SUNDAY, JAN. 18
ANOTHER CINDERELLA STORY
8 P.M. | ABC FAMILY
(right, with Drew Seeley) stars in a modern take on the fairy tale, transplanted to a Beverly Hills high school.
9 P.M. | HBO
Season 3 for Bill Paxton's terrific series—which gets a jolt of relevance after 2008's headlines about polygamists in Texas.
SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL
10:30 P.M. | SHOWTIME
The return of Billie Piper as Belle, a hard-working and well-meaning-at-heart London hooker.
MONDAY, JAN. 19
8 P.M. | FOX
Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) and team puzzle out the case of a man whose chronic excruciating pain has left him suicidal.
TWO AND A HALF MEN
9 P.M. | CBS
Alan (Jon Cryer) is under the impression that he's gonna be a daddy, while young Jake (Angus T. Jones) is in a foul mood.
TUESDAY, JAN. 20
CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
The historic swearing-in ceremony of Barack Obama is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. ET. The numbers will be huuuuuge.
THURSDAY, JAN. 22
9:31 P.M. | NBC
Jenna (Jane Krakowski, right) tries a method-acting approach to portraying rock-and-roll goddess (and mess) Janis Joplin.
Showtime, Jan. 18, 10 p.m. ET
Toni Collette is one of the best actresses around, but Diablo Cody has thrown her under the bus. Make that multiple buses. Cody, who won an Oscar for her screenplay for Juno
, is the creator of this frustrating series (which also lists Steven Spielberg as an executive producer). Collette is a suburban mom, Tara, who suffered a repressed trauma in her past and now responds to stress by slipping into one of three identities: an obnoxious teen girl, a Stepford-calm homemaker or a redneck named Buck. Each is so jarringly broad that their appearances wreck the show's otherwise sharp satiric realism. (Rosemarie DeWitt is especially on target as Tara's sister, undermined by insecurity without splintering apart.) Collette might as well be doing Saturday Night Live
skits—it's like United States of Kristen Wiig.
FOX, Jan. 21, 9 p.m. ET
Tim Roth, best known for Reservoir Dogs
and Pulp Fiction
, plays Cal Lightman, a deception expert who assists in criminal investigations using a well-honed technique that helps him detect all sorts of clues in a suspect's voice, expression and gestures. It's sort of like The Mentalist
with body language. The first episode's mystery—a murdered teacher—falls a bit flat, but Roth's performance is wry and clever; while everyone involved with the death acts up a storm of telltale twitches, he's poker-faced—yet his is the performance you watch.
ABC, Jan. 21, 9 p.m. ET
The cult hit returns with a two-hour episode that, even by Lost
standards, is jackalope-crazy—and, for fans, unmissable. The concept of coming unmoored in time, introduced in Season 4, gets ramped up to a degree that's exhausting. Please make it stop! Then Hour 2 ends with an urgent warning of doom that, as apocalypses go, feels a bit over the top. What keeps Lost
anchored are strong scenes of concrete human connection. When Hurley (Jorge Garcia) explains his adventures to his mother, she grabs his hand: "I don't understand you. But I believe you." You may find yourself unexpectedly verklempt.
On ABC Family's Secret Life of the American Teenager
, she's 15 and pregnant. In real life, she's 17—and standing strong.
YOU RECENTLY REVEALED THAT YOU SUFFERED FROM SCOLIOSIS. I just got out of a brace I wore for two years to correct it. My spine is shaped like an S. I don't want to have surgery. For now Pilates is helping a lot.
AS AN ACTRESS PLAYING A MOM-TO-BE, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON PREMARITAL SEX? I've never been in love, and I've never been pressured to have sex. [But] I don't necessarily believe in waiting for marriage. Be safe, take precautions, and don't go against your moral code.
In Season 2, FX's legal thriller is all about "revenge, forgiveness and how you can't escape your past," says cocreator Daniel Zelman.
GLENN CLOSE Her character, lawyer Patty Hewes, tried to kill underling Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Now? "She regrets what she did, but she's not going to give up power," says Close. "You also learn about her past."
TIMOTHY OLYPHANT meets Ellen in grief counseling. "You're not sure if he's good for Ellen or bad," says Byrne.
ROSE BYRNE tries to bring down her boss by working for the Feds. Does she have the edge? "At first ..." says Byrne.
WILLIAM HURT is Daniel Purcell, Patty's client—and a key to her past. "He's more on her level," says cocreator Glenn Kessler.