the increasingly darker and more harrowing adventures of a trio of roomies who just want to fit in despite being a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost... read more

Comic-Con: Is Quantum Leaping to the Megaplex?

Scott Bakula

Oh boy, indeed! Quantum Leap may be coming to the big screen. At the TV Guide Magazine and the Paley Center For Media's Quantum Leap retrospective (hosted by TV Guide Magazine's executive editor Craig Tomashoff) at Comic-Con on July 22, series star Scott Bakula revealed that a feature-film version of the classic 1989-1993 drama was in the works... read more

Pillars of the Earth: A Towering Achievement

Pillars of the Earth

It wasn't the swords. It wasn't the sandals. For Rufus Sewell, the tough part was all the stinkin' mud. Playing a 12th-century stonemason in mega miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, premiering tonight on Starz at 10/9c, meant maintaining "a level of grime on my neck consistent with that of your typical farm animal," he says.

A small price, indeed, for what's shaping up to be the armor-clanking, leech-sucking, monks-a-poppin' drama of the summer. Pillars, based on Ken Follett's doorstop of a best-seller (all 973 pages of it), about the quest to build a Gothic cathedral in a fictional England of yore, runs eight hours over six Friday nights... read more

Cheers & Jeers: Rescue Me Finds Redemption

Denis Leary

Cheers to Rescue Me for a remarkable run of episodes.

If you've drifted away from Denis Leary's FX firefighting dramedy, make sure to tune back in for the next three episodes (airing July 27, August 3 and August 10). Tellingly entitled "Blackout," "Sanctuary" and "Forgiven," they could just as easily be called "The Last Temptation of Tommy Gavin." The raging alcoholic finally, truly hits rock bottom... read more

Roush Review: Weekend Roundup (Who, Human and Mad Men)

Matt Smith, Doctor Who

Even for a busy summer, this is one hectic TV weekend. (And that's true even if you're not at Comic-Con.) It kicks off with Starz's The Pillars of the Earth (see review here), a throwback to the classic historical-epic miniseries, and continues Saturday as the latest reboot of BBC America's Doctor Who comes to a spectacular season finish while making room for a new season of the offbeat Being Human. And the jewel in the crown: AMC's Mad Men, returning Sunday for a fourth season in sensational form.

Some thoughts follow... read more

Keck's Exclusives: Desperate Housewives Casts Paul Young's New Wife

Emily Bergl

After a thorough search for Mary Alice Young's successor, Desperate Housewives has cast Emily Bergl to play the role of reformed menace Paul Young's new wife, Beth, who will prove instrumental in Paul's post-jail plans on Wisteria Lane... read more

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