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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

TELEVISION

Dead and dumb

In The Ghost Whisperer's season premiere (Friday, 7 p.m., CBS), Jennifer Love Hewitt returns as a woman who solves supernatural mysteries by talking to spooks. Why this is best accomplished in skimpy negligees I've never known. This week, Hewitt's Melinda helps a psychologist who died in a fire along with a sexy patient. Then the psychologist comes back to life. The patient doesn't, but he can hear her ghost talking to him. Melinda can both hear and see the ghost, and she hopes to ask it who started the fire. But that won't be easy, not the way the damn thing keeps disappearing at dramatically convenient moments. >More
 The sound of excitement!

The new season of The Amazing Race (Sunday, 7 p.m., CBS) begins with edge-of-the-seat excitement. Eleven pairs gather in Los Angeles to kick off the race around the world. The host reveals their first destination - Brazil - and they're off! Accompanied by a soundtrack of deafening drums and screeching brass, the pairs jump in their cars and speed off to the airport! But they're slowed by L.A. traffic! And the airline ticket lines are excruciatingly long! Then they endure the endless flight to Brazil as the soundtrack reaches a fever pitch! >More
 Unbind your mind

In The Mentalist (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CBS), Simon Baker stars as Patrick, a psychic who helps the police solve crimes. Patrick isn't a real psychic, but a showbiz type who's good at faking it. The key to his act -- and his crime-solving ability -- is his keen sense of observation. >More
 To call or not to call?

The new season of Gossip Girl (Monday, 7 p.m., CW) heats up as the beautiful young Manhattanites make messes of their privileged lives. This week's episode hinges on an explosive plot point: Should Vanessa call Nate? Or, conversely, should she, like, not call him? Jenny, the blond would-be designer, comes up with a brilliant solution based in syllogistic logic: "You like him, he likes you, so just call him!" But Vanessa remains torn, uncharacteristically so. "I am so not the whiny should-I-call-him girl!" she whines. >More
 Hot for teacher

In Privileged (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CW), a literary type named Megan (JoAnna Garcia) gets a job tutoring two spoiled heiresses in Palm Beach. At first glance, Megan looks like a standard character in a standard 14-to-29-demo drama: the neurotic jabbermouth beauty. But there's more to her than that, and more to Privileged, too. The series offers Gossip Girl-style fun, with just enough substance to make it more than a guilty pleasure. >More
 The verdict on Steven Bochco

In the 1980s, I found Steven Bochco's Hill Street Blues authentic and compelling. But I watched an episode on Hulu.com the other day and couldn't believe how cartoonish it looked in retrospect. Maybe that's inevitable for a 20-year-old series, but I feel the same way about Bochco's new lawyer show, Raising the Bar (Monday, 9 p.m., TNT). >More
 Morning stars

Israel and Iran have just declared war on each other, the Russians have landed on Mars and removed all our flags, and a Middleton man refuses to eat omelets not made with free-range eggs! Those headlines after this look at the weather. >More
 Hell to the chief

Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House press corps, specializes in asking uncomfortable questions. Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House (Thursday, 8 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m., HBO) begins with one such question she asked President George W. Bush: "Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, and every reason given has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war?" Bush offered his spin, but Thomas wouldn't drop it. So he dropped her, shutting her out in future press conferences. >More
 Elvis lives!

On the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, TV Land's Myths and Legends (Saturday, 7 p.m.) delves into the mysteries surrounding his life. But it doesn't do so with what you'd call journalistic rigor. What of the idea that Elvis and Oprah Winfrey are distant cousins? >More
 What a way to go

Mystery! just ended "Foyle's War" with a yawn. The "Inspector Lynley" series also ends this summer, but what a difference. This week's episode, the second-to-last (Sunday, 8 p.m., PBS), is almost unbearably tense and tragic. >More
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