By Oliver Jones Emily Strohm Janine Rubenstein
August 26, 2013 12:00 PM

Duck Dynasty

A&E, Aug. 14, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


We’re four seasons in on A&E’s bearded wonder, and it’s safe to say that the West Monroe, La., Family Robertson is getting pretty good at this stuff. The one-liners and random asides, the stone-faced straight takes and sweetly barbed banter—they could teach a master class in Sitcomology. The problem is, it’s starting to show. After borrowing a time-trusted trope for last season’s ratings-busting capper—the family vacation to Hawaii (paging Bobby Brady!)—this season kicks off with another old fave: the surprise wedding. The stunts make for a steady stream of fish-out-of-water giggles (“You’re disrespecting the beard,” says one Robertson brother as another tears up during wedding vows), but Duck classicists may long for the day when all these guys had to do to make you laugh was have ornery Uncle Si misplace his teacup. But really, no silly contrivance can defeat the charm of a well-fed Robertson. That’s especially true when the show’s focus is trained on the most inscrutable member of the clan, patriarch Phil. At this point the show may lack in Si-prises (Duck Dynasty never met a Si pun it didn’t love), but, like one of Miss Kay’s lovingly prepared brisket dinners, there’s pleasing comfort in its familiarity.

Low Winter Sun

AMC, Aug. 11, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


There are dirty cops and then there are the denizens of Low Winter Sun. Shortly after we meet them, these officers snort coke and double-cross and murder each other. Push past the dreary first episode, rife with leaden dialogue and cop show clichés. Sun brightens considerably in its second offering, as Detective Agnew (Zero Dark Thirty’s Mark Strong) investigates the murder he committed. It’s also when Detroit comes to the fore; the gutted-out city is perhaps the show’s most compelling character.