TV column for Thursday, June 28


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Louie”
season-opener, 10:30 p.m., FX.

Most of the attention tonight goes to
two FX debuts and their bigger-than-life stars – Charlie Sheen at 9
p.m. and Russell Brand at 11. But tucked neatly between them is this
quiet gem.

Louis C.K. plays himself, a New York
comedian trudging through life. Tonight, he's breaking up with his
girlfriend …to his own surprise. His soul is sort of crushed; so,
as it happens, is his car.

TONIGHT'S PROBABLY-WILL-SEE: “Anger
Management” debut, 9 and 9:30 p.m., FX.

After storming away from “Two and a
Half Men” people, Charlie Sheen took no chances.

He surrounded himself with top pros,
led by Bruce Helford, who produced the Drew Carey and George Lopez
shows. They took the 2003 Jack Nicholson movie, dumped everything but
the title, and made Sheen a therapist with his own anger-management
issues. They cast top people – Selma Blair, Shawnee Smith, Brett
Butler, Barry Corbin – in small roles. The result is mildly fun, in
a forgettable way.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: Rookie Blue, 10
p.m., ABC.

After a two-week basketball break, this
solid drama returns, shifting the focus to Traci (Enuka Okuma) and
her first day as detective.

She wisely avoids the hangover suffered
by her roommates, but makes a rookie mistake on a case involving a
seemingly fatal accident. When she uncovers what really happened, a
scramble begins.

TONIGHT'S BONUS: “Twenty Twelve,”
9, 9:40 and 10:20 p.m., BBC America.

We really don't need more comedies
tonight, but this one – which promptly moves to midnight Saturdays
– is dry and wry and (especially in tonight's second episode)
brilliant.

Hugh Bonneville, the “Downton Abbey”
master, plays the head of preparations for the London Olympics,
forever trying to seem calm and positive. That isn't easy; his chiefs
of brand and sustainability speak in muddled jargon; his head of
“infrastructure” pauses at a gas station to buy a street map.
Also, security is so tight that he sometimes can't get into (or out
of) his own office.

Other choices include:

– “Duets,” 8 p.m., ABC. Returning
to Thursdays after basketball, this show trims to an hour. Tonight,
it focuses on songs that came out in 2000 and beyond.

– U.S. Olympic trials, 8 p.m., NBC.
Swimmers continue to dominate, with gymnasts starting Friday.

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Wolowitz is starting to have doubts about being an astronaut.
Also, in this rerun, Sheldon can't adjust to having a different
barber.

– “Finian's Rainbow” (1968), 8
p.m., Turner Classic Movies. Four years before “The Godfather”
made him famous, director Francis Coppola showed how sweepingly
dynamic a movie musical can be.

--”Wipeout” return, 9 p.m., ABC.
For the second straight summer, this silly obstacle-course show opens
its season with contestants it calls “nerds” and “hotties.”
Both groups seem quite exaggerated.

– “Saving Hope,: 9 p.m., NBC. Alex
helps a sleep-deprived hockey star. Her almost-husband remains in a
coma, but his spirit can talk to others who are dead or dying;
tonight, he meets a punk-style teen.

-- "Trip Flip" debut, 9 and 9:30 p.m., Travel Channel. Imagine you're in New Orleans, just wandering about, and an amiable stranger says he'll plan your entire vacation week. Many people said no; the couple that didn't was treated to a fun flurry, from authentic music to kissing an albino alligator. The result is moderately entertaining for viewers ... and maybe wildly entertaining for the couple involved. 

– “Wilfred” season-opener, 10
p.m., FX. This is the offbeat show with Ryan (Elijah Wood) thinking a
dog is talking to him. In a fairly good episode, Wilfred has memory
troubles and anger issues.

– “Brand X” debut, 11 p.m., FX.
Russell Brand can be hilarious one moment and merely Russell Brand
the next. We aren't sure what to expect from this show, taped in
front of a night-club audience.