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 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
. 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
(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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