- Royal Pains
Thursday, Aug. 26 (USA)
Summer Finales: USA owns summer TV, and Burn Notice is the most-watched of all the cable net’s programming (followed by Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, WWE Raw and, of course, nonstop NCIS reruns). Season 4 of Burn Notice has put a wild-card twist on the usual “Here’s the caper, here’s how I’m going to pull it off while looking really cool in under an hour” job-of-the-week routine with Jesse (Coby Bell), a fellow ex-spy that Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) unwittingly burned out of the CIA himself—they’re working together now, but what happens when Jesse learns the truth? Last week, he did; this week, it all blows up (literally, as you’d expect from Burn Notice). As for Royal Pains … yeah … can’t remember a damned thing that’s happened in Season 2 thus far, but it was fun to watch.
New Series: Well, new to ’Mericans: Death Comes to Town aired on Canadian television earlier this year, and now runs Friday nights on IFC (which is kinda like being on Canadian television, anyway). The mini-series stars sketch-comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall as the citizens of Shuckton, Ontario, a quiet little town that was just passed over for the Summer Olympics and, insult to injury, found its mayor mysteriously murdered with his head stuffed into his own mailbox. As they did on their ’90s sketch series, the Kids play all of the characters—male, female, inhuman—but here with an even more hell-bent silliness. Best of all is the Grim Reaper (Mark McKinney), a leather-speedo-clad brute with a personal vendetta against Ricky (Bruce McCulloch), a morbidly obese local hockey failure who was supposed to be aborted before birth. As a comedy and a mystery, Death Comes to Town is far more compelling than …
||Kids In the Hall
||Whitest Kids U'Know
||Kids in General
Saturday, Aug. 28 (NBC)
Series Finale: Remember this? Six strangers wake up in a hotel in a seemingly deserted small town, being watched by outside forces that won’t let them past the city limits? No, it’s not Provo—this town actually has a decent Chinese restaurant. It’s The Prisoner meets Lost meets bad vacation planning and, unbeknownst to viewers, it’s been on since June (around the same time as the 34th week of America’s Got Talent eliminations). So, how does it end? Probably better than Lost.
Monday, Aug, 30 (MTV)
Season Finale: What have we learned over 12 episodes about drug, alcohol, sex and Febreze addictions? That Dr. Drew can’t even help a monkey puppet, and that MTV can still produce the occasional utter-genius series. Suck on that, R.J. Berger.
Tuesday, Aug. 31 (FX)
Season Finale: The Only TV Column That Matters™ has heaped nothing but praise upon Rescue Me since its 2004 debut, but Season 6 (ending tonight at a shorter-than-usual 10 episodes), after a deceptively strong start, has devolved into bait-and-switch filler. Tommy’s (Denis Leary) off the wagon again—no, wait, he’s not. The firehouse is shut down—no, wait, it’s not. Tommy and Sheila (Callie Thorne, still killing it) are finally over—no, wait, they’re not. Daughter Colleen (Natalie Distler) is an alcoholic—no, wait, she’s not. Lou’s (John Scurti) gonna die—no, wait, he’s not. Rescue Me is going out with a nine-episode final season next year, set to finale on the anniversary of 9/11 (the driving, if sometimes obscured, force behind the series). If the show doesn’t pull it together by then, I’m going to have to reconsider my Favorite Series of All Time ranking—stand by, Warren.