So later this week, we switch back to Daylight Savings Time again. Which is great for all those school kids who get the extra hour of sun in the evenings. Still, for those who enjoy top rated TV, it's kind of sad. When it stays light out later, people will tell you to stop watching television and get outside. Who needs that? If you do, you'd miss highlights like History Channels free Bible study, a Grimm return and the new Duck Dynasty season.
LA Shrinks, Bravo, Mondays, 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT
Many years ago, I lived across the street from a marriage counselor. She spent her days helping other people learn how to relate to each other. Then, when the weekend came, she'd call and ask if we could order Chinese take out for her because she didn't want to leave her house or talk to strangers. It was at that point I realized that just because one is a therapist doesn't mean he or she can't be as crazy as the patients. Which brings us to Bravo's latest attempt to exploit the lifestyles of the nearly rich and semi-famous.
LA Shrinks follows the lives, both personal and professional, of three Hollywood-land therapists. They've got nutty clients but – and here's the wacky hook – they've got even more problems than the people they're trying to help. These shrinks will no doubt be as hip and horrifying as other Bravo reality stars….yes, I'm looking at you, "real" housewives. As compelling as these folks may be, though, I do have one question. I get why the therapists agreed to be in LA Shrinks. It'll bring them clients. But what patient is crazy enough to not only hire these folks, but then appear on camera with them?
Grimm, NBC, Fridays, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CT
There are those that would say NBC's primetime schedule is figuratively quite scary. The network is badly in need of a hit. Well, Grimm may not be a huge smash, but it is literally the most frightening thing on the network schedule now. After many months away, this intriguing reworking of the "Grimm Fairy Tales" finally returns to pick up right where it left off. Which is in particularly precarious place.
The series revolves around the latest generation of Grimm, who happens to be a Portland, Ore. cop (David Giuntoli) forced to battle in real life with the monsters from his family's books. When the first half of season two ended last fall, he'd just discovered that his bride-to-be was the victim of a spell that caused her to fall in love with his boss (so much for that raise). To thicken the plot even more, said boss also happens to be plotting to destroy our hero. Okay, I know how it sounds but trust me…..silly and soapy as the concept is, the show really is a blast to watch. Besides, if nothing else, it's the only show on TV that features characters with names like "fuchsbau" without a single snicker.
Duck Dynasty, A&E, Wednesdays, 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT
For those of you out there who believe life is pretty cool the way it is except that there aren't enough shows featuring guys who look like roadies for ZZ Top, worry no more. Duck Dynasty has returned, with all the hirsute heirs to the Robertson family duck call fortune in tow. As you may recall from this reality show's incredibly popular first two seasons, Phil Robinson invented a duck call 40 years and it led to his running a multi-million dollar corporation. Now, he and his offspring run the business but spend most of their time living up to redneck stereotypes that even Honey Boo Boo and her family look at and say, "Seriously?"
Now I'll admit this reality TV trend toward mocking funny-accent people who enjoy doing trashy things can get a bit old. And, on occasion, offensive. Still, there's a reason the Robertsons and Duck Dynasty are so popular that the show's ratings rival those of network broadcasts. They're far more likable than many reality stars, or even most actors. Whether they're gutting frogs or building impromptu duck ponds on the company loading dock, these guys don't come across as idiots or goofballs. Well, they sort of do. But they also seem like endearing, if somewhat lazy, guys that you would enjoy talking to if they happened to be your neighbors. Although, given their love of burning things, maybe it's best if they weren't your neighbors.
The Bible, History Channel, Sundays, 8 p.m./7 p.m. CT
What do you get when you cross the man behind Survivor with a reality/reenactment series about the Bible? I'm sure there is a punchline in there somewhere about someone who is the ultimate Survivor, but I'll leave that for another time. The truth is, Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett has indeed come up with this 10-hour scripted mini-series telling the story of all things Biblical. He worked with his wife Roma Downey (who put the Angel in Touched By An Angel years ago) to develop this reverent retelling of a handful of spiritual stories in a way that's clearly meant to inspire much more that it is to inform.
That's the key to the success of this entire project. It's not about watching great acting or expensive special effects (there looks to be much more of the latter than the former) . Rather, the goal seems to be leaving viewers feeling uplifted when the episodes are done. While it does seem odd that the man known for stranded civilians on a desert island, along with other shows like Celebrity Apprentice and Shark Tank, there has always been a very positive thread to Burnett's work. He has an uncanny knack for tapping into the human desire to be something more than we are, and given the subject matter in The Bible, he's got pretty decent source material for that here too.
The Client List, Lifetime, Sundays, 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT
There are certainly some downsides to being a TV critic. For instance, it turns out supermodels prefer athletes, actors, lawyers, bankers, and even valet park-ers to guys who watch television all day. However, there is one thing I do enjoy quite a bit about this gig. Which is finding unsung shows here and there – those little programs that showcase deeply meaningful storytelling while utilizing intense acting performances to truly change your life – and then telling others so they can discover them too. So…..I'll probably get to those next week. In the meantime, let's talk about the return of The Client List.
This series, which happens to be so cheesy you could make nachos from it, heads into its second season with the same premise as it did last year: Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as a former Texas beauty queen/mother of three who ends up desperate for cash. For reasons that really only make sense to the scriptwriter, she starts working in a massage parlor offering certain "extras" to its male clients. With this airing on Lifetime, it's not like you'll see what you really get to see those extras like you would on Cinemax after midnight on Fridays. Instead, you get something much more genteel and that makes The Client List one of TV's guiltiest pleasures. It tries to be ever so naught, but in a humorously PG-rated way that might make your grandma switch over to a Murder, She Wrote rerun but leaves you chuckling.