Picks and Pans Review: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

UPDATED 06/22/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/22/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

NBC, weeknights, 11:35 p.m. ET/PT |

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THE NEW HOST!

COMEDY
Admittedly, Conan O'Brien's first few nights taking over from Jay Leno suggested it may take some time for him (and viewers) to adjust to the change in scale. Over the years he seems to have tailored himself into something as minimalist as a Pixar cartoon character—white skin, long angles, that flame of hair shooting up—and yet now he comes before us on a surprisingly sumptuous deco set. You don't expect to see an up-to-the-minute comedian delivering his monologue before a pretty scrim of frosted blue glass. But O'Brien's humor, ridiculous and genial, has survived the move from New York. It's hard not to like a man who says the one star people in Hollywood mistake him for is Tilda Swinton. He also did a great bit about celebrities using Twitter and knocked guest Tom Hanks over with a fake meteor. As for the chortling amiability of Leno—who, in a weird programming experiment, returns in prime time in September—nah, I don't miss it.

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