<p>John Noble and Michael Cerveris of 'Fringe'</p>

John Noble and Michael Cerveris of 'Fringe'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'The Firefly'

A visit to a musician sparks new fears in Walter about the fate of Peter.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way up front: dubbing the return episode of “Fringe” as “The Firefly” is a pretty good joke. It keys in nicely with FOX’s marketing strategy to make Fridays not simply another victim in the so-called “death slot.” (Incidentally? “Death slot” is a phrase I am so loath to use I feel like I just consumed some of Walter Bishop’s special milk that so does NOT make a body feel good.) But we’re not here as leaves on the wind, findin’ trouble in the ‘verse. We’re here to talk about “Fringe,” and the slam-bang return that was tonight’s episode.

[Full recap of said episode after the break…]

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<p>Some tool from the New Orleans audition of 'American Idol'</p>

Some tool from the New Orleans audition of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - New Orleans Auditions

Would the Big Easy bring out more leering from Steven Tyler?

Does anybody understand how 51 people from the seemingly lackluster "American Idol" New Jersey auditions got sent along to Hollywood? Did the producers just decide we didn't deserve to see the good contestants? Were at least 30 of those contestants freaks Jennifer Lopez couldn't bear to send home, or hotties Steven Tyler was hoping to hook up with after the show?

And if the "Idol" producers thought New Jersey was capable of sustaining a full two-hour premiere, what hope is there for New Orleans, home of Thursday (Jan. 20) night's showcase?

Click through for my reactions to The Crescent City...

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<p>'Live to Dance' judge Travis Payne</p>

'Live to Dance' judge Travis Payne

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Live to Dance' - Performance Show #2

An act moves into the finals, but one judge isn’t happy about it

It’s probably too late now, but someone at CBS should consider giving this show a revamp before it frustrates someone to death. Wondering how much fluff is packed into the beginning of the show? Two minutes to tell us who’s going to be on the show, a minute for the judges to walk onto the stage like three little Eva Perons greeting their public, and then another minute to recap the previous week’s episode. So, if you were wondering how the producers stretch six short performances into a full hour of prime time, well, there you go.

[Full recap of Wednesday's (Jan. 19) "Live to Dance" after the break...]

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<p>Richard of 'Top Chef: All-Stars'</p>

Richard of 'Top Chef: All-Stars'

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef All-Stars' - 'Restaurant Wars: One Night Only'

Restaurant Wars melts down into a 'perfect storm' of awfulness

Restaurant Wars! This episode is always good for some yelling, some swearing, a little crying and, of course, at least one complete meltdown. And, oh yes, there’s food involved. Restaurant Wars is the point at which “Top Chef” starts to feel, for better or for worse, like a traditional reality TV show. All you need is Gordon Ramsay to drop by and shriek at a few chefs and you’d think you were watching the Fox network. Let’s just hope the food is exceptional this season or we might as well be watching the chefs burn beef Wellington and picking spaghetti out of the trash.

 
[Full recap of Wednesday's (Jan. 19) "Top Chef" after the break...]
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<p>Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson of 'American Idol'</p>

Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 10 Premiere

Auditions offer our first chance to judge Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez

Conventional wisdom used to be that if you wanted to win "American Idol," you had to get as much exposure as early as possible, preferably in the audition episodes. Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze have pretty well shattered that idea.

Conventional wisdom also used to be that viewers loved the "American Idol" audition episodes because they loved to see the freaks and to hear Simon Cowell's pithy eviscerations. Time to put that notion to the test.

Wednesday (Jan. 19) night's 10th season premiere of "American Idol" launched the FOX juggernaut's Post-Simon Era and introduced viewers to new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. 

How does the new season look? Click through for my epic minute-by-minute recap of the premiere...

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<p>Gwyneth Paltrow</p>

Gwyneth Paltrow

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Gwyneth Paltrow and Cee Lo Green

Would the 'Country Strong' star say 'Forget You' to comedy?

I wish Las Vegas would let me bet on things like “Gwyneth Paltrow and Cee-Lo Green co-performing a sanitized version of ‘F#$k You’ on ‘Saturday Night Live.’” But according to my fictional bookie, apparently I can’t. Oh well. Will Paltrow fill the audience with “Glee” or depression? Will her overall performance be “Country Strong” or reveal her to be a simple city slicker? As always, we’re breaking things down live, sketch by sketch. Here we go!

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<p>Richard and Fabio of 'Top Chef: All-Stars'</p>

Richard and Fabio of 'Top Chef: All-Stars'

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef All-Stars' - 'We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat'

It’s a team fishing challenge, but one trio can’t catch a break
This week it’s a team fishing challenge, which seems a bit extreme to me. After all, the chefs are at the mercy of whatever the ocean coughs up for them, which could be Coke cans and dirty diapers depending on the way the tide runs. I’m hoping this doesn’t mean the chefs are going to face increasingly random challenges, like gourmet roadkill or gussying up the contents of the “American Idol” judges’ refrigerators. There are simply limits to what a talented chef can do, especially since I’m guessing Steven Tyler doesn’t actually eat.
[Full recap of Wednesday's (Jan. 12) "Top Chef: All-Stars after the break...]
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<p>Kimberly Wyatt of 'Live to Dance'</p>

Kimberly Wyatt of 'Live to Dance'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Live to Dance' - Performance Show #1

One act progresses to the finals, but a talented duo might be homebound.

It’s week three of Paula’s attempt to convince America she is a stern and sober dance critic and not a squishy marshmallow, which is otherwise known as the semi-finals of “Live to Dance.” Paula really has been running around town trying to convince talk show hosts that she’s unleashing, if not her inner bitch, then her inner toughy. Whom she calls Pauletta. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to, people. Oh, and if you talk about the show, and I’m not saying you will, do know that Paula says the judges on the show aren’t judges, they’re “experts.” Take that, Ellen Degeneres! Told you she was playing hardball.

[Full recap after the break...] 

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<p>Jim Carrey</p>

Jim Carrey

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Jim Carrey and The Black Keys

The 'In Living Color' sketch veteran kicks off 2011 for 'SNL'

It’s a new year for everyone, including “Saturday Night Live.” But with Jim Carrey as its first host, perhaps that new year is 1997 for the show. Do two pop culture institutions both accused of having their best years behind them equal success for tonight’s episode? Quite possibly. “SNL” is never quite as dead as people like to proclaim, and Carrey’s recent work in “I Love You Philip Morris” received critical accolades if not box office gold. Throw in musical guests The Black Keys, and you have the makings of what could be a strong first episode of 2011.

(Can you tell one of my New Year’s Resolutions was “Treat ‘SNL’ kinder than I did last Fall?” I’m trying, everyone. I’m trying.)

Onto the show, starting here on the East Coast late after Nick Folk right foot just turned into Rex Ryan’s second favorite one on the planet…

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<p>Kimberly Wyatt of 'Live to Dance'</p>

Kimberly Wyatt of 'Live to Dance'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Live to Dance' - Auditions Night 2

Four acts fight for the final two spots in the semi-finals

For those of you watching “Live to Dance” for its drinking game potential, we’ll need to revise our key words for this evening. Tonight, whenever anyone says “live semi-finals,” drink. In fact, you may just want to drink, period, because that may be the only way to make sense of some of the judges’ decisions.

[Full recap of Wednesday's (Jan. 5) "Live to Dance" after the break...]
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