You've gotta love Thursday nights. TiVos working overtime, VCRs spinning their heads, and three jam-packed hours of great television. What more can a TV fan like myself ask for? It's time for the usual Friday roundup of Thursday's busy television schedule. Let's start with Alias. Once again, I am really enjoying this season. I really like the new agent Rachel Gibson (Rachel Nichols), and I think she's going to make an excellent edition to A.P.O. I love how the writers decided to give her the same experience as Syd with a rogue agency fronting as a CIA-run legit one. How great was the moment when Rachel realized she had been helping the bad guys the entire time and not the U.S. government? I seriously can't imagine learning something so devastating. This led to a great scenario packed with the usual Alias intensity. Rachel had to go back to her old agency, pretend nothing was wrong, copy Dean's hard drive information, and make the switch with Syd while keeping her rogue co-workers unaware of her ploy. One former co-worker figured out that something was up, and alerted Dean. He instructed her to start Plan B - a horrible solution that ended with Dean and the tattletale getting out of the building while their fellow workers were left at the mercy of a ticking time bomb (literally). Rachel made it to the stairwell, but her fellow former co-workers were not as lucky as the bomb exploded. Meanwhile, Sloane was disappointed when he learned that his $300,000 wasn't buying an experimental cure for Nadia, but a set-up for a former friend to kill him because he blamed Sloane for the death of his own daughter. Sloane walked away unharmed, but defeated, finding that there is no known cure for Nadia's condition. Again, another strong and intriguing episode.
My dear Everwood is just getting better and better! This show portrays real human emotion better than any other on television. From Andy's awkward dinner invitation and eventual and even more awkward conversation about awkwardness with Nina, to Amy's hesitation about Ephram rooming with Bright and Reid, to Harold's detachment from Rose over fears that she won't pull through her battle with cancer, this show conquers raw human emotion with such honesty and reliability. Amy's realization that she was feeling left out because she isn't living on campus plus her discovery that Reid may not be gay, and she just might want to get back together with Ephram is all part of what we all go through. I loved the scene she shared with Ephram in the movie theater. You could tell that there was so much hanging between them that needed to be said, but neither was willing to say it. I still hold out hope that these two will end up together and live happily ever after (well, as happily as those two could possibly live). Hannah's willingness to attend the party with Bright backfired big time for her. Now, he wants to go to many more and it doesn't seem that Hannah is really game considering it wasn't really her thing. And I continue to enjoy and be mesmerized by the amazing relationship that Harold and Rose share - good and bad. This is the one aspect of the show that they can never change! Anyway, another awesome episode! I can't wait to see what happens with Amy and Reid now that she found out he is not gay.
Last week on CSI we had a single-case episode that didn't really work, but this week was an excellent example of one that did. This case was very involved and multi-layered, so a full episode was needed to delve deep into the cult, their not-so-mass-suicide, and the murder of their leader. Like split screens, cults are a popular theme on the Bruckheimer shows, but they are extremely interesting and make for some pretty great episodes so I don't mind them. Plus, each show seems to use it in different ways, so they manage to keep it original and fresh. Turns out that what appeared to be a simple case of a cult's mass suicide, was in reality, the devious work of one member who wanted to make sure all the members really died. She slipped them some pet drugs she swiped from her former place of employment (a veterinary office) instead of the sleeping pills that the scamming leader had left for them. Only problem was that the elixir-mixing vixen chickened out while the others were downing the toxic vodka mix. Before she watched her fellow cult members poison themselves to death, she murdered the leader, Diamond, with a tire iron (who was bilking the young member's parents by having the members write letters to their parents requesting money, which they promptly turned over to Diamond). The only innocent victim in all of this was cult member Emma's boyfriend who went looking for her and found a trip over the balcony instead. Like I said, it was an involved case and it really worked well as a single-case episode. A much stronger outing for this show than last week's snoozer.
About Last Night... It was a familiar story as CBS claimed all three primetime hours. The eye network started off on top with Survivor: Guatemala, followed by NBC's comedy duo of Joey and Will & Grace, and MLB coverage on Fox landed in third. ABC's Alias wound up in fourth. CSI garnered the night's largest audience and the 9 o'clock hour, followed by The Apprentice on NBC, and MLB coverage on Fox. WB's Everwood landed in fifth, beating Eve and Cuts on UPN. The final hour of the night went to Without A Trace, followed by ER on NBC, and Fox's MLB coverage. For more on last night's ratings, visit Zap2it.
@8 p.m. - MLB coverage continues on Fox as the White Sox take on the Angels in game 3 of the ALCS.
@9 p.m. - The Three Wishes team heads to Le Mars, Iowa tonight on NBC. Molly and the Red Team infiltrate a rave in Miami on CBS's Threshold.
@10 p.m. - Numb3rs delves into the corporate world when a whistle-blowing CFO turns up dead tonight on CBS.
@8 p.m. - Lilly and Jeffries open the 1945 case of a baseball player killed with his own bat on CBS's Cold Case (remember, this show might get a late start due to football). Does anyone else think that the campaign episodes of NBC's West Wing are far superior to the lame duck president episodes? Well unfortunately, this is another lame duck episode as a member of the intelligence committee approaches CJ with some disturbing news. I'm also not enjoying the obvious "ripped from the headlines" storyline involving CJ.
@9 p.m. - Crazy Gabby starts a prison riot, Lynette learns that Parker has an imaginary friend, and Susan helps Mike search for Zach on ABC's Desperate Housewives. Walker, Texas Ranger returns with the original cast in tow for an all-new television movie packed with its trademark Chuck Norris bad one-liners for two hours on CBS.
@10 p.m - Jordan investigates the prison health care system while Lily gets caught in a court house shooting on Crossing Jordan on NBC.
*Las Vegas creator Gary Scott Thompson is spilling some secrets about his series' upcoming November sweeps episodes. He promises that one character will exit the show, but he's not saying who or how. Also, look for a flashback episode with all the usual characters playing to a 1962 Rat Pack theme and a comic book outing that will be a little Sin City-ish according to Thompson. For more on these upcoming episodes and the possibility of an update on the Montecito's sister casino in New Orleans, visit Zap2it.
*Actress Nicole Sullivan is making her final appearance on CBS's King of Queens. Sullivan left the comedy to star in the new ABC sitcom Hot Properties where she plays cursed-in-love realtor Chloe. On Queens, she played a dog walker who often took Arthur (Jerry Stiller) for walks. Her last Queens episode airs Monday on CBS.
*And finally, CBS is ordering more scripts for freshmen series Out Of Practice and Threshold. The order allows the network to evaluate the shows' ratings for a few more weeks before it has to make a final decision on their respective futures. Threshold has managed a respectable 8.4 million viewers, but it fails to retain 25% of its lead-in's audience. Out of Practice averages a healthy 10 million viewers, but it too, loses some of its lean-in's audience.
That's all for today. Be sure to tune in Monday for Cold Case, Without A Trace (was the actual episode as eye roll- inducing as the preview for it?), and Desperate Housewives. And coming next week, a look at how your favorite comedies are faring this season. Plus, all the latest television news!