Outlander, Mad Men 

More reviews: Bacon House Nation, State Fair Terror!, Bar Rescue

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Outlander (Starz)
  • Outlander (Starz)
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Bacon House Nation
Wednesday, April 1 (FYI)

Series Debut: The producers of Tiny House Nation, the reality series in which families scale down their living spaces from McMansions to custom 500-square-foot mini homes, have fried up the next logical step: houses fashioned entirely out of bacon. Host Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef) and a team of "meat-construction specialists" (imagine that casting call) travel the country making bacon-house dreams come true; first up is a West Valley City family who want to simplify their domestic sprawl, move into a cozy Dutch Colonial made of locally produced pork loin and "wake up to the smell of bacon every dang morning." Fun factoid: Bacon House Nation was rushed into production to get on the air before the Food Network's sizzlingly similar Home Sweet Ham.

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State Fair Terror!
Thursday, April 2 (Syfy)

Movie: It's no Sharknado, or even Sharknado 2, but Syfy's latest disaster-cheese epic State Fair Terror! at least features some oddly specific casting: Michael Bacon (musical brother of Kevin) as the mayor, Meat Loaf as the town sheriff, Carrot Top as a shady tilt-a-whirl operator, John Oates (mustachioed half of Hall & Oates) as an Army general and, most impressive of all, Jon Hamm (late of Mad Men) as a local TV weatherman with a dark past. The setup: It's just another pleasant day at the Utah State Fair—until patrons begin mysteriously turning into flesh-hungry zombie-vampires ("zompires" for short) and attacking the still-human. Blink and you'll miss state-fair grandstand musical acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fiona Apple and Korn being mauled in the chaos.

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Bar Rescue
Friday, April 3 (Spike)

Local Alert: Jon Taffer has made-over many a dive, but few as mismanaged as Ballz N 'Hos, a South Salt Lake pool hall with a limited beer selection ("We got Coors and Coors Light!"), billiards tables in various states of disrepair (some players are forced to shoot around knives pegged into the felt) and waitresses ordered by management to dress like prostitutes (as discovered halfway through the episode, a couple of them really are prostitutes who perform services on the premises). Heated exchanges with the bar's DJ over his musical selections ("Why would I play anything but Lil Wayne?! Man is a genius, yo!") and the bartender who's never cleaned a glass ("I meant to, but I kinda zone out around the 60th Lil Wayne track") lead to a trademark Taffer meltdown and new branding for the club: Sips+Strips, Utah's first craft beer and artisan bacon bar.

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Outlander
Saturday, April 4 (Starz)

Spring Premiere: When last we left Claire six months ago (talk about time travel, Starz), she'd caught a glimpse of a chance to return to the 1940s, only to be pulled back into the 1740s by Black Jack Randall, the dastardly ancestor of her 1940s husband, Frank, and then seemingly rescued by her 1740s husband, Jamie—following all of this? The second half of Outlander's first season picks up with—spoiler alert—Claire making her way back to the stones of Craigh na Dun and being transported to the future. Unfortunately, she goes too far and winds up in the 21st century as a bacon hostess at Sips+Strips.

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Mad Men
Sunday, April 5 (AMC)

Spring Premiere: Speaking of spoilers, Mad Men show­runner Matthew Weiner has placed so many "don't talk about ______!" demands on TV critics about the second half of the final season's opener, "Severance," that there's little point in bothering. But maybe there's something about the series' ultimate end to be read into Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) pitch to a restaurant chain: "The BLT. We all know what the 'B' stands for, but what about 'L' and 'T'? I say they stand for 'Longing,' for a simpler 'Time.' That's what America wants, and you're selling it. With bacon." Bravo, Mr. Weiner, bravo.

Listen to Bill on Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96 Radio From Hell; weekly on the TV Tan podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.

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