FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Masterchef Junior (Fox at 8:00pm)
I like to think of myself as a very good cook. These kids, aged 8 to 13, are humbling. The dishes they created and presented in just an hour were magnificent. Inspiring stuff that I will continue to watch.
Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out (Showtime at 9:00pm)
A follow-up to her earlier film, Marina Zenovich looks at the arrest and extradition hearing of Roman Polanski. There is a fair amount of finger pointing and some allegations on both sides of why the Swiss finally got around to arresting the man who has lived in their country on and off for decades. Other than a fascinating interview with the original victim in the case, the rest of the film is a bit dull and runs a bit long.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
Arcade Fire Concert Special (NBC at 1:00am)
The Cheating Pact (Lifetime at 8:00pm)
History Made Now: Wheels of Fortune (History at 8:00pm)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
Instant Mom (Nickelodeon at 8:30pm)
This show is nearly identical to Trophy Wife, another new show this season. A party girl marries a guy with three kids and begins to raise them when their mother is called out of town for an extended period. The jokes were a bit stale and the story has been told, but the actors were obviously having fun and enjoying the gig. I’ve seen a lot worse.
Betrayal (ABC at 10:00pm)
ABC loves its one word titled guilty pleasures. First we had Revenge, then we had Scandal, both of which involve guilty romances and guilty secrets. This one tries to adhere to the same formula, but misses the mark. There is so little chemistry between the two leads, it is impossible to believe that both would sacrifice long term marriages for such tepidity. Add in a badly written, cliché driven murder plot that will pit husband against lover in the courtroom, and it becomes clear that this show is a distant cousin to either of its predecessors.
Masters of Sex (Showtime at 10:00pm)
William Masters and Virginia Johnson changed the game when it came to the study of human sexuality. Flying in the face of all conventions of the time, they studied sex scientifically using volunteers from their local community. This series is a docudrama based on their work and it is fascinating. As you can imagine, there is a lot of sex, but it is all in furtherance of the story. Michael Sheen and Lizzie Caplan bring two magnificent performances. Although this is definitely a show for adults, it is well worth checking out. Maybe the best new series yet.
Hello Ladies (HBO at 10:30pm)
Stephen Merchant, a longtime collaborator with Ricky Gervais, strikes out on his own and, I’m afraid, strikes out. This comedy is simply dreadful. It is filled with horrible narcissists who are not the slightest bit funny. It is obvious from the first five minutes that, eventually, Merchant’s character is going to end up with the woman to whom he rents a room and I couldn’t care less. I made it through fifteen minutes of the pilot’s thirty before I simply couldn’t take any more of the pain.
Terror in the Skies (Smithsonian at 8:00pm)
Eric & Jessie: Game On (E! at 10:00pm)
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
We Are Men (CBS at 8:30pm)
Similar to Dads, this is a show with a cast that can’t be beat. Unfortunately, the comparison doesn’t end there. This is another bad sitcom. The story has been done and is dull; the jokes are not funny; the misogyny is not subtle. I know many, many wonderful men. Somehow, the television gods this year have chosen to portray the worst of the gender. I wonder why.
2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival (The CW at 8:00pm)
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1
Wolfblood (Disney at 8:00pm)
An import from Britain, this is a charming show. Aimed at tweens, it is the story of 14-year-old Maddy who has the ability to become a wolf at the full moon. Not a werewolf; she is not a monster as the show takes pains to tell us. The story feels real. These kids go to school, face peer pressure, and deal with annoying parents. The actors are good for ones so young and the story shows promise. If you have kids, I would recommend this show for them. For the rest of us, it may be a bit young.
30 for 30 (ESPN at 8:00pm)
Homicide Hunter (Investigation Discovery at 9:00pm)
Beauty Queen Murders (Investigation Discovery at 10:00pm)