ABC, Thursdays, 9 and 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Grey's has been on long enough now that it has lost much of its erotic sizzle-McDreamy is edging toward McNappy-but the satisfyingly steady seventh season is a model of a hit that keeps fitting new characters into the blueprint. It took me by surprise to realize that, as the story has reaccelerated after a climactic shooting, Drs. Hunt and Altman (Kevin McKidd and Kim Raver) seem to have been scrubbing in at Seattle Grace forever. These aren't breakout characters or even performances, but they have a matter-of-fact utility that keeps the machine running. Meanwhile, season 4 of Private Practice, the Grey's spinoff, has been a showcase for KaDee Strickland as that tough nut Dr. King. After being raped and beaten-her broken eye socket was a visual shocker-King has tried to rely on her ferocious intelligence, unwilling to let her crisis go from private to public. Powerful performance.
Shake It Up
Disney, Sundays, 8:30 p.m. ET/PT |
Shake It Up doesn't shake up the kidcom formula one bit, but it has something more than the usual shiny-sparkly cuteness. Newcomers Bella Thorne and Zendaya, as friends who perform on a teen dance show in Chicago, race through their scenes with a frenetic enthusiasm that occasionally spills over into genuine girlishness. The best performances are from Caroline Sunshine and Kenton Duty as an overbearing brother-and-sister act from abroad named Tinka and Gunther. They're like High School Musical's Sharpay split in two and speaking in a ludicrous, unplaceable accent.
Men of a Certain Age
TNT, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Back for season 2, Ray Romano's fine series about men at midlife could easily be reconfigured to be more like its TNT brethren-maybe a slick caper about three guys breaking out of routine by pulling off robberies. Instead, they continue as before, treading water while hoping for a fresh current to carry them to new shores. Romano, as a party-supply-store owner, is focusing on his pro-golf dreams, while Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula sell cars. It's very entertaining in its low-key, waist-widening way.
1 THE AMAZING RACE
SUN. 12/12 8 P.M. CBS
End of another breathless season with host Phil Keoghan.
MON. 12/13 9 P.M. A&E
The stirring show's season premiere focuses on Rachel, a heroin-addicted artist.
3 MARIAH CAREY
: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU
Mon. 12/13 9 P.M. ABC
Well, to you too, Mariah! Holiday songs.
4 THE BIGGEST LOSER
TUES. 12/14 9 P.M. NBC
Trainer Jillian Michaels is on hand for the two-hour finale.
5 CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON
FRI. 12/17 8 P.M. TNT
Ellen DeGeneres hosts the special. And Glee star Matthew Morrison is performing!
5 FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
The 29-year-old star of ABC Family's Dec. 12 film Christmas Cupid reflects on the specials that make her season merry.
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
It still holds up. I love the animation, and it's one of my favorite Christmas songs.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
My mom watched with me, and I will watch it with my daughter [Violet, 9 months]. Charlie Brown's tree was so sparse. It couldn't hold a candle to the Milian trees, which were always big and filled with decorations. They get bigger and bigger every year.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN' TO TOWN
As a kid, this was so good for my imagination. It made me continue to believe in Santa.
THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS
What would we do without Santa? Mrs. Claus wears the pants in the family and was ready to take over.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
Christmas is about imagination. The thought that you put a carrot nose on a ball of snow and it comes to life is adorable. If that could come true, it would be awesome.
Carrie Fisher, Star Wars princess, bestselling author and 54-year-old poster child for the thrills and pitfalls of growing up Hollywood, takes us on an affectionately caustic tour of her life in the filmed stage show Wishful Drinking (Dec. 12, HBO). She's at her best mapping out the messy web of relationships that come with being the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and the late Eddie Fisher. Carrie doesn't kid herself-she's just a footnote waving from the bottom margin of a much bigger story. Her definition of "celebrity" says it all: "Obscurity biding its time."