Tell me if ABC's new Rookie Blue (Thursday, 8 p.m.) sounds familiar: A group of young cops who look like supermodels graduate from police academy and pair up with crotchety veterans. The veterans have little patience for the rookies' mistakes, but the rookies try hard to redeem themselves. They succeed right before the last commercial break.
No, Rookie Blue doesn't offer many cop-show surprises, but it does pass the hour pleasantly. As I mentioned, the young cops look like supermodels 'nuff said. The actors are appealing, too, particularly Missy Peregrym as an eager beaver with a heart almost too big for her line of work.
I hope that Rookie Blue has a long life, and that the new cops never learn from their experiences. Their mistakes are way too endearing.
Daytime Emmy Awards
Sunday, 8 pm (CBS)
It's vitally important that TV stars get trophies for their work, even those who appear in the morning and afternoon. The Daytime Emmy Awards makes fine distinctions between The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Live with Regis and Kelly (Outstanding Talk Show - Entertainment) and Dr. Phil and The Dr. Oz Show (Outstanding Talk Show - Informative). I see no significant differences, myself, but I'm grateful that the Hollywood folks who make these momentous decisions know what they're doing.
The Wall - A World Divided
Monday, 9 pm (PBS)
This documentary on the Berlin Wall both breaks and lifts your heart. It begins with archival footage from 1961, when the Soviets erected the wall down the middle of Berlin to keep East Germans from fleeing to the West. We see people risk their lives to breach the barrier, including jumping out of high windows in hopes of landing on the Western side.
Despite the dangers, East Germans pushed for reform, organizing mass protests in the 1980s. When they finally broke down the wall in 1989, everyone stood up and cheered - everyone except then President George H.W. Bush, who is shown responding to the news with stone-faced, mumbling indifference. When a reporter asks him why he isn't elated, he responds, "I'm just not an emotional kind of guy."
Do tell. But I'm guessing that normal Earthlings will find The Wall this week's most moving hour of TV.
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
Tuesday, 8 pm (Bravo)
It's Griffin vs. Sarah Palin on this week's episode of the reality series - and Griffin wins handily, even though she ventures onto Palin's turf in Wasilla, Alaska. Griffin, with her relentless deadpan dirty-mouthed irony, claims to be in love with Levi Johnston, the macho blockhead who impregnated Palin's daughter. Johnston plays along and proves to be a good sport - not to mention a good comic foil - as he takes Griffin ice-fishing and dog-sledding. All the while, she mercilessly puts on the dumb locals and proposes a new state motto: "Alaska - Love It or Suck It."
Griffin visits Wasilla's city hall to make mincemeat of the current mayor. He refuses to see her, realizing he's no match for Hurricane Kathy. Maybe the locals aren't so dumb after all.
Tuesday, 9 pm (TNT)
Jason Lee plays a handsome detective who engages in smirking banter with his buddies but turns deadly serious when there's a crime to solve. He finds ways to work around his no-nonsense chief (Alfre Woodard), who disapproves of his unconventional methods. He's tender toward kids but a hotheaded terror in the interrogation room.
In other words, Memphis Beat is a standard cop show. That's where the "Memphis" part comes in - to add a distinguishing feature, in the form of Southern accents, Beale Street locations and lots of Elvis Presley music. I love hearing Elvis' songs, but, frankly, I'd be just as happy to hear them without Memphis Beat attached.
Top Chef D.C.
Wednesday, 8 pm (Bravo)
The cooking competition's new season is off to a promising start. The setting is Washington, D.C., which doesn't inspire the cheesy gimmicks that Las Vegas did last season. So far, the emphasis is simply on good cooking, with few distractions from psycho contestants or overly high-concept challenges.
In this context, the tiniest mistake at the cutting board or mixing bowl can have profound consequences. One contestant prepares a chicken-liver mousse, tastes it, and cries out in anguish: "It's grainy!"
You can't help but love a series in which an entire episode hinges on graininess.