Season Finale: It would have been easier to track if USA hadn’t broken Season 3 of slick series Burn Notice into halves separated by four-plus months (seriously, this cable trend has to end), but this was the year when cold-as-ice ex-spy Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) warmed up with a conscience, and partners Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) became less abetting criminals than equal slices of a heroic trio. It’s driven home in tonight’s season finale, when Michael goes all Jack Bauer and fights to save Miami from being blow’d up by an international terrorist who’s—wait for it—out to extort something from him. Is there anyone Michael didn’t piss off in his spy days?
Thursday, March 4 (NBC)
Back-to-Back Baby Episodes: If you, like The Onion, are still wondering why the hell the phantom film crew making a documentary about paper manufacturing at Dunder-Mifflin was invited to Jim and Pam’s wedding in Niagara Falls (“All of that stuff is totally unusable”), prepare for further head-scratching, if not shark-jumping: Now they’re going to shoot the birth of Pam’s baby. Just as we were getting back on the funny track with the demotion of Jim from management, and in between “heartwarming moments” and “recession awareness,” this season of The Office has been dangerously low on actual, you know, “comedy.” Maybe the finished documentary will contain a few leftover laughs—after they edit down the 80-plus hours of overshot footage.
Sunday, March 7 (HBO)
Season Finale: The first two seasons ran for 12 episodes; Season 3 ran for 10; this season is ending at nine—what’s Season 5 going to be, a two-hour variety special? Big Love still tried to cram 12 eps of story into less in Season 4 (Senate run! Casino opening! Gay scandal! Love child! Mexican stand-off! Dismemberment! Polyandry! Deep breath …), making it seem more like a manic “Previously, on …” montage than a natural dramatic arc—but damned if most of it didn’t work. The two big finale questions: Will Bill win the election? And, will the Henrickson family really “come out” if he does? If they’re not answered tonight, expect them to be addressed in the 20-minute Season 5 Webisode on HBO.com next year.
Monday, March 8 (Spike)
New Night: Good idea for indie wrestling upstart TNA (Total Nonstop Action) to go spandex-to-spandex with WWE Raw on Mondays? Probably not. This won’t exactly be a replay of the WWE vs. WCW Monday-night TV ’rassling war of the late ’90s, but TNA Impact (now home to former WWE/WCW stars like Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Sting and the Dudley Boys, as well as an impressive lineup of newbie male and female wrestlers) at least picked a good time to strike: WWE recently killed the ECW brand after years of post-buyout dilution, and there’s plenty of fan ill will against Vince McMahon right now. Still, TNA—why not Tuesdays?
Tuesday, March 9 (Oxygen)
Season Finale: Over so soon! At the end of every season, The Only TV Column That Matters™ thinks aloud, “There’s no way Oxygen is going to find a more violent/alcoholic gaggle of power-skanks to top this diseased cyclone of weaves and daddy issues next year,” and every season they prove me wrong! God bless American ingenuity and topical ointments. It’s going to be particularly tough to say goodbye to the Season 4 gang, who’ve provided more vicious smack talk and inappropriately attired beat-downs than the WWE and TNA combined. Annie, I’ll miss you most of all, and … Wha? Two-part Bad Girls Club 4 reunion show on March 16 and 23? Woo-hoo!