The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

The Weekly TV Roundup: 4-13-2008

Written by: Ron Bricker

ImageI'm back with your look at all the new scripted TV this week.  Did you enjoy Cartman's Stand and Deliver-esque teaching stint on South Park?  Did you totally call Liz being the one who said Jack was a "class-A moron" on 30 Rock?  Did you know John Adams was going to end up being the second president of the United States on John Adams?  Because you probably should have.  What should you know for next week?

The big recent TV news item is that Lost is getting an extra hour this season. Remember how it was originally supposed to be 16 episodes, but was shorted to 13 after the strike?  Now they're adding an extra hour onto the season finale in order to give us the two-hour jolt of finale awesomeness we've come to expect from Lost

The one fly in the ointment: there will be one extra week without a new episode.  Lost will return on April 24th at 10 p.m., run four episodes in a row, and then take a one-week break so that ABC can air their two-hour Grey's Anatomy finale.  (Boo!)  The following week, on May 29th, Lost will air its two-hour finale from 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.  And yes, there's apparently another game-changing twist that the writers have currently code-named "Frozen Donkey Wheel."

In related news, Jeff Pinkner – a writer from Lost and Alias – will be running things over at Fringe, a new Fox show developed by J.J. Abrams.  The $10 million pilot stars John Noble (The Lord of the Rings's Denethor) and Joshua Jackson as a mad scientist and his son investigating the paranormal.  If officially picked up, it will debut in the fall. 

Actor Bobby Cannavale (Third Watch, The Station Agent, Snakes on a Plane) got cast a few days ago in Cupid, ABC's remake of its own failed 1998-1999 show starring Jeremy Piven.  I like Cannavale a lot, but here's a question: what makes ABC think the ratings are going to be so much better this time around? 

And finally, folks, it was announced that High School Musical 4 is already being written – and High School Musical 3 hasn't even come out yet!  Sweet!  According to SNL's Weekend Update last night, it will be about the teenagers' quest to figure out why they haven't yet graduated from their queer high school. 


Sunday 4/13: 

Night of Too Many Stars, 8:00-10:00, Comedy Central 

Not a dramatic show per se, but with about twenty A-listers showing up, I figured it was worth a mention.  Night of Too Many Stars is Comedy Central's annual fundraiser for Autism education, organized by Robert Smigel (a.k.a. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog).  So you can laugh AND feel good about yourself! 

John Adams, 9:00-10:30, HBO 

Adams's friendship with Jefferson is strained thanks to debate surround the Alien and Sedition Acts, Adams sets his sights on re-election, and still, all I can think about is whether or not Paul Giamatti's umpeeth wig was itchy. 

Dirt, 10, FX 

This is the second season finale.  Who knew?  It snuck up on us.  In this episode, "Life and death circumstances compel Lucy to examine her relationships," but the real examining will be FX deciding whether or not to bring back its surprisingly low-rated series for a third season. 

Also new: 

The Simpsons, 8:00, Fox

Everybody Hates Chris, 8:00, CW

King of the Hill, 8:30, Fox

Desperate Housewives, 9:00, ABC

Cold Case, 9:00, CBS

The Tudors, 9:00, Showtime

Eli Stone, 10:00, ABC 

Monday 4/14: 

CBS's Comedy Block: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, and Rules of Engagement, 8:00-10:00 

How I Met Your Mother is the only critical hit of the bunch (and tonight, Bob Odenkirk guest-stars), but let's all just admit something: Two and a Half Men is a consistently funny show.  Everybody in the sitcom world always rags on it, but guess what?  It makes me laugh out loud every time. 

Bones, 8:00, Fox 

The bones of a motorcyclist are found in a national park, and Booth and Bones continue not to give into their obvious sexual tension.  When asked why, Booth responded, "Cause then the show would suck." 

One Tree Hill, 9:00, CW 

Drama, drama, drama.  While it was admittedly a cool trick for the show to skip over the characters' college years entirely, it's still contrived that they all ended up back in the same place four years later.  High school shows just plain don't work post-high school.  They just don't. 

Also new: 

New Amsterdam, 9:00, Fox

Samantha Who?, 9:30, ABC

Medium, 10:00, NBC 

Tuesday 4/15: 

Law & Order: SVU, 10:00, NBC 

Benson poses as a prison inmate to catch a corrupt guard – sweet!  Even better: Shareeka Epps of Half-Nelson guest-stars, which means she's getting work other than Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem! 

The Riches, 10:00, FX 

"Dahlia's double life is proving dangerous and difficult to manage."  No, really?  You gotta love canned episode synopses. 

Also new: 

According to Jim, 8:00, ABC

NCIS, 8:00, CBS

Boston Legal, 10:00, ABC 

Wednesday 4/16: 

'Til Death and Back to You, 8:00-9:00, Fox 

Everybody says these shows just flat-out suck, so I've been afraid to watch them.  Also because of that anti-Patricia Heaton rant CC2K ran this past week. 

Tyler Perry's House of Payne, 10:00-11:00, TBS 

Being a young white male and not a middle-aged black woman, I haven't jumped on the Tyler Perry train.  But those of you who have will probably be happy to know that there are two back-to-back new episodes tonight for the multihyphenate's TV sitcom. 

Also new: 

Criminal Minds, 9:00, CBS

Men in Trees, 10:00, ABC

CSI: New York, 10:00, CBS

South Park, 10:00, Comedy Central 

Thursday 4/17: 

NBC's Comedy Block: My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs, 8:00-10:00 

The Office is fun to hang out with and Scrubs is an old friend, but 30 Rock continues to be that hot new girl. 

Also new: 

Smallville, 8, CW

Eli Stone, 10, ABC

ER, 10, NBC 

Friday 4/18: 

The Doctor Who universe, 8:00-10:00, Sci Fi 

The new kid-friendly spin-off Sarah Jane Adventures airs from 8:00-8:30, followed by an hour-and-a-half Doctor Who.  So, a good night for British geeks of all ages. 

Also new: 

Canterbury's Law, 9, Fox

Battlestar Galactica, 10-11, Sci-Fi "The Ties that Bind" 

Saturday 4/19: 

Torchwood, 9, BBC 

The ONLY new show on is Torchwood, that other Dr. Who spinoff.  Notice how as the week progressed, fewer and fewer shows were on?  I mean, I know Saturday is a dead zone, but Thursdays are supposed to be the most-watched night of television.  So if you're not into bisexual time travelers, you can always check out Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, airing all night on ABC.