Wednesdays, 9pm, TNT
Captive audience: True-crime nerds; The Walking Dead fans; people who thought Gangster Squad was full of shit.
Moment of truth: Former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont adapts another piece of text and makes some entertaining, seductive TV. He takes John Buntin’s book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City and creates this six-part period-piece/police procedural about a hard-boiled cop (Walking Dead alumni Jon Bernthal) in 1940s Los Angeles, caught in a war between the LAPD and the L.A. mob, the latter run by Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke) and Bugsy Siegel (Edward Burns). As expected, the show has enough twists and tasty dialogue to effectively keep your attention.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Wednesdays, 10pm, TV Land
Captive audience: Retro-TV fiends; people who don’t expect much from their sitcoms; owners of the first and only season of Fat Actress on DVD.
Moment of truth: TV Land once again brings back some TV stars of yesteryear and builds a sitcom for them to slum in. This time around, it’s Kirstie Alley playing an utterly self-centered Broadway diva who reconnects with the son (Eric Petersen) she gave up for adoption when he comes back in her life. Alley’s Cheers costar Rhea Perlman and Michael Richards—Kramer himself!—appear as her long-suffering employees. As fun it is to see these people back on TV, the jokes are predictably half-assed. But, hey, at least Richards does a lot of goofy, physical shtick throughout.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.
Bonnie & Clyde
Sunday and Monday, 9pm, A&E/Lifetime/History Channel
Captive audience: True-crime nerds; miniseries fans; people who’ve never seen the 1967 movie Bonnie & Clyde (even though they so should).
Moment of truth: As much as A&E (and Lifetime and the History Channel, which will also broadcast this) is trying to turn this two-part miniseries into a must-see TV event, it really is quite a chore to sit through. First off, the ghost of the Warren Beatty-Faye Dunaway classic hangs over this thing like smoke as we spend what feels like forever watching how the two lovebirds (Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger) met and became outlaws—which leads me to the second thing: This is as dull as dirt. At least Broadcast News fans can rejoice in knowing that stars William Hurt and Holly Hunter are also in the cast.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy.
In Memoriam: David Brenner