Best of Seven: July 19 – 25


And now for something completely different:‘s Best of Seven, wherein I read this week’s TV Guide so you don’t have to!  You’re welcome. 


8PM: The Bachelorette, ABC.  In this week’s episode, Ali drags her three remaining captives to Tahiti, where the poor men – now exhibiting full-blown, textbook Stockholm Syndrome – continue to vie for the bachelorette’s heart.  Competitive frolicking, sailing, and nuzzling are just some of the embarrassments to which these tragically confused men must subject themselves to earn their master’s favor.

9PM: Kung Fu Hustle, Spike.  The legendary Stephen Chow produced, directs, and stars in this hilarious and special-effects laden martial-arts epic, which remains the highest grossing film of all time in Hong Kong.  Chow plays a wannabe gangster who unintentionally precipitates a war between the Axe Gang and the the mysteriously gifted residents of a nearby housing complex, all the while unlocking his own true kung-fu powers.

10PM: True Beauty, ABC.  While I can’t honestly vouche for this reality-show, in which contestants are unaware that they are actually being judged (and eliminated) based on their secretly recorded “off-camera” behavior, this is the season finale.  So, if you are curious what the show is all about, this looks to be your last opportunity to do so.


8PM: Signs, Encore.  Enjoy a two-for-one serving of delicious shadenfreude with this 2002 thriller, starring anti-Semitic, racist hate-monster Mel Gibson, as well as America’s most forsaken director, M. Night Shyamalan (who I personally believe deserves another chance).  This alien-invasion thriller may well be the last project that either men worked on that was both enjoyable and well-received.  Remember the good times!  Also starring enigmatic Hollywood outcast Joaquin Phoenix.


9PM: Modern Family, ABC.  Yes, it’s summer and it’s a re-run, but it never hurts to return to a show like Modern Family to remember why it got all those Emmy nominations.  In “Fears,” Phil is afraid of the dark space underneath the porch, Haley is afraid of her driving test, and Mitchell and Cameron’s worst nightmare comes to life when their adopted baby’s first word is “Mommy.”

10PM: Work of Art: The Search for the Next Great Artist, Bravo.  I continue to be surprised by how entertaining this show is.  I think it has something to do with the fact that the contestants, being artists (and not fame-whores), are so refreshingly different than our usual reality-TV personalities.  In “Child’s Play,” the artists “find themselves in the Children’s Museum of the Arts, filled with finger paint portraits and crayon collections. Their challenge is to create a work that is symbolic of the moment their artistic expression began, using only kid friendly materials to create an adult masterpiece.”

11PM: Mr. And Mrs. Smith, FX.  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have great on-screen chemistry in this 2005 romantic-action-thriller, about a married couple in a rut whose passion is reignited when they both discover that the other is a world-class assassin.  Adam Brody and Vince Vaughn also show up at various points and this is likewise amusing.


8PM: Community, NBC.  The Thursday-night lineup at NBC is comedy gold!  Even though they’re summer re-runs, you can’t go wrong with an episode like “Interpretive Dance,” followed by 30 Rock at 8:30 (the very funny “Anna Howard Shaw Day” episode).

6PM-Midnight: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Travel Channel.  The equal-parts charming, foul-mouthed, and hard-drinking Anthony Bourdain travels to  Ecuador, Uruguay, Australia, Liberia, and South Korea to sample the native cuisine and yuk it up with the locals in this 6-hour No Reservations block.


7PM: Seinfeld, TBS.  Check out the somewhat controversial, hour-long season finale of Seinfeld, for which creator Larry David returned to write.  After NBC picks up Jerry and George’s sitcom, the whole gang gets arrested for breaking the “good Samaritan law.”

7:30PM: Scarface, BET.  Al Pacino turns in his most memorable role as Tony Montana (in Brian De Palma‘s violent 1983 remake of the 1932 original) as a Cuban exile who builds a cocaine-fueled, organized-crime empire in Florida.


6:30PM: Juno, USA.  Before Ellen Page was in Inception, she was just a snarky-but-lovable teen, knocked up by the oft-bumbling Michael Cera.  If you haven’t seen it, this 2007 “indie” movie is a real winner.

8PM: Collateral, TNT.  Tom Cruise plays a psychopathic serial killer all too convincingly in this exciting 2004 thriller from the eminent Michael MannJamie Foxx plays a taxi cab driver who gets in way over his head when he picks up an assassin (Cruise) who has several stops to make before the night is over.

9PM: Bourne Identity, FX.  Do you ever feel like this movie is on TV all the time?  I think that’s because it is.  But it doesn’t matter because the Bourne series (starring Matt Damon as our titular amnesiac assassin) is good enough to warrant repeat viewings.  Go ahead, it’s summer!


7PM: Dazed and Confused, G4.  Richard Linklater‘s nostalgic reflection on the youth culture of 1976 is one of the greatest “high school” movies of our time, even if the kids are barely ever in school.  “Set on the last day of the academic year, the film follows the random activities of a sprawling group of Texas high schoolers (including a young Ben Affleck, and Matthew McConaughey in his break-out role) as they celebrate the arrival of summer, their paths variously intersecting at a freshmen hazing, a local pool parlor and finally at a keg party.”

10:30PM: Childrens’ Hospital, Cartoon Network.  Adult Swim recently began airing episodes of this web series, a parody of the medical show genre, created by and starring Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine).