Here’s a look back at the best and worst of TV in the past week (Sept. 25-Oct. 1), and a look ahead at what’s coming up.


1. “Chopped” (Food Network). The champions’ tournament finale was possibly the best episode the series has ever had. It was “Top Chef”-esque, with compelling personalities, challenging ingredients and fantastically creative dishes. My only regret is that Chef Madison didn’t have any particularly crazy quotes this time around, like how a spicy remoulade reminded him of a fiery former lover.

2. “Fringe” (Fox). Forget best sci-fi series, this is the best drama on network TV. Catch this season’s first two episodes online and start watching, if you’re not already. The alternate universe storyline is gripping and deeply textured, less convoluted than “Lost” and more satisfying than “X-Files.” And the acting is twice as good now that everyone is playing two characters.

3. “Glee” (Fox). I was skeptical, these cheesy theme episodes rarely work. But they pulled it off with a super catchy Britney Spears-centric show. The music was incorporated amazingly well into the plot and Brittany (S. Pears) was a revelation. I could have done without Will stealing her lead role in the final musical number though.


1. “Eastbound & Down” (HBO). I gave it a second chance, but if anything, I hate the series even more now. I love baseball, I love stupid, profane comedy, but I just can’t stand this. Kenny Powers is so vile and repugnant, I have no desire to watch him.

2. NaOnka on “Survivor” (CBS). At least Kenny Powers is a fictional character. NaOnka may be the most vile and repugnant human-like individual on TV. I wouldn’t put it past her to hide Kelly B’s artificial leg next time she goes swimming. I’m giving up on this season, I don’t like anyone left. Geez, who would’ve thought Jimmy Johnson — who I was never a fan of in any of his coaching or TV gigs — would be, by far, the most likable cast member?

2. “Lone Star” canceled (Fox). Just proving that if you want smart dramas, go to cable. (Except for “Fringe” and “Parenthood.”)

Looking forward to . . .

1. Baseball playoffs (Thursday, TBS). Of course, this is assuming the Giants don’t choke. If all goes well, they should be playing the Braves or Reds. If they somehow blow it, I’ll be too despondent to watch.

2. “Terriers” (10 p.m. Wednesday, FX). It’s official: This and “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO) are the only new shows I’m watching this fall. I love “Terriers,” and every episode gets better. Can’t wait to see what happens after last week’s shocking death.

3. “Amazing Race” (8 p.m. Sunday, CBS). Goin’ to Ghana, and let the culture shock begin. Let’s see who has a meltdown, I’m sure someone will.