Potts Picks: The Weekend’s Best TV – June 25-26, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM, DAY | HBO – 4TH SEASON PREMIERE
True Blood
– Eric has memory issues, Sookie has identity issues and Bill has PR issues in the new season.

10PM, SAT | OWN
Carson Nation
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy style guru Carson Kressley is back in this makeover series – or “make better” as he puts it – in which he helps people with style and even more serious issues, including a bride-to-be with lupus (he plans her wedding) and a tattoo artist who wants to renew romance with his wife (by having Carson teach him how to dance).

8PM, SUN | BET
2011 BET Awards
– The very funny Kevin Hart hosts the 11th annual BET Awards, which includes performances by Alicia Keys and Jill Scott, and the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Awards to Patti LaBelle.

8PM, DAY | NETWORK – 1ST SEASON FINALE
Mob Wives
– The season ends with Drita ticked off at Karen about the first chapter of her book, but even more upset with Lee, after she finds out some surprising things about him and his past. And leading up the season finale: an all-day Mob Wives marathon, kicking off as 12:30PM

9PM, SUN | VH1 – 5TH SEASON PREMIERE
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
– The recent death of Celebrity Rehab alum Jeff Conaway adds an extra creepiness factor to the new season, which starts off with one of Dr. Drew‘s staffers having a panic attack when she finds out that Steven Adler is returning. The other celebs: Lindsay Lohan‘s dad, Amy Fisher, Dwight Gooden, Jeremy Jackson and wacky Bai Ling.

9PM, SUN | USA – SERIES FINALE
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
– And another one bites the dust. The once-prominent L&O franchise takes another hit as CI ends with Goren and Eames investigating a murder connected to a Web company and a bitter lawsuit.

9PM, SUN | TNT – 4TH SEASON PREMIERE
Leverage
– The gang’s back, and trying to take down a sneaky financier. The glitch: they need to recover lost evidence … which is sitting on top of a big, snowy mountain.

10PM, SUN | TNT
Falling Skies
Steven Weber guest stars as Dr. Harris, who has some ideas about how to save the teenagers taken by the aliens.

10PM, SUN | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New Jersey
Teresa and Melissa try to work out their family squabbles, but … well, you can guess how it goes.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– On How Do I Look? (Sat., 8PM, Style), Rick Springfield pops in to help a woman who dresses like an ’80s rocker and wants a makeover;
Bret Michaels and Penelope Ann Miller share their haunting experiences on Celebrity Ghost Stories (Sat., 9PM, Bio);
– Like the title says, Celebrity Close Calls (Sat., 10PM, Bio) involves famous types talking about near death experiences, including Bobby Brown, who talks about being caught in a gang shootout, and Elliott Yamin, my all-time favorite American Idol contestant, who recalls being caught in an earthquake in Chile;
– On Coldplay: Live From Glastonbury (Sat., 10PM, VH1), the band performs all its hits at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival;
Kathy Griffin and Cameron Diaz guest on The Graham Norton Show (Sat., 10PM, BBCA);
Gail helps a single mom whose spending habits have her relying on her parents to pay her bills on Til Debt Do Us Part (Sat., 10PM, CNBC);
– On Bridezillas (Sun., 9PM, WE), one bride arrives two hours late for her big day, while another gets jealous of the fact that her friend’s children are, she claims, stealing her thunder;
– Grayson asks Jane to help plan his wedding on Drop Dead Diva (Sun., 9PM, Lifetime);
Hugh and Rick deliver their big haul, but then run into a downed high-voltage power line on Ice Road Truckers (Sun., 9PM, History);
– On back-to-back Freaky Eaters (Sun., 10PM, TLC), one person is addicted to ice cream bars, while another eats nothing but french fries;
– After Ray is attacked, Callie considers going into witness protection on The Glades (Sun., 10PM, A&E);
– On In Plain Sight (Sun., 10PM, USA), Mary has to counsel a divorcing couple in the WITSEC program, in order to keep the family safe;
– Toni goes to Colson for another favor on Treme (Sun., 10PM, HBO).

 

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – June 24, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

11PM | IFC – SERIES PREMIERE
Young, Broke and Beautiful
– The charming Stuart Schuffman, he of the famous Broke-Ass Stuart blog and books, hosts this fun new travel series, in which he scopes out the cool, unusual and inexpensive in various cities. First up: Stuart’s hometown of San Diego, where he visits an outdoor mural spot, enjoys a junkyard circus, wipes out at a local skate park and visits Two Roses, a combo tattoo/coffee/barber shop.

11PM | VH1
Unplugged
Mumford and Sons perform an acoustic set, including, of course, “The Cave.”

8 and 9PM | NGC
Flea Man
– Flea Man helps a toy collector sell some of his goodies to help pay for a basement renovation, and then helps an aspiring country music star sell his collectibles so he can pay to record his first CD.

8PM | NBC
Friday Night Lights
– Riggins’ family and friends speak to the parole board on his behalf and Eric is recruited by a major college football program.

9PM | SCIENCE – 10TH SEASON FINALE
How It’s Made
– Behind the curtain on watches, turbochargers and enchiladas.

9PM | TLC – 2ND SEASON FINALE
Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss
– Three different brides are looking for three very different dresses, including Zaneta, who wants a sexy bridal gown, and Alyse, who wants a dress that will ensure her younger sister doesn’t steal her spotlight.

10PM | CMT
CMT Crossroads
– The Doobie Brothers and Luke Bryan bond while playing each other’s tunes.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
In the season two finale of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (9PM, ABC), Jamie holds a cooking competition for high school students;
On Whale Wars (9PM, Animal Planet), a small boat crew is in danger of hypothermia while waiting to be rescued from the Bob Barker crew;
On Outrageous Food (10PM, Food Network), we see an 11-pound pizza and an 8-pound breakfast (followed by a 1-gallon jar of Tums?);
Alexandra Pelosi and New York Times journalist David Carr are among the guests on Real Time with Bill Maher (10PM, HBO).

And the late-night line-up:
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Eric Stonestreet and Lady Gaga (REPEAT);
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Owen Wilson and Plain White Ts;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): J.J. Abrams and Kathy Griffin (REPEAT);
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Bob Costos;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Carson Kressley and Morgan Freeman (REPEAT);
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): The Exporting Raymond documentary on Everybody Loves Raymond.

REVIEW: ‘Futurama’ Midseason 6 Premiere

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Stars: Katey Sagal, Billy West and John DiMaggio

The Big Idea: Futurama returns for season six’s second half with a double-barreled blast of fun via back-to-back episodes.

The first ep, “Neutopia,” finds the Planet Express staff brainstorming ways to raise funds and avert bankruptcy (“free delivery” turns out to have been a bad promotional strategy for a delivery company). Plan A: a girlie calendar of the Planet Express lovelies, which pits Leela, Amy and office temp/Hermes wife LaBarbara against the “walking beer commercial” of Fry, Bender and the boys.

Plan B: transforming Planet Express into a space airline. That idea shows more promise, until “Goofus and Ganja,” a.k.a. Fry and Hermes, crash the maiden flight. Then, the battle of the sexes that began as a hairline fracture becomes a full-on, it’s-your-faultline between the women and the dudes, and it’s settled only when a powerful, but somewhat disaffected, asexual rock creature (hat tips to Star Trek and Galaxy Quest) intervenes with tests to determine the superior sex. Unsatisfied with the outcome, Rocky solves the issue by … well, a spoiler lies in the title of the episode.

Tonight’s second episode is “Benderama,” which revolves around the idea that there can definitely be too much of a – well, good is too strong a word – thing. It opens with a shoutout to The Twilight Zone that sparks a new life approach for Bender. Taking exactly the wrong lesson from the Zone, Bender marries the Professor’s latest invention with his own defining characteristic (sloth) to create a series of mini-Benders … just to avoid folding some clothing.  Each successive Bender produces two more mini-Benders, each 60 percent of the size of its parent, but just as lazy and obnoxious as Bender Prime. And, oh, they’re hungry.

The Planet Express crew attempts mass extermination of the Benders to prevent them from consuming the earth, but fails. And thank goodness they do, as the Benders prove critical in preventing a really ugly situation from spinning out of control. High points of the episode are the “grey goo” hat tips to nanotechnology (it’s not just a funny show … it’s a smart funny show), and Patton Oswalt‘s guest-voicing of the gentle giant struggling with self-esteem, anger management and mommy issues.  Big Bender to the Rescue!

To Watch or Not to Watch: Yes, but only if you want the context behind lines like: “In your face, decumbent urinators”; “Womanhood also takes some getting used to: for example, did you know there are more than two feelings?”; “Thank God most of our fans are such huge perverts!”; “Ah marriage – it combines the contentedness of being neutered, with the occasional sex of being not”; “Oh God, shield your eyes – it’s like Edward James Olmos on IMAX!”; “They’ll reproduce without limit, consuming all the matter in the world.  Like the Kardashians“; and “It’s like fine cognac, with a hint of aged scrotum.”

The midseason premiere presents two very strong episodes of a show that consistently delivers, and a marked contrast to some of the other animated shows that (cough, cough, Book of Mormons took all our time) seem to have lost a step this recently-aired season.

TV Screener Tidbit: Don’t miss the end credits of “Neutopia” … the “girls” of Planet Express are on full display, for better or worse. Much, much worse.

Futurama‘s new episodes premiere Thursday, June 23, at 10PM ET on Comedy Central

 

REVIEW: ‘Wilfred’ Series Premiere

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann and Fiona Gubelmann

The Big Idea: Ryan (Wood) is a depressed lawyer who, facing the impending first day at a job his pushy sister arranged for him (a job he desperately does not want), types a little leave-behind note (actually titled “Suicide Note – Third Revised”), whips up a frothy suicide shake and attempts to check out. The pills, happily, don’t work, and Ryan’s subsequent suicide plans are interrupted by his neighbor Jenna (Gubelmann), who asks him to babysit her pooch. That’s when we meet Wilfred (Gann).

In short, Wilfred is a dog. A talking dog. Or a man in a cheap dog suit. That’s how Ryan sees him anyway, as they begin an uneasy friendship that includes sharing a bong and discussing souring milk, humans’ bathroom hygiene and Wilfred’s love of Matt Damon movies.

In between further discussions on the joys of eating possum rectum and the obnoxious behavior of a local motorcycle-riding menace, Wilfred begins to point out how Ryan’s timidity isn’t serving him well and the two embark on the first of many gleeful adventures (most fueled by Wilfred’s bong).

Is Ryan going crazy? Can his new pal really talk? Or has he actually died and gone to an afterlife that includes a talking dog (a talking dog with an Australian accent, since Gann is the Australian star and co-creator of the series, which is adapted from an Australian series of the same name)? The answer actually doesn’t matter so much, because, in the subversive, but sweet and shrewd Wilfred, the skittish Ryan has found his new man’s best friend.

To Watch or Not to Watch: FX president John Landgraf, in a recent Wall Street Journal article on quirky cable comedies, described Wilfred as “Fight Club meets Calvin and Hobbes,” and if that isn’t enough to make you tune in, I’m not sure anything I could say will convince you the show is worth planting yourself on your couch for some summer fun. So, I’ll just say that I haven’t been this completely tickled by a comedy since I discovered the equally irreverent hilarity of Wilfred‘s network brethren It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Archer.

TV Screener Tidbit: Guest stars throughout the season will include Ethan Suplee, Ed Helms, Rashida Jones, Peter Stormare, the so underrated Nestor Carbonell and Chris Klein.

Wilfred premieres Thursday, June 23, at 10PM ET on FX

Critics Choice TV Awards – The Winners

UPDATE: And the winners are:

Best Drama Series
Mad Men

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Jon Hamm – Mad Men

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
John Noble – Fringe

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
(TIE)
Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
Margo Martindale – Justified

Best Reality Series
(TIE)
Hoarders
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Best Reality Series Competition
American Idol

Best Reality Show Host
Mike Rowe – Dirty Jobs

Best Talk Show
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Best Comedy Series
Modern Family

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Tina Fey – 30 Rock

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Busy Philipps – Cougar Town

Most Exciting New Series
Alcatraz
Apartment 23
Awake
Falling Skies
New Girl
Ringer
Smash
Terra Nova

And, in case you missed the live show today at VH1.com, the Critics’ Choice Television Awards air on the ReelzChannel on June 22 at 8PM ET. Celebs in attendance included Danny DeVito, Connie Britton, Louis C.K., Courteney Cox, Alan Cumming, Cat Deeley, Michelle Forbes, Walton Goggins, Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Neil Patrick Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Patricia Heaton, Christina Hendricks, Jane Lynch, Margo Martindale, Ed O’Neill, John Noble, Busy Philipps, Michael Pitt, Martha Plimpton, Danny Pudi, RuPaul, Katey Sagal, Eden Sher, Anna Torv,  Scott Bakula, Kevin Connolly, Kaley Cuoco, Zooey Deschanel, Jenna Elfman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gillian Jacobs, Rob McElhenney, B.J. Novak, Tyler Posey, Sam Rubin, Adam Scott, Sam Trammell, Wilmer Valderrama and Elijah Wood.

I told you earlier this month about the first annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and today’s the day the winners are announced. The nominees, chosen by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (of which yours truly is a proud member), include great shows like Justified, Dexter and The Walking Dead for dramas, Archer, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation for comedies and Timothy Olyphant, Charlie Day, Walton Goggins, Tina Fey, Katey Sagal and Amy Poehler, among many other standout performers, as acting nominees.

To watch the show unfold live from the Beverly Hills Hotel, click over to VH1.com at 4PM ET Monday. The star-studded event will be hosted by So You Think You Can Dance host (and Critics’ Choice TV Awards nominee) Cat Deeley, and presenters inlcude Elijah Wood, Tyler Posey, Gillian Jacobs, Sam Trammel, Kevin Connolly, Connie Britton, Adam Scott, B.J. Novak, Wilmer Valderrama and Kaley Cuoco.

And, Danny DeVito will be honored with the first Critics’ Choice Television Icon Award, presented to him by his It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-star Rob McElhenney. Here’s hoping the Taxi legend has plenty of limoncello with which to celebrate.

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Talkin’ With … ‘Wilfred’ Star Jason Gann About Season 2

Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand and Louis C.K. are getting most of the attention, but I’m most excited that one of the best new shows of last TV season — Wilfred — returns for its second season on FX tonight (10PM ET). Season one of the series ended with a cliffhanger — had Ryan (Elijah Wood) […]

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