Beauty and the Geek
Are the challenges on this show designed solely to get the women into skimpy outfits? And wasn't it a little weird that Bill The Dukes of Hazzard fanboy seemed more excited by the Daisy Duke shorts than the teeny bikinis? Thankfully, Ashton and Co. decided to have the guys keep their clothes on. It actually looks like the actor's social experiment is working, as Erika realized how superficial she'd been about dating after meeting her new fling, Brad I'm real sure that relationship is gonna last in the real world. Too bad her epiphany came just as she and her adorable partner, Joe, were kicked off. Richard managed to save himself with his OTT brown-nosing and wacky behavior. He can't really be that socially inept, can he? And there is no way that he was praying after his professional shirt-tucking from the adorable Mindi; I think he may have needed a moment alone for some, um, other things. Caitilin thinks that the problem with the guys is that they have no survival skills for competition. Oh, honey, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Angel Cohn
The real mystery in this dark crime drama's premiere wasn't whodunit, but why do it at all? In a television landscape littered with crime-scene investigators, special victims' units and cold cases, the police-procedural-with-a-cute-woman-lead may have less life than the gruesome victim discovered by this show's team of FBI agents in last night's opening sequence.
Admittedly, the scene provided a nice jolt when it was revealed that the body belonged to one of their colleagues, but the episode quickly descended into yet another tale of profiler vs. twisted serial killer. Heck, costar Adam Baldwin even name-checked Clarice Starling, confirming the long shadow cast by the brilliant The Silence of the Lambs over the series.
As the Starling of this show, starlet Rachel Nichols looks like she'd be more suited to romantic comedy (in fact, she played the waitress in Samantha's threesome on Sex and the City) than gritty detective work, not that this first script gave her much to work with. Her character's childhood trauma is supposed to imbue her with uncanny abilities but, oddly enough, she wasn't shown doing much actual profiling, unless you count looking in a mirror and hallucinating a sinister figure behind her yet another cliché of the genre, along with the now de rigueur victim-on-a-webcam that also appeared in the pilot.
The only savior of the episode (not to mention of Nichols' Agent Locke) turned out to be Peter Coyote's Virgil "Web" Webster, who provided a refreshingly unsentimental, even Machiavellian, approach to leadership: "This girl has a gift forged in pain, and she wants me to use her." That's one of episode's few great lines, all of which were delivered by Webster. If executive producers Tim Minear and Jane Espenson want this series to avoid the fate of their last few (Wonderfalls, Tru Calling, Firefly), they should try to make its bite as good as Coyote's bark. Daniel Manu
Dancing with the Stars
It's fun to watch all these couples dance; I almost wish that someone didn't have to get voted off each week, like maybe they could have cumulative scores over the course of the competition and then just name a winner. Plus, I just don't understand why Trista and Ryan, I mean Louis, got the ax. Sure, she's kind of annoying, but she did manage to dance well last week. During tonight's rumba lessons, though, her panic about proper behavior so reminded me of how Baby in Dirty Dancing was all awkward during her first encounter with bad-boy Johnny. I almost expected the former Bachelorette to start giggling when the "other" boy touched her arm. And who voted for Kelly Monaco? Was it the pity vote that kept her around? She did look slammin' in that skimpy outfit tonight; I think she and Rachel Hunter were in competition for the most minuscule costume. Rachel was worried that she was going to fall, but I was more concerned that she was going to fall out of that top. And though it looks like cute little Ashly's crush on Joey may have already worn thin, the two managed a really quick quickstep to a fun tune "You're the One That I Want" as the former New Kid promised me earlier this week. Loved John O'Hurley; he looks like he's been doing this forever. But now, with the audience voting, I have no idea who will go next and I can't wait to find out. AC
Sports Kids Moms & Dads
The rest of the moms and dads need to pay attention to the 20/20 hindsight of Karen, mother of teenage equestrians Karli and Karoline (what's with the alliteration?): "If I could do it over again, I would have maintained more of my own life." Not that someone like Craig would listen to her, though. He's working four jobs, including delivering pizzas for Domino's, just so that he can schedule his days around 8-year-old Trenton's football schedule. And Kim, figure-skater Bryce's mom, really needs to get her own life; maybe then she'd stop taking it so personally every time the kid makes a mistake in the rink. Actually, I'm really starting to feel sorry for the siblings of these athletic overachievers. Like Sarah's poor brother, Seth, stuck in the back seat helping her get out of her cheerleading outfit and into a ballet costume as mom Sharon rushes her from practice to performance. I hope it's just the show's editing that makes it seem like the sports kids' brothers and sisters get cheated out of parental attention. Speaking of reality-TV standards, I watch so much of the genre, I tend to forget how uncomfortable it must be to have a TV crew with you at all times. When Trenton cried to his coach that the camera made him too nervous to play, I kind of felt guilty for watching.
The biggest drama of the night comes at the very end, when Karli finds out what the promos for the episode told us last week: Her mom might have to sell Karli's horse, Disco. Some equestrian yelled at me for calling this a hobby last week, but listen, if it ain't feeding that family of six, it sure can't be called a job. That doesn't mean I don't feel sick with sympathy for the girl, who is really talented and devoted both to her sport and to the animal. I'm crossing my fingers that by next week, Karen will have found a different way to resolve their financial crisis. Bravo, can't you step in here? Sabrina Rojas Weiss
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