ONE HAND CLAPPING
By Chris Ryall
TV Recommendations for the week of September 4, 2006
By Chris Ryall
Monday, September 4
BEHIND THE CAMERA: THE UNAUTHORIZED STORY OF DIFF'RENT STROKES -- 8 PM, NBC
This one's got it all--bad acting, bad re-enactments of bad acting, drugs, anorexia, queries about whereof the older brother speaks, celebrity boxing, virginity, security guarding... what else do you need in a cheesy TV biopic?
PRISON BREAK -- 8 PM, Fox
I like a show that feels unpredictable, where anyone might get killed off (or lose a hand) at any moment. Especially when the person getting killed off early in the season is as annoying as Veronica was. Er, no offense, Veronica.
RELATIVE CHAOS -- 8 PM, ABC Family
In a move that will make all "Zandelia" Angel fans happy, Xander and Cordelia finally hook up, but in this case, it's as husband and wife in a genteel family reunion flick.
THE CLOSER -- 9 PM, TNT
Season Finale: The Closer closes her season, and her mouth for once, with this episode about an assassin.
FIRESTORM: LAST STAND AT YELLOWSTONE -- 9 PM, A&E
Sorry, all you Howie Long fans--that is, both of you--but this ain't a sequel to Howie's "blockbuster" movie by the same name.
DANE COOK: VICIOUS CIRCLE -- 9 PM, HBO
It's fine that you're doing a gig in your Boston hometown, Dane, but whatever you do, please leave behind all the other annoying "Tourgasm" guys.
Tuesday, September 5
THE VIEW -- 11 AM, ABC
Season Premiere: The fact that I'm even typing this, and that you're reading it, makes me sad. But not as sad as knowing that Rosie O'Donnell is back on television on a regular basis.
CBS EVENING NEWS -- 6:30 PM, CBS
You know the nightly news your parents used to watch? The same stuff you skip over on your way to CNN or some syndicated sitcom? Yeah, well, CBS vastly overpaid to bring on a new anchor who finally starts tonight, Katie Couric. Tell your parents and see if even they care.
HOUSE -- 8 PM, Fox
Season Premiere: This show just doesn't really work for me for whatever reason, but I'll admit that after that opening on the Emmy Awards featuring House, I'm more inclined than ever to give it another shot.
STANDOFF -- 9 PM, Fox
Series Premiere: I'll buy him as a disgruntled Initech employee or as a would-be actor who would've killed to play Goofy, but I have a harder time buying Ron Livingston as a crisis negotiator.
FASHION HOUSE -- 9 PM, MyNetworkTV
Series Premiere: If you can find this channel (a floating channel in most cities, wherever your former UPN affiliate was located), you'll see a show that would've been a huge boon to my puberty if it'd happened in 1983 and not 2006. Morgan Fairchild and Bo Derek play airbrushed women (really--look at the ads) who get in a lot of catfights.
NIP/TUCK -- 10 PM, FX
Season Premiere: That silly "Carver" business behind them (we hope), the Nip/Tuck'ers return tonight for a fourth season plasticity, this time bringing with them "J.R. Ewing" himself.
GUY WALKS INTO A BAR -- 10 PM, A&E
"Norm!" George Wendt walks into a bar to tell some "guy walks into a bar" jokes, and actors re-enact the various jokes. That's a prime gig for an actor, playing the Pope walking into a bar with a duck on his shoulder.
Wednesday, September 6
FIVE YEARS LATER: HOW SAFE ARE WE? -- 10 PM, CBS
We're not nearly safe enough from Katie Couric, evidently. Five years ago, prime time was clear of her overly "perky" presence, but that time has changed.
HEY ROOKIE, WELCOME TO THE NFL -- 10 PM, ESPN2
Series Premiere: A reality show set in the NFL preseason, taking rookies from draft day to camp to steroid use and more. Wait, scratch that last one--the first rule of the NFL season is we don't talk about the rampant steroid use.
MOVIEREAL -- 11 PM, A&E
Tonight, a look at the Death of Superman. Or at least the actor who played him on TV back in the '50s, George Reeves. George might've been the only actor to play Big Blue who cut a more imposing figure as Clark Kent--and I mean that in a good way.
Thursday, September 7
NFL OPENING KICKOFF -- 8 PM, NBC
Want to get pumped up for the new football season, which begins here tonight with a game between the Dolphins and the Steelers? Then put on Andrew W.K. or something, because the musical guests here, Martina McBride and Rascal Flatts, show that NBC's as out of touch with what people want to hear as... well, as the other networks that air football.
'TIL DEATH -- 8 PM, Fox
Series Premiere: You might be wishing for death after watching this, let me tell you. Is there any more grating, annoying and seemingly lacking a sense of humor comedian than Brad Garrett? Or does he stand out just because he's the tallest grating, annoying, unfunny comedian on network TV?
HAPPY HOUR -- 8:30 PM, Fox
Series Premiere: I wrote this one up a month or so ago, and, much like the house wine served at cheap bars' happy hours, it won't have gotten any better with age.
SLIPPIN': TEN YEARS WITH THE BLOODS -- 10 PM, Showtime
A documentary on the real boys in the 'hood. Dress in the right colors if you plan to watch.
Friday, September 8
BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTION -- 7:30 PM, ESPN Classic
"The Round Mound of Rebound," Dominique Wilkins and Joe Dumars get inducted, among other people. Bathroom breaks would be good to schedule around the time Charles gets handed a mike. Is he a role model yet?
STAR TREK 40TH ANNIVERSARY -- 8 PM, TV Land
Yes, you old Trek fans are getting the "Star Wars Special Edition" treatment, with new scenes of the ships and all, and you're also getting four straight episodes here, too. There's no stopping the Shatner!
FASHION ROCKS -- 9 PM, CBS
Maybe fashion does, but the artists playing here -- Christina Aguilera, Pussycat Dolls, and Scissor Sisters, most definitely do not. But they dress nicely, which is the point of this, I guess.
20/20 -- 9 PM, ABC
Season Premiere: Can't wait to see how they resolve the exciting cliffhanger from last year.
STARGATE SG-1 -- 9 PM, Sci Fi
All right, which one of you SG-1 actors pissed off the channel so badly that you got the show unexpectedly cancelled? Because since there's no good reason for the cancellation, I'd like to at least hear a bad one.
Saturday, September 9
SASQUATCH -- 7 PM, Sci Fi
It doesn't quite make up for the fact that Sci Fi's not airing a MANSQUITO marathon this Labor Day week (consisting of one movie, shown on a constant loop), but still, three back-to-back-to-back Sasquatch movies is pretty solid programming, too.
AMERICA'S MOST WANTED -- 9 PM, Fox
Season Premiere: Two decades, a comic-book appearance and 900 captures later, John Walsh is still doing his thing here, an impressive run by any standards.
THE MERMAID CHAIR -- 9 PM, Lifetime
I know it stars Kim Basinger and all, but again, it's not 1983, and the title and the channel, and the premise--an adaptation of a book about a woman seduced by a monk--all tell me to make extra efforts to avoid this.
KYLIE MINOGUE: SHOWGIRL -- 10 PM, BBC America
I know she's said to have the best butt in Australia, and recently fought cancer, but come on, she's way too highly regarded by the Aussies for someone who once sang a cover of "Funky Town." Better to shower that love on fellow former '80s one-hitter Colin Hay, because at least he's had a really respectable solo run since the early days.
Sunday, September 10
SUPERNANNY MARATHON -- 8 AM, ABC Family
10 hours with screaming kids? For most people, they'd just call this a typical Sunday.
NFL FOOTBALL -- 10 AM, CBS/Fox
You can check your local listings to see what games air where (for those without the NFL package on their cable or satellite system), just know that the beer-drinking that kicked off on Thursday will continue in earnest every Sunday now for the next four months.
U.S. OPEN: MEN'S FINALS -- 4 PM, CBS
At "press time," Andre Agassi still has a chance at appearing here, but with those back spasms, it seems less likely that he'll still be standing when today's match rolls around. Hope he is, though.
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL -- 5:15 PM, NBC
NBC's mammoth investment in Sunday evening ball kicks off tonight with a game between the Colts and the Giants, so those wanting good Manning brother-on-brother action, this is for you.
PATH TO 9/11 -- 8 PM, ABC
This miniseries is based on the 9/11 Commission Report, and while it explores the events that led up to the terrible anniversary occurring tomorrow, let's hope it doesn't kick off a big slate of "commission report adaptations." I can't imagine that too many of these reports have much entertainment value, from looking at the people who produce them.
THE SIMPSONS -- 8 PM, Fox
Season Premiere: Yeah, I know METALLICA guest-stars on the show, and most of the episodes with bands appearing are lame (with the exception of "The Flaming Homer"), but you also get some of the SOPRANOS showing up here, too. Plus, another bonus--Season 18 kicks off before November this year.
KOPPEL ON DISCOVERY -- 8 PM, Discovery
Ted Koppel starts his second (or is that third, or fourth?) career here on Discovery, looking at security in the U.S. in a post-9/11 world. So for anyone who couldn't stay up until midnight to see Koppel on NIGHTLINE before, here you go.
AMERICAN DAD -- 8:30 PM, Fox
Season Premiere: Thandie Newton, are things really so bad that you have to do a guest-appearance on the worst animated show on TV? Or is that "second-worst"? I forget the ranking, since this show sucks equally with...
FAMILY GUY -- 9 PM, Fox
Season Premiere: ...this one.
WAR AT HOME -- 9:30 PM, Fox
Season Premiere: I guess if an unfunny animated show can get renewed for a second season on Fox, there's no reason an unfunny live-action sitcom can't experience the same stroke of undeserved luck.
LEGENDS -- 9 PM, Comedy Central
Series Premiere: It's like A&E's biographies, only these should be actually entertaining, especially this first one, a retrospective of the respected (whether he thought so or not) comedian, the late Rodney Dangerfield.
THE WIRE -- 10 PM, HBO
Season Premiere: Another season of hearing from people that "I really need to watch this show, it's one of the best shows HBO's ever done" begins again tonight.
RUSSELL SIMMONS' DEF COMEDY JAM -- 11:30 PM, HBO
Season Premiere: If the 18th season of THE SIMPSONS doesn't make you feel old, then this show returning to TV (now with Mike Epps hosting) after a ten-year absence should.
TV Celebrity Quote of the Week:
"I was concentrating on the curve of her mouth and thinking, 'I can't wait to get my lips on that!'" -- William Shatner, on the groundbreaking interracial kiss between his Captain Kirk and Nichelle Nichols' Lt. Uhuru in a '60s STAR TREK episode.
All show times Pacific Standard Time and all opinions hope we get 40 more years of Shatner