<p>&nbsp;Brandon Routh, Zachary Levi and Ryan McPartlin of 'Chuck'</p>

 Brandon Routh, Zachary Levi and Ryan McPartlin of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. Operation Awesome'

Angie Harmon thinks Captain Awesome is a spy, Superman shows up and Lester starts a fight club

What? You thought he was DEAD?

Over the past two weeks, "Chuck" has become an embarrassment of riches for fans of Ryan McPartlin's Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb, who is no longer just a convenient punchline for his ripped abs and his boundless enthusiasm.

Calling Captain Awesome the new heart of "Chuck" would be an overstatement, but he had been a key lynchpin for the main character's transition from "Stay in the Car, Chuck" Chuck to a proactive fledgling spy. When I originally reviewed the start of the "Chuck" season, I expressed particular pleasure in the two-part Devon mini-arc and I still feel that way after watching the episode, even though very little in "Chuck vs. Operation Awesome" actually made any sense.

[Recap of Monday's (Jan. 18) "Chuck" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;David Anders and Masi Oka's back of 'Heroes'</p>

 David Anders and Masi Oka's back of 'Heroes'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Heroes' - 'Pass/Fail'

As Hiro falls into a life-threatening coma, Sylar confronts Claire on campus.

This week’s “Heroes” was all about connections. Or rather, disconnections, to be precise. In Season 1, the show tried to plunk extraordinary abilities into a recognizable world. It employed archetypical characters in order to build a bridge between the viewing audience and those onscreen, exploiting and expanding our understanding of these tropes to great effect. Well, tonight’s episode, “Pass/Fail,” tried to take a step back from the weighty, mythological burdens its accumulated over the years to ask a very simple, but important question: at what point do gifts become burdens?

This is hardly the first time the show’s addressed this concern, so for some tonight’s episode was redundant at best, tedious at worst. But I personally found some of the smaller character moments quite compelling. Maybe I’ve just lowered my standards after repeatedly being pelted by sub-par episodes over the years like so many snow balls of suck, but if “Heroes” returns to giving me characters I care about, maybe the story might start sparking my interest as well before all is said and done.

[Full recap of Monday's (Jan. 18) "Heroes" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Annie Wersching of '24'</p>

 Annie Wersching of '24'

Credit: FOX

Recap: '24' Day 8 - '6 p.m. to 8 p.m'

As Jack works to uncover Hassan's potential assassin, a familiar face returns to CTU.

 Another night, another two-fer of “24.” Whatever did we mere mortal do to earn such good fortune? While this seems like a lot, just know that if “24” were an NBC property, they would probably air the entire season in one single day to help sell the concept of the show. So really, we shouldn’t be complaining too much.

Since a lot happened tonight, let’s get right to it!

[Full recap of Monday's (Jan. 18) "24" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Bill Paxton of 'Big Love'</p>

 Bill Paxton of 'Big Love'

Credit: HBO

Recap: 'Big Love' - 'The Greater Good'

'Big Love' gets thematically rich as Bill makes a big decision.

Back around the end of season two of "Big Love" (and I have no link for this, so you'll just have to take me at my word), an interviewer asked the show's creators, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, what they kept in mind when they wrote the show. The two said that they tried to keep in mind that the family at the center of the show is full of people who love each other and that the non-traditional family unit, such as it is, works. While I don't doubt that the Henricksons all love each other, I think that the creators are either misdirecting the audience or rather underestimating the turmoil they've introduced into the show over the past few seasons with the latter description of it. "Big Love" is, fundamentally, a show about a family with members that love each other, but it's also a show about the ways that family is somewhat inherently unsustainable. "The Greater Good" is one of the series' best episodes because it returns frankly to that theme, to the tensions between love for others and self-preservation, between creed and self.

[The recap of Sunday's (Jan. 17) "Big Love" continues after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Kiefer Sutherland of '24'</p>

 Kiefer Sutherland of '24'

Credit: FOX

Recap: '24' Day 8 Premiere - '4 p.m. to 6 p.m'

Content to live a life free of CTU, Jack Bauer finds himself drawn back in when news of an assassination plot reaches his doorstep.

Ready for another season of the Jack Bauer Power Hour, people? “24” kicked off Season 8 in much the way it kicked off every season. It’s sort of like violent comfort food: you know that no matter the specific plot there will be explosions, betrayals, cellphones that never lose their battery, subplots that defy all reasonable logic, perimeters that won’t contain the threat, and endless ways to create drinking games that will send you to the ground faster than a bullet wound to the shoulder.

You know the drill. So let’s get onto the recap of Sunday's (Jan. 17) "24" premiere after the break...

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Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley in James Cameron's Laser Cats 5

Sigourney Weaver returns as Ripley in James Cameron's "Laser Cats 5." Sort of.

Credit: SNL

Watch - Recap: 'Saturday NIght Live' - Sigourney Weaver stars in James Cameron's 'Laser Cats 5'

Plus: 'SNL' blows ripping the Leno/O'Brien fiasco

It's Golden Globes weekend, which means this recaper has been running around LA like a chicken with its head cut off, so Sigourney Weaver's return to "SNL" is going to be a bit abbreviated in this space.  Instead of the traditional rundown, we're gonna highlight the best and the worst of the latest installment of the 90-minute institution.

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<p>&nbsp;Harry Lennix of 'Dollhouse'</p>

 Harry Lennix of 'Dollhouse'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Dollhouse' - 'The Hollow Men'

'Dollhouse' begins the end of its run as a full-throttle Shakespearean tragedy.

Heading into its grand finale, I've been rather impressed with how little it feels like "Dollhouse" is telescoping five or six seasons worth of television into 13 episodes (actually, more like 10 episodes, since the season's first three have had basically nothing to do with anything else). It's always been obvious that this story is moving much, much faster than anyone involved might have wanted it to, especially once you could see the series realize it would never get any episodes beyond the 13 ordered for this second season. But at the same time, the story has mostly played out in a fairly logical (for "Dollhouse" and science fiction in general) and intriguing fashion, even as its infodumping its sci-fi bona fides and hitting us over the head with its themes. But "The Hollow Men," the penultimate episode for the whole series, is somehow both really great and just a little rushed.

[Full recap of Friday (Jan. 15) night's "Dollhouse" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Ping of 'Project Runaway'</p>

 Ping of 'Project Runaway'

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway' Premiere - 'Back to New York'

'Runways' is back, and so are the designer disasters

Don’t you love how they make “Project Runway” seem like a superhero movie in the promos? TIM. HEIDI. NINA. And MICHAEL. Duh-DUM. I want each of them to wear capes with contrasting leotards while demonstrating some freakish power, like the ability to turn into ice or make squirrels burst into flame with an evil glance. Actually, I think Heidi would have that one nailed. Maybe Michael could wear a sports jacket instead of a cape, though. I don’t think I’d recognize him without one.

 

[Full recap of Thursday's (Jan. 14) "Project Runway" premiere after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Lamar Royal of 'American Idol'</p>

 Lamar Royal of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Atlanta Auditions

Mary J. Blige joins Simon, Randy and Kara in the Peach State

This is the fifth "American Idol" trip to Atlanta, a city that gave the show Fantasia, Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson. It also gave us Ryan Seacrest, but we can't hold that against the Dirty South, can we? Oh, we can? Well, it's back to the Peach State for Wednesday (Jan. 13) night's "American Idol."

We're going to play a game tonight. It's called Spot the Filler. Until late last week, this episode was only supposed to be 75 minutes, but when Mark Burnett yanked "Our Little Genius" for reasons that still haven't been adequately explained, FOX had to expand the show by 15 additional minutes, 15 minutes which, originally, we're going to be seen in primetime. So if some bad audition tonight doesn't feel quite bad enough, or if some good audition doesn't feel heart-tugging enough, you know why.

Click through...

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<p>&nbsp;Norberto Guerrero of 'American Idol'</p>

 Norberto Guerrero of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Premiere - Boston Auditions

Simon, Randy, Kara and a guest kick off the ninth season of FOX's juggernaut

Welcome, kids, to the final season of "American Idol," or at least the final season of "American Idol" as we know it, the final season of "American Idol with Simon Cowell."

Or maybe Tuesday (Jan. 12) night's "American Idol" is like a series premiere, or at least the series premiere of "American Idol without Paula Abdul." Yeah, that's probably the spin FOX would prefer. Tuesday night marked the beginning of a new era and, after a full day of ABC news and Conan O'Brien updates, I'm going to blog the "Idol" premiere in minute-by-minute format, because otherwise, I'll be up all night recapping this. And as you already know, if you know me, I'm not a big fan of recapping audition episodes anyway. There isn't enough structure. A live-blog counts as structure.

So let's get going...

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