Picks and Pans Main: TV

updated 10/26/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/26/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

White Collar

USA, Oct. 23, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

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Here's a show for folks who, when rehashing TV shows at the office cooler, would just as soon forget the sense of heavy, gray dread that lurks in any episode of Mad Men. White Collar is a light-fingered crime caper in keeping with other USA dramas like Burn Notice and Royal Pains: breezy, slick, undemanding entertainment. Matt Bomer plays handsome young con man Neal Caffrey, now a partner in crime-solving with Peter Burke (Tim DeKay), the rumpled FBI agent who chased him for years. In the premiere the mystery builds smoothly on strikingly odd clues, including a Spanish-language Little Red Riding Hood. Caffrey might be played more plausibly as an ingratiating sociopath—Bomer mostly smiles charmingly. But DeKay is very good and reality-rooted as Burke—a decent man often clouded over by frustration.

The Joy Behar Show

HLN, weeknights, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

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Joy Behar is capable of holding up her end of any conversation—this we know—and given enough time she'll get the hang of having her own weeknight talk show. Minus The View's other women (particularly Barbara Walters and her hushed chill, which makes Behar seem even more energetically pointed), she appears undefined. Shot up close, she's overwhelmed by her fireworks display of red hair. But she gels with guests who tickle her sense of the absurd, like comedian Lewis Black and (surprise!) that manic spigot of one-liners, conservative Ann Coulter. I hope she'll drop the nightly, it's-my-two-cents editorial spot. It's your show, lady. These are all your cents.

The Dr. Oz Show

Weekdays, syndicated |

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Oprah medical expert whose impeccably floppy hair never undercuts the power he projects while dressed in scrubs, now has his own hour-long program. The Dr. Oz Show is determined to be instructive without letting a moment slide into waiting-room tedium, and largely succeeds. Oz crams in what feels like hundreds of segments—weight control, exercise, cancer prevention and so on—and pulls off his audience interactions with courtesy and speed. You could argue that it's undignified to see a doctor demonstrate how to dance off calories, as if he were Richard Simmons without the sweat and sparkle. But you always learn something—for instance, that apples are good for your lungs.

Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut)

IFC, Oct. 18, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

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This six-hour, six-night documentary about the great British comedy troupe hits all the right notes: excellent clips from their TV series and films, plus interviews that are informative and funny. Fans may regret seeing their irreverent heroes packaged in what can feel like a Ken Burns documentary for loons, but shouldn't all America know that Elvis Presley loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

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