Here’s a look back at the best and worst of TV in the past week (July 16-22), and a peek at what’s coming up next week.
1. “Covert Affairs” (USA). Two episodes in and I’m loving it. It’s cool how the fighting is “Bourne” style, ugly and intense and bruise-inducing, not typical movie fights where it’s one punch and someone’s knocked out. There’s a sense of realism that really makes the show compelling and more humanizing. Of course, there are the crazy conspiracies and secret missions that I dig just as much.
2. “Childrens Hospital” (Adult Swim). This week’s winner for the sickest show on TV. This twisted gem spoofs hospital melodramas and is a veritable who’s who of comedians: Rob Corddry, Megan Mullally, Ken Marino and Rob Huebel, among many others. It’s a re-broadcast of a 2008 web series, but it’s all new to me, and I’m loving it.
3. “Whale Wars” (Animal Planet). This series about anti-whaling activists usually bugs me because nothing ever really happens, but we finally got some drama last week. The ramming of the sleek Ady Gill by a Japanese harpoon ship provided the most dramatic moments at sea this side of “Deadliest Catch.”
Honorable mention: Burt Reynolds on “Burn Notice” (USA). So cool to see him back onscreen. But wow, he looked old. Apparently he had just gotten out of the hospital when the episode was shot, so he looked even more gaunt. But he delivered some great lines, and his chacter’s eagerness to get into gunfights cracked me up. John Doman’s guest appearance as the slimy congressman was great too — he’s such a fantastic character actor, he’s so evil in everything he’s in.
1. “Entourage” (HBO). What a terrible, boring episode, and one that was jaw-droppingly misogynistic even by “Entourage’s” standards. The season’s first two episodes had been surprisingly good — stuff actually happened — but this was one giant step backward. When there’s nothing actually happening with the plot, the show is lost and a complete waste of time. That doesn’t bode well for my continued viewing.
2. “Top Chef” (Bravo). Totally boring. And I still think Kenny was set up by the other team to face elimination, which is lame. The fact that we didn’t hear the judges actually judging the various dishes made me question the validity of the whole challenge. Isn’t that what they’re there for? Why take them out of the equation? At least let them discuss whether or not they thought the team voting was fair. Or accurate.
3. The San Francisco scene in “White Collar” (USA). What a bad greenscreen that showed Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) calling from “San Francisco.” And why did she “bike across the bay” (which technically would have had to have been the Golden Gate, not exactly “across the bay”) to her meeting, and why was she at Fort Point? Picky, picky, picky, I know. But it always bugs me when the little details like that are wrong. But other than that, I liked the episode.
Looking forward to . . .
1. “Mad Men” (10 p.m. Sunday, AMC). One of the absolute best shows on TV returns. Sweeeet.
2. “My Boys” (10 p.m. Sunday, TBS). One of my absolute favorite shows on TV returns. Sweeeet.
3. “Jersey Shore” (10 p.m. Thursday, MTV). America’s favorite and inexplicably famous guidos and guidettes are back for a second season. Of course it’ll be a train wreck, but that’s why we all tune in, right?