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Picks and Pans Main: TV

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ABC, June 3, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


Mistresses is a rather antediluvian term but, short of Additional Shades of Grey, it’s not a bad way to sell a melodrama. The word promises seduction, sex and the deliciously naughty prospect of power games, emotional and even physical, between man and woman. Throw in some velvet bed curtains, and we’re set. And yet, despite the title, I count only one actual mistress in this disappointingly thin, damp new series. Mistresses is more about the bonds of sisterhood among four unhappy friends (Alyssa Milano, Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes and Jes Macallan). Well, how fun is that? It’s like holding out your hand for a treat and receiving one jellybean and three pebbles. For example, Kim (Lost) is a psychiatrist who had an affair with a patient, but he’s dead. This isn’t Ghost, so scratch that. Milano, a lawyer whose marriage has stumbled over fertility issues, falls for a coworker and wrings her hands over her infidelity. Her regret is understandable, even commendable, but it borders on self-pity. Only Macallan, as a real-estate broker offered her own pied-à-terre by an amour, has a spark of sexy humor. The rest drown in tears. Ladies, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

Princesses: Long Island

Bravo, June 2, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


The Bravo reality raven—it croaks, “More, more, MORE!” – has landed on Long Island. This latest gossipalooza is about a group of Jewish women in their late 20s, single but husband-hunting and still living comfortably with their parents. As a friend notes, such a girl “drives a BMW, shops at Roosevelt Field mall, has a Prada bag, and her mom has big boobs.” And, this being Bravo, the girls drink too much at parties and scream enough verbal abuse to collapse a lung. Still, by and large, they all seem to know exactly how to play to the camera and signal they’re in on this nonsense (one woman, for instance, asks to be carried out to her car after a pedicure). That gives Princesses a thin but distinct edge.

The Fosters

ABC Family, June 3, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


Executive-produced by Jennifer Lopez, this is one modern family drama. A cop and her partner, a school vice principal (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum), are raising adopted twins plus the cop’s son from a previous marriage (to a fellow cop). Now they’re adding to the household, offering a place to a troubled teenage girl (Maia Mitchell) who’s likely to disappear into Social Services if they don’t help. All sorts of chains from the past are attached to this family – the twins’ birth mother is bad news, and the troubled teen’s foster father is potentially much worse than that. Somehow the premiere hour fills in all this background without getting lost and – more importantly – with sincerity and sensitivity. Good job.