Disorientation is nothing new for the loyal viewer — we hardy few — of Fox's fantastically bizarre Fringe (9/8c).
Lana Parrilla, Jennifer Morrison
Once is not enough. Sometimes a second look, or a second episode, is necessary to convince a skeptic that a show is worth taking a risk on. So it is with ABC's dazzling but dauntingly precious Once Upon a Time (Sunday, 8/7c), which back when I was considering it for Fall Preview left me wondering: "Is this ambitiously whimsical fantasia the next Pushing Daisies cult fave or the next Eastwick insta-flop? (Either way, it will likely be an uphill climb to happily ever after.) It would be easier to love if it weren't so convoluted and campy."
But then ABC made another episode (the third, airing Nov. 6) available for review, and I started to find myself enchanted and beguiled, ready to curl up with more chapters of this fractured fairy tale. First, though, you have to digest the premise, and the overstuffed and often overripe pilot is a lot to swallow. We begin in a lavishly rendered fairy-tale land ...
Robert E. Lee
Gettysburg (History, 9/8c, Monday)
Launching a four-year project to commemorate the Civil War, which is marking its 150th anniversary this year, History has commissioned action producers Tony and Ridley Scott to produce a two-hour feature documentary about one of the war's most legendary and costly battles. Airing on the night of Memorial Day, Gettysburg fuses CGI and action footage designed to render the conflict as real as...
Matt Lauria, Jason Clarke
The Chicago Code (Monday, 9/8c, Fox)
As often happens in the best crime dramas, the bad guy often gets some of the meatiest material. And Ronin Gibbons, the Chicago Alderman played so deliciously by Delroy Lindo, is no ordinary adversary. We get a better sense of what makes him tick in this episode, when the powerful politician is confronted by an armed teenage robber, causing Gibbons to look back on his own upbringing, back before he became so cynical about the city's corrupt ways. In another storyline, a bomber blows up a city building and promises more mayhem, putting a ticking clock on Jarek and Caleb's efforts to track down the culprit. This situation is not unlike the dilemma on ABC's Castle an hour later (10/9c), in the conclusion of a tense two-parter that finds Beckett and Castle teaming up with a fed (Adrian Pasdar) to avert a terrorist calamity....
"Why does fun always have a price?"
These are the words of Poor Sue Heck — I can never refer to this scene-stealing character (played brilliantly by Eden Sher) without adding the word "poor" in front of her name — in another hilarious episode of ABC's underappreciated The Middle. Yes, the show is fun, but with the sting of truth. Living in the shadow of the marvelous Modern Family (which offered up another farcical hoot this week), ABC's Wednesday ...
The Heck family have a heck of a lot of problems in this episode. Frankie's predicament is trying to get Mike to stop giving her the cold shoulder after she accidentally spends $200 on a small bottle of eye cream. Axl's cross to bear is taking care of a mechanical infant doll for health class. And Sue and Brick's dilemma is a doozy — trying to figure out a way to fix the hole they caused in Sue's bedroom wall. — Fred Mitchell
Are you watching The Middle tonight? Tell us
Read on for previews of American Masters, Minute to Win It, Off the Map, I'd Do Anything, Law & Order: SVU and College Basketball.
Men of a Certain Age
Men of a Certain Age
Bond on the run: Best buds Joe, Owen and Terry continue bonding while running through the challenging twists, turns and zigzags of midlife. The dramedy's second season progresses when Joe sets out to finalize his divorce, but while doing so he digs up interesting information about his teen daughter. As for Owen, he gears up for a car convention, then receives unexpected news from his father. Meanwhile, Terry discovers that his past work in a TV commercial is now coming back to affect his life. Penelope Ann Miller guest stars. — Dean Maurer
Read on for previews of College Basketball, Monday Night Football, American Masters, American Pickers, American Chocolate Championship and Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby.
Skating with the Stars
Skating with the Stars
Worried about undergoing withdrawal now that Dancing with the Stars approaches the end of another season? The premiere of this new reality competition should help ease some of that pain. The concept is familiar: Six celebrities are paired up with professional ice skaters, and their fates are determined by a combination of judges' and viewers' votes. Vince Neil, Bethenny Frankel and Sean Young are among the stars who signed on to hit the ice, and Olympian Johnny Weir is on the panel of judges. — Jennifer Sankowski
Read on for previews of Chelsea's Big Interview Special, Monday Night Football, American Masters, Two and a Half Men, The Real Story of Thanksgiving and Public Speaking.
Ordinarily, House isn't one to go by the book, but that's just what he does tonight, when it dawns on him that the secret to whatever's killing his dying patient (Amy Irving), a children's author with suicidal tendencies, can be found in her latest book. Don't be surprised if he discovers why she's suicidal, too. And on the Cuddy-House love front, the dynamic duo confronts their first social situation as a couple when they double date with Wilson and his girlfriend, Sam (Cynthia Watros). — Paul Droesch
Read on for previews of Lie to Me, The Event, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Sins of My Father, Two and a Half Men and American Masters.
America's Got Talent
America's Got Talent
9 pm/ET NBC
Season 5 of the sunny summer series rolls on, as do the live performance showcases featuring disparate acts vying for top-talent honors and a cool $1 million prize. Last night, 12 more acts from the Top 48 took the stage, and now their offbeat skills will be rated in the season's second results installment. Four victorious acts will advance and join last week's winners in the longed-for Top 24. Meanwhile, the innovative theatrical collective Cirque du Soleil performs a routine from the show Kà, and it's full steam ahead for the rock band Train when they deliver the song "Hey, Soul Sister." — Dean Maurer
Read on for previews of Hot in Cleveland, Fabulous Beekman Boys, America Masters, Pros vs. Joes and more!