TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
The perfect farce is a rare pleasure. From British plays to
“Pink Panther” movies to the occasional “Frasier” episode, it requires
confusion, secrets and doors that open and close at just the right time.
Here’s a great example, as the grown-ups go to Las Vegas. Secrets
range from a manikin to a bachelor party and a magic-show audition. Fred
Armisen guests; Stephen Merchant, the 6-foot-7 Englishman who is Ricky Gervais’
comedy partner, is ideal as the butler who has this madness buzzing around him.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Psych” finale, 9-10:07 p.m., USA.
For eight seasons, this show has milked (and, at times,
overmilked) a fun gimmick: Shawn (James Roday) is a cop’s son who learned to be
a great observer. When he couldn’t land a regular police job, he started – with
his reluctant pal Gus (Dule Hill) – a phony psychic agency, consulting with
This final episode has one good storyline -- another great
observer keeps topping him – and a lame one, with Shawn usable to tell Gus he’s
leaving. “Psych” juggle wit and excess, but it does find the perfect situation
for a dysfunctional duo – stealing their old drivers-education car, with two
sets of controls.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The 100,” 9 p.m., CW.
Last week’s opener set up a terrific premise – 100 teen
prisoners, sent back to see if the Earth is finally inhabitable. For dramatic
convenience, it made everyone unrealistically antagonistic (even by
teen-prisoner standards), but still worked.
Now “100” adds some depth, as people slowly realize they’re
in this together. Rushing to rescue a guy who was kidnapped, the teens see
secrets of the post-holocaust Earth. The adults – on a space station that is
running out of everything – scramble for solutions. The result is flawed, but
Other choices include:
“American Idol,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Last week, MK Nobilette was
the third woman dumped in four weeks of ousters. Five men and four women remain;
now each does a song backed by Rickey Minor’s band.
“Survivor,” 8 p.m., CBS. Three tribes merged into two last
week -- and someone from the old “brawn” tribe was finally ousted. Cliff
Robinson, the former basketball pro, was dropped; there are now five people
each from the original “brawn” and “beauty,” only three from “brains.”
“Arrow,” 8 p.m., CW. Leading into “100,” CW cranks up the
young-female action. The Huntress is back, taking hostages; one is Laurel –
whose sister Sara shows up in her Canary disguise, to do battle.
“Mixology,” 9:30 p.m., ABC. Last week’s nasty moment – when obnoxious
Bruce made his friend stand up the sweet waitress – still fouls things. That’s
the down side tonight; the good side has some great scenes involving two people
– the bartender and the Englishman – for whom life has been too easy.
“Secrets of the Dead,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings). Dr.
David Livingstone was a complicated man, this interesting hour says. He was a
missionary, an abolitionist, a developer of malaria medicine. Still, new research
also shows the complex morals he juggled during years of exploring in Africa.
“The Americans,” 10 p.m., FX. Last week ended with a jolt.
When the Russian spies (who call themselves Phillip and Elizabeth) tried to
kidnap a Russian-Jewish scientist, two men attacked them. They captured one,
the other grabbed the scientist … and now things are deeply tangled. One great
scene involves Phillip and his captive; another involves Elizabeth and the
woman Phillip married under another identity.
"Doll & Em," 10 and 10:25 p.m., HBO. After toying with being a comedy-drama in its first week, this three-week, six-episode show seems to forget about the comedy part in its second week. The relationship between these friends faces challenges that are difficult and subtle, but not funny or involving.