House of Cards
Currently streaming on Netflix.com
Captive audience: Binge-watchers; soap-opera junkies and political animals.
Moment of truth: So, is everybody done gorging on the second season of the streaming video service’s critically acclaimed crown jewel? To those who prefer to savor it all one ep at a time, let me say the show doesn’t waste any time getting down and dirty, as Kevin Spacey’s amoral, fourth wall-breaking politician goes from scheming congressman to scheming vice president. While the cloak-and-dagger stuff is less convincing than the intense, Beltway dealings that go on, House of Cards’ mix of consuming drama and great performances makes this as good an argument for binge-watching if there ever one.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Mondays, 9pm, TNT
Captive audience: Middle-aged moms; soap-opera junkies and people who actually remember watching the original Dallas on CBS.
Moment of truth: Am I the only one still a little weirded out that the Ewings are back on the air? Now in its third season, this slick-as-catshit reboot of the immortal nighttime soap seems like an odd carbon copy, with a younger crew of actors (including Desperate Housewives hunk Jesse Metcalfe and The Fast & the Furious temptress Jordana Brewster) pretending to (over)act like J.R., Bobby and them. While this version continues the original’s tradition of being amusingly over-the-top (Seven words: Judith Light as a coke-snorting granny!), it still doesn’t hold a trashy, tawdry candle to the genuine article.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.
Wednesdays, 9:30pm, ABC
Captive audience: Single, lonely, desperate twentysomethings—and people who at least enjoy witty sitcom writing about twentysomethings.
Moment of truth: There are two things I never thought I’d enjoy in life: the company of love-crazy single people and anything with Ryan Seacrest’s name on it. Imagine how shocked I was when I watched two episodes of this Seacrest-produced sitcom (the first two eps are on ABC.com) about a bunch of single people looking for love in a Manhattan nightclub and found myself actually liking it. Co-created by usually horrible screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover), this show actually delivers enough cute, clever laughs to make you wanna stick around these thirsty folk.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
In Memoriam: David Brenner