Ugly Betty Thursday, May 21 (ABC)
Two-Hour Season Finale: Not only did ABC bring Ugly Betty back far earlier than expected to replace flat Thursday replacements Samantha Who? and In the Motherhood (both now canceled), but the network has also renewed the series for a fourth season—Betty might get those damned braces off yet! In the big finale, Betty’s old flame Henry is back in New York City for no good reason, riling new beau Matt; there’s still not enough Amanda for my taste; and guest stars Rachel Maddow, Nigel Barker, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Ralph Macchio and Antonio Sabato Jr. himself all wonder how Sabato Jr. qualifies as a “star.”
The Tudors Sunday, May 24 (Showtime)
Season Finale: Sorry, but stunt-casting singer Joss Stone as Anne of Cleaves doesn’t make up for the absence of Natalie Dormer’s perfect Anne Boleyn from Seasons 1 and 2—yeah, I know, it was historically correct for her to have her head lopped off … but she was so good! Jonathan Rhys-Meyers still carries The Tudors well as King Henry VIII, but the thrill of the initial two seasons has faded to the point where next year’s fourth (and final) installment could come off as tame as a PBS miniseries. We could really use some more drama and conflict, like …
Jon & Kate Plus 8 Monday, May 25 (TLC)
Season Premiere: How this ever became a series that anybody actually watches is beyond me (annoying couple with eight annoying kids—I’d rather watch Scrotum Punchers on Spike), but now Jon & Kate Plus 8 is a full-blown media phenomenon. The Only TV Column That Matters™ is taking no sides in the Did Jon Cheat on Kate? argument, as I don’t want to think about either of these idiots getting laid and it’s all probably an elaborate publicity stunt, anyway (note the Season Premiere timing). And when was the last time anyone learned anything on The Learning Channel? Huh, Jon?
Reaper Tuesday, May 26 (The CW)
Season/Series Finale: Alas, poor Reaper— geek-fave darkhorses Chuck and Dollhouse just were picked up for another season apiece by NBC and Fox, respectively, but The CW has little use for anything smarter than bitchy schoolgirls, bitchy models, bitchy remakes of ’90s Fox shows and—coming this fall!—bitchy vampires. How Supernatural (the true, unsung successor to Buffy and Angel) has lasted this long on The CW is anyone’s guess. Will Sam get out of his contract with The Devil in the finale? Or will Reaper, as rumored, live on in syndication or cable? The answer is likely “no” on both, and I’ll go you one better: The CW won’t exist in 2010, either. OK, maybe 2011 … if they merge with MyNetworkTV.
Mental Tuesday, May 26 (Fox)
Series Debut: It’s House, in a psychiatric ward! Why, yes—it does suck!
The Goode Family Wednesday, May 27 (ABC)
Series Debut: After Beavis & Butt-head, King of the Hill, Office Space and Idiocracy (I know some of you had to have seen it … right?), Mike Judge can almost do no wrong. But an animated series about a “green” family of stereotypical liberals? On ABC? Hell, any network that’s not Fox? You have to admire ABC’s willingness to take risks every midseason, and The Goode Family does have some funny moments (like the phrase “WWAGD: What Would Al Gore Do?” and a “vegan” dog that desperately feeds on meaty animals in the neighborhood at night), but the Avenues crowd is just going to view this as a documentary and miss the joke entirely.