Here’s a look back at the best and worst of TV in the past week (July 30-Aug. 5), and a peek at what’s coming up next week.
1. “Friday Night Lights” (NBC). It’s funny how for three seasons, Dillon High was seen as pretty much perfect. A little football crazy, but a idyllic school that was easy to root for. But this season, seen from the eyes of poorer East Dillon High, the once-beloved Panthers are seen as insufferably arrogant, mean-spirited and pretty much the embodiment of evil. What changed? Really, not that much. The series has done such a tremendous job with that 180-degree change in perspective. And now that we hate West Dillon, we have an emotional stake in tonight’s season finale pitting Coach Taylor and his underdogs against the big, bad Panthers. Remember guys: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
2. “Covert Affairs” (USA). I’m loving this, it’s a totally fun show. It doesn’t have the dark, serious overtones of “Rubicon” (which I’m also loving), but it’s a definite step up from the typical fluffy summer fare. I’m actually liking it more than the current season of “Burn Notice.” There was a cool, slightly exotic touch in this week’s episode, set in Zurich. I’m sure it wasn’t actually filmed there, but the show did a nice job of disguising Toronto or wherever it is they shoot. I’m a little worried though, that every week will find Annie getting life lessons from a jaded veteran spy. That’s happened in two out of four episodes already.
3. “Louie” (FX). Louie hates his mom. (Not really, he even tweeted that the character had no basis on his actual mom). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sitcom go there. And it was shockingly, hilariously brilliant. His mom’s hot new wife . . . . that just killed me. So did Louie’s creepy brother. Such a funny, funny show.
1. “The Bachelorette” (ABC). I only caught a few minutes of this, but I could tell that it was boring. Ali dismissed Chris early, so there wasn’t even any drama about who she’d pick. And what was up with Roberto’s flop sweat? The guy’s from Florida, isn’t he used to the tropical heat? That was kinda nasty. Weak move by Frank to bail on the after-show, but I can understand why a guy might now want to be eviscerated and humiliated again on national TV.
2. “Top Chef” (Bravo). Geez, enough with the pea puree! Doesn’t Bravo have a million cameras in the kitchen? Didn’t one of them see what happened to it? Just show us that and end the bickering. I used to look forward to Tom’s kitchen visits, where we’d get progress reports and maybe a raised eyebrow; but now his visits are edited down to nothing, to the point that they’re pointless. This week’s episode was better than last week’s, and it was nice to see Tiffany do well. But overall, it was still kinda bleh. Next week is Restaurant Wars, maybe that’ll be better. (BTW, for always hilarious “Top Chef” recaps, check out Max Silvestri’s work on Eater.com.)
3. “No Reservations” (Travel). Nothing at all wrong with it, but the episode was a condensed version of the film “Out of the Pan, Into the Fire.” I want more. Gimme the whole version. (Hmmm, I don’t see it on Netflix.)
Looking forward to . . .
1. “Mad Men” (10 p.m. Sunday, AMC). Last week’s episode was outstanding, and this week’s probably will be too. What the heck is Don going to do in Acapulco for Christmas? Cliff diving? He doesn’t seem like the beach type.
2. “Work of Art” (10 p.m. Wednesday, Bravo). It’s time for the season finale. This has been a pretty entertaining series. I know many in the art world have been appalled by it, but I think at least it provides an interesting look into the creative process, and at what constitutes art.
3. “Bachelor Pad” (8 p.m. Monday, ABC). This will be a trainwreck. An awful, horrible, appalling show where former contestants from “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” hook up and compete for prizes. The question is: Will it be so bad it’s good, like “Jersey Shore,” or will it be just plain unwatchable, like “Real World”? We shall see . . . .
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