Thursday, March 5 (USA)
Season Finale: Does Michael finally learn who “burned” him out of the spy business? Why does he want to work with these people again, anyway? Is his turbulent romance with Fiona back on? 1. Yes. 2. Who cares? 3. What the hell do you think? True, Burn Notice, more often than not, sticks to formula (Michael takes a freelance detective case, coolly dispatches said case, exchanges witticisms and beers with Sam, exchanges witticisms and smoldering looks with Fiona, takes a few moments to resolve his burn notice, blows something up, sucks down some yogurt, etc.), but when the formula kicks this much ass, fine by me. And note that the “who” behind the burn notice is revealed, but not the “why”—did I mention that Season 3 is coming? Kick ass!
Sunday, March 8 (AMC)
Season Premiere: The first season of Breaking Bad was only seven episodes long, but the story of high-school chemistry teacher Walt (Bryan Cranston), who’s diagnosed with terminal cancer and turns to cooking primo meth to pay the bills and give the finger to the society that screwed him out of the American Dream, established itself pretty quickly. What originally looked like a high-desert take on Weeds (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle grows a bad mustache and makes crystal meth in a Winnebago—ha!) turned out darker and bleaker than that reefer romp, with rare moments of comic relief involving dead bodies dissolving in acid and the joys of chemotherapy. Sold yet? Season 2 doesn’t lighten up: Walt and partner Jesse’s new distribution deal with a local/loco drug kingpin goes south instantly, Walt’s pregnant wife (!) and DEA agent brother-in-law (!!) are increasingly suspicious of his odd hours, and the series is still set in godforsaken Albuquerque (waaay more realistically depicted here than on USA’s glossier In Plain Sight). Even with the plot holes—has no one noticed Walt missing from his “real” job at the high school?—Breaking Bad is the ballsiest show on TV right now.
The L Word
Sunday, March 8 (Showtime)
Series Finale: The season-long flashback mystery of Who Killed Jenny Schecter? is finally solved. The mystery of why The L Word didn’t go out on a higher note last season, however, remains unanswered.
Monday, March 9 (ABC)
Series Debut: The premise sounds like an ’80s throwback: Bestselling murder-mystery novelist Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) teams up with a tough-sexy female cop (Stana Katic) to solve a series of homicides seemingly based on cases from his books. Works for the pilot, but where to go after they catch the killer? Spoiler Non-Alert: At the end of the episode, Rick joins the police force full-time to research his next character, a tough-sexy female cop—bang! Weekly series, Bob’s yer uncle. The old Moonlighting/Remington Steele gene is alive and well today in Fox’s Bones, and Fillion (as the charming, rule-bending rogue) and Katic (as the straight-arrow workaholic) easily match that show’s leads in playful chemistry, if not backup—Bones has interesting, equal supporting players; Castle, not so much. Still, you could do worse on Monday at 9: Remember True Beauty? No? Good.
Listen to Bill Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96’s Radio From Hell.