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Tonight's TV Hot List: Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009

True Blood9/8c HBO "There's no place like home" may be a familiar refrain, but, with their business in Dallas complete, Sookie, Bill and Jason return to a Bon Temps they barely recognize, thanks to Maryann's black-eyed coup d'état. To make matters worse, it appears that Bill's vampire voodoo is no match for the maenad's mind-control mayhem, and Sookie may be too late to help Tara out of her Dionysian daze. One bright spot, however, may be the chance that Jason can put his commando training to good use after all.Read on for previews of Mad Men, Merlin, Miss Universe Pageant and Ice Road Truckers.

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True Blood
9/8c HBO
"There's no place like home" may be a familiar refrain, but, with their business in Dallas complete, Sookie, Bill and Jason return to a Bon Temps they barely recognize, thanks to Maryann's black-eyed coup d'état. To make matters worse, it appears that Bill's vampire voodoo is no match for the maenad's mind-control mayhem, and Sookie may be too late to help Tara out of her Dionysian daze. One bright spot, however, may be the chance that Jason can put his commando training to good use after all. — Joe Friedrich
Mad Men
10/9c AMC
Now that the British invasion of Sterling Cooper is in full throttle, new financial officer Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) seizes the opportunity to break bread with the "face of our business," Don Draper. So Don and Betty join Pryce and his wife, Rebecca, at a posh restaurant, where they get a heaping helping of the Brit couple's snobby, bigoted attitudes. At the Draper home, Betty's slipping-into-senility father (Ryan Cutrona) pays a visit; while at the office, an unusual request from a client sends the firm scrambling. — Ray Stackhouse
Merlin
8/7c NBC
The magical summer series ends its maiden season with a lesson for all aspiring wizards and witches: There's a steep price to be paid for playing with fate. Such it is for Merlin, whose efforts to save the life of a fatally wounded Arthur takes him to the Isle of the Blessed, where Nimueh offers him a potion that will resuscitate the young prince. But the enchantment works by balancing the demands of fate: To spare one, it takes the life of another. Is that a deal Merlin's willing to make? — Jeff Gemmill
Miss Universe Pageant
9/8c NBC
Giving new meaning to the term "global warming," an eye-pleasing collection of global beauties vies for the crown by competing in swimsuit, evening-gown and interview categories at the 58th annual event, held at the lush Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas. It's life's rich pageant when Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza crowns her successor, and rapper Flo Rida, songstress Kelly Rowland and French DJ David Guetta perform. And The Hills are alive with the sound of TV personality Heidi Montag, who also takes to the stage. Billy Bush and model-actress Claudia Jordan are the hosts. — Dean Maurer
Ice Road Truckers
9/8c History
The chill thrill closes its third season by following the final 72 hours of the ice-road season. The finale seems like an appropriate place for another parting — George Spears retires. Elsewhere on the road, the series' first female driver, Lisa, has a dramatic final trip, going 300 miles with no brakes; Alex and Hugh's rivalry heats up; and polar bears shut down the road, stopping Jack Jesse's progress. — Bill Ecklund