Picks and Pans Main: TV

updated 08/23/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/23/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bachelor Pad

ABC, Aug. 9, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

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REALITY

It's no surprise ABC would want to do a Bachelor/Bachelorette knockoff-recent seasons have made for terrific (and popular) romantic schlock, with cotton-candy clouds of love and storms of recrimination-but this is Survivor for speed daters. It's a cynical bummer. In the premiere, 19 former rose chasers, both men and women, come together in a mansion (with co-ed bedrooms!) to compete for a single $250,000 prize. Although the show doesn't rule out new, even happy relationships, contestants are busy competing in immunity challenges and forming alliances. They even toy with the idea of sexual hookups to barter a longer run in the game. This is competent reality fare, but coming after the besotted Ali and Roberto, it's like tying cans of nitroglycerin to a honeymooner's car.

Dora's Big Birthday Adventure

Nick, Aug. 15, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

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REVIEWED BY MICHELLE TAUBER

KIDS

For parents of preschoolers, Dora is as much a part of life as graham cracker crumbs in the couch. Which is just fine: Nickelodeon's wildly popular girl explorer-who's marking 10 years on the air-remains a timeless icon of can-do spirit and bilingual cheeriness. Sure, the stuttering theme song ("D-d-d-d-d-Dora") and emphatic diction ("Do YOU see the tall tree?") can drive parents bonkers, but for young kids, Dora is a muy sweet piece of pop culture.

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