Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – July 19, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

11PM | MTV – SERIES PREMIERE
Awkward
– It’s one of the best teen dramedies since Freaks and Geeks. What more do you need to know?

9PM | SUNDANCE – SERIES PREMIERE
Ludo Bites America
– Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his wife travel around the country helping other chefs and opening pop-up restaurants. In the opener, they whip up tasty Southwestern dishes in Santa Fe.

9PM | USA
White Collar
– Peter and Neal help Jones search for his MIA Naval Academy classmate.

10PM | BIO
Aftermath with William Shatner
The Shat chats with Daniel Ellsberg, who talks about releasing the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War, and the aftermath of their release.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK
Chopped
– Pre-made dough, canned veggies and liquor are among the ingredients the cheftestants in this all-female episode have to use.

10PM | USA
Covert Affairs
– It’s the Auggie (Christopher Gorham) backstory episode we’ve all been waiting for, as Annie finds out the story of how Auggie lost his sight, and Auggie runs into the guy who caused him to go blind.

10PM | MTV
Teen Mom
Ryan demands that Maci let him meet Kyle, and we see Amber‘s downward spiral from the beginning, as she finds out she may lose custody of Leah when the police investigate her for abusing Gary.

10PM | ID – SERIES PREMIERE
True Grime: Crime Scene Clean Up
– The reality series follows a crew of crime scene cleaners … i.e., the people who come in after the CSIs do their thang. First up, the cleaners face the aftermath of a gory road rage murder.

11PM | SHOWTIME – SERIES PREMIERE
Web Therapy
– The Web comedy series comes to TV (with extra scenes), as we meet therapist Fiona Wallace (Lisa Kudrow) whose idea to revolutionize therapy is to cut sessions to three-minutes long and, maybe less intentionally, make them all about her. And expect celeb guest stars, including Meryl Streep, Courteney Cox, Jane Lynch, Molly Shannon and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– The top 16 from last night’s premiere compete on Hell’s Kitchen (8PM, Fox);
– Daffy’s in the mood for love on The Looney Tunes Show (8PM, Cartoon Network);
– Alison’s mom comes back to town and asks the girls to participate in a charity fashion show on Pretty Little Liars (8PM, ABC Family);
– Clare broke up with Eli, but she’s upset that he’s not upset enough on Degrassi (9PM, TeenNick);
– On Memphis Beat (9PM, TNT), Dwight investigates the robbery of a party boat, which leads to a reunion with his ex-girlfriend and one of his former bandmates;
– The new reality series Monster Kitchen (9PM, Food Network) finds chefs Eric Greenspan and Michael Fiorelli competing against each other to make the most creative treats each week. First up: monster doughnuts.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Seth Green;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Pervez Musharraf;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): David Carr;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Steve Carell;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Cloris Leachman, 3 Doors Down and Jenna Fischer;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Noah Wyle and Los Lonely Boys;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Kyra Sedgwick;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Justin Timberlake;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Eddie Izzard;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Brian Williams (REPEAT).

VH1’s ‘Famous Food’: Just Dine and Dash

Yeah, yeah, so I’ve watched the first couple of episodes of VH1’s latest celebreality series Famous Food, in which D-list types are given the capital to start a new restaurant in Los Angeles. Don’t judge me.

Besides, the show is not a bad idea; in fact, the idea is a good one, and I’m sure there is a group of D-listers who could be assembled to carry out the challenge successfully. This particular group, which includes Real Housewives of New Jersey‘s Danielle Staub, Heidi Montag of The Hills infamy, The SopranosVincent Pastore, rapper Three 6 Mafia, that Eliot Spitzer hooker and the wishy-washiest Bachelor ever, Jake Pavelka? Is not that group.

Never mind that these hasbeens/wannabes/neverweres can’t get along well enough to make a single decision, resulting in last night’s episode, where batshit-delusional Staub committed two-thirds of the group’s total budget to opening the restaurant, leaving them precious little to actually operate the restaurant once it’s in shape …

The most telling moment came when the show’s judges – actual, successful L.A. restaurateurs Lonnie Moore and Mike Malin (yes, Mike Boogie from Big Brother) – heaped praise upon the stooges for their “concept board.”

What, you may ask, was the concept board? Some fancy, printed presentation in which the celebs fully explained and illustrated their concept for a picnic-themed restaurant? Oh, no.

Their concept board, which earned them compliments not only from Moore and Malin, but also from the designer who’s going to carry out their restaurant concept, was a piece of poster board (the kind you can buy at CVS, and probably have, the night your kid tells you he needs it for his science fair project, which, oh by the way, is due tomorrow) with photos and cutouts pasted on it.

Poster board … with cutouts pasted on it. A rather shabbily-created one, too, I might add, even by poster board-with-pictures-pasted-on-it standards.

In other words, real-life, successful restaurateurs are handing over $150,000 to a group of ill-qualified celebrities to open an L.A. eatery in one of the city’s hottest areas, partly based on an art project that wouldn’t even earn a fourth grader a “C.”

So, anyone else willing to admit you’re watching Famous Food?

‘The Walking Dead’ Season 2 Preview Video

Rock, paper, scissors … when it comes to dealing with zombies, you definitely want to go with rock, as is proven in this sneak peek clip for the second season of The Walking Dead. The show’s back on AMC in October, and we can surmise from the preview that Andrew Lincoln‘s Rick Grimes has definitely gotten savvier about dealing with the walkers head-on (pun so intended) …

 

 

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – July 18, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | TEENNICK – 11TH SEASON PREMIERE
Degrassi: Now or Never
– The classic teen series gets all telenovela-y again, as tonight’s premiere kicks off seven weeks in which a new episode airs each night, Monday thru Thursday. Tonight, Sav is crushing on a new girl, who he runs into in a surprising way at the big Keke Palmer concert that opens the seven-week run. Elsewhere, Drew and Bianca worry about the return of her ex, and Fiona has a thang for a model in Holly J’s class. And those rumors about something tragic occurring this season? All true. As always, Degrassi … it goes there.

8PM | FOX – 9TH SEASON PREMIERE
Hell’s Kitchen
– One contestant ends up in the hospital and another trio is deemed, by Gordon Ramsay, “the three stooges” as 18 new cheftestants try to win a head chef gig, this season at BLT Steak in New York City.

8PM | LIFETIME
Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story
– Any Harry Potter fan worth his or her Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans knows the backstory of Potter author Rowling’s welfare days, but this sweet little biopic, with Poppy Montgomery as Rowling, is still worth a view in honor of last week’s release of the final Potter flick.

9PM | TLC
Cake Boss
– Buddy bakes a giant cheeseburger cake for National Hamburger Month, which leads to a burger-eating contest with the staff. Sounds like a White Castle contest I regrettably witnessed in college. White Castle + drunken 20-year-olds + a bet = Gore on that level of that episode of The Walking Dead where the zombies noshed on the horse.

9PM | TNT
The Closer
– Capt. Raydor (Mary McDonnell) gets extra snoopy into Brenda’s department, just as the police department undergoes some major reorgs.

9PM | COMEDY CENTRAL
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
– Tonight’s four-episode marathon includes the very un-PC (which is probably a redundant statement where any Sunny ep is concerned), but hilarious “Sweet Dee’s Dating a Retarded Person,” in which no one’s sure about the mental capabilities of Dee’s new boyfriend, rapper Lil’ Kev.

9PM | SYFY
Warehouse 13
– Pete and Myka investigate the sudden memory losses of witnesses in a murder trial. Maybe they ran out of their gingko biloba supply.

10PM | SYFY
Alphas
– Okay, they’re Alphas. But now, they have to learn to balance their regular lives with their not-so-regular skills.

10PM | SHOWTIME
Weeds
– While Nancy tries to land a job at Doug’s new office, Silas tries to talk his mom into a new partnership.

10:30PM | SHOWTIME
The Big C
Hugh Dancy guest stars as a fellow patient Cathy meets on the first day of the clinical trials, while Sean frets his house is haunted and Adam gets into a throwdown at school.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
Ashley goes on home visits with her final four picks, including one who ‘fesses up that he’s not ready to get engaged yet, on The Bachelorette (8PM, ABC);
Jen and Evelyn‘s friendship is threatened when Evelyn confronts Jen about unflattering comments Jen made in a radio interview, on Basketball Wives (8PM, VH1);
– Carter plays babysitter to Allison’s kids when she goes out of town for a medical conference on Eureka (8PM, Syfy);
– On The Secret Life of the American Teenager (8PM, ABC Family), Adrian returns to school and walks head-on into a confrontation with Ben;
– The top 11 compete on Masterchef (9PM, Fox);
Molly Ringwald and Lady Bunny guest on RuPaul’s Drag U (9PM, Logo);
– A 456-pound nurse tries to lose half her body weight in a year on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (10PM, ABC);
– Among the goodies coming into the shop on tonight’s back-to-back Pawn Star$ (10 and 10:30PM, History): a Godfather script signed by Al Pacino and a motorcycle once owned by Steve McQueen;
– On Rizzoli & Isles (10PM, TNT), Jane and Maura investigate the murder of a pregnant surrogate mother.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Bryan Cranston;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Daniel Radcliffe;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): John Prendergast;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Bono and The Edge;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Neil Patrick Harris;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Piers Morgan;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Aaron Paul and Roseanne;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Mila Kunis;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Elizabeth Banks;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Alex Prager.

 

Potts Picks: The Weekend’s Best TV – July 16-17, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

10PM, SUN | AMC – 4TH SEASON PREMIERE
Breaking Bad
– Remember the final scene of season three, when Jesse (Aaron Paul) was holding a gun on Gale and we heard the sound of a gunshot? The season four premiere, titled “Box Cutter,” only gets more intense, as we quickly find out the outcome of that gunshot. And then we find out that Jesse and Walt (Bryan Cranston) are in even deeper trouble, involving Mike (Jonathan Banks) and Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) and a scene that, even as it unfolds, you will not believe. In other words, yes, season four is going to be just as good as the Emmy-winning show’s first three seasons.

PS – Don’t forget that the Breaking Bad season premiere will also include a trailer for the second season of The Walking Dead, which premieres in October.

10PM, SAT | CNBC
Princess
– This show has the cheesiest and most ill-matched theme song ever, but I still love watching the financial advice shows, because a) they always make you feel like your own finances are in order (relatively at least), and b) because the over-the-top, out-of-control “princesses” – in this episode, it’s an admitted shopaholic whose spending habits have caused three separations throughout her marriage – will definitely make you rethink your own spending habits.

10PM, SUN | SPIKE – SERIES PREMIERE
Bar Rescue
Gordon Ramsay and Robert Irvine like to make over troubled restaurants, but restaurant consultant Jon Taffer performs makeover magic on troubled nightlife locales in this new series.

8PM, SUN | TCM
TCM Essentials Jr.
Saturday Night Live all-star Bill Hader hosts this summer series of movie classics the junior set will appreciate, and tonight’s selection: Horse Feathers, the 1932 Marx Brothers movie in which Groucho plays Huxley College president Quincy Adams Wagstaff, and Harpo and Chico are his football “stars,” Pinky and Baravelli.

9PM, SUN | WE
Bridezillas
– What is going on with Bridezillas this season? It’s like they kicked up the craziness and the nastiness 10 notches. Like with tonight’s brides, including one who freaks out when she can’t find her fiancé’s best man and another who runs over her cake topper with her car because she’s ticked off at her husband-to-be. Run, dude. Seriously.

10PM, SUN | HBO
Curb Your Enthusiasm
– Larry becomes the unlikely champion of women in abusive relationships, while Leon (J.B. Smoove) tries to survive a case of mistaken identity.

10PM, SUN | FOOD NETWORK – SERIES PREMIERE
Heat Seekers
– Chef Aaron Sanchez, one of my Food Network faves, co-hosts this new series in which he travels across the country in search of the spiciest treats. The series kicks off in New Orleans, where Sanchez once worked as a chef.

10PM, SUN | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New Jersey
Melissa hosts a Christmas party, but, of course, even the threat of ending up on Santa’s naughty list doesn’t make the Jersey girls behave in an episode called “Twas the Fight Before Christmas.”

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– It’s a 10-hour Storage Wars marathon on A&E (Sat., 6PM);
– HBO has the cable premiere of Oscar-nominated drama The Kids Are Alright (Sat., 8PM) … never miss a chance to see the always-awesome Mark Ruffalo;
Tom Hanks stops by the Graham Norton Show (Sat., 10PM, BBCA);
– The third season of Pit Boss premieres on Animal Planet (Sat., 10PM);
– Evictee nominations are revealed on Big Brother (Sun., 8PM, CBS);
Big Rich Texas (Sun., 9PM, Style) is yet another reality series that could be described as “Real Housewives of Texas”;
– On Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (Sun., 9PM, VH1), Steven Adler‘s so ticked off about Amy Fisher‘s refusal to admit she’s an addict that he threatens to leave;
– Jane gets mugged while picking up Grayson’s wedding rings on Drop Dead Diva (Sun., 9PM, Lifetime);
Alex rescues a family stranded in the wilderness on Ice Road Truckers (Sun., 9PM, History);
– On Leverage (Sun., 9PM, TNT), while tracking down an MIA Van Gogh painting, the team learns it played a role in a World War II love story;
– The contestants have to cook dinner for Wolfgang Puck on Next Food Network Star (Sun., 9PM, Food Network);
– Alcide helps Sookie look for Eric on True Blood (Sun., 9PM, HBO);
– On Falling Skies (Sun., 10PM, TNT), a resistance leaders comes to camp warning of another alien attack and offering to take the children to safety, and Tom and the others consider the proposal;
– The celebs look for an interior designer for the restaurant on Famous Food (Sun., 10PM, VH1);
– Huh? A murdered woman is found in a baby stroller in a part of town inhabited by the relatives of sideshow people on The Glades (Sun., 10PM, A&E);
– With Mary off on a WITSEC road trip, Marshall and Stan have to deal with a rock star witness and her mother on In Plain Sight (Sun., 10PM, USA).

 

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