Supernanny stars British nanny Jo Frost, and the "super" is no exaggeration. The woman can heal any rift, as she proves in this week's episode (Friday, 8 p.m., ABC).
Jo arrives at the woeful Manley home, where Mom and Dad hate each other and the two kids are monsters. She immediately perceives that civilizing the parents is job one. She gets them to talk about their feelings and declare a truce for the children's sake. Then she teaches them gentle-but-firm disciplinary techniques, and voilà: The monsters turn back into kids again.
Has anybody considered sending Supernanny to the Middle East to work with the Shia and Sunni?
Friday, 8 pm (Animal Planet)
It apparently started with faulty intelligence.
Sunday, 7 pm (Showtime)
Missing The Sopranos, I decided to give Showtime's mobster drama another try. Brotherhood is about two Irish American siblings mixed up in dirty business in Providence, R.I. The new season has everything The Sopranos had: corruption, violence, cusswords, regional accents, local color, gritty scripts, impressive acting. Everything, that is, except the magic.
Sunday, 8 pm (WHA)
"God on Trial" is set in a Nazi concentration camp barracks, where inmates stage a mock trial to determine God's guilt or innocence in the Holocaust. You can easily imagine the potential problems with this conceit, and "God on Trial" doesn't avoid a single one. It's less a drama than a pat theological debate, with barely characterized believers and skeptics offering their arguments in turn. The concentration camp setting doesn't make the debate seem more powerful and important; it just makes the producers seem more tawdry. They use the Holocaust to add urgency to their cornball philosophizing.
A just God would smite this production.
Summer Heights High
Sunday, 9:30 pm (HBO)
HBO has been accused of losing its comic touch, and this new series provides more evidence. Summer Heights High is a mock documentary about a high school in which creator Chris Lilley plays three roles: a stupid rich girl, a stupid delinquent and a stupid drama teacher who seems unaware of how untalented (and how gay) he is.
Does HBO think we've never seen a Christopher Guest film? Lilley takes exactly the same approach to self-important pinheads, minus the laughs. I must immediately rent Waiting for Guffman to cleanse my palate.
1000 Ways to Die
Tuesday, 9 pm (Spike TV)
Forensic experts, pathologists, toxicologists and even herpetologists discuss the many ways you can bite the dust. Is this somebody's idea of entertainment?
The 1001st way to die, it turns out, is by watching too many Spike TV reality series.
Tuesday, 9 pm (A&E)
This reality series follows newly graduated cadets from the police academy. We ride with them and their field training officers as they hit the mean streets for the first time.
A cadet named Mark is not happy to be paired with a female officer. "No man wants to take orders from a female," he says. "We're the man - we're supposed to be giving orders."
Mark blows a routine traffic stop, practically fainting from fright as he approaches a car on a quiet suburban street. He neglects to collect phone numbers at an accident scene, mistakes an ID card for a driver's license, forgets to use his police radio during a crisis, and lets a domestic-disturbance call slide into chaos.
If this is what happens with men in charge, then please, God, let women give the orders.
The Soup Presents
Monday, 9 pm (E!)
The Soup is a snark-fest that makes fun of the week's stupid TV moments. A series of four specials called The Soup Presents makes fun of a whole year's worth of stupid TV moments, this week focusing on the women of reality television. Many of those women are from reality series produced by E! itself, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Girls Next Door, Living Lohan and Denise Richards: It's Complicated.
Hey E!, if you didn't produce so many stupid TV moments, you wouldn't need a TV show that makes fun of them. Look at me - I'm an efficiency expert!