“Mom,” 8:31 p.m., CBS.
TV shows, like
people, can grow and improve; most don't, this one has done it
quickly. In its first season, “Mom” was sometimes funny,
sometimes just goofy; now here's a dead-serious detour.
At the core is Anna
Faris as Christy, who became a teen mom, as did her daughter Violet
(Sadie Calvao) and mother Bonnie (Allison Janney). These are skilled
actresses; in the first season, Janney won an Emmy, her sixth. Now
Bonnie has reunited with Christy's dad (Kevin Pollak); life is
blissful ... until a sudden change shows off the depth of this cast
and of “Mom.”
II: “Backstrom” debut, 9 p.m.., Fox.
Imagine Dr. House
probing crimes, not diseases. He would be rude, crude, sometimes
bigoted; he would also catch killers in oddly entertaining ways.
Backstrom, created in Swedish novels. Hart Hanson wrote the script,
using the same formula that works for “Bones” -- an eccentric
genius, short on social skills, with complementary people nearby.
Rainn Wilson brings the same quirky touch he did to Dwight in “The
Office”; others – led by veteran Dennis Haysbert and newcomer
Genevieve Angelson – offer the skills Backstrom lacks.
ALTERNATIVE: “Parenthood,” 10 p.m., NBC.
One week from its
finale, this terrific series faces issues of life and death and more.
At the core is Zeek (Craig T. Nelson), making a medical decision with
his wife (Bonnie Bedelia).
Their sons, Adam and
Crosby, dispute their recording-studio business. Their daughter Sarah
makes a key decision. And Sarah's daughter Amber is rushed to the
hospital, as she goes into labor.
finale, 8-10 p.m., ABC. First, the final five chefs make a dish that
uses opposite concepts. Two are ousted and the others have two hours
to make a three-course dinner.
“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. This rerun brings hilarious moments, as
Sheldon and Raj test to see if they might survive salt-mine research.
Amy provides their skeptical link to the outside world.
“The World's Worst
Mom” debut, 9 p.m., Discovery Life. The opener introduces a mom who
quickly frays the patience of her son, her husband and viewers.
“Two and a Half
Men,” 9:01 p.m., CBS. Joining a group for adoptive fathers, Walden
finds it a nice relief from being around Alan.
9:31 p.m., CBS. For Ronny, the gay assistant basketball coach, this
gets complicated. He's dating the referee whom his dad (the coach)
p.m., Sundance. Skillfully blending comedy and drama, this British
series watches a sleek public-relations whiz (Brit Marling) try to
guide an unflinching police chief (James Nesbitt). Tonight, the drama
part takes over, with a bomb threat and a jolting finish.
p.m., FX, rerunning at 10:30. Archer really should start reading his
instructions. In a funny episode, he's on a treacherous
mountain-climbing expedition and knows he's supposed to kill someone
... but forgot to learn who is the target.
10:01 p.m., CBS. A two-parter begins with Watson starting her job as
an insurance investigator. She and Holmes both probe a threat to