A Wild Crossover Between "Two and a Half Men" and "CSI" -- and More TiVoWorthy TV for the Week of May 4

By Ed Martin

 
SATURDAY, MAY 3
 
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (TV Land, 8 p.m. ET)
We’re not sure what’s going on at TV Land, with so many movies and reality shows suddenly displacing so many hours of classic television series. It feels somewhat off-message. We might take the network to task tonight for running a 26-year-old movie about the friendship between an alien and a little boy, we’re it not one of our all-time favorite flicks: Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. From where we sit, the little guy with the heart-light is welcome anywhere at any time. TV Land is promising added scenes and enhanced special effects. Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton star. (By the way, if you are reading this on Friday, May 2, know that you can catch E.T. on TV Land tonight at 10 p.m.!)
 
Blown Away: Greensburg, Kansas (Discovery Channel, 8 p.m. ET)
Premiere. One year ago tomorrow, a tornado with the highest possible rating (an EF5) tore through Greensburg, Kansas, and destroyed almost every structure in the town. Josh Bernstein (History’s Digging for the Truth) hosts this look at the storm itself, the mind-blowing extent of the devastation and the remarkable resilience of Greensburg’s citizens, who are rebuilding their town to be stronger than before and more environmentally friendly.
 
Robin Hood (BBC America, 9 p.m. ET)
Robin launches a raid on the Sheriff’s new Strong Room, a medieval Fort Knox, but he underestimates the room’s array of deadly attacks, prompting him to track down the original Strong Room designers, a task that proves more harrowing than Robin thought it would be. Meanwhile, Gisborne orders Marian to look after Prince Frederick of Hanheim who has come to the region to play in the casino – and Frederick proves to be a valuable friend and ally to her. Jonas Armstrong stars.
 
The Shell Seekers (Hallmark Channel, 9 p.m. ET)
Premiere. Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell star in this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Rosamunde Pilcher about a 64-old-old woman prompted to revisit her past and reflect on the choices she has made after she suffers a mild heart attack. The title, incidentally, refers to an extraordinary painting by her late artist father that has special significance to her family.
 
Origins: Phil Vassar – Prayer of a Common Man (GAC, 9 p.m. ET)
Series Premiere. GAC’s new series follows country music artists as they visit the places that were important to them before they achieved success. In tonight’s episode, Phil Vassar returns to his hometown of Lynchburg, Va., and his boyhood home (referenced in his 2002 hit American Child). Vassar also performs a number of his hits and songs from his most recent album, Prayer of a Common Man, before a small audience at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios, where he recorded his first two albums.
 
The Graham Norton Show (BBC America, 10 p.m. ET)
Martin Sheen, comedian Ed Byrne and musical artists Will.i.am and Cheryl Cole are Norton’s guests. If you were a fan of The West Wing, you won’t want to miss Sheen revealing his thoughts about the presidency and the current competition between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. “It’s unfortunate that they’re beating each other up,” Sheen says. “I haven’t made a proper claim. Maybe I should do it here. I’m an Obama supporter.  But you mustn’t reveal it yet. Bill Clinton loved The West Wing and he still calls me his President, so I have to be careful for just a while longer.”
 
 
 
SUNDAY, MAY 4
 
Cold Case (CBS, 8 p.m. ET)
Season Finale. Lilly and her team take on the case of a little boy who presumably died in an apartment fire three years ago after his mother, a former drug addict, insists she just saw him in a park. Bobby Cannavale returns as narcotics cop Eddie Saccardo. Kathryn Morris, Danny Pino and John Finn star.
 
Hannah Montana (Disney Channel, 8 p.m. ET)
Brooke Shields reprises her role as Miley and Jackson’s late mother, Susan, who was seen in flashbacks in a previous episode. This time she appears to her daughter in a vision after Miley is almost struck by lightning while getting off the tour bus at a diner – the very place where Miley’s dad and mom first met. Miley Cyrus stars.
 
Desperate Housewives (ABC, 9 p.m. ET)
What will Lynette do, now that she knows two of her sons are budding arsonists? What will Orson do after he receives an ultimatum from Bree? (Hint: It involves Edie.) What will Susan do when her ex-husband Karl returns to town? And is anyone going to turn Orson over to the police, now that they know he tried to murder Mike? For the answers to these and other burning questions, tune in tonight. Guest stars include Richard Burgi, Kathryn Joosten, Justine Bateman, Gary Cole, Tuc Watkins and Kevin Rahm.
 
Masterpiece: Cranford (PBS, check local listings)
Premiere. First of Three Parts. Based on the Victorian-era writings of Elizabeth Gaskell about a village in 1840s England on the brink of change, this three-part mini-series tells the story of a woman who moves to the title hamlet to live with her two spinster friends. Romance, adventure and history-making changes (including the arrival of a railway) follow. Lisa Dillon, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Simon Woods, Francesca Annis, Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton star. Parts Two and Three will debut May 11 and 18, respectively.
 
Brothers & Sisters (ABC, 10 p.m. ET)
Is Ojai Foods truly doomed? Not if Holly Harper (Patricia Wettig) has anything to say about it. In other Walker family news, Saul makes a stunning confession and Kevin and Scotty share a life-changing moment. Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe, Rachel Griffiths and Emily VanCamp star. Guest stars include Luke MacFarlane and Justine Dorsey.
 
This American Life (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET)
Season Premiere. Host and executive producer Ira Glass returns for a second season of true-life stories about interesting people around the country, the same subject matter that he explores in his weekly public radio show of the same name. Tonight’s season premiere features stories about teenagers “escaping” from home without going very far away.

 

MONDAY, MAY 5

Social Brew (revision3.com)
Premiere. This new series features news about and reviews of online social networks, plus how-to advice on navigating them for all they are worth. Media activist and pundit Irene McGee is the host. New installments of Social Brew are available on Mondays at 3 p.m. ET.

Dancing With the Stars (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)
Live. Five couples remain. Tomorrow night Dancing celebrates its 100th show!
 
Gossip Girl (The CW, 8 p.m. ET)
Nasty Georgina (Michelle Tractenberg) threatens to reveal damaging information from Serena’s past. (What now?) Also, Blair and Jenny spread scandalous rumors about each other through Gossip Girl; Dan sees Jenny’s new boyfriend cheat on her and tries to tell her about it, but she won’t listen; Rufus turns to Lily for advice on how to handle Jenny; and one of the guys reveals that he’s gay. Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Matthew Settle and Kelly Rutherford star.
 
House (Fox, 9 p.m. ET)
House becomes convinced that one of the hunky young actors on his favorite soap opera has a serious medical condition in real life. Jason Lewis (Sex and the City) plays the object of the good doc’s mounting concerns. Hugh Laurie stars.
 
Two and a Half Men (CBS, 9 p.m. ET)
In one of the oddest publicity stunts ever, writers from Two and a Half Men and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation recently penned scripts for each other’s shows. This week you’ll see the results on both. The influence of the CSI writers on tonight’s episode of Men will be glaringly apparent: The story finds a CSI team investigating a mysterious death at Charlie’s house, and CSI co-star George Eads makes a cameo appearance. Robert Wagner and Jenny McCarthy return as Evelyn’s new husband and his devious daughter, respectively. Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Holland Taylor and Conchata Ferrell star.
 
Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (Sundance Channel, 9 p.m. ET)
Premiere. First of Three Parts. This six-hour documentary series follows the lives of forty-something filmmaker Jennifer Fox and her female friends around the world during a three-year period, examining the choices they make in their lives during that time. Fox’s intent is to examine what it means to be a woman in today’s world and the consequences of individual choices made in the interest of living life on one’s own terms while dealing with cultural expectations. Chapter 1 (tonight at 9 p.m.) introduces Fox and her female friends and establishes the challenges each woman is facing, especially the filmmaker, who has always put romantic freedom first and rejected traditional female roles. Chapter 2 (at 10 p.m.) finds Jennifer examining her ambivalence about motherhood after suffering a miscarriage and realizing that she is nowhere near being ready to commit to a man. She also visits women in Berlin, Paris and South Africa to see how they are coping with the issues in their lives. Flying will continue on May 12 and 19.
 
South Park: Technology Attacks Week (Comedy Central, 9:30 p.m. ET)
Comedy Central at 9:30 every night this week will showcase an episode from past seasons of South Park that revolves around on the “evil forces” of technology and computer gadgetry.
 
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC, 12:05 a.m. ET)
This is the week when Jimmy Kimmel and his team will begin including live advertisements in their nightly talk show, with Pontiac as the first of many sponsors that have signed up to participate. Kimmel and his on-camera cohorts Guillermo, Uncle Frank and Veatrice will all be involved.
 
 
 
TUESDAY, MAY 6
 
If you’re a fan of television from yesteryear, why not indulge in the comedy series Bewitched, one of the many classic comedy series featured on Hulu? You’ll find all 36 episodes from Season 1 (yes, 36 -- sitcom producers, writers and actors used to really work for their annual salaries), and each one is a comic gem. Our pick: Driving is the Only Way to Fly, featuring the first appearance on the series of Paul Lynde – and he does not play Uncle Arthur! Rather, he’s the easily unnerved Harold Harold, a driving instructor driven to distraction by new client Samantha Stevens (Elizabeth Montgomery).
 
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m. ET)
Live. We can see it all now: Jason Castro will once again be painful to listen to today, and the under-rated Syesha Mercado will be sent home tomorrow.
 
Dancing With the Stars (ABC, 9 p.m. ET)
Live. The second most popular reality competition series on television marks its 100th episode tonight with performances by country artists Rascal Flatts and the return of Season 4 champions Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough and Season 5 runners-up Mel B. and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Dancing veterans Mario Lopez, Sabrina Bryan, Joey Fatone, Master P., Jerry Rice, Jane Seymour, Wayne Newton and Jerry Springer are also scheduled to return. Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris host.
 
YGN (blip.tv)
Here’s an online treat that should appeal to fans of G4’s Attack of the Show, in that its chatty hosts, Matt and Nat, cover much of the same territory: movies, TV shows, comic books and other media that appeal to proud geeks. And they really obsess over Battlestar Galactica, which earns them extra points. (They produce invaluable weekly podcasts that focus on individual BSG episodes.) At present, Matt is really worked up over the arrival in theaters of Iron Man, and Nat is crushing on its star, Robert Downey, Jr. Just to be clear: Nat is a chick. BTW, YGN stands for YourGeekNews. You can also check out Matt and Nat at YourGeekNews.com.
 
 
 
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7
 
American Idol (Fox, 9 p.m. ET)
Live. One of the final four will be sent home tonight. Please, God, let it be Jason Castro!
 
Audition: Barbara Walters’ Journey (ABC, 10 p.m. ET)
Premiere. Timed to support the publication of her new autobiography Audition, this ABC News special looks at the life and career of television icon Barbara Walters, including her turbulent childhood, her three marriages, her tenure as co-host of NBC’s Today, her brief turn as the first female nightly news anchor and her ascension to superstardom as a primetime celebrity interviewer and the co-host of 20/20. Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Downs, Sam Donaldson and Walters’ daughter, Jackie Danforth, are interviewed.
 
Best of Boston Legal (boston-legal.org)
Boston Legal is pre-empted tonight (for the Barbara Walters special noted above), but you can enjoy select scenes from favorite episodes at Boston-Legal.org. We recommend Alan Shore's recent powerhouse argument before the Supreme Court, which will most assuredly bring James Spader his fifth Emmy nomination for the role, and quite possibly his fourth Award.
 
South Park: Britney's New Look (southparkstudios.com)
With Disney sweetheart Miley Cyrus currently in the middle of a media shit-storm thanks to the wholly inappropriate pictures of her in the current issue of Vanity Fair, it might be worthwhile to take another look at one of this season’s most insightful South Park episodes, Britney’s New Look, in which the crazed pop tart has the top of her head shot off but remains a media magnet wherever she goes. At the end of the episode the media literally kills Spears and must then find another pretty young target to suck the life out of – and guess who is in their sights?
 
 
 
THURSDAY, MAY 8
 
Ugly Betty (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)
ABC’s go-to hunk Eddie Cibrian begins a multi-episode arc as Justin’s gym teacher, who catches the eye of his mom, Hilda (Ana Ortiz), even though he is flunking her beloved Justin. Meanwhile, Betty tries to befriend Charlie by throwing her a baby shower, Daniel unravels after his latest romantic failure, and Christina learns who fathered the baby she’s carrying for Wilhelmina.
 
Smallville (The CW, 8 p.m. ET)
We recently learned the Oliver Queen’s parents, Dr. Virgil Swann (played in seasons past by the late Christopher Reeve), Lionel Luthor and Edward Teague once formed a secret organization known as Veritas that was focused on the eventual arrival on Earth of an extra-terrestrial traveler (that turned out to be Kal-El of Krypton, aka Clark Kent). We were also informed that all of them are now deceased, Lionel being the last member of the group to die when Lex pushed him out a window. But in tonight’s episode, a bizarre attack on Lex sends Clark and Chloe off on an investigation – and they learn that one member of Veritas is still alive and hiding in a church – and holds the key to Clark’s survival. Tom Welling stars.
 
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 9 p.m. ET)
Continuing with this week’s odd crossover event involving a switcheroo by the writers of Two and a Half Men and CSI, this episode finds Grissom and his team investigating the death of a diva sitcom star who was filming her show in Las Vegas at the time of her untimely demise. Katey Sagal and Diedrich Bader guest star.
 
Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 9 p.m. ET)
The nurses’ ongoing objections to Mark’s many trysts lead to the instating of a date and tell policy at Seattle Grace. Also, news of Burke’s latest career achievements force Cristina to confront her feelings for her former fiancé, and Callie turns to tryst-master Mark in her time of need. Ellen Pompeo stars. Amy Madigan and Loretta Devine guest star.
 
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m. ET)
Jim tries his best to land his biggest client ever, while Michael sets up a booth at a local job fair to find candidates for summer internships at Dunder-Mifflin. Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson star.
 
Supernatural (The CW, 9 p.m. ET)
The Winchester boys head to Eerie, Pennsylvania, to investigate a possible zombie case, but instead discover a real-life doctor who in 1816 abandoned his medical practice to follow his obsession with finding the key to eternal life – by drugging people and stealing their vital organs. Meanwhile, Bobby discovers where Bela is hiding, leading to a deadly confrontation between Beal and Dean. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star.
 
30 Rock (NBC, 9:30 p.m. ET)
Season Finale. As Season 2 comes to a close, unhappy Jack (Alec Baldwin) assumes a new political role in Washington, D.C., and later partners with another government employee (Matthew Broderick) to scheme on how to get fired. The plan he settles on involves his former girlfriend C.C. (Edie Falco). Meanwhile Liz (Tina Fey) is adjusting to life without Jack; Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) must deal with jealous head page Donny as he readies his application to be a page at the Summer Olympics in Beijing; and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) continues to work on the invention that will be his legacy to his children. Dean Winters returns as Liz’ ex Dennis, the former Subway Hero.
 
Lost (ABC, 10 p.m. ET)
Locke learns the whereabouts of Jacob’s cabin – but does that mean he (and we) will learn more about Jacob? Also, life aboard the freighter becomes increasingly more dangerous. Nestor Carbonell returns as Richard Alpert.
 
Tougher in Alaska (History, 10 p.m. ET)
Series Premiere. Logger, firefighter, medic and commercial fisherman Geo Beach, who has lived in Alaska for more than 25 years, is the host of this new reality series that explores the challenges faced by citizens of that giant state as they make lives for themselves in extreme environments. Tonight, Geo hunts for gold in the Alaskan wilderness.
 
 
 
FRIDAY, MAY 9
 
30 Days of Night: Blood Trials (Hulu)
Here’s an interesting offering on Hulu: A seven-part Web miniseries that is a prequel to last year’s violent vampire flick 30 Days of Night. It takes place two days before the events in the movie and centers on a young addict who makes his living acquiring undercover information for a New Orleans vampire hunter. You can also find this on the totally creepy Web site FEARnet.com.
 
Can You Duet (CMT, 8 p.m. ET)
By the end of this episode only eight duos will remain. Rossi Morreale is the host. Naomi Judd, vocal coach Brett Manning and songwriter Aimee Mayo are the judges.
 
Moonlight (CBS, 9 p.m. ET)
The grandson of Mick’s World War II buddy is kidnapped, forcing Mick to face disturbing secrets from his past. Alex O’Loughlin and Sophia Myles star. Eric Winter returns as ADA Benjamin Talbot.
 
Doctor Who (Sci Fi Channel, 9 p.m. ET)
Remember the Ood, the largely low-key, subservient alien race of humanoids with squid-like faces first seen a few seasons back? They return in this episode, with dramatically different temperaments, in a tale that finds The Doctor and Donna visiting the Ood Sphere. David Tennant and Catherine Tate star.
 
CMT Crossroads: Maroon 5 and Sara Evans (CMT, 9 p.m. ET)
Premiere. Grammy-winning pop band Maroon 5 and 2006 Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist of the Year Sara Evans perform several of Evans’ hits, including I Could Not Ask for More and Some Things Never Change, and Maroon 5’s This Love, She Will Be Loved and Won’t Go Home Without You. They also pay homage to Don Henley with a rendition of Leather and Lace. Taped before an invitation-only audience in Nashville.
 
Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi Channel, 10 p.m. ET)
Struggling with the recurrence of her cancer, President Roslin tries to accept the realities of the new relationship between the humans and the Cylons. Aggressive viper pilot Kara Thrace is similarly trying to come to terms with the new dynamic.
 
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