Breaking Bad Sunday, May 31 (AMC)
Season Finale: Even more so than with Showtime’s twisty pot-com Weeds (returning June 8—squeal!), you never know where Breaking Bad is going to go—you just know it won’t end well. Bryan Cranston’s meth-cooking school teacher Walt has gone from defeated cancer victim to bad-ass drug kingpin and back again over 12 nerve-rattling episodes, but even as the body count has mounted—including TV’s first death-by-ATM and an exploding, severed head on the back of a desert tortoise—he’s stayed doggedly on-target: Make as much cash for the family as possible before the cancer takes him out, even if the family falls apart under the weight of his lies. Tonight’s finale isn’t the end (Breaking Bad will be back with Season 3 next year), but it’s sure going to feel like it.
I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Monday, June 1 (NBC)
Season Premiere: The jungle-spelunking “celebrities” are: Sanjaya Malakar (American Idol), Janis Dickinson (America’s Next Top Model), Heidi Montage and Spencer Pratt (The Hills), John Salley (The Best Damned Sports Show Period), Torrie Wilson (WWE) and Stephen Baldwin (every other previous reality show), and maybe the wife of some disgraced former governor. With the exception of Wilson, I’d like them all dead by the end of the first episode. What number do I text for that?
Medium Monday, June 1 (NBC)
Season Finale: Patricia Arquette’s detective-for-dead-folk series has never been great, but it has been a solid Monday-night pinch-hitter for five years now—which is more than you can say for any other NBC show. Naturally, they had to ruin that, too: Next season, CBS (whose TV studio produces Medium) will air it, pairing the hour with the conveniently similar Ghost Whisperer on Friday nights, because NBC was too cheap and dumb (new industry term: “chumb”) to hold onto one of the few semi-hits they have. Does this mean a Ghost Whisperer/Medium crossover event in the fall? It’s just chumb enough to work!
The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien Monday, June 1 (NBC)
Debut: Also known as The Day Middle America’s Indifference Toward Conan O’Brien Went Nuclear. Aside from his recent glad-hand-the-affiliates blitz through the non-coastal regions promoting the Tonight Show move, The Cone has never really gone out of his way to reach the Jay Leno demographic (the “chumbies,” if you will) who always thought his Late Night shtick was “too weird” to bother staying up for. Now, everybody’s in a no-win situation: O’Brien’s going to de-weird his show in a futile attempt to win over the chumbies and still hang on the verge of being fired every week, anyway—just like in the early Late Night days. He was funnier back then, so bring on the desperation!