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Picks and Pans Main: TV

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Under the Dome

CBS, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


In 2007’s The Simpsons Movie, a large glass dome plops down on Springfield, leading to angry mobs and dead birds while a newscaster breathlessly speculates about life under the “Trappuccino” lid. Which is pretty close to what happens in this new series based on Stephen King’s 2009 thriller, except that this is Stephen King, so the setting is small-town Maine and the fallout is satisfyingly gory. (In one arresting image, a cow is cleanly sliced in half lengthwise by the earthshaking impact of the massive dome.) Worshipping at the six-toed altar of the Lost gods, the show’s creators sow a handful of small mysteries in the shadow of the biggie: Who—or what—dropped that thing? A robust ensemble cast gets the gears turning nicely, including Twilight’s Rachelle Lefevre as a journalist who strikes up a friendship with a possibly dangerous Army vet (Mike Vogel). The pilot establishes an eerie claustrophobic dread, and well-budgeted special effects add intensity. But I do hope the writers don’t string out the central question too long. I’d like answers with my Trappuccino, please.

Devious Maids

Lifetime, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


Take a splash of Downton Abbey, a generous pour of Desperate Housewives and a twist of telenovela and the result is this girlie, playfully spiked summer cocktail. Instead of the wives, we meet the maids: the flirty one (Roselyn Sanchez); the spunky one (Dania Ramirez); the dutiful one (Scrubs’ Judy Reyes) and the one with a Big Secret (Ugly Betty’s Ana Ortiz). Once again Housewives creator Marc Cherry hurls a bloody mystery against a sunny backdrop, and the familiar jaunty music—this time with a vaguely Latin beat—cues the black humor. “Who is going to clean all of this up?” one Beverly Hills diva wails of the crime scene where her maid is found murdered. A fun buzz.