New TV, from gags to Riches


This week brings several new shows to the small screen for your viewing pleasure. Most heralded is the Ashton Kutcher comedy Miss Guided, starring Judy Greer.

Greer plays ex-nerd Becky Freeley, a guidance counselor at the high school she attended. Although I expected to see something fresh with Kutcher at the helm, Miss Guided looks like just one more show about how a former high school misfit overcomes the past to find success. The show even has Becky’s one-time nemesis, former homecoming queen Lisa Germain (Brooke Burns) who now teaches English, to complicate life just like the old days. And, guess what? Becky and Lisa both have the hots for the Spanish teacher! Comedy gold.

Reviews of the premier episode have been mixed (the Boston Herald review bears the headline, “Flunk’d,” while calls the show “delightful”), but the cast gets good marks for making the most of a mediocre pilot, so we have reason to hope the show will improve. Miss Guided premieres Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on ABC, then will move into its regular time slot of 8 p.m. Thursday.

Thursday at 8:30 p.m., a new reality show comes to HGTV, starring the winner of the network’s Design Star, Kim Myles.


Myles of Styles will have Myles showing up on a homeowner’s doorstep with a bag of swatches, color palettes and décor ideas to help viewers design their homes. According to previews, each week will feature a project in which Myles uses common materials to create unusual items, such as adding stickers to a coffee table. I put Pittsburgh Pirates bumper stickers on our coffee table when I was in first grade and got in a lot of trouble. I bet if I’d gotten encouragement instead of a spanking, I’d have my own TV show, too.

The second season of The Riches on FX starts Tuesday night at 10.p.m.

Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard play Dahlia and Wayne Malloy, grifters who assumed the identities of a deceased, affluent family, the Riches. The end of Season 1 saw the Malloys fleeing suburbia when Pete, a lifelong friend of the real Doug Rich, showed up for a visit and discovered the scam. Season 2 picks up there and finds the plot thicker as both Pete and Wayne look for ways to exploit the situation.

I’m ambivalent about The Riches. While I adore Minnie Driver and am invested in Dahlia and her children (especially DiDi, played by Shannon Woodward), Eddie /Wayne sort of makes me grumpy. I’m not too enamored with Izzard in general, and the character of Wayne is just downright unlikable. I can’t decide if the character or the acting is the problem. But, so far, I like the show itself enough to tolerate that one annoyance. Hopefully, the writing will stay strong enough to keep things interesting.

Finally, PBS’s Independent Lens presents the documentary Iron Ladies of Liberia Tuesday (check local listings for time). The film follows Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia’s first elected female president and Africa’s first freely elected head of state, from her inauguration through the first year of her administration.

Johnson-Sirleaf, nicknamed “Iron Lady,” was a Harvard-educated economist and grandmother of eight who had been exiled to Nigeria when she was elected.

Since taking office in January 2006, she has appointed women to leadership positions including national police chief, minister of justice, minister of finance, commerce minister and minister of gender (I’d like to see the job description for that one). This sounds like a documentary worth recording. And maybe it will be the first in a series of docs on first female presidents. I can certainly think of the next one I’d like to see.

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