Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'Under Control'

Secrets and blood lusts explode at a Mystic Falls town party.

<p>David Anders of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

David Anders of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

This week in Mystic Falls, everyone's got a secret. Especially Elena and Jeremy's Uncle John Gilbert, who has come back to town for mysterious reasons. And Stefan, who's jittery from blood detox withdrawals. And -- well, you'll have to keep reading to find out who else is on the hush-hush, whose dirty hookups earn a resounding "Eeeew!" and whose secret we DON'T get to learn as fates collide at the Founder's Day Party.

[Full recap of Thursday (April 15) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

Recap: 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' - 'Survivor History'

If the name of the other tribe is 'Villains' perhaps they aren't trustworthy?

<p>&nbsp;JT of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'</p>

 JT of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'

Credit: CBS
Pre-credit sequence. It's not that I'm going to miss Coach, but I'm certainly going to miss Coach and Boston Rob and James and Big Tom. Whether we give Russell full credit or not, he's now become the dominant personality in a game that initially had many dominant personalities. What began as an All-Star season has become "Survivor: Russell, Part II." There's a rat back at the Villains camp. Is that rat Sandra? Sandra's certainly feeling cocky about orchestrating Coach's departure. Jerri feels personally blindsided, but Danielle reassures her that she's safe. Russell is Russell-y, which means "smug and cocky," both because Coach was gunning for him (he wasn't) and because he now finds himself surrounded by women, five to be exact. Of those women, Coach maintains he trusts three, excluding Courtney and Sandra, who he promises will be next out. If it came to that, the smart play would be for the five female Villains to form an actual women's alliance and vote Russell out before a merge, right? Or is something about to monkey with the overall dynamic?
[Full recap of Thursday's (April 15) night's "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" after the break...]

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'New York Women'

The models learn to be fierce in a modeling mecca: The NYC subway

<p>Jessica of 'America's Next Top Model'</p>

Jessica of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: The CW

Eight girls are left in Cycle 14 of "America's Next Top Model". At the top of episode No. -- what, 6, is it? -- it looks like Raina and Jessica may be the fledgling modelettes to beat. Crazy Alasia is a good stealth contender, with her amazing combination of toddler-esque behavior, cuckoo wardrobe choices and yet, brilliant modeling work. And then there’s Octomom, I mean, Angelea. She can occasionally model, but she’s as horrendous in the personality department as Alasia.

[Full recap of Wednesday's (April 14) "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]

Recap: 'American Idol' Results - Double elimination raises the stakes

After Michael Lynche was saved last week, the 'Idol' Top 9 lost two members

<p>Michael Lynche of 'American Idol'&nbsp;</p>

Michael Lynche of 'American Idol' 

Credit: FOX

9:00 p.m. Welcome to Wednesday (April 14) night's "American Idol," which should have been sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken, because it's a Double-Down "Idol." Mmmm... The chicken *is* the bun... Sorry. Little hungry. Anyway, two singers are going home tonight, putting the pressure on nearly everybody. Well, everybody except for Ryan Seacrest, who hits the stage with this season's trademark smuggness.

Full recap of Wednesday's show (with results) after the break...

Recap: 'Lost' 6.12 - 'Everybody Loves Hugo' continues the big reveals

Whispers explained, eyes opened, and a Scotsman down a well make for a big week

<p>Jorge Garcia has consistently been the one of the most soulful empathetic characters on 'Lost,' and that continues unabated in the show's final season.</p>

Jorge Garcia has consistently been the one of the most soulful empathetic characters on 'Lost,' and that continues unabated in the show's final season.

Credit: ABC

What is the nature of the Flash Sideways?

It has become the sole question that matters at this point in the home stretch of "Lost," and how they stick the landing all depends on the reveal and the execution of the wrap-up.  There have been clues trickling in for weeks now, starting with episode 6.06, "Sundown," where Sayid's Flash Sideways had the distinct feeling of a deal with the devil gone subtly wrong.  There have been complaints from fans this year that the way characters keep crossing paths in the Flash Sideways/Timeline A stuff is "too convenient," but I think it all makes sense if you accept that we are seeing a construct, a Timeline in which people have been given a second chance at things that is supposed to keep them distracted by "solving" their imperfect lives.  The question remains... how could that be happening, and who did it to them?  And with only a few hours left in the season, at what point will we see the mechanism that kicked Timeline A into existence?

There's an amazing, ambitious video game called "Fallout 3" that is set in a post-apocalyptic American landscape dotted with underground bunkers known as Vaults.  Most of the game plays out in a fairly linear fashion, but there's one Vault in particular that you walk into, and when you hook up to the life-support machines you find there, you are suddenly launched into a radically different game, set in an idyllic black-and-white "Leave It To Beaver" version of the 1950s.  Why and how and what you have to do to make it back to the real game is one of the most deliciously weird and creepy left-turns I've ever encountered in a game, and I walked away impressed by the ambition of that choice.  The safe thing to do for the producers of "Lost" would have been to make this final season a single linear storyline that just answered questions set up by the first five seasons, running down them like a checklist.  That would have been safe and satisfying and completely predictable.  Which is why I'm glad and surprised that they chose instead to layer in a whole new element to the show's mythology, using one of the most outrageous storytelling choices in the entire six years of the show.

Recap: 'Glee' returns in 'Hell-O'

From the Beatles to All-American Rejects, battles to rejection

<p>Finn in &quot;Hell-O&quot;</p>

Finn in "Hell-O"

In typical “Glee” fashion, the show’s creators waste no time back into action, as “Hell-O” kicks off the new season. Within an hour, Rachel loses Finn, finds new “love,” is forced to break up with that guy, then enters back into the relationship secretly and Finn tries wooing her back. And that’s just one storyline.

In an instrumental allusion to Rachel's best number from last season, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from triumphant “Sectionals,” the Gleeks walk down the hall like rock stars (“I feel like Lady Gaga,” says Kurt), that is until the inevitable slushies meet face. And we’re off!
[Full recap of Tuesday's (April 13) "Glee" after the break...]

Recap: 'V' - 'John May'

The Resistance's past, Tyler's past and V torture techniques and secrets galore fill a busy episode

<p>&nbsp;Joel Gretsch and Morris Chestnut of 'V'</p>

 Joel Gretsch and Morris Chestnut of 'V'

Credit: ABC
Like "FlashForward" before it, "V" is starting to reveal that there's a show inside of it that could work, if only the show as it actually exists would just eschew everything but one or two of its characters. On "FlashForward," the only stuff that's ever worked is everything that's had to do with the conspiracy dudes who are trying to bring the world down, but the series remains committed to its cop show center, the least interesting part of the show. On "V," increasingly, I'm getting into the story of renegade V Ryan and his attempts to bring down his own species in honor of the woman he's come to love and the entire human race, whose "emotions" he has come to crave. "John May," then, is another good Ryan hour grafted onto an episode that has literally no idea what to do with anything else.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (April 13)

Recap: 'American Idol' - Adam Lambert coaches the Top 9 on Elvis Night

Risque mentor aside, most of the 'Idol' singers play it safe with double-elimination looming

<p>Tim Urban of 'American Idol'</p>

Tim Urban of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

Welcome to Tuesday (April 13) night's "American Idol," or as I like to call it "FOX's lead-in to the return of 'Glee.'"

With Adam Lambert mentoring the contestants in fabulousness, "American Idol" is tackling Elvis tonight (not literally tackling him, cuz he's dead and that would be disrespectful) which may be... Eclectic.

Thanks to the Judges' Save last week, we've got 9 performances in 88 minutes, which means that, if nothing else, Tuesday's show will be our least-padded "Idol" in weeks.

Click through for the full recap...

Recap: '24' Day 8 - '8 a.m. to 9 a.m.'

Chloe receives an unusual offer, and President Taylor enlists an unlikely ally

<p>&nbsp;Gregory Itzin of '24'</p>

 Gregory Itzin of '24'

Credit: FOX

Two weeks, two silent countdowns to end an episode of “24.” You could take that to mean the show’s going out with a bang, literally. Or, you could take that to mean that we could quickly get desensitized to all the death about to come our way in the final few hours of the series’ run. I’m all for ramping things up to go out in a blaze of glory, but there’s a chance that we might be too numb to care by that point. As numb as Jack at episode’s end.

But we’ll get there eventually. Onto the rest of the recap! Let’s take a look at what happened in three major locations this week.

Recap: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Green Light'

Walt's still not cooking, but 'Breaking Bad' is as riveting as ever.

<p>Bryan Cranston of 'Breaking Bad'</p>

Bryan Cranston of 'Breaking Bad'

Credit: AMC

It's tough to say much about "Green Light" without saying anything about next week's episode of "Breaking Bad." I normally try to avoid watching additional episodes unless I've been able to write up the ones I've already seen, but these two hours of "Breaking Bad" work so well together, almost as one, big, two-hour "Breaking Bad" movie, that it's hard to avoid the cause and effect the two episodes set up and pay off. This week is all cause (for the most part), while next week is all effect. "Breaking Bad" has never been a series that has had a lot of non-serialized elements, but these two hours tie tightly together in the mind, even after I've rewatched this hour, and they work well as a suggestion of how the series sets up storylines to come.

[Full recap of Sunday's (April 11) "Breaking Bad" after the break...]

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