December 07, 2009 12:00 PM


ABC, Dec. 1, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


Scrubs, starting its ninth season, is turning into the Patch Adams of sitcoms: Every time you assume the show is about to flatline—last season ended with star Zach Braff leaving the hospital—it springs out of bed, shouts, “Jazz hands!” and gets on with the job of being wildly silly. Braff, in fact, is back as Dr. J.D. Dorian, now working as a med-school professor. He gives a deliberately ridiculous performance best described as facetiously twee. But none of the new cast members playing his students display the same bright cartoon snap, which has always been the show’s innovative signature style. Too bad. Scrubs was never quite the hit it deserved to be. Now, as so many network comedies break new ground—from 30 Rock to Modern Family to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—Scrubs feels more like an also-ran.

Launch My Line

Bravo, Dec. 2, 11 p.m. ET/PT |


Bravo’s latest attempt to replicate Project Runway, now on Lifetime, is much better than its first, The Fashion Show. Conceptually, Launch sounds awful: Would-be designers—a fashion writer, an architect, an event planner, etc.—team with established ones to come up with new lines. I’m not sure I’d buy tube socks from any of them, but it’s fun to watch as the fraying nerves of some of the duos go beyond mere creative tension and into mutual disrespect. The most inspired touch is having the show hosted by identical twin designers Dean and Dan Caten, who both look like clones of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant.


A&E, Nov. 30, 10 p.m.



Season 2 of the grimly fascinating reality-therapy show, a sort of companion to Intervention, begins with Augustine, an elderly woman so lost in debris, she’s unaware there are dead cats underfoot. The show offers no simple explanation as to how people can surrender to such passive decay, but it never treats them as merely pathetic—you can still pick out their individuality in all the clutter.

Steven Seagal Lawman

A&E, Dec. 2, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


Action star Steven Seagal, solid and broad as a jug of molasses, lets us ride with him in the squad car as he works his other career: deputy sheriff in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish. His encounters are mundane but all potentially dangerous: There are a lot of guns on those streets. Seagal, solemnly unaware that he’s thisclose to being a character on Reno 911!, seldom fails to remind colleagues of his martial-arts training. (I like the slo-mo close-ups that suggest his zen intuition as he watches for suspicious-looking people.) Then again, wouldn’t you rather Seagal be the guy with the badge than Jean-Claude Van Damme?

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