Mike & Molly

CBS, Mondays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT |

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COMEDY

A Marie Claire blogger recently caused a ruckus when she registered her distaste at the thought of watching the overweight lovers of Mike & Molly. She asked, "Fat people making out on TV-are you cool with it?" As if a kiss between stars Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell somehow would rank with Janet Jackson's Super Bowl costume malfunction. Maybe Molly is easily misunderstood because it's so modestly old-fashioned. It's about the tentative but glowing new romance between what used to be called the little people-workaday teacher and cop-only here they're, well, big. If they also happen to be more dignified and considerate than their relatives, the implication is their lives as outcasts have made them so. McCarthy, in particular, is superb: Her reactions register with light, sensitive swiftness. This has turned out to be fall's best new sitcom.

Sarah Palin's Alaska

TLC, Nov. 14, 9 p.m. ET |

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REALITY

A political ad dipped in a light reality batter and roasted on a campfire, Alaska follows the outdoorsy life of the state's ex-governor and her family while consciously reinforcing her political myth. Out fishing for salmon in the wilderness, she witnesses a mama bear fending for her cubs and observes that the bear "is sayin'...'Nobody's gonna mess with the future of this species.' " This is not something one casually concludes after seeing a dangerous mammal at close range. The most natural thing here is Palin's effortless command of the camera. In that regard, the show is fascinating.

1 THE BIG C

MON. 11/15 10:30 P.M.

SHOWTIME

Season finale for Laura Linney's cancer comedy. Expect to get all verklempt.

2 THE GOOD WIFE

TUES. 11/16 10 P.M.

CBS

Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) guests as a teen star in trouble.

3 HUMAN TARGET

WED. 11/17 8 P.M.

FOX

Mark Valley's action series returns with Indira Varma (Rome) joining the cast.

4 25 YEARS OF SEXY: PEOPLE MAGAZINE'S SEXIEST MAN ALIVE!

WED. 11/17 10 P.M.

ABC

Kim Kardashian hosts the celebration.

5 COMMUNITY

THURS. 11/18 8 P.M.

NBC

Donald Glover builds a huge blanket fort. Because that's the sort of thing he'd do.

LAW & ORDER: LOS ANGELES' TERRENCE HOWARD

LEGAL TRAINING

The Oscar nominee, 41, plays a deputy DA on the new NBC drama and cohosts the Soul Train Awards Nov. 28 on CENTRIC.

HOW DID YOU PREPARE TO PLAY A PROSECUTOR?

I'd spent the last few months working with the laws of South Africa. While shooting the film Winnie [playing Nelson Mandela], I was helping to get the Native Land Act of 1913, which dispossessed blacks of their land, repealed.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE LEGAL LINGO?

I have a set of law books I turn to. I also spent two years prepping for a [U.S. Supreme Court justice] Thurgood Marshall role, where I studied the entire Constitution.

WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT YOUR NEW GIG?

The kids are finding it completely wrong that I am holding them to the logic of what they say, and my wife thinks I question her like she is on the stand.

CAN YOU HOLD YOUR OWN ON THE DANCE FLOOR?

I still get up and do the line dance, but I don't put on the platforms.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE'S MICHAEL SHANNON

BOOZE HOUND

The actor, 36, plays a tortured Prohibition agent on the HBO drama.

WHO DO YOU WATCH THE SHOW WITH?

I'll take my daughter Sylvia [who's 2] to Grandma's house to watch it, but I spend a lot of time distracting her from what's going on. I didn't realize till I watched it with her: The show is pretty violent.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT OTHER JERSEY SHORE SHOW?

I can see why people are interested in Snooki and the Situation, but I can't spend an hour of my life watching that!