Thursday, Oct. 14 (Fox)
Last Episode Before Hiatus: Thanks to Major League Baseball, Fringe—as well as lead-in Bones—will be off the air until mid-November after tonight. The Only TV Column That Matters™ strongly suggests you use this downtime to catch up on the most solidly sci-fi show on broadcast television right now, via Fox.com, Hulu.com or the torrent site of your choice (if you’re into that sort of quasi-legal thing). In its previous season, Fringe evolved from an X-Files-esque freak-of the-week series about “fringe” science experiments gone bad into a riskier exploration of alternate universes; now, in Season 3, the show has gone all-in, with two displaced Olivias (Anna Torv, blond and redhead flavor) navigating each others’ realities with equal screen time. Sound confusing? It does to 4 million Bones-heads who desert Fox every Thursday at 8. You’re smarter than that.
Saturday, Oct. 16 (VH1 Classic)
Season Premiere: How did this make it to Season 6? I’ll admit to a morbid fascination with watching washed-up ’80s metal “stars” making impassioned pleas about how their new albums (available at the T-shirt table in the bowling alley they’re rocking this weekend) are the greatest artistic statements of their dwindling careers, while host Eddie Trunk, bookend “comedians” Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson and an even-fatter-than-Eddie-Trunk studio audience of arena-show burnouts lap it up, but six seasons? This season of That Metal Show opens with a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio, featuring various members of Black Sabbath and Dio; conspicuously absent are Rainbow mentor Ritchie Blackmore, Tenacious D and Satan.
Sunday, Oct. 17 (AMC)
Season Finale: Don Draper, finally resembling his old maverick self, dropped a bomb in Oct. 10’s penultimate Season 4 episode: A full-page ad in the New York Times declaring that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce would no longer accept ad accounts from tobacco companies (right after being dumped by Lucky Strike and blown off by Phillip Morris—way to “change the conversation”). Not that he ran the idea past his partners, prompting loony geezer Bert Cooper to slip on his loafers and storm out, and leaving the rest of the sinking firm (those not already fired, anyway) to wonder what the hell’s going to happen next. Same on this side of the screen: The only information available about the season finale, “Tomorrowland,” is the cryptic descriptor “Opportunity arises for Don and Peggy.” Job offers? The Draper-Olsen Agency? Investment in bohemian junkie Midge’s new Gallery of Terrible Art? We’ll all find out together.
Sunday, Oct. 17 (TLC)
Season Finale: Finally. The only “person” I want off of my TV more than blow-dried assclown Kody Brown is …
Monday, Oct. 18 (VH1)
Series Debut: The man, the myth, the wig is back again—VH1 must have Bret Michaels under contract for life, or whatever it is he’s leading now. This time around, however, it’s not about nailing diseased skanks: It’s about getting real, man. Apparently, the world was clamoring for a reality show about a diabetic, brain-hemorrhage-prone rock star who really just wants to come home and be a dad to his two kids in glamorous Arizona. Good for him, but how, exactly, is this riveting television? Contrary to what the network must resolutely believe, everything little thing Michaels does isn’t so goddamned fascinating that it’s worth bumping fine VH1 programming like … er … yeah … never mind. Just relaunch the channel as BM1, already.