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Watch this: TV week of Oct. 14

MONDAY

The Voice, 8 p.m., NBC

The live battle rounds start tonight, when two members of each coach's team face off in duets and the coaches pick their faves. Also back: Coaches can steal losing artists from the others. Bonus: Look for two contestants with ties to the Tampa Bay area, Team Adam's Donna Allen and Team Cee Lo's R. Anthony, to perform. (We foresee a tight battle between Allen and Jamaican powerhouse Tessanne Chin.) Also starting tonight, Cher is gracing The Voice as a mentor for judge Blake Shelton's team. Really? Cher and Blake? Wonder what they talk about backstage.

 

Mom, 9:30 p.m., CBS

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we'd like a Chuck Lorre show (the king of mediocre multicamera sitcoms like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory), but Mom is a real charmer, mostly thanks to a dream cast led by Anna Faris as a recovering alcoholic. Faris, one of the most gifted comedians on the planet, has spent the past 10 years stuck in ditzy movie roles, but here, she's like a modern day Lucille Ball. Throw in Allison Janney as her mother (also a recovering alcoholic) and French Stewart (Third Rock From the Sun) as her co-worker, and you've got a Lorre sitcom that doesn't make us cringe.

 

TUESDAY

SEASON PREMIERE The Biggest Loser, 8 p.m., NBC

The weight-loss competition's 15th season starts tonight, featuring the show's first celebrity contestant: American Idol Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard, a.k.a that dude who beat Clay Aiken. Trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince have a bigger role to play this season, starting with helping choose the contestants.

 

The Goldbergs, 9 p.m., ABC

The best part about this squirmy family sitcom set in the '80s is that the decade is merely a nostalgic backdrop; the jokes don't rely on shoulder pads and big hair (though there are plenty of those). That would get old fast. Instead, credit the casting of Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey as Mom and Dad Goldberg for making this material sing. (Troy Gentile as the oldest son is also a total delight.) Fox's Tuesday night lineup remains our favorite night of TV comedy, but ABC is onto something with this and ...

 

Trophy Wife, 9:30 p.m., ABC

This other comedy, airing right after The Goldbergs. The only bad thing about this show is its title, which makes it sound like a cliche look at one guy's (Bradley Whitford) very blond third wife (Malin Akerman). Not so much. Like Goldbergs, the combination of smart, surprising writing and a stellar cast (Marcia Gay Harden as an uptight doctor and Michaela Watkins as a free-spirited hippie nail their roles as the ex-wives) makes Trophy Wife our pick for most promising new fall comedy.

 

THURSDAY

The Crazy Ones, 9 p.m., CBS

We'd like this show more if it were a buddy comedy starring Robin Williams and James Wolk (Mad Men), who is by far the only reason we're still watching. Nice comedic chops, Bob!

 

Parenthood, 10 p.m., NBC

We'll follow you to the ends of the Earth, Parenthood, but this Kristina-runs-for-mayor plot is 100 percent insane. At least there are Amber's nuptials to fall back on, buoyed by two of the show's best performers (Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman). Their dynamic makes us feel all of the feelings, natch, even if we're pretty sure the whole thing is going to end in disaster. Where is perpetually unemployed single-mom Sarah getting the money for this wedding anyway?

 

 

FRIDAY

MasterChef Junior Edition, 8 p.m., Fox

On this cooking show, children ages 8-13 handle pastry bags and try to get hand-whipped cream to the perfect consistency. Seriously? When we were 8, we insisted on using sectional plates so that the green beans didn't touch the chicken. That was the limit of our sophistication in the kitchen.

 

SUNDAY

Homeland, 9 p.m., Showtime

Now that disgraced Marine Nicolas Brody is back, maybe he can help clear up this giant mystery: Why does his wife Jessica call him by his last name?

 

Watch this: TV week of Oct. 14 10/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 2:12pm]

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