The Shield
Aaaah, Tuesday night, that saving grace of primetime for those of us who shake our heads at the notion that there is anything on Thursday night that we "must see." Tuesday is where the action is. The normal lineup has Jack Bauer doing whatever he has to on 24 (when it is not pre-empted for endless Idol worship), followed by Vic Mackey doing all that and then some on The Shield. Damn! I hereby dub Tuesday night as "Oh, no you didn't! TV."

This show hasn't lost any of its luster. In fact, if anything, the tightest and tautest drama on TV just keeps getting better. Is that Carrie-Anne Moss's twin sister shacking up with Shane? And how long do you think Vic will let her interfere with a member of his strike team? Gotta say, I loved seeing sexually confused Julien borrow a pair of cajones from Vic and go eye for an eye rather than turning the other cheek. It was about time he returned the favor to the guys who threw him a blanket party.

Meanwhile, the Armenian mob is making the Soprano family look like shoplifters. Leaving footless corpses all over town, these guys are itchin' to recover their stolen loot and attracting the attention of the feds who want to recover some marked bills that were part of a money-laundering sting. Oh, it's gettin' good, but take it from me, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. Just wait 'til episode five — Oh my god — I can't even hint at what's in store so I'll just leave it at, "Oh, no you didn't!"

A quick note to the FCC — don't even think of putting this show under your microscope, 'cause I will come to Washington to protect artistic freedom, even if it means giving free courses to disgruntled viewers on how to use their remote control to change the channel. Don't you mess with my Shield.

Significant Others
I have to admit I was skeptical about the idea of an improvised sitcom, but Bravo appears to have pulled it off. Three couples in therapy highlighting the complexities of marriage and the differences between men and women. As one husband tries to explain the "guy" perspective to his wife, she coolly replies "First of all, you're not a guy any more, you're married." Yep, that about sums it up. A word of caution: If you're currently engaged, you might want to sit this one out.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo Commercial
Since when does Porsche have to advertise? And whose idea was it to mate a Porsche 911 Carrera with a Jeep Grand Cherokee? There must be a hot market for soccer moms with lead feet.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
This show, on the other hand, is better than therapy. It has romance, style and cool grooming tips reminiscent of those magic tricks we learned from The Super Friends. That said, last night's episode was a bit of a dud. Somehow turning a handsome figure skater and his beautiful new bride into, well, a more handsome skater with different furniture and better shoes just isn't that dramatic. We want guys who look like they just crawled out of a cave, with no class and no sense of style. We want the ugly duckling to turn into a swan. We want to see that look of sheer terror in Cro-Magnon man's eyes as he inserts the swirling blades of a nose-hair trimmer into his nostril for the first time. And whose idea was it for two figure skaters to take a romantic trip to an ice-skating rink? Not exactly pushing the envelope on that one, guys.

Cracking Up
Hmmmm... not sure about this one. Better consult my son's Magic 8 Ball. Does this show work? Is it really funny or just kinda funny? Is there room for it on a network that pioneered, and yes, relies on, dysfunctional-family sitcoms like Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons and Arrested Development? Shake, shake, shake. "Reply hazy, try again." Yeah, that's kinda what we figured.

Actually, it ain't half bad, especially when compared to any number of recent sitcom disasters that ABC or NBC have unkindly subjected us to (CBS, you brought us Two and a Half Men which earns you a pass, for now). Chris McDonald and Molly Shannon as the dysfunctional-patriarch duo don't just chew the scenery, they devour it like that freaky dog the show imported from Down and Out in Beverly Hills. When Shannon, martini in hand, gives Jason Schwartzman the come hither with her "You think I'm a hot mama" routine, we pray that she'll come to her senses and re-join the cast of Saturday Night Live. Alas, the Magic 8 Ball confirms the rumor that she won't be returning to SNL any time soon.

American Idol
Now there's an hour and a half of my life that I wish I could get back. I should have tuned out when they dropped Lisa Leuschner in the first five minutes, 'cause that girl has a set of pipes that were heaven sent, even if her body keeps her rather earthbound. And where was Erskine Walcott? Anybody? Simon was right to be disappointed because aside from Jennifer Hudson (who needs to tape her arms to her side when she sings) and George Huff (who still hasn't found the right song to show off his beautiful voice) they all lacked that certain something that makes you sit up and take notice.

And while I'm sure the contestants appreciate the encouragement of Paula and Randy, I gotta hand it to Simon for doing what he does best by dashing dreams and laying it on the line. It takes a lot to make it in showbiz and even when you think you've made it, you may not have. Isn't that right, Justin?

Daniel R. Coleridge is on assignment. Today's column was written by Daniel Roberts. (It's a little confusing, we know...) For more dish on The Shield, watch Watercooler boys Coleridge and Michael Peck tonight on TV Guide Channel's What's On. You better tune in or we'll sick Vic on ya!