Thursdays, 8pm, TNT
Captive audience: Adventurous reality show fans; people who love seeing The Rock just smiling and sweating all the time.
Moment of truth: Apparently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson isn’t content starring in all the action movies currently playing in multiplexes; he also wants to be in the reality show competition business. Johnson serves as the all-knowing host and mentor to nine contestants who compete in “heroic” (read: pointlessly dangerous) games in order to win money. Considering that the contestants—complete with a goofy white boy, a mom who can’t stop crying and, of course, a loud, selfish black woman no one likes—are just another bunch of annoying tools, the real hero might be you for sitting through it.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy.
Currently streaming on Netflix.com
Captive audience: Police procedural fans; Anglophiles; guys who love Dana Scully, especially when she talks in a British accent.
Moment of truth: While the new season of Arrested Development got all the attention when it started recently streaming on Netflix Instant, this BBC-produced drama, which also premiered on the video-on-demand service last week, deserves just as much love. The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson is back being both deductive and sexy as hell as a British detective drafted by Belfast police to track down a serial killer (Jamie Dornan), who we follow as he hides in plain sight as a strait-laced husband and father. The show is so suspenseful and well-orchestrated, it’s a shame it’s only five, easily consumable episodes long.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Mondays, 9pm, ABC Family
Captive audience: Lesbian moms; adopted/foster kids; guys who are pervy enough to watch a family drama just to see two women kiss.
Moment of truth: Making sure that no one is excluded from their prime-time universe, ABC Family has picked up this new, boldly populated drama, executive-produced by Jennifer Lopez, about a biracial lesbian couple (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) raising a biological son, along with a house full of multicultural foster children. Aside from the obvious title and intrusive soundtrack full of emo music, this well-done show looks like it has a lot of potential. Here’s hoping all those young girls (and sad, middle-age women) who keep Pretty Little Liars on the air will give this a chance.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.