Few series debut with the pedigree of The Return of Jezebel James. Its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, gave us the much-loved (if low-rated) Gilmore Girls for seven years, which had one of television's best-ever parent-child relationships and some of its best dialogue of recent years to boot. Stars Parker Posey (too many independent films to name) and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) likewise come equipped with sterling reputations.
Unfortunately, the series is getting uniformly brutal reviews, and the fact that Fox held this 2007 pilot until March 2008, cut its episode order to seven, and then dumped it on a Friday night has to be considered the ultimate vote of low confidence. It's questionable the show ever would have seen the light of day if not for the strike. Posey stars as a children's book editor who wants a child of her own. In the pilot episode (8 PM, tonight), she asks her younger sister (Ambrose) if she wouldn't mind having a baby for her. That seems more like a season four request, but I guess they want to hook viewers early. The pilot is followed by a second episode. Despite the aura of total negativity, anything from Sherman-Palladino deserves a shot.
What Not To Wear (TLC, tonight 9 PM): A 45-year-old contractor prefers to wear sweats and jeans, but needs something more feminine.
Free Radio (VH1, tonight 9:30 PM): Bob Saget, Omarion, and Danneel Harris are in the studio; Lance decides to hire a bodyguard after making a listener mad.
In Treatment (HBO, tonight 9:30 PM): Paul learns that Kate and Rosie share secrets with each other and not with the psychiatrist in the house.
Torchwood (BBC America, Saturday 9 PM): Owen's search for redemption sends him after a strange alien device. Those aliens and their devices.
Trading Spaces (TLC, Saturday 9 PM): An episode that could only take place in Las Vegas, as a Cher impersonator and an Elvis impersonator work on each other's rooms. Doug and Hildi are going to need a lotta rhinestones.
Wisegal (Lifetime, Saturday 9 PM): Alyssa Milano stars as a young widow who begins a relationship with a mobster and soon shows an aptitude for the dark side herself. Best of all, James Caan himself also stars. I assume he tells Milano's character to just stay away from tollbooths.
Flip This House (A&E, Saturday 11 PM): Season premiere: the sub-prime lending crisis comes to Flip This House, as a man takes on the unenviable task of renovating a house in a rundown neighborhood and then trying to sell it at a profit in a brutal market.
Saturday Night Live (NBC, Saturday 11:30 PM): For the first time since its infancy, SNL is live for a fourth straight week as it continues to dissipate all the comedic energy built up during the strike. Let's hope the strain on the writing staff doesn't show. Jonah Hill, a member of the Judd Apatow comedy stable and half of the least funny part of this year's Academy Awards ceremony, is the guest host; scheduled musical guest Janet Jackson was a casualty of the flu, so up-and-comer Mariah Carey will finally get her big chance as the replacement.
Rock of Love 2 (VH1, 11 AM and 9 PM): The final six have their creativity tested when Bret asks them to direct and star in a music video. Why do they keep pretending that Kristy Joe is in trouble every week? Do they really think that reality veterans like us can't see through them?
NCAA tournament selection: CBS, the home of March Madness, carries the official unveiling of the brackets at 6 PM Sunday; ESPN follows with its analysis at 7 PM. All I know is that Florida isn't winning for a third straight year.
Big Brother 9 (CBS, Sunday 8 PM): The end of the Head of Household challenge will take up the first part of the hour. Why three people would vote James out and then vote him right back in is a bigger mystery than Julie Chen's mystery box.
Everybody Hates Chris (CW, Sunday 8 PM): Chris tries to wangle an invitation to a spin-the-bottle party; Julius grumbles when Rochelle runs into an old boyfriend; Drew lends Omar money and works mighty hard to get it back.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, Sunday 8 PM): Ty and the gang redo the home of a Nevada "motorcycle minister" who has devoted his career to helping kids.
John Adams (HBO, Sunday 8 PM and 9:10 PM): In episode one, Adams defends British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre and is selected to be part of the Continental Congress. In the second episode, he witnesses the aftermath of Lexington and Concord and becomes a forceful advocate for independence.
Aliens In America (CW, Sunday 8:30 PM): Justin becomes the first person in history to try out for a part in Rent because he wants to meet a girl; Raja calls into a teen hotline under an assumed name and voice when volunteer Claire complains that she's not helping anyone.
King of the Hill (Fox, Sunday 8:30 PM): After a child goes missing in Arlen, a parenting expert calls Peggy out publicly, and she responds by becoming extra alert to Hank's and Bobby's comings and goings.
The L Word (Showtime, Sunday 9 PM): The owners of SheBar go behind Kit's back yet again; Bette and Jodi come to an understanding; Adele goes to the Lez Girls producers with her accusations against Jenny.
Oprah's Big Give (ABC, Sunday 9 PM): Andre Agassi and Tony Hawk assist the givers in Houston, where they are tasked with helping 1000 kids.
Unhitched (Fox, Sunday 9:30 PM): Kate wants Tommy to come to a kids' birthday party with her when she realizes her ex will be there; Gator and Freddy have dates with Icelandic women. I'll assume this is a good thing.
Ax Men (History, Sunday 10 PM): One of the companies jury-rigs old equipment in order to deal with time demands; another battles with iffy weather to build a new road.
Dirt (FX, Sunday 10 PM): Lucy becomes motivated to expose a music mogul; Don learns something about an ex-actress who is now in politics; Brent tries to get the upper hand over Lucy.
Dumped (BBC America, Sunday 10 PM): The dump residents have their toilet removed and must come up with a new composting toilet. I think this would be the moment when I seriously looked into replacing my agent.
Here Come the Newlyweds (ABC, Sunday 10 PM): The men shop for groceries based only on general hints from the women; the guys are later quizzed about the trouble spots on their wives' bodies. Do they actually want these people to still be married when this show is over?
Iron Chef America (Food Network, Sunday 10 PM): Bobby Flay is challenged by Akira Back of Las Vegas.
Jesus: the Missing History (Discovery, Sunday 10 PM): Aside from Peeps, there's nothing about Easter season I look forward to more than historical specials on ancient Judea. How much can the objective historical record tell us about Jesus?
Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!, Sunday 10 PM): Rob has a girlfriend, and the Kardashian girls want to check her out. Because, obviously, they wouldn't want a moronic skank in the family or anything like that.
Scott Baio Is 46...and Pregnant (VH1, Sunday 10 PM): With the wedding planner now history, Baio is doing his best to be helpful, but cold feet are still an issue. I think once you have a baby with a woman, it's incumbent on you to get those feet warmed up.
That's Amore (MTV, Sunday 10 PM): They're now having pillow fights to settle things. MTV needs to spice this one up, pronto.