I wasn't wild about NCIS: Los Angeles when it arrived in fall 2009-it felt like NCIS, only with more letters-but in season 2 it pairs well with the veteran hit that spawned it (and which is enjoying its best ratings ever in season 8). To watch these popular CBS action dramas back-to-back on Tuesdays is like going for a walk with a large, mature dog and a bouncy, somewhat dopey puppy. Los Angeles, with an ensemble headed by Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J, has a brighter palette and feels more open-aired (and younger) than the East Coast NCIS, except for those moments when Linda Hunt appears as Hetty Lange, who runs the place. Hunt delivers her lines with deep, theatrical gusto, as if she were teaching at Hogwarts. In an age in which TV storytelling has become dense with detail and, in the case of procedurals, thick with sinister perversions, both shows have an old-fashioned but relaxing simplicity, with an upbeat emphasis on the value of being a team. It's family entertainment. Both shows:
A&E, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Two U.S. marshals recruit a crack team from prison and set them loose-with a lot of strings attached, but the promise of eventual freedom-to chase down escaped fugitives. Not a bad concept, but the casting is out of whack. Laz Alonso (Avatar) and Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire), as the marshals, both have a sullen solidity that overshadows the crew: The tug between fulfilling their duty to the law or up and flying the coop themselves should give these convicts a tense instability. Instead, they can seem merely ditsy.
1 MAD LOVE
MON. MARCH 14 8:30 P.M.
Sarah Chalke tries to reform buddy Tyler Labine of his bad breakup habits.
2 JOAN & MELISSA
TUES. MARCH 15 9 P.M.
Season finale to the reality show with Joan Rivers and daughter.
3 THE COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST
TUES. MARCH 15 10:30 P.M.
Donald Trump and his hair get insulted. Fine.
4 30 ROCK
THURS. MARCH 17 10 P.M.
Sherri Shepherd returns as Tracy Morgan's imperious wife, nouveau reality star Angie.
FRI. MARCH 18 8 P.M.
In the series finale, kind and sensible Jo Frost helps the family of a Texas widower.
COMMIT, BRAD, or else!
Dear Mr. Womack,
You aren't going to screw this up, are you? You will hand a rose to Chantal or Emily on The Bachelor's March 14 finale. I just wish I trusted you, but you still have this weird evasiveness. Would it really have been so reckless to kiss Emily while her daughter slept upstairs? You're on a top ABC show, not in a Henry James novel! And your annoying querulousness in dumping Ashley-what, did she get your food order wrong? Give your heart away and give us all some happiness. Gracias!
XOXO, A crabby romantic
VH1 reality star La La Anthony, 31, is filming La La's Full Court Life in N.Y.C.
YOUR HUSBAND, NBA STAR CARMELO ANTHONY, WAS TRADED TO THE NEW YORK KNICKS LAST MONTH. HOW ARE YOU LIKING THE BIG APPLE?
I lived here years ago, and the hot spots then are not the [same]. I'm getting reacclimated: What's the best nail salon? What's the best place for a late dinner?
WHERE WILL YOU LIVE?
I'm looking at all options. Our son [Kiyan, 4] is used to running around a house with a backyard, and I don't want to take him out of what he's comfortable with. And I need high ceilings and doorways. Melo's 6'8"!
YOU TWO BOTH HAVE FAMILY NEARBY NOW. WHAT'S THAT LIKE?
I'm not used to that. It's fun-until you get the [Knicks] ticket requests. Then it gets tricky!
SCREAM REAL LOUD!
The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway (March 19 on HBO) is a belated comeback for Paul Reubens' famous alter ego-the cackling man-child whose sharp elbows and tight suit make him look like human origami. Most of the characters from his classic '80s Saturday-morning series are here too. Reubens is getting a bit old for this, but Pee-wee's innocence, infantilism and camp haven't dated-there's a rebel in the ridiculousness.
FOUR WIVES, FOUR QUESTIONS
The polygamist, 43, starts season 2 of his TLC reality show on March 13.
YOU MOVED YOUR FAMILY OF 21 TO LAS VEGAS IN JANUARY. HOW'S LIFE IN SIN CITY?
We were brokenhearted to leave Utah, and it's been hard on our teenagers, who miss their friends. But the people here have done everything but roll out the red carpet for us.
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE SINCE THE MOVE?
I really miss my mothers-in-law, but the toughest part has been that we now live in four separate houses, which my wives like. But it's a burden when I want to see my children and family every day.
HAS REALITY TV STARDOM AFFECTED YOUR KIDS?
It's been a double-edged sword. One of my daughters has complained that the kids at her school only want to talk about the show, which has made it hard for her to find any real friends.
ANY TRUTH TO THE RUMORS YOU'RE SHOPPING FOR WIFE NO. 5?
That's the biggest bunch of baloney. We just took a fourth wife. Maybe in 10 years we'll consider it. Then again, maybe not.