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June 2010 Archives

SATURDAY

"You Lucky Dog" (8 p.m., Hallmark): Natasha Henstridge and Harry Hamlin play siblings who try to save the family farm with the help of a rescue Border collie. Aw.

"Swamp Thing" (9 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Wes Craven's '82 classic brought together Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise. Bliss. And if you see Rich Koz (a.k.a. Svengoolie) around town, congratulate him: He was recently honored by the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

"Supergator" (6 p.m., SyFy): Kelly McGillis stars (not as the enormous alligator) in this 2007 thriller, followed at 8 p.m. with its much-anticipated sequel: "Dinocroc Vs. Supergator." which features the late David Carradine (not as either alligator).

SUNDAY

"BET Awards '10" (7 p.m., BET): Queen Latifah hosts, with a Lifetime Achievement award for Prince.

"Daytime Emmy Awards" (8 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): Regis Philbin hosts, with a tribute to Dick Clark.

"Ellen's Somewhat Special Special" (8 p.m., TBS): Her variety show includes Lady Antebellum, comic-magician James Galea and gymnast Dominic Lacasse. It's followed at by "Team Coco Presents Conan's Writers Live," which boasts the pride of Yorkville High, Andy Richter. Both shows were recorded at the recent Just for Laughs festival in Chicago.

"Hung" (9 p.m., HBO): The second season starts with Tanya consulting a professional pimp.

"Entourage" (9:30 p.m., HBO): If this is the seventh season, can we still call the boys "the boys"? Watch for director Nick Cassavetes, who persuades Vince to do his own stunts on a film. Am I the only one who loved Cassavetes in 1988's "Assault of the Killer Bimbos"?

'100 Questions'
2 stars
7:30 p.m. Thursday on WMAQ-Channel 5

The concept is rich with possibilities: A woman meets with a dating service's "soulmate specialist" to answer 100 questions about what she's looking for. Question 1: What brings you here? The answer leads to half-hour flashback of dating horror stories.

Anyone who's ever been single knows that there's comedy gold in humiliating anecdotes. Case in point: The gentleman on last week's "The Bachelorette" who volunteered a story about how he got his nickname, Shooter. (Premature ejaculation.) No, he did not get a rose.

Memphis Beat
Three stars
9 p.m. Tuesday on TNT

Rookie Blue
Two stars
8 p.m. Thursday on WLS-Channel 7

The life of a cop is tough enough without having to suffer disrespectful depictions on TV. For every Andy Sipowicz, there's a Barney Fife or Clancy Wiggums -- and pink doughnuts aren't far behind. It's not right. We ask our police officers to put themselves in danger on the street; the least we could do is not submit them to character assassination on the small screen.

Unfortunately, ABC's new "Rookie Blue" is not going to do much for their image. It's not that we're faced with corrupt or abusive cops - nothing like that. No, it's worse: We meet a group of drop-dead gorgeous newbies, who are so eager they could pass for puppies.

'Hot in Cleveland'
Three stars
9 p.m. Wednesday on TV Land

This may be a new sitcom, but it feels like a greatest hits album. "Hot in Cleveland" is fortunate enough to have not one, but two reheated "it" girls beloved by the public: Betty White and Valerie Bertinelli. They're joined by punchline pros Jane Leeves ("Frasier") and Wendie Malick ("Just Shoot Me") in a series that feels so familiar that it's essentially a re-cast "Golden Girls."

SATURDAY

"Clay Aiken: Tried & True - Live" (7 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Clay-mates will be delighted with his renditions of "Moon River" and "Mack the Knife." Special guest: Ruben Studdard.

"Beautiful People" (9 p.m., Logo): "The Wonder Years" meets "Absolutely Fabulous" on this British series, which begins its second season with Simon dealing with the fact that his parents weren't married.

"Robert Klein: Unfair and Unbalanced" (9 p.m., HBO): The caustic comedian performs in Fort Lauderdale. Highlights: a bit on love scenes on film, and a musical number about Barack Obama.

SUNDAY

"Chris Botti in Boston" (7 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): The hot jazz trumpeter performs with the Boston Pops Orchestra, joined by Josh Groban, Yo-Yo Ma, Sting and Steven Tyler, and appears in studio for a pledge drive.

"Unnatural History" (7 p.m., Cartoon Network): In this new series, which is ironically not a cartoon, an accomplished teen is sent to high school in Washington, D.C., to solve a mystery.

"Extreme Poodles" (8 p.m., TLC): Who knew pet grooming could be so exciting?

"Wonders of the World" (8 p.m., Discovery): Celebrities and fans reminisce about 25 years of programming highlights, and get a glimpse of future offerings.

"VH1 Storytellers: Christina Aguilera" (9 p.m., VH1): The reinvented "Bionic" woman performs new songs and answers fans' questions.

"Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami" (9 p.m., E!): The young ladies bicker about business in the season premiere. Disclaimer: I am not actually recommending this, but the Kardashians are difficult to ignore.

"Design Star" (9 p.m., HGTV): The fifth season returns to New York City with 12 new contestants, a white-box bedroom, and $500 to spend at an Asian market.

'True Blood'
Three stars
8 p.m. Sunday on HBO

I do not count myself among "True Blood's" most die-hard fans. While Sookie Stackhouse certainly has more spunk than the "Twilight" series' passive Bella, they have one thing in common -- every man in the vicinity falls in love with her, whether vampire, werewolf or shape-shifter. Somehow Sookie is the center of the supernatural universe, and I just don't get the appeal. Attention, all undead suitors: You can do better.

But with season three starting, even a skeptic like me has to appreciate a series with camp dialogue of this caliber. "I'm sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, all right?" snaps a supporting character at unlucky-in-love Tara. "But honestly, who here hasn't?"

It's been said that a great artist is either ahead of his time or behind it. Now Bravo will find out how artists fare in primetime with "Work of Art," which will be on display Wednesday night at 10.

Sarah Jessica Parker is producing (and occasionally appearing on) the "Project Runway"-like competition, with the winner earning a show at the Brooklyn Museum and $100,000.

The 14 artists work in a variety of media - painting, sculpture, performance art - but at least five of them have something in common: ties to Chicago. Here's who to watch for:

'Persons Unknown'
Three stars
9 p.m. Monday on WMAQ-Channel 5

Roger Ebert included "The Usual Suspects" on his list of Most Hated movies, but I watch it whenever possible - love the mysterious Turkish villain, love Fenster's mumbling, love the twist ending. Christopher McQuarrie won an Oscar for his screenplay, so I can't be the only one.

Now McQuarrie brings us the 13-episode mystery "Persons Unknown." A group of seven strangers are kidnapped, and wake up locked in a hotel in an abandoned town just north of nowhere. It's hard to say what they have in common; there's a single mother who ran a day care; a counselor; a rich guy; a car salesman; a hungover party girl; a Marine; and a gentleman who identifies himself as Joe, but declines to say much more about himself. He's played by "Third Watch's" Jason Wiles, and he has an eclectic set of skills: He knows how to open magnetically sealed doors, for instance, and can make fire than anyone who's ever been on "Survivor."

'The Hard Times of RJ Berger'
Two stars
10 p.m. Sunday on MTV

Teen entertainment is a different beast, and it has its own rules. There has to be an underdog hero, a secret crush, an absurdist and eye-rolling depiction of high school, and random raunch. It doesn't have to be a good show to be considered a classic (see: "Square Pegs"). In fact, sometimes it's better if it's not. Not every teen is emotionally ready for a "My So-Called Life" or "Freaks and Geeks," after all.

'Are We There Yet?'
Two and a half stars
8 and 8:30 p.m. on TBS

The main problem with "Are We There Yet?" is that it requires a "Cosby Show"-level suspension of disbelief. No -- more. We are presented with a new husband eager to bond with his stepchildren. He is accomplished in both athletics and computers, and comes with his own throw pillows. After much discussion about whether his wife should take his name, he tells her that he'll hyphenate HIS name.

Men like this do not and should not exist, even in fiction. "Are We There Yet?" may do more damage to young romantics than Jane Austen novels.

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