The Celebrity Apprentice Thursday, Jan. 3 (NBC)
Season Premiere: Wasn’t this canceled? Oh, writers’ strike. Anyway, Donald Trump’s latest round of business bullshit (bizshit?) is all about the allegedly famous: Trace Adkins (large country singer), Carol Alt (old supermodel), Stephen Baldwin (professional reality-show contestant), Nadia Comaneci (’70s Olympian), Tiffany Fallon (Playboy Playmate), Jennie Finch (Olympic … softball pitcher?), Nely Galan (“life couch” from The Swan), Marilu Henner (from Taxi), Lennox Lewis (boxer with a Brit accent), Tito Ortiz (UFC fighter with a … clothing line?), Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy from The Sopranos) and Gene Simmons (pussy hound from Kiss). This is what you get instead of The Office. Enjoy.
Cashmere Mafia Sunday, Jan. 6 (ABC)
Series Debut: It’s supposed to be the second coming of Sex and the City: Four New York City career women navigate the corporate ladder, the glass ceiling and whatever other cliché you’ve got while dealing with useless sperm vessels (i.e., men) and look fabulous doing it. Too bad Cashmere Mafia smells like previous ABC pantloads like Big Shots (MIA, probably canceled) and Women’s Murder Club (still on, don’t know why). But, it’s as flufftacularly stupid as the rest of ABC’s schedule, so it’ll be a hit—and at least it’s not another reality show. Yes, that’s where the bar is set right now. Observe …
American Gladiators Sunday, Jan. 6 (NBC)
Series Re-Debut: Same show from the ’80s; different spandexed steroid cases with ridiculous names (Hellga! Justice! Militia! Mayhem! Fudgie!) whacking everydude contestants with Nerf paddles. For an hour. In prime time. Oh, and now there’s Hulk Hogan and water sports—two things you never wanted to hear in the same sentence, I’m sure. This is what you’ll get on Mondays instead of Chuck. Enjoy.
The Wire Sunday, Jan 6 (HBO)
Season Premiere: Last season, it was about education; in The Wire’s final season, it’s about the media—in particular, “recent trends in the newspaper industry that have conspired to make high-end journalism vulnerable: out-of-town chain ownership [and] an economic climate in which the share price of media companies matters more to industry leaders than the product itself.” Relax, it’s Baltimore—there’s nothing like that going on at your local daily newspaper … as far as you know/care. Unless you’re already into (and I mean waaay into) TV’s best crime drama for people with a stomach for actual crime minus the well-coiffed white folk, best stay away from The Wire. Had I demanding corporate overlords, I’d beg you to watch it. I’d also have pricey corporate lawyers to help me take on those thieving fucks at Court TV for changing the network’s name to TruTV this week. Give, take—that’s reality, not actuality.
The L Word Sunday, Jan. 6 (Showtime)
Season Premiere: Thought there could be no more Lesbian! Drama! on The L Word? Know many lesbians? I do, and as soon as they hear that I received the first eight episodes of Season 5 from Showtime, the microbrew bribes are going to start pouring in. I watched all eight in a row, and it’s kind of a blur, but here’s what I can tell you: The Hot Lesbian Sex (HLS) index for Season 5 is back up to Season 1 levels (including heretofore neglected angles like jail lovin’ and oil wrestlin’), Alice—still my favorite—is somehow supporting her L.A. self as a “podcast journalist,” Shane’s domestication will go horribly wrong (shocker), things will heat up again between Bette and Tina (ditto), Helena will adapt surprisingly well to prison life (a hint was dropped a few lines back), the film version of Jenny’s L Word-esque short story Lez Girls will tweak all sorts of hilarious inside-baseball commentary about straight actresses in lesbian roles (as one puts it, “I’m just gay for pay”), and a new character will subtly arise to eclipse Jenny’s self-absorbed evil (never trust personal assistants). There’s much more, but my beer cooler is sad ’n’ empty …
3:10 to Yuma
Christian Bale tries to extradite bad guy Russell Crowe via a train to Yuma that leaves at, yep, 3:10. Love the simplicity of Westerns. Lionsgate.com
Happy Tree Friends: The Complete Series
Five hours of sick, violent, twisted cartoon animals doing sick, violent, twisted cartoon things. Buy it for your whiney friends in PETA. BCIEclipse.com
The Riches: Season 1
Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver grift their way into suburbia under assumed IDs, only to realize the suburbs suck. A cautionary tale. FoxHome.com
A group of scientists must reboot the sun before it and Earth die. So much for your “global warming” Nobel Prize bullshit, Al Gore! FoxHome.com
White Noise 2
Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff slum it in the sequel no one asked for, about ghosts in a ham radio. Or was it a ham sandwich? NBCUni.com
More New DVD Releases (Jan. 8)
The Assassination of Jesse James, I Am an Animal, MI-5: Season 5, The Naked Bros. Band: Season 1, Rob & Big: Season 1, Two & a Half Men: Season 2, The Waltons: Season 6
The L Word
Since Sunday, Dec. 30, OurChart.com (the lesbian social-networking site launched by The L Word and Showtime—Queer as Folk was never this proactive) has streamed the Season 5 premiere of The L Word in its entirety, a full week ahead of Showtime. Be advised that it’s a cleaned-up PG-13 version of the episode and … oh, lost you?