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Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 24, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

10PM | FX
Justified
– Oh, that Boyd (Walton Goggins). How long into last week’s season premiere did it take you to realize what he’d intended to do with his fight with Raylan (Timothy Olyphant)? Tonight, he tries to make a meeting with Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) happen, while Raylan tries to make sure it (and therefore Dickie’s death) doesn’t. Meanwhile, a former colleague of Raylan’s pops into the office, and she looks a lot like Carla Gugino, who, of course, played the titular character in another Elmore Leonard adaptation TV series.

8:30PM | CARTOON NETWORK
The Looney Tunes Show
– Bugs has a Nobel Prize, but no shelf to put it on … anthropomorphic bunny problems.

9PM | WE – 2ND SEASON PREMIERE
Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
Melissa hosts an intervention to convince Joan not to get more plastic surgery. She may need the TLC people for this one.

9 and 9:30PM | A&E
Shipping Wars
Marc hauls a 1928 train caboose that is in a very fragile state. Well, he’ll haul it assuming it doesn’t fall apart before he can even load it onto his truck.

9PM | NGC – 8TH SEASON FINALE
Taboo
– Exploring alternative, unconventional medicines, including an asthma treatment that involves swallowing a while animal. A whole, live animal.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK
Chopped
– Root beer schnapps and sweetbreads (bleecchh) are in the baskets as four previous runners-up return for another shot at the $10,000 prize.

10PM | TNT
Southland
– Joel Rucker (Carl Lumbly, who’ll always be Dixon to me) becomes the new captain, Ben and Sammy are paired with a hapless officer and Lydia and Ruben work a murder at a convenience store.

10 and 10:30PM | A&E
Storage Wars
– The gang heads to San Francisco, where Dave – yuuup – gets an apprentice.

10PM | MTV
Teen Mom 2
Jenelle continues her massive meltdown by fighting with both Kieffer and her friend Tori.

10PM | USA
White Collar
– Will the phrase “hot for teacher” pop up? Perhaps, as Neal poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious Manhattan prep school to help Peter and the FBI recover some missing scholarship money.

11PM | BRAVO
Watch What Happens: Live
Mary J. Blige in the (club)house!

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– The teams compete to win exclusive use of the gym on The Biggest Loser (8PM, NBC);
– The new series All Star Dealers (8 and 8:30PM, Discovery) follows the wheelings and dealings of sports memorabilia auctioneers.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Sam Worthington;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Elizabeth Warren;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Placido Domingo;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Tina Fey (REPEAT);
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Janet Jackson (REPEAT);
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Ben McKenzie and Elizabeth Banks;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Judah Friedlander (REPEAT);
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Kristen Bell (REPEAT);
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Wiz Khalifa (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 19, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

10PM | FX
Archer
– In one of the TV season’s funniest guest spots, Burt Reynolds, Archer’s hero, lends his voice for “The Man From Jupiter,” in which the Smokey and the Bandit star is dating Archer’s mama, much to Sterling’s chagrin.

8PM | NBC
30 Rock
Kelsey Grammer returns (as himself), to help Jenna and Kenneth with a little issue, while Jack disapproves of Liz’s new boyfriend (guest star James Marsden) and Liz is busy trying to deal with blowback when a Tracy rant hits the Internet. Once again, ripped from today’s headlines …

8PM | FOX
American Idol
– The second night of first-round auditions go to Pittsburgh.

8PM | CBS
The Big Bang Theory
– In the show’s 100th episode, Leonard invites Penny to a romantic dinner. As Chachi Arcola would say, “Wa-wa-wa.”

8PM | NBC
Parks and Recreation
– Leslie and Ben find out that campaigning and romance may not make good bedfellows, while Chris tries to become BFFs with Ron Swanson.

9PM | NBC
The Office
– No good can come of this: Erin wants to make Andy jealous, which she attempts to do by flirting with one Dwight K. Schrute.

9PM | LIFETIME
Project Runway All Stars
– The designers have to create an elegant cocktail dress. For Miss Piggy. For reals.

10PM | MTV
Jersey Shore
– Even though he’s missing his partner in bromance, the recently departed (not dead … he just hightailed it back to Staten Island) Vinny, Pauly celebrates his 31st birthday. Yeah, I know, 31 … told old to be actin’ like such a fool.

10PM | CBS
The Mentalist
– Jane goes all Mystery Inc. on the murder of a mobster’s son.

10:30PM | FX – SERIES PREMIERE
Unsupervised
– This new Beavis and Butt-head-ish ‘toon revolves around Gary and Joel (voiced by Justin Long and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia producer/actor David “Rickety Cricket” Hornsby), two teen dorks who live largely without the restraints (and supervision) of adults. The series, produced by the It’s Always Sunny gang, also includes voicework from Fred Armisen, Romany Malco, Kristen Bell and Sunny‘s always awesome Kaitlin Olson.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– Bonnie is reunited with her mom on The Vampire Diaries (8PM, The CW);
– A family edition of winter-themed Wipeout (8PM, ABC) includes “Pain in the Ice” and “Frosty Family Tree”;
– Richard performs his 10,000th surgery on Grey’s Anatomy (9PM, ABC);
– Carter meets Reese on Person of Interest (9PM, CBS);
Megan Mullally guests as a rival talk show host on Up All Night (9:30PM, NBC);
– Addison and Jake meet with potential surrogates on Private Practice (10PM, ABC);
Ralph Fiennes visits the clubhouse on Watch What Happens: Live (11PM, Bravo).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Owen Smith;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Elizabeth Banks;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Carrie Rebora Barratt;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Kathy Griffin;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Mark Cuban;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Tom Arnold;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Ewan McGregor;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Steven Wright;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Cory Booker and Foster the People (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – August 5, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | DISNEY CHANNEL – MOVIE PREMIERE
Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension
– The Blues Brothers, the Lone Ranger and Tonto and Laverne & Shirley factor into Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s musical delight at finding his new best friend – himself – in the premiere of this new made-for-TV movie Phineas and Ferb adventure.

8 and 8:30PM | NBC – SERIES PREMIERE
Friends With Benefits
– This story has played out a couple of times already this year on the big screen, and the fact that this sitcom version of the friends-with-benefits storyline is debuting during the first week of August (and on a Friday night) … well, read into that what you should. The basic details: BFFs Ben (Party Down‘s Ryan Hansen … oh, Party Down) and Sara (One Tree Hill‘s Danneel Ackles) worry that their new BFFs-with-bennies relationship won’t work, especially when he asks her to be his date to a wedding.

8-10PM | VH1
Scrubs
– Some of the programming choices on VH1 are just plain puzzling, but on a Friday night that’s pretty light on must-see options, I’m not gonna complain about this mini-marathon of Scrubs, which includes the Scott Foley eps, as well as season three’s hilarious “My White Whale” (9PM), in which Christopher Meloni plays kooky pediatrician Dr. Dave Norris, one of the few people who ever managed to best Perry Cox (the outrageously overlooked, Emmy-worthy John C. McGinley).

10PM | SYFY
Haven
Jason Priestley (Brandon Walsh forever!) begins a recurring stint on the show, playing Chris Weekly, a marine biologist who’d rather be left alone, but who is “cursed” with an affliction that makes everyone want to be his friend. Just like Brandon Walsh. Meanwhile, Priestley will be doing double duty in Haven, as he’ll direct an episode, too.

10PM | STARZ
Torchwood: Miracle Day
– Cap’n Jack and the gang find out what’s really up with the Miracle while undercover.

11PM | IFC – SERIES PREMIERE
Whisker Wars Thom Beers, the reality producer who’s given us Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and Storage Wars, is behind this seven-episode series, which follows a group of “whisker warriors” (i.e. dudes with beards) who travel the country competing in facial fur competitions. PS – Don’t miss the chance to vote in the IFC.com Whisker Hall of Fame.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
Hard Rock Calling 2011 (9PM, VH1 Classic) features Bon Jovi, Train, Rod Stewart, the Killers, Stevie Nicks and Ray Davies performing at Hyde Park in London;
– On Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta (9PM, TLC), a bride has already tried on 150 wedding gowns and still can’t find one to her liking … picky much?;
Extraordinary Acts of Courage (10PM, OWN);
– Spicy hot cocoa and a spicy pulled pork sandwich are on the menu when Aaron and Roger visit Santa Fe on Heat Seekers (10PM, Food Network);
Anthony Bourdain is the interview guest on Real Time With Bill Maher (10PM, HBO);
– Joel McHale and the gang serve up a delicious, pop culture-y bowl of The Soup (10PM, E!);
Alton Brown and Robert Irvine are among the foodies who recall the best egg dishes they’ve ever eaten on The Best Thing I Ever Ate (10:30PM, Food Network).

And the late-night line-up:
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Tom Hanks (REPEAT);
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Dennis Miller;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Harrison Ford and Lady Gaga (REPEAT);
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Horatio Sanz;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Craig performs at the Moulin Rouge;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Todd Phillips.

REVIEW: ‘Ugly Americans’ Season 2 Premiere

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Stars: Matt Oberg, Natasha Leggero, Kurt Metzger and Randy Pearlstein

The Big Idea: Ugly Americans is back with an entertaining hat tip to cult classic flick Wet Hot American Summer (just in time for Summer‘s ten year anniversary). Here, the earnest, clueless Mark Lilly becomes a pawn in a chess game he’s unaware is in play, courtesy of his half-demon succubus supervisor/booty call Callie Maggotbone, her father (The Devil) and his plans for world domination, and the terminal sloth of coworker/wizard Leonard Powers.

Leonard is retiring, and has joined with his fellow wizards and their replacements at the “Magic Mountain” fortress for the succession ceremony. The Devil senses an opportunity for demons to strike hard at their mortal wizard enemies, providing they can get inside the mountain.  Their way in is Mark, who is initially resistant at a trip to see Leonard, until it’s bundled with an offer to be head counselor at the non-existent Camp Friendship.

Cue 1980s-style road trip – van, assembled losers (Lt. Grimes, Koala Man, Fish Man, Eric the Robot) and some deft comedy jabs. Sex obsessed zombie Randall is in the driver’s seat, figuratively and literally, because, as he says, “If ’80s cinema has taught us anything, it’s that summer camp counselors are horny teen girls up for anything.” The pace of the premiere quickens significantly here, with homage paid to the quintessential ’80s teen movie scene and Wet Hot American Summer‘s battle versus a rival camp, and then comes to a satisfying conclusion with Leonard earning the “eggnancy” wages of sloth.

To Watch or Not to Watch: A parody of a parody of a self-parodying genre is ambitious, and. it turns out here, too much fun to miss.

TV Screener Tidbit: Funny guys John Mulaney and Nick Kroll helped shepherd Ugly Americans through its hilarious first season … as producers, not writers or voice artists.

Ugly Americans, season two, premieres Thursday, June 30, at 10:30PM ET on Comedy Central

 

— JE Maher

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – June 30, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | E!
50 Super Epic TV Moments
– A two-hour countdown of the 50 most outrageous TV moments since 2005 (Why 2005? Seems so random) includes the infamous smoking baby in Indonesia, Sandra Bullock‘s liplock with Scarlett Johansson at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards and this year’s William & Kate royal wedding. Among the talking heads who chat about the “shocking” moments: NeNe Leakes and Jerry Springer.

9PM | USA
Burn Notice
– Michael helps a woman who’s trying to locate her cousin, a victim of a human trafficking ring, but it becomes personal for him when Maddie gets involved in the case.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK – SERIES PREMIERE
Extreme Chef
– A juiced up version of Dinner: Impossible finds groups of chefs competing in ever more challenging cooking contests each week. First up, the cheftestants are dropped off in a California neighborhood and tasked with whipping up dinner using unmarked canned goods. Their only resource for cooking gear: knocking on residents’ doors.

10PM | COMEDY CENTRAL
Futurama
– Bender, dead?! Sorta.

10PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New York City
Jill and Kelly wig out about what they claim is strange behavior by Simon, and, of course, go running to Alex about their issues.

10PM | FX
Wilfred
– Jenna needs to get Wilfred to the doggie doc, so, to get on her good side, Ryan volunteers to take him. But that requires tricking Wilfred, whose trust is not so easily re-earned.

10:30PM | FX
Louie
– On the way to a “non-date,” Louie has an upsetting experience. But hey, it provides a good conversation starter.

10:30PM | COMEDY CENTRAL – 2ND SEASON PREMIERE
Ugly Americans
– In an episode cleverly-titled “Wet Hot Demonic Summer,” Mark oversees the opening of a summer camp.

11:59PM | ADULT SWIM
Children’s Hospital
– Dr. Von Sydow has a little mix-up in the maternity ward, and the hospital gets a new (pediatric) plastic surgeon.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– Two of the final 16 are eliminated on tonight’s So You Think You Can Dance (8PM, Fox);
– The Mood Swing is in full swing on Wipeout (8PM, ABC);
– The 4th season of Wicked Attraction premieres on ID (9PM);
– On True Life (10PM, MTV), heartbroken people try to reunite with their first loves.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Tom Hanks;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Bill Kristol;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Timothy Garton Ash;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Julia Roberts;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Kirstie Alley (REPEAT);
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Patrick Dempsey and David Cook;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Shia LaBeouf;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Glenn Close (REPEAT);
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Henry Winkler;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Florence & the Machine.

 

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