Lipstick Jungle (Thursday, 9 p.m., NBC) comes on like another Cashmere Mafia: a celebration of New York City businesswomen as tough and independent as their male counterparts. Wendy (Brooke Shields) runs a movie studio, Nico (Kim Raver) edits a hot magazine and Victory (Lindsay Price) is a famous fashion designer. The three are longtime friends, and they trade tips on conquering the world. They're also staunch feminists who don't let men get away with sexist comments. "When a woman expresses her concern that an important business matter be dealt with correctly, she's not throwing a fit," Nico sternly tells a male colleague. "She's just doing her job."
Okay, that's the surface. While Cashmere Mafia is true to its feminist principles, Lipstick Jungle merely pays them lip service. In actuality, the series is shamelessly anti-feminist. It falls all over itself to show that these powerful women are really scared little girls inside. They come off like grade-school friends playing dress-up.
How do these "feminists" respond to pressure? The fashion designer breaks down and cries, then runs whimpering into the arms of a protective prince charming. The magazine editor gets weak-kneed around a young stud, submitting like a passive porn actress. And the movie producer nervously stuffs her face at work, signaling that she's really not so fearsome after all.
"You've got muffin on your breast," a male underling tells her.
Yes - and egg on her face.
British Academy Film Awards
Sunday, 7 pm (BBC America)
This awards ceremony doesn't get much attention in the U.S. The nominated films are usually similar to nominees at the various American ceremonies, and this year is no exception: Atonement, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, etc. Why bother watching a movie awards show broadcast from London when you can watch one broadcast from Hollywood?
Ahem. The writers' strike has already screwed up several of Hollywood's awards ceremonies, so a ceremony broadcast from London - hell, one broadcast from Timbuktu - doesn't sound so bad. I wouldn't be surprised if viewership for the British Academy Film Awards spiked by about 50 million this year.
Sunday, 7 pm (CBS)
The writers' strike made a joke of the Golden Globes. No stars were willing to cross a picket line, so the event was reduced to a 30-minute press conference.
Last I heard, the Grammys were scheduled to go on as planned. But I'm still hoping that Justin Timberlake will refuse to perform, in solidarity with the writers. Hey, a guy can dream.
Top 100 Most Outrageous Moments
Sunday, 8 pm (NBC)
NBC is billing this as "the top 100 most outrageous moments of all time." If Napoleon's 1812 attack on Russia doesn't make the top 10, I'd say he was robbed.
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Monday & Tuesday, 7 pm (USA)
Dog lovers will drool over the perfectly groomed specimens. And the dogs, bless their hearts, will drool right back.
Tuesday, 8 pm (CBS)
Just in time to fill space during the writers' strike, the summer reality series makes its debut during the regular season. Contestants are sealed in a house, voting each other out via backstabbing and lying. It'll be fun to come home after a hard day of watching people act cruel and stupid at work to watch people act cruel and stupid on TV.
Tuesday, 9 pm (CBS)
The doomsday series returns, and it takes a recap, a voiceover, flashbacks and TV-news segments to catch us up on the plot. In one day, terrorist nukes wiped out 23 U.S. cities and shut down the government. In the ensuing chaos, our heroes in the small Kansas town of Jericho were forced to defend against a neighboring town's attack. A new government arose in Wyoming and imposed martial law.
Jericho feels very much like a Bush-era series. It exploits Sept. 11 and creates an atmosphere of nonstop fear. It divides the world into good and evil, and suggests that U.S. citizens are on one side or the other. Negotiators and peacemakers are cast as deluded fools, war-makers as heroes. The soundtrack roars with gunfire, explosions and crashes. The government holds suspects without trial for the sake of national security.
Can Jericho possibly outlive the Bush administration? I wouldn't be surprised to see the next president - if a Democrat - cancel it by executive order.
Thursday, 7 pm (CBS)
Oh, joy. The new season brings back memorable old contestants to compete against a group described as "super fans." It'll be exciting to see extreme types from previous seasons compete against one another: superhuman athlete (Ozzy Lusth) vs. superhuman athlete (James Clement); world-class sneak (Jonathan Penner) vs. world-class sneak (Yau-Man Chan); all-star jerk (Jonny Fairplay) vs. all-star jerk (Parvati Shallow).
I predict a cosmic showdown even more intense than Alien vs. Predator.