The Wednesday Playlist: Play Along With Psych's 100th, Dead Actress Does SVU
It's all screams and giggles - the screams courtesy of an insistent shrieking doorbell, while the giggles come with the territory - as USA Network's long-running hoot-dunit Psych marks its 100th episode (Wednesday, 10/9c) with a shamelessly wacky murder mystery set in a spooky mansion during a thunderous storm. It's a dark and silly night, indeed, as this Clue-inspired romp gathers colorful characters as suspects (including Lesley Ann Warren as a stuttering Miss Scarlett), while Shawn and Gus panic and mug as usual, running everyone in circles before solving the crime. Which is where the audience comes in this week, as the show goes interactive, urging fans to help decide the outcome by voting live during the episode on psych.usanetwork.com and Twitter.
I'm not sure who the audience will pick, but the guest stars guiltiest of the funniest mugging include Martin Mull doing an unintelligible drunk act and Garrett Morris reminding us (despite the evidence on 2 Broke Girls) that he can still do comedy, as a nervous butler named Clizby who when teamed with Gus causes Shawn's sidekick to mutter, "Man, I knew they were going to stick the two black dudes together. This either ends with us dead or in jail." Nicely played.
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A SPECIAL VICTIM: Before she brought passionate life to The Walking Dead's Maggie, one of the characters I most live in fear that something awful will happen to, Lauren Cohan was a familiar face to genre fans, as Bela on Supernatural and Rose on The Vampire Diaries. But rarely has she suffered as intensely as on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9/8c), playing a well-known TV sports reporter whose life becomes a nightmare when she reports a sexual assault by her cameraman (a loathsomely smug David Marciano) and later discovers the rape left her pregnant. The episode's title, "Legitimate Rape" (referring to a congressman's outrageous assertion that women who are "legitimately" raped are less likely to conceive), should give you some indication of the extreme twists this case takes, repeatedly making the victim feel she's being violated again, only in public. You begin to think Cohan would be better off just being delivered back to the evil Governor of Woodbury.
SAYING YOUR ABC'S: An entire month has gone by since the last original episodes of ABC's The Middle,Modern Family and Nashville, but all are back this week, while The Neighbors signs off for the season (8:30/7:30c) with cameos from sci-fi legends George Takei (as the alien Grandfather) and Mark Hamill (as "Commandant Bill") - could they be a sign that the home planet is calling the Zabyronians back?
On The Middle (8/7c), Frankie's control-freak sister (Molly Shannon) moves in while Frankie studies for her dental-assistant finale, and we learn that Poor Sue's middle name, which she's desperate to change, is also Sue. ... Modern Family (9/8c) returns to the storyline of Claire and Cam working together - but how smoothly - on flipping a house. ... Corporate synergy is alive and well on Nashville (10/9c), as the fictional Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) goes on the Disney-produced Katie talk show to unburden herself to Katie Couric about her troubled marriage.
THE WEDNESDAY GUIDE: It was only a matter of time, but on CBS' Survivor (8/7c), the newly rejiggered and weakened Bikal tribe is finally getting fed up with the antics of Phillip. If they keep losing all the way to Tribal Council, will they have the nerve to expel him? ... The music of Detroit (think Motown) is the theme of Fox's American Idol performance show (8/7c). To which we say: Go, Candice! And seriously, America, if Lazaro falls apart again, don't reward him with your votes. He's a sweet kid, but not ready for this spotlight. ... On TNT's Southland (10/9c), John Cooper (the terrific Michael Cudlitz) tries to rescue his buddy and unhappily retired mentor Hicks (Gerald McRaney in a searing guest role) from what last week was revealed to be a suicidal depression. Advice to John: Keep him away from shows as depressing (albeit excellent) as Southland. ... Only exhibitionists need apply, as MTV's The Real World (10/9c) launches a 28th season of hookups and high jinks in Portland, Oregon. Soon to be parodied by Portlandia, we presume and hope.
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