TV column for Sunday, May 6


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE : “The Amazing
Race” finale, 8-10 p.m., CBS.

A 40,000-mile adventure – that's
one-and-a-half times around the Earth – started with 11 duos. Now
only four remain.

There are three couples – one
married, one engaged, one dating – plus friends who work on the
border patrol. Tonight, they start in Japan and head to Hawaii, where
one duo will win $1 million.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Desperate
Housewives,” 9 p.m., ABC.

Let's forgive the fact that last week's
stories about Gabrielle and Lynette were lame. This once-great series
is a week from its finale and worth some final attention.

Tonight, Bree nears her murder trial,
enamored with her lawyer (Scott Bakula). Also, Lynette realizes she
went too far in sabotaging Tom's job; now he might be sent overseas
for a year.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Masterpiece
Mystery,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

“You got carried away,” Sherlock
Holmes says. “The game is too elaborate.”

He's talking to super-nemesis Irene
Adler (played with icy perfection by Lara Pulver), but could just as
well be talking to Steven Moffat, who adapted the Holmes tale, “A
Scandal in Belgravia.” Master of the British “Coupling” and the
revived“Doctor Who,” Moffat is a brilliant writer, now in
overdrive.

There are quick bursts of humor, long
bursts of nudity, dizzying plot twists. Characters keep outsmarting
each other; Moffat outsmarts himself, by making it too much and too
impossible. The game is way too elaborate – yet remains
fascinating.

Other choices include:

– “The Simpsons,” 7 and 8 p.m.,
Fox. First is a rerun, with Bart standing up for a fired teacher.
Then a new episode has Homer taking time off to learn to be a better
husband.

--”Once Upon a Time,” 8 p.m., ABC.
In the fairy-book days, Snow White tries to round up people to attack
the Evil Queen and save Prince Charming. And in our time, Regina (the
queen's equivalent) schemes to drive Emma away, while young Henry
begs her to stay.

– “Celebrity Apprentice,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. From the original crowd of 18 celebrities, five remain –
comedians Arsenio Hall and Lisa Lampanelli, singer Clay Aiken,
actress Aubrey O'Day and reality-show star Teresa Giudice. Tonight,
they work on a hair-dryer ad and one person is fired. The others are
interviewed by John Rich and Marlee Matlin; the final two are chosen
for the last project.

– “The Big C,” 9:30 p.m.,
Showtime. Cathy strains to impress the parents of the baby she hopes
to adopt at birth. Then, of course, complications build: Her son is
distant, her brother has a phone-sex job, her husband is an opening
speaker for a “joyologist.” The result deftly blends humor, joy
and despair.

– “NYC 22,” 10 p.m., CBS. One
story involves a little boy's identity; another involves a bomb
threat. Both are fairly interesting, but they're also
hyper-melodramatic and solved at hyper-speed.

– “Girls,” 10:30 p.m., HBO. Smart
and explicit, this views the raggedly funny life of Lena, played by
newcomer Lena Dunham, the show's creator. Co-starring are two
actresses with show-business parents: Allison Williams (as Marnie) is
the daughter of newscaster Brian Williams; Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna),
who has a great scene tonight, is the daughter of writer David Mamet
and actress Lindsay Crouse.