NBC, Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET/PT |
& 9 p.m. ET/PT |
Community has consistently been the best thing about NBC's Thursday lineup this fall. Awesomely clever, it's the Inception of sitcoms. In season 2 the show has preserved its core concept of friendships in a community-college study group while piling on daringly odd jokes. One subplot involving a pregnancy played out wordlessly in long-distance shots, like a silent-movie footnote. Then there was the episode that hinged on a kleptomaniacal monkey. And Dec. 9's Christmas show is animated.
Which is an adjective that no longer applies to The Office. Now in season 7, the onetime groundbreaker has become merely sweet and amiable. It crumbles like a soft-baked cookie. Star Steve Carell is exiting in May, but with his blank-eyed smile, he already may be gone.
ABC, Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Most cop dramas start out wearing the same basic uniform: squad cars, evasive witnesses, banter with an unfriendly edge. Over time the broken-in uniform takes on a more individual shape. So it is with the admirable new Detroit 1-8-7. Shot on location in one of the country's most troubled areas, the series has developed its own original rhythm, each week breaking cases down into unexpectedly punchy vignettes. The cast is excellent. Michael Imperioli and James McDaniel (NYPD Blue) in particular have the right touch: grim routine with a humanizing hint of something off-balance.
Strange Days with Bob Saget
A&E, Nov. 30, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Strange idea. Bob Saget, whose relaxed, sometimes risque humor has the showbiz insularity of sitcoms and comedy clubs, ventures across the U.S. to sample odd cultural pockets. He rides (in the sidecar) with a Kentucky biker club; he traipses through the Washington forests with Big Foot stalkers. Some of it's funny, but revelatory? Not too.
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
VH1, Dec. 1, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Kicking off season 4, Dr. Drew Pinsky informs us that "the addicts are more resistant to treatment than ever before." But with these notorious patients, including actors Eric Roberts and Jeremy London, it's hard as ever to tell where emotional purging ends and over-the-top performance begins. The latest cast shares plenty of lively, awful moments. Jason Davis, the rude offspring of a rich Hollywood family, walks past model Janice Dickinson and mutters, "I smell facelifts."
1 CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
MON. 11/29 9:30 P.M. ABC
LeAnn Rimes sings, along with Brad Paisley and Sugarland.
2 CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER
TUES. 11/30 8 P.M. NBC
Ah! Susan Boyle is to be sweetly warbling.
3 SONS OF ANARCHY
TUES. 11/30 10 P.M. FX
Charlie Hunnam gets back to chopper-club business. Season ender.
4 THE VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW
TUES. 11/30 10 P.M. CBS
Katy Perry performs amid all the lingerie.
5 TOP CHEF ALL-STARS
WED. 12/1 10 P.M. BRAVO
Padma Lakshmi hosts a new season reuniting 18 past contestants.
PARKS AND RECREATION: SEASON 2
How good is Amy Poehler's small-town sitcom? 1. Even the deleted scenes are terrific. 2. This release includes a few minutes from the show's Jan. 20 return. Fans will love "the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness."
The actress, 35, hosts E!'s reality competition (debuting Nov. 28) in which brides-to-be vie for a dream wedding and free plastic surgery.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE SHOW?
The women are competing for the perfect wedding. The plastic surgery is just the perk! Reality television is just supposed to be fun. It doesn't define us as a society. It's just entertainment.
ARE THE PROCEDURES GOING TO BE EXTREME, LIKE THE SWAN?
No. We made sure these girls had realistic expectations. We weren't trying to Heidi Montag anyone, and I don't think that's what these women wanted.
DO YOU USE INJECTABLES?
In my forehead and around my eyes, about once a year since I was 27. I do it more for preventative measures. I'm happy with my personal results, but that stuff isn't for everybody.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
With season 11 done, here's who we want to see on the dance floor come spring.
Post-American Idol, his spring dance card is now free. Imagine the sniping with Len Goodman!
Sarah Palin's Bristol did swell. And John McCain was higher on the ticket, so his kid ...
Kate danced out her rage, and ratings soared. Now it's Dad's turn to rumba, America!
After she exits rehab, she can waltz her way to complete public redemption.