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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Got Olympics fatigue? 5 shows to see instead

    What if you’re not in the mood to watch the Olympics? Below are a few programs to check out if you aren’t obsessed by the doings in Vancouver. Regardless of the Olympics, here are a few overlooked gems (and one revitalized veteran) you may find entertaining:

    1. “”Life Unexpected,”” 9 p.m. Monday, The CW: This freshman drama is doing all right by the CW’s standards, but it still needs (and certainly deserves) an assist. The premise has teenager Lux reuniting with her birth parents, who gave her up for adoption in high school.

    Ignore the fact that Lux (Brittany Robertson) is so adorable you can’t believe no one adopted her, and instead focus on the fact that, like the best WB dramas of yore, this winning family drama has a very talented cast, a good deal of wit and a great deal of heart. If you’ve missed “”Gilmore Girls”” and “”Everwood,”” this promising show could well fill that gap in your life.

    2. “”Archer,”” 10 p.m. Thursday, FX : Four episodes of this animated comedy air Thursday — it’s a great way to get acquainted with “”Archer,”” which could be described as the polar opposite of “”Life Unexpected.”” The mother and son at the center of “”Archer,”” Malory andSterling Archer(the wonderfully deadpanJessica WalterandH. Jon Benjamin, respectively), are constantly sniping at each other as they carry out spy missions for an agency called ISIS. That’s one of the central jokes of this wonderfully twisted show: The Archers and the other ISIS employees are far more interested in office politics, drinking and sex than they are in being good secret agents. Though not every joke hits home, at its best, “”Archer”” combines the demented inventiveness of “”Arrested Development”” with the goofball workplace comedy of “”The Office.””

    3. “”RuPaul’s Drag Race,”” 9 p.m. Monday, Logo: I can’t think of anything more fun than spending an hour in the presence of RuPaul, who radiates delightfulness and diva charisma as the host of this drag-queen competition. In its second season, this show’s microscopic budget appears to have gotten a boost, but as the competitors demonstrate week after week, money doesn’t really matter as much as inventiveness, attitude and style.

    Add guest judges such asKathy Griffin,Cloris Leachman,Debbie Reynolds,Tatum O’Neal,Jackie Collins,Henry Rollins,Kathy NajimyandTerri Nunn, and you have all the makings of delicious drag drama.

    4. “”Spartacus: Blood and Sand,”” 10 p.m. Friday, Starz : When I tell people who’ve seen the “”Spartacus”” pilot that I’m enjoying this Starz gladiator drama, they look at me as if I might be insane. But I contend that people who bailed after the pilot are missing out on a pretty enjoyable swords-and-sandals melodrama, one that is not nearly as derivative and clunky as the show’s first couple of episodes. Yes, it’s violent and sex-drenched and looks a lot like a budget version of “”300,”” but “”Spartacus”” is also a sexy, canny soap about the travails of Batiatus (the wonderfulJohn Hannah), the desperate but cunning owner of the gladiator school, and his scheming wife, Lucretia (the always enjoyableLucy Lawless). It may all be an escapist romp about naughty Romans and fierce warriors, but it’s an increasingly well-written and assured romp. My favorite character may be the fearsome Doctore (Peter Mensah), the head instructor of the gladiator school, butAndy Whitfieldis doing a credible job as the title character, who has a quiet nobility, not just rippling abs.

    5. “”Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains,”” 8 p.m. Thursday, CBS : It was smart of CBS to schedule a new season of “”Survivor”” against the Olympics — and an all-star season at that. I used to be addicted to this reality warhorse but grew tired of it; all the scheming started to feel rote and predictable. But this outing, which collects some of the best players from the show’s past19 seasons, is all about pure game play and strategy, and the personalities and machinations are interesting enough to keep me engaged — at least until Thursdays are crowded again with fresh episodes of scripted shows.

     

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