HBO, June 26, 9 p.m. ET/PT |
Kicking off its fourth season, the HBO hit is an ark overloaded with seemingly every possible supernatural species: fairies, werewolves and werepanthers, witches, vampires and what may be a demon baby. Not even the blunt, no-nonsense clarity of Anna Paquin as heroine Sookie can bring much narrative focus to the first three episodes. Luckily Blood is still buoyed by its weird, Gothic zest-I'm not going to complain about a show in which a character says, "You just killed my fairy godmother!"-and the performers all operate with the same vibe of ripe sexuality and restrained camp. An entertaining twist provides Alexander Skarsgard, who dominates as icily chic vampire Eric, some unexpected scenes of oddball comedy-and he's funny. The season has one terrific newcomer: Fiona Shaw, probably best known as Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter movies, is Marnie, a shambling, seemingly harmless witch. But when Shaw begins bellowing incantations, she's hair-raisingly powerful.
USA, June 29, 10 p.m. ET/PT |
Callie Thorne (Rescue Me) plays Dani Santino, a Long Island psychotherapist taking on her first celebrity client. He's a football wide receiver (Mehcad Brooks) who keeps fumbling the ball and getting into trouble off the field. Dani has plenty of trouble herself: She's divorcing her unfaithful husband and fighting to keep custody of their kids. Thorne has the right bristling, combative energy for all this commotion, but the pilot-which is setting up Dani as an in-demand mental handler to the stars-is hard to swallow. It's In Treatment interrupted with blasts of air horn and vuvuzela.
WHAT I LOVE THIS WEEK
THE BIG C
SEASON 2 STARTS JUNE 27
Laura Linney embarks on a difficult journey of chemotherapy. The Showtime comedy remains sharp, touching and a little crazy.
FORECAST: A LOT MORE RAIN!
AMC RENEWS THE KILLING
The crime series, set in a very wet Seattle, made a star of Mireille Enos as a sullen yet soulful cop.
A REMATCH MADE IN REALITY HEAVEN
A BACHELOR PAD SCORCHER
ABC's summer series is reuniting acrimonious Bachelor exes Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi. The cruel fun starts Aug. 8.
NBC's The Voice, a solid hit as it ends season 1 June 29, has found its own voice as the star coaches work with their handpicked teams. It's a more intimate American Idol. Wasn't it nice of Cee Lo Green to give his singers a spa day? And if Christina Aguilera
's presence is more vulgar than Jennifer Lopez
's, it's livelier-catchier.
MY FAVORITE TV DUOS
As half of the team on the TNT legal drama Franklin & Bash (he's Franklin), the actor, 37, picks his top TV pairings.
1 TOM & JERRY, THE TOM & JERRY SHOW
Tom and Jerry were what I was pointing at when I was 10, saying, "Mom, I want to do that." That was where I started to want to be an actor. I was like, "Man, these guys are making me feel!" I respect the hell out of them: Their friendship has outlasted everything.
2 HENRY & KIP, BOSOM BUDDIES
I'm a big fan of Henry [Peter Scolari] and Kip [Tom Hanks]-two guys who don drag clothing in order to stay in a women-only [hotel]. It was super-early Tom Hanks work, and he is a genius. And Peter Scolari can juggle. That's really all I look for in powerful duos: someone who can do something with a shiny rock and the other who can mesmerize me with his acting.
3 LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY
Any good duo should be considered a good one-two punch, and they complement each other. And Laverne [Penny Marshall] was an enigma to me because she drank milk and Pepsi.
4 REN & STIMPY, THE REN & STIMPY SHOW
Know why I'm a fan? Their mantra of "Happy, happy, joy, joy." It was a relationship kids could appreciate-and also meth addicts could appreciate. Obviously Ren was addicted to methamphetamine and Stimpy was an enabler. [laughs] People don't realize, Stimpy was the precursor to Celebrity Rehab!