News & Notes
Over on cable, BET has the third season finale of Sunday Best, HBO has the first season finale of Treme, Lifetime Movie Network has the TV movie premiere of Double Wedding, Showtime has the series finale of The Tudors and the series premiere of The Real L Word, Spike TV has the Guys Choice 2010, Syfy has the TV movie premiere of The Phantom, TLC has The Secret Lives of Michael Jackson’s Children special and a Home Invasion Murders special, TNT has the third season premiere of Leverage, and VH1 has a Basketball Wives reunion special.
Unnatural History (Cartoon Network): New. An old germ is released from a pony express mailbag that is found at the museum. Plays twice. The “Pilot” episode replays earlier in the day. It wasn’t great, but not terrible either.
Leverage (TNT): Season Premiere. Things pick up a bit after the end of season two with Nate in prison and the rest of the team trying to continue on without him. Leave it to Nate to find the team a job in jail. In the second episode tonight, the team steals a reunion in order to get a software magnate to give up his password. Both play again later. Two episodes play next week as well. I’ve only seen the first of the two episodes tonight, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was written by co-creator and executive producer John Rogers (@jonrog1) and directed by executive producer Dean Devlin (@Electric44). They bring us a very fun episode that revolves around Nate needing to get out of jail, while taking down the man behind some dirty private detention facilities. Each of the previous two seasons have had an arc, but this is the first season to setup a season long job as the overall arc. They will still help someone in each episode, but this season many of those jobs are to get them closer to their overall goal. I really liked this slight expansion on the series’ formula. Giving us what we have come to love about the series, but giving it even more importance than previous seasons. I am very happy to have the whole team back together again: Gina Bellman, Aldis Hodge (@Aldishodge02), Beth Riesgraf (@BethJRiesgraf), Christian Kane (@ChristianKane01), and Timothy Hutton (@TimHutton).
- Army Wives (Lifetime): New. Claudia Joy and Michael end up on opposite sides of a case. Pamela gets a new job. Joan has some health concerns. Plays again later. It seems that Pamela, played Brigid Brannagh, will be getting a spin-off series. The new series will have her going back to being a police officer. Gabriel Union (FlashForward has already been cast to play her partner.
- Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime): New. Jane ends up with two clients that seem to be married to the same guy. Plays again later two times.
- The Gates (ABC): Series Premiere. The new police chief and his family move to a large gated community. When someone goes missing he must investigate, which leads to not the best way to meet his new neighbors. The show combines so many elements that you would think it wouldn’t work, but it kind of does. It’s part cop/detective mystery, part family drama, part supernatural thriller, part teen drama, part adult drama, part etc., etc., etc. The Gates is full of desperate vampires, angsty werewolves, and bitchy witches. The cast is full of recognizable actors, headed up by Rhona Mitra (Boston Legal, The Practice). You may not know many of them by name, but you’ve seen them in lots of things before. There was enough here to intrigue me enough to continue watching, at least until Mad Men and My Boys return in late July.
- Iron Chef America (Food Network): New. Chef Pierre Thiam from Brooklyn takes on Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Plays again later.
- The Next Food Network Star (Food Network): New. The remaining 10 are tasked with creating a dish inspired by a classic film genre. Then they have to cater a party for a Grammy winner. Plays again later.
- The Phantom (Syfy): TV Movie Premiere. Syfy sets out to revive the purple costumed hero by updating it to present day. This was originally set to also serve as a “Pilot” episode of sorts for a potential series, but considering that they have decided to play the whole four hours on one night and are calling it a “TV movie event” instead of a miniseries or anything else, I don’t think the series plan is in the works any longer. Anyway, a young man is recruited by a secret organization to take up the mantle of his ancestors and become The Phantom. Runs four hours. Plays twice and then again tomorrow afternoon. The first two hour starts out weak, but turns into a watchable movie with potential until it ends with an event that seems to come to soon in the story. The second two hours just didn’t work for me. There are too many things that happen that shouldn’t given what is setup earlier in the movie and the ending is pretty conventional. Also, while it kind of works to speed up the believability of this young man becoming the hero rather quickly, I am kind of getting tired of the parkour phenomenon. Overall, I’d watch one of the many other better offerings on TV tonight.
- Scoundrels (ABC): Series Premiere. A woman who heads up a family of criminals after her husband goes to prison decides that to protect her family that they’re going to go straight. This show has an absolutely great cast with David James Elliot (JAG), Leven Rambin (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Patrick Flueger (The 4400), Carlos Bernard (24), and Virginia Madsen (American Dreams), but they are kind of wasted. The show just didn’t grab me at all. I guess it is supposed to be a comedy drama, but I didn’t really laugh or feel anything for this group of characters. Also, given the setup, I’m not sure really where they go from here or how interesting it will be to watch a family try and go straight. I may watch another episode or two, but there are much better options in the time period with Leverage, Drop Dead Diva, The Next Food Network Star, and True Blood. All of which I would watch before this one.
- Treme (HBO): New. Antoine gambles away a big payday. Annie is weighing her future options. A funeral procession gives everyone a chance to reflect. Runs 90 minutes. Plays again later.
- True Blood (HBO): New. The Vampire King is looking to consolidate his power. Tara finds a vampire ally. Plays again later.
- The Tudors (Showtime): Series Finale. Henry defeats a political foe, but faces his own mortality. Plays again later.
- ABC has 2010 FIFA World Cup action.
- ESPN has two 2010 FIFA World Cup games early and later Sunday Night Baseball MLB action with the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Boston Red Sox.
- NBC has final round coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament from Pebble Beach.
- TBS has MLB action with the New York Mets at the New York Yankees.
- TNT NASCAR racing action with the Sprint Cup: Toyota/Save Mart 350.
- Hot in Cleveland (TV Land): Repeat. The series premiere “Pilot” episode replays.
A&E has five episodes of Criminal Minds tonight.
Comedy Central has 16 episodes of Futurama tonight.
History has 10 episodes of American Pickers.
MTV has 10 episodes of World’s Strictest Parents.
Spike TV has seven episodes of UFC’s Ultimate Knockouts.
Syfy has 10 episodes of Eureka.
TNT has seven episodes of Law & Order super early.
Travel Channel has eight episodes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
truTV has 10 episodes of It Only Hurst When I Laugh.
USA has 10 episodes of NCIS.