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Want to know about the three best TV series people aren't watching?

At a time when TV viewers seem to be drowning in content and even highly touted shows are dropping like flies — NBC's My Own Worst Enemy and Lipstick Jungle fell this week, Heroes, ABC's Private Practice and Pushing Daisies are all on the bubble — it's easy to miss the good stuff. • Good thing you've got a professional couch potato to help out. Here's a quick look at the Three Best TV Series You're Not Watching.

Sons of Anarchy, 10 p.m. Wednesdays, FX

Why it works: This story of a family-run motorcycle gang in a sleepy California town may be set up like Hamlet in gang colors, but it's a lot more. Brit actor Charlie Humman is magnetic as Jackson "Jax" Teller, the 20-something vice president of the gang run by his ruthless stepdad Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and a Black Widow of a mom, Gemma Morrow (Katey Sagal). Sure, Clay and Gemma are played by refugees from the Hellboy movies and Married . . . With Children, but the pair are an unstoppable force in tiny Charming, Calif. — running guns for the IRA and taking a blowtorch to members who betray them. And when Jax starts rooting around in old papers written by his dead dad, you know Clay and Gemma will have something to answer for soon.

Brotherhood, 10 p.m. Sundays, Showtime

Why it works: Like Massachusetts' notorious Bulger Brothers, the fictional Tommy Caffee is a powerful state politician while his older brother Michael is a ruthless crime boss. Another import from Britain, Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films), is compelling as the explosive Michael, whose extralegal exploits constantly threaten Tommy's career. This season, Michael vents his hair-trigger temper on an assistant district attorney, bringing a whole new world of hurt down on his town.

The Life and Times of Tim, 11 p.m. Sundays, HBO

Why it works: From the guy who created the Budweiser lizards (really!), this animated series follows a 20-something guy with a talent for landing in awkward situations. In the opening episode, he's busted by his girlfriend, who comes home early from a cruise with her parents to find him sitting on the couch with a hooker. By the segment's end, they've fed the hooker meat loaf and Tim — in lieu of $300 — has convinced her pimp to change his look by donning his black shirt and chinos.


The IFC Media Project, debuts at 8 p.m Tuesday on IFC: This six-episode series excavates the messages behind news coverage, exploring media fascination with missing white children by profiling Larry Garrison, a spokesman for the grandparents of Caylee Anthony, the missing Orlando area child. IFC's piece explores how Garrison acts as a story broker, pushing news outlets to cover the child's disappearance. It's a timely story; Garrison just parted ways with the Anthony family — they say he was fired, he says he quit — over allegations the broker took $6,500 from NBC for getting an interview and photos from the family.

National Geographic's Expedition Week, tonight through next Sunday, 9 p.m. National Geographic Channel: Yeah, it's a little geeky, but if you're fatigued by the fatuousness on most reality shows, what better antidote than an hour spent watching other geeks using computers to figure out how they put the Great Pyramids together? Okay, it's more than a little geeky.

the list

In a study titled "Educationally/Insufficient?" the advocacy group Children Now examined episodes from 30 shows used by broadcasters to satisfy a federal requirement to air three hours of educational programming every week (this excludes cable channels such as Noggin).

They found only one in eight episodes were considered highly educational.

Here's their list of eight series that earned an exemplary rating:

Sesame Street (PBS)

Beakman's World (Commercial)

Between the Lions (PBS)

3-2-1 Penguins (Commercial)

Cyberchase (PBS)

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (Commercial)

Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (PBS)

Teen Kids News (Commercial)

the site

The Office returns online with four new webisodes featuring all the show's second-banana actors. A new episode will be posted each Thursday to starting this week, featuring Oscar Nunez's character Oscar avoiding an office full of nosy colleagues trying to find out why he had an emotional outburst on his cell phone.

Want to know about the three best TV series people aren't watching? 11/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:46pm]
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