Parenthood

NBC, March 2, 10 p.m. ET/PT | [

bgwhite bgwhite   

]

DRAMA

This adaptation of the hit 1989 movie is emotionally ample, as any decent family drama should be, but the premiere feels like a dowdier cousin of shows already out there. It could be Brothers & Sisters in a lower tax bracket, or a Modern Family whose house has begun to subside. (There was even an earlier, short-lived network version in 1990 that briefly featured Leonardo DiCaprio.) Lauren Graham (replacing Maura Tierney, who left because of cancer treatment) is a single, money-strapped mom who moves her kids back in with the folks. Peter Krause plays her brother Adam, who needs the family to confront a crisis: His son suffers from Asperger's syndrome. The acting and atmosphere are warm—but maybe warmed over. That's the problem.

The Late Late Show

CBS, weeknights, 12:37 a.m. ET/PT | [

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  

]

TALK

During this lull in the talk show wars, let's pay attention to a true original in the moonlit hours. Scotland native Craig Ferguson, whose set is so spare and dark it might more properly be called a chamber, has transformed the standard opening monologue into a genuinely theatrical one. Ferguson works daringly close to the camera, frantically racing through topics and gags. This intimacy can be more disorienting than funny, as he leans forward and lets little glints of madness flash in his eyes. There's a sense of risk, adventure, even folly. As he recently told his audience, "You wouldn't fork out for cable, and I'm an immigrant doing a job an American doesn't want."

Who Do You Think You Are?

NBC, March 5, 8 p.m. ET/PT | [

bgwhite bgwhite bgwhite  

]

REALITY

This gently intriguing show traces the genealogy of seven celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Lisa Kudrow (who's also executive producer), Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee. Parker, incredibly engaging out of her glam Carrie Bradshaw getups, is linked both to the California gold rush and the Salem witch trials.

None of these results will rock a viewer's world, but it's unexpectedly satisfying to see stars in a reality project that's more relatable than ballroom dancing or a temporary work detail for Donald Trump.

>1 THE BACHELOR: ON THE WINGS OF LOVE

MON. 3/1 8 P.M. ABC

So, Jake Pavelka, who's gonna get that final rose from you?

2 LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT

WED. 3/3 10 P.M. NBC

Officer Leno is gone! Mariska Hargitay moves back to 10.

3 THE OPRAH WINFREY OSCAR SPECIAL

WED. 3/3 10:01 P.M. ABC

"Oprah," "Oscar"—why, their names are only two letters apart!

4 COMMUNITY

THURS. ¾ 8 P.M. NBC

American Idol's Katharine McPhee guest-stars as Chevy Chase's stepdaughter.

5 THE MARRIAGE REF

THURS. ¾ 10 P.M. NBC

Jerry Seinfeld is the producer of a new reality comedy featuring spatting couples.

>• LuAnn de Lesseps (right) and Bethenny Frankel dominate the March 4 season premiere of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York City. They aren't afraid to throw back their shoulders and let rip with a verbal slap. When they attack each other, it's as exhilarating as watching Avatar's Na'vi go to war. Over something like shoes.

>• The actor, 43, best known for Crossing Jordan, plays the frontman of a washed-up hair band in the Disney XD network's sitcom.

CAN YOU PLAY ANY INSTRUMENTS?

I'm learning guitar, which is depressing. Logan [Miller, his 18-year-old costar] has been playing since he was 9. I'm just trying, and my fingers are killing me! But I get the leather pants, and that's all that counts.

HOW ARE THOSE WORKING OUT?

You watch people like David Lee Roth who do splits in tight leather pants, but the first pair we had, I could barely climb a stair. The secret is to put this elastic cloth down the inseam.

YOU'RE ENGAGED TO ACTRESS INNA KOROBKINA. ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH THE PLANNING?

We're really doing it as a team, but I'm sure at some point I'll say, "Whatever you want to do!"

>• FX's series about two handsome–creep plastic surgeons (Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon) ends its seven–season run March 3. The show was cutting–edge in many ways: the operating–room gore (those scenes are still tough to watch), the tone (cool, chic nastiness) and a willingness–often exasperating, often perversely impressive–to go waaaay over the top. (Four words: Sharon Gless, plush toy.) Nip didn't just jump the shark, it pole-vaulted it.

>• Playing take-charge Dr. Lisa Cuddy, the actress, 43, is a new adoptive mom on the FOX medical drama.

ON HER MEDICAL EXPERTISE

If somebody were horribly injured, I'd be right in there. Only if I really knew what I was doing, that would be better. But I can say "clear!" really well.

ON BEING A TV MOM

I was handed a 3-week-old baby, and it's incredible. I felt an enormous amount of responsibility. I'd love to be a real-life mother, but my life would be just as valid and rich if it doesn't happen.

ON HER AND DR. CUDDY'S LOVE LIVES

We both have terrible taste in men, but I'm getting better. I've definitely been attracted to somebody who was terrible for me. I like what's exciting, and sometimes that isn't the healthiest move.

>1 THE BACHELOR: ON THE WINGS OF LOVE

MON. 3/1 8 P.M. ABC

So, Jake Pavelka, who's gonna get that final rose from you?

2 LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT

WED. 3/3 10 P.M. NBC

Officer Leno is gone! Mariska Hargitay moves back to 10.

3 THE OPRAH WINFREY OSCAR SPECIAL

WED. 3/3 10:01 P.M. ABC

"Oprah," "Oscar"—why, their names are only two letters apart!

4 COMMUNITY

THURS. ¾ 8 P.M. NBC

American Idol's Katharine McPhee guest-stars as Chevy Chase's stepdaughter.

5 THE MARRIAGE REF

THURS. ¾ 10 P.M. NBC

Jerry Seinfeld is the producer of a new reality comedy featuring spatting couples.

>• LuAnn de Lesseps (right) and Bethenny Frankel dominate the March 4 season premiere of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York City. They aren't afraid to throw back their shoulders and let rip with a verbal slap. When they attack each other, it's as exhilarating as watching Avatar's Na'vi go to war. Over something like shoes.

>• The actor, 43, best known for Crossing Jordan, plays the frontman of a washed-up hair band in the Disney XD network's sitcom.

CAN YOU PLAY ANY INSTRUMENTS?

I'm learning guitar, which is depressing. Logan [Miller, his 18-year-old costar] has been playing since he was 9. I'm just trying, and my fingers are killing me! But I get the leather pants, and that's all that counts.

HOW ARE THOSE WORKING OUT?

You watch people like David Lee Roth who do splits in tight leather pants, but the first pair we had, I could barely climb a stair. The secret is to put this elastic cloth down the inseam.

YOU'RE ENGAGED TO ACTRESS INNA KOROBKINA. ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH THE PLANNING?

We're really doing it as a team, but I'm sure at some point I'll say, "Whatever you want to do!"

>• FX's series about two handsome-creep plastic surgeons (Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon) ends its seven-season run March 3. The show was cutting-edge in many ways: the operating-room gore (those scenes are still tough to watch), the tone (cool, chic nastiness) and a willingness—often exasperating, often perversely impressive—to go waaaay over the top. (Four words: Sharon Gless, plush toy.) Nip didn't just jump the shark, it pole-vaulted it.

>• Playing take-charge Dr. Lisa Cuddy, the actress, 43, is a new adoptive mom on the FOX medical drama.

ON HER MEDICAL EXPERTISE

If somebody were horribly injured, I'd be right in there. Only if I really knew what I was doing, that would be better. But I can say "clear!" really well.

ON BEING A TV MOM

I was handed a 3-week-old baby, and it's incredible. I felt an enormous amount of responsibility. I'd love to be a real-life mother, but my life would be just as valid and rich if it doesn't happen.

ON HER AND DR. CUDDY'S LOVE LIVES

We both have terrible taste in men, but I'm getting better. I've definitely been attracted to somebody who was terrible for me. I like what's exciting, and sometimes that isn't the healthiest move.