Charlie McDermott, Patricia Heaton
On this final night of the official broadcast season, let's focus on the good times, shall we? Two of TV's finest comedies, ABC's underappreciated The Middle and the much-honored Modern Family, go out with a flourish, and perhaps a sniffle or two, as the Heck and Dunphy/Pritchett clans experience life-changing and/or affirming ceremonies likely to strike home for many viewers.
So You Think You Can Dance
In what may be a first, a freestyle routine on Monday's final performance round of ABC's Dancing With the Stars — the passionate, intimate contemporary routine performed by Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough — was so terrific it would fit right in on TV's best dancing showcase, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance. As Stars ends its run, with a two-hour finale (Tuesday, 9/8c) welcoming back the season's entire cast — including Wynonna Judd, who'll perform "I Want to Know What Love Is" — the mirrorball ceremony overlaps with a two-hour audition episode of So You Think You Can Dance (8/7c), which is what you should watch if you want to know what dance is in all of its variety.
Fox's Glee will be a little less sweet next season now that Vanessa Lengies, who plays Sugar, has landed a regular role on the midseason ABC sitcom Mixology. "Getting to play Sugar Motta was one of the biggest opportunities of my life, and I met some of the most fantastic people, but I was being hired per episode," Lengies says about why she made the switch. "I loved getting to be there and dancing around, but I didn't really have much of an opportunity to act."
Just months after Lucasfilm announced the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disney has put the new animated series Star Wars Rebels into production. The new franchise will premiere with a one-hour Disney Channel special in fall 2014, followed by a series on Disney XD.
Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga
At 86, Mel Brooks is still the life of the party, a consummate ham and peerless joke-spinning storyteller. "I've come to stop the show," announces the irrepressible comic dynamo as he does just that, breaking into song mid-interview and reinforcing why PBS' American Masters titled its latest must-see career profile Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (Monday, check tvguide.com listings). His brilliant career in TV (Your Show of Shows, Get Smart), the movies and Broadway makes him an overdue American Masters subject, and his unflagging comic energy keeps everyone amused — including an intrusively visible camera crew. "I'm head over heels in love with myself," Brooks says, only half-joking.
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Question: I'm shocked and delighted by Fox's announcement about bringing back 24, but honestly, I think this points to the future of television. It's the same thing with The Following: Give us shorter seasons, TV Gods! Seriously, 22-episode seasons just don't work for so many shows, especially the serialized ones. How much filler was there in any given 24-episode season of real-time 24? A ton, inevitably. And every other heavily serialized show you can point to is eventually going to fall back on filler episodes, or extended (and frustrating) wheel-spinning, etc. It's just inevitable, and the best serialized shows are the ones that best manage this reality: for instance, The Vampire Diaries splits its season into three or four tightly focused mini-arcs that pack as much into each mini-arc as most shows cover in a whole season.
Adam Scott and Amy Poehler
For last year's Adult Swim sensation The Greatest Event in Television History, a 15-minute spoof that went viral, Adam Scott enlisted Mad Men's Jon Hamm to help him re-create the opening credits of '80s detective series Simon & Simon. Now...