With the decline of Grey's Anatomy, we've been going elsewhere for our medical drama - Discovery Health Channel, 20/20, Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic - but we've found the serious stuff in an unlikely place.
Scrubs [9 PM, ABC] - When Scrubs moved to ABC, we figured there would be some changes, but no one could have anticipated how dark it would become. The visual style now verges on chiaroscuro, the jokes are 20% edgier (if less anarchic) and there are moments of serious contemplation that would harsh even the most robust of buzzes. Tonight there are back-to-back episodes. In the first, J.D. (Zach Braff) attempts to spread compassion with help from Elmo, Grover and Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. In the second, J.D. and Elliot (Sarah Chalke) try to heat up their sex life, while Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) considers taking the newly vacant Chief of Medicine position. Some of the new interns are funny - especially Aziz Ansari's - but did Hooch get lost in the move?
Last Restaurant Standing [8 PM, BBC America] - This could be the best food competition show in the world, and it's only a matter of time before Food Network or Fox makes an American version. The contestants are couples with minimal restaurant experience who compete for the opportunity to open a restaurant with the support of world-renowned chef/restaurateur/host Raymond Blanc. In the first episode, the nine couples prepare a signature dish to move forward. In the second, the teams arrive at their empty restaurants and have one week to transform them before opening night.
10 Items or Less [11 PM, TBS] - We have a complicated relationship with the improvised word. Live improv, when done very well, can be incredibly funny and inspiring, but most of the time the laughs it earns are laughs of recognition, not laughs that something was actually funny. When all of that makes its way to the small screen and combines with scripted elements, the results have been mixed - ranging from the culturally significant Curb Your Enthusiasm to the not-missed but decent at times Sons & Daughters. 10 Items or Less brings that ethic to the world of the supermarket: Throw some sort of crazy people in a single location, see what happens. It has moments of humor, but it needs to get as strange/weird as Reno 911! to really capture our funny bones. On tonight's new episode, Leslie (John Lehr) helps Richard's mom overcome her alcoholism after he catches her ganking booze from the store. Give it a few minutes, if it doesn't do the trick, move on. There are scripted shows out there that are slightly better.
The Biggest Loser: Couples [8 PM, NBC] - The two hours of Biggest Loser every week is starting to take its toll. Two hours of The Bachelor (last night) is almost tolerable because that show occasionally has a sense of humor about itself, but 120 minutes of gut-busting, exercising, food challenges and real stories of heavy heartbreak is overload, especially when the last thirty minutes are mostly quick cuts with dramatic score leading into commercial breaks. Weren't TV shows supposed to be getting shorter to deal with our ever-decreasing attention spans? Jillian and Bob need to get down to that Avid suite and get those editors to do some crunches. The hills of Malibu are alive with the sound of synergy tonight, as contestants are quizzed on the caloric value of Super Bowl snacks (the game is on NBC this Sunday) and quarterback Kurt Warner throws some passes. The contestants training from home will find out if they get to go back to the ranch. All of that takes 90 minutes. Then it's beeping, timpanis and string section time.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno [11:35 PM, NBC] - Of the three guests tonight - Rainn Wilson, Paula Abdul, Hoobastank - Rainn Wilson is the only one who gives decent interview, but sometimes he's a little obnoxious. A lot of The Office cast is super-annoying on the couch (especially Jenna Fischer), but Angela Kinsey is solid.