Dr. Mark Greene may have been the least interesting character to ever be at the center of a top-rated program, but it's a fact that his death coincided with the end of ER as a major force in the Nielsens and in pop culture generally. As the ER long goodbye continues, departed cast members are coming back for final bows, with Greene (Anthony Edwards) getting his spotlight on Thursday (NBC, 10 PM). He's not coming back from the dead, entertaining as that might be. No, Edwards will appear in a flashback sequence as Banfield (Angela Bassett), who is working to save the life of a girl who nearly drowned, recalls when Greene worked on her own son several years before. Just let me know if and when Clooney is coming back. The dude is just gorgeous, and I say this as someone who prefers his men to be women.
Also this week:
Monday: Heroes (NBC, 9 PM): The good news this past week was that original Heroes producer Bryan Fuller could be on his way back if the series he currently runs, Pushing Daisies, ends up getting canceled. The bad news is that Pushing Daisies is the superior show at this point. Tonight, Hiro goes into the past to learn the secrets of Arthur Petrelli, while Bennet and Elle are unable to prevent Sylar from continuing his brain-twisting.
Tuesday: Blush: The Search for the Next Great Makeup Artist (Lifetime, 10 PM) and Cha$e (SciFi, 10 PM): Have we used up every good reality show idea? That depends in part on whether we end up thinking these two new series are any good. Blush features the usual collection of reality wrecks in competition for a big contract with Max Factor, while Cha$e is a game show where the players have to avoid "hunters." It sounds like a cleaner version of paintball.
Wednesday: The 42nd Annual CMA Awards (ABC, 8 PM): Well, this is one way for ABC to do something about its Wednesday lineup. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley host what I believe is the most prestigious awards show in country, though it gets tough telling them all apart. Watch for George Strait to represent for the fogeys.
Friday: Whale Wars (Animal Planet, 9 PM): Animal Planet is venturing into unusually controversial territory with this series about the crew of a boat that is trying to disrupt the work of Japanese whaling ships. This week, the captain of the whaling opponents tries to provoke a confrontation.
Saturday: Ricky Gervais: Out of England (HBO, 9 PM): This special, taped at Madison Square Garden last summer, shows that Gervais's amusing interlude at this year's Emmy Awards (one of the few) was no fluke: the guy can be funny even when he isn't David Brent.
Sunday: Iron Chef America (Food Network, 8:30 PM): How do you celebrate Thanksgiving on Iron Chef America? With a battle royal matching Michael Symon and Bobby Flay against Cat Cora and Morimoto. The secret ingredient should be cranberry sauce. Because seriously, I've been waiting for someone to make that stuff edible for decades.