Here’s a look back at the best and worst of TV in the past week (July 23-29), and a peek at what’s coming up next week.
1. “Mad Men” (AMC). A welcome return of one of the best shows on TV. It was quite a Thanksgiving for the formerly Draper family: Betty and the kids go to their new in-laws, where Betty gets the cold shoulder and Sally gets nasty sweet potatoes stuffed into her mouth, and Don hires a hooker to slap him around. Yep, typical holiday. And for all the nitpickers out there up in arms because Don wouldn’t have been watching football on a Saturday night in 1964: Shhhhhhhhhh! It’s just TV.
2. “Being Human” (BBC America). For all the supernatural action and lighthearted moments, I forget sometimes how good a drama this can be. But I was quickly reminded by the Season 2 premiere that had George and Nina heartbreakingly trying to come to grips with her newfound, er, werewolfness. Take away the monster angle, and this is really a dramedy about an addict, a guy with anger issues and a girl with social anxiety. And a really good one.
3. “My Boys” (TBS). This is the Snuggie of sitcoms: Just totally comfy and nice. In the season premiere the chemistry was perfect, the banter was as sharp as ever and there was even an edginess that I hadn’t noticed before that demonstrated yes, this is cable: pot brownies, bar hookups and the BS word (was that a first for the show? I expect swearing on FX, but it was kinda a shock on TBS).
1. “Top Chef” (Bravo) Update: I don’t know what I was thinking: This is totally No. 1. Another terrible episode is what is becoming a failed season. This show is in a death spiral, and I might not stick around long enough to watch it crash. It’s not compelling in any way, shape or form. I like exactly one cheftestant (Tiffany), and have no desire to eat at any of the others’ restaurants, which is a first. This week, Tom was wasted (why did they even bother showing him in the kitchen? And then eating silently by himself?), the guests were inane (other than the slimmed-down Art Smith), and the winner, the skeezy looking Alex, (allegedly) stole the centerpiece of his meal from another competitor. And what was up with Padma’s mean “Stop your damn hugging and get off my stage, losers!” comment at the end? (OK, I may have paraphrased there.) Give me one good reason why I should bother watching next week.
2. “HGTV Design Star” (HGTV). Does someone really have to win? There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of talent this season. The losing team was so bad that not just one but two members were expelled, and Vern seemed like he wanted to pummel them both with his well-manicured hands. Actually, the utter scorn and disdain that Vern, Genevieve and Candice have heaped on them over the past couple of weeks has been kinda funny.
3. “Friday Night Lights” (NBC). Don’t get me wrong, it was a great episode. But damn, every single storyline was so depressing and sad. I like my “FNL” more inspirational. I know we’ll get there, but this was the low point we had to trudge through in order to earn the redemption at the end.
Looking forward to . . .
1. “Rubicon” (8 and 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC). A slow-moving but really solid new conspiracy thriller. Read my review from June here. This and “Mad Men” form a formidable 1-2 punch.
2. “Ultimate Air Jaws” (9 p.m., Sunday, Discovery). Last year’s Shark Week was total schlock and hokeyness (remember “Blood in the Water”?). This year it can’t help but improve. Even if all they air is this special, it’d already be 100 percent better. This looks absolutely spectacular. And in HD? Duuuuude. Let’s just say my feet won’t be dangling off the couch as I watch.
3. “Mad Men” (AMC). Who knows what happens? The previews are always so cryptic. Whatever, we all know it’ll be worth it.
PS: Follow me now on Twitter (twitter.com/thatwarmglow) for alerts and bonus . . . ahh, let’s call it “content.”