Fringe Tuesday, May 12 (Fox)
Season Finale: So it’s just The X-Files with prettier leads and a bonus mad scientist—any hit on Fox not involving karaoke, fifth-graders or cartoons is fine by me. Fringe is the network’s only new drama confirmed to return next season, and it’s easy to understand why: Little thinking is required to follow it (here’s your monster/epidemic, here’s your fevered dash for answers, here’s your resolution, here’s Mr. Spock in the season finale), and it tosses around just enough science to make you at least feel smarter—it’s like House slapping around Bill Nye.
The Fashion Show Thursday, May 7 (Bravo)
Series Debut: Since people who read The Only TV Column That Matters™ aren’t fashionable (or sober, employed, etc.), I’m breaking news here: Bravo lost Project Runway to Lifetime recently, which meant Bravo had to scramble to air something to hold onto its 158-percent gay audience before they all flock over to Lifetime (ha!) in the fall. Hence, The Fashion House, a blatant—wait for it—knockoff, with new hosts Kelly Rowland and Isaac Mizrahi; Rowland was one of the non-Beyonce girls in Destiny’s Child, while Mizrahi is best known as the guy who felt up Scarlett Johansson at the Golden Globes a couple of years ago. In other words, my personal hero.
Dollhouse Friday, May 8 (Fox)
Season Finale: Wow, we all had pretty damned high hopes for this, didn’t we? Or was it just me? Dollhouse is as good as dead after tonight’s season finale— the ratings have been anemic even for Friday, and Fox may be wondering why it ever got back in bed with Joss Whedon as much as vice versa. Like Whedon’s far-superior Fox miss Firefly, Dollhouse probably wouldn’t have worked on any night; combined with an overly restrained Eliza Dushku (Did we learn nothing from Tru Calling? She’s gotta be a bad-ass!), whiplash morality twists (Hot women personality-programmed to do your bidding! Oh, they have feelings and memories? Hey, leather catsuits!) and the worst opening theme song since Star Trek: Enterprise (it’s so girly it actually makes my uterus hurt), forget it. Fortunately/unfortunately, things finally started happening last week on Dollhouse: The original Doll-gone-bad Alpha returned, and the finale (replete with Dushku in tough-chick mode—woo-hoo!) is shaping up to be a blaze-of-glory outro regardless of a Season 2 pickup. If that miracle happens, however, new opening theme: “Personality Crisis” by the New York Dolls.
Charm School Monday, May 11 (VH1)
Season Premiere: “Headmistress” Ricki Lake presides over a gaggle of leftover ’ho-bags from Rock of Love and Real Chance at Love (including Rock faves Ashley and Beverly); Valuable Life Lessons are learned by none. Now, The Only TV Column That Matters™ is as big an advocate for topless drunken girls fighting as the next heterosexual TV critic (of which there are at least a dozen), but the VH1 reality skankernaut must be stopped before everyone who’s ever appeared on the network gets his or her own spin-off series. Are you really ready for Shakes of Love With Steven Adler? Didn’t think so.
Lost Wednesday, May 13 (ABC)
Two-Hour Season Finale: In a different parallel timeline, I’ve been following every episode of this season of Lost. In another, I’m waiting for the DVD and telling everybody around me “Shhh!” In another, it’s 1977, the only thing on ABC is Roots, and I have no idea what the hell’s going on. Same goes for this timeline …
Fri., Aug. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 26 / Free