It’s Carmageddon weekend in Los Angeles which means everyone will be trying to stay away from the freeways while part of the 405 is closed (from the 10 to the 101). There’s always good summer TV to distract you but when you do venture out, remember, let’s be careful out there. My picks for the weekend: tonight’s FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS series finale on NBC and the return of BREAKING BAD Sunday night at 10pm on AMC.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS FINALE: We’re all learning that it’s better when showrunners know their show is going to end because then they have time to plan how they want to go out. FNL is a perfect example of this as tonight’s finale is moving and big things happen to many of the Dillon townspeople we’ve come to know and love like Coach Taylor and his wife Tami, Riggins and Vince. This closer does not disappoint: it contains a lot of beauty, sweetness and heartfelt emotion. It’s a fitting end to one of the finest shows on TV. I rank it right up there with THE WIRE.
Extra credit reading: this superb piece: an oral history of FNL by Robert Mays and if you haven’t already seen the finale, don’t read the last part until AFTER you watch the finale: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6766070/clear-eyes-full-hearts-lose
EMMY NOMINATIONS: And speaking of FNL, how wonderful to see if grab nominations for Best Drama, and Best Actor noms for Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. Well-deserved to say the least and way too long in coming. While I was disappointed COMMUNITY didn’t snare any noms, I’m elated PARKS AND RECREATION got a Best Comedy nom and Amy Poehler is nominated too. I think the Emmys need an ensemble award because shows like COMMUNITY, PARKS AND REC and MODERN FAMILY are just a few shows that display how essential everyone in the cast is to a show. All the adults in the MODERN FAMILY cast are nominated and I’m thinking an Ensemble Emmy for both comedy and drama is a good idea. In the latenight show category, CONAN, LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON, THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT SHOW were nominated and it’s really good to see newer shows like CONAN and JIMMY FALLON getting noms. Emmy voters skew older and change takes an especially long time with them but it’s happening. The Emmy Awards are September 18 on FOX; Emmy nominee Jane Lynch will host the big show.
MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE: The news just broke that TNT is not picking the show up for a third season. Very sad considering the show is great and the writers and actors are all doing topnotch work.
BREAKING BAD SEASON PREMIERE SUNDAY NIGHT: Because I’m very anti-spoiler, all I’ll say before you watch is that Walt and Jesse are back at the lab and the situation with Gus Fring is tense. The season premiere hour is one of the most tense hours in recent memory and Vince Gilligan proves there’s more power in silence than overwrought emotion. I got seriously hooked on this show last season and I’ll be at my TV every Sunday at 10pm this season. Tune in Sunday at 10pm on AMC.
THE GREEN ROOM WITH PAUL PROVENZA: The show began its second season last night on Showtime. If you’re not familiar with this terrific show, Paul Provenza, a veteran stand-up comic and actor, hosts the show and it’s a small group of comics sitting around talking about comedy, life and whatever else comes to mind. The season premiere episode was Provenza, Garry Shandling, Judd Apatow, Marc Maron, Ray Romano and Bo Burnham. Burnham is only 20 years old and the veteran comics roundly mocked him for that. It was also interesting to see how the group bowed a bit to Shandling. What I love about this show: seeing how fast the comics think and the very funny remarks they make as a result of riffing on each other. No one does bits. They tell stories, they ask each other questions, they talk about their showbiz experiences, it runs the gamut. It’s a great half-hour. New episodes air Thursday nights at 11pm on Showtime and repeat during the week. If you love comedy, smart people and don’t care about comics working blue, you’ll love THE GREEN ROOM.
SUITS: The show is growing on me because of the chemistry between Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams; it’s quieter than I expected but the writing is intelligent even if the cases aren’t wildly original. I still wish they’d write Harvey with a bit more humor because Gabriel Macht seems like he’s chomping at the bit to loosen up (or am I imagining that?). Patrick J. Adam’s Mike seems like Harvey’s pesky little brother instead of a law associate. And I’m still not buying that they have to keep the secret that Mike didn’t attend law school so Harvey won’t be disbarred. The teaser for next week’s episode makes it look like Mike’s ne’er-do-well friend threatens to expose him and I hope something happens with that plot point – I know it’s the “high stakes” point of the show but if it drags on for a long time, it’ll be kind of silly.
TODAY’S SURF WRITTEN WHILE LISTENING TO: The Ink Spots’ “Someone’s Rockin’ My Dream Boat” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQb3PnfsQyM
Time for the weekend rundown:
ABC: 8:00 p.m. Shark Tank (R) 9:00 p.m. Prime: What Would You Do? 10:00 p.m. 20/20
CBS: 8:00 p.m. Flashpoint (R) 9:00 p.m. CSI: NY (R) 10:00 p.m. Blue Bloods (R)
NBC: 8:00 p.m. Friday Night Lights (series finale, 90 minutes) 9:30 p.m. Dateline (two hours)
Fox: 8:00 p.m. Bones (R) 9:00 p.m. House (R)
CW: 8:00 p.m. Smallville (R) 9:00 p.m. Supernatural (R)
Syfy: 10pm: HAVEN season premiere
Jason Priestly joins the show in its second season. Tonight’s premiere is titled “A Tale of Two Audreys” – a stranger comes to town who shares Audrey’s name and memories.
HBO: 10PM: REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
Mark Cuban, Dan Savage and Marc Maron visit the show tonight.
ABC: 8:00 p.m. 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show (R) 9:00 p.m. Expedition Impossible (R) 10:00 p.m. Rookie Blue (R)
CBS: 8:00 p.m. Chaos (series finale) 9:00 p.m. The Mentalist (R) 10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery
NBC: 8:00 p.m. Who Do You Think You Are? (R) 9:00 p.m. Law & Order: Criminal Intent (R) 10:00 p.m. Law & Order: Los Angeles (R)
Fox: 8:00 p.m. Cops (R) 8:30 p.m. Cops (R) 9:00 p.m. The Indestructibles
ABC: 7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos (R) 8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (R) 9:00 p.m. Castle (R) 10:00 p.m. Body of Proof (R)
CBS: 7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes 8:00 p.m. Big Brother 9:00 p.m. Undercover Boss (R) 10:00 p.m. CSI: Miami (R)
NBC: 7:00 p.m. Dateline 8:00 p.m. America’s Got Talent (R, two hours) 10:00 p.m. The Marriage Ref
Fox: 7:00 p.m. American Dad (R) 7:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers (R) 8:00 p.m. The Simpsons (R) 8:30 p.m. The Cleveland Show (R) 9:00 p.m. Family Guy (R) 9:30 p.m. American Dad (R)
AMC: 10pm: BREAKING BAD season premiere
FOOD: 9pm: Next Food Network Star
HBO: 9pm: True Blood, 10pm: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Lifetime: 9pm: Drop Dead Diva
Jane is mugged while picking up Grayson’s wedding rings.
USA: 10pm: In Plain Sight
Mary is considering adoption for the baby she’s carrying. Marshall and Stan have to deal with a new WITTSEC witness who’s a rock star.
VH1: 9pm: Celebrity Rehab
That’s a wrap for now.