Boston Legal, which wraps up its five-season run with back-to-back episodes on Monday (ABC, 9 p.m.), has certainly had a weird history since it emerged from the wreckage of The Practice. Like almost all series in the David E. Kelley stable, the main cast seemed to undergo almost monthly changes. Its ratings have never been all that great and critics have generally ignored it, but Emmy voters have favored Boston Legal to the point where William Shatner was once honored for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama. The final two hours find Carl (John Larroquette) and Shirley (Candice Bergen) planning their wedding, Alan (James Spader) going to court in order to get access to an unapproved treatment for Denny (Shatner), and the firm in imminent financial danger. Here's to one last Spader/Shatner balcony scene, one of the nicer set pieces of primetime TV.
Also this week:
Tuesday: The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen, 10 p.m.): Sisterhood may be powerful, but this series exists to prove that Americans would rather watch women pass out in the back of cabs and claw each other's weaves to pieces. This week the crew goes on a round of speed dating, during which someone decides to create a scene. Imagine that!
Wednesday: Top Chef (Bravo, 10 p.m.): So far, so good on season five, which surprises me a little given the quick turnaround from the previous season. There's no way that Stefan wins, though. This week, the cheftestants have to put forth their best efforts for judge Gail Simmons, who is being given a bridal shower.
Thursday: CSI (CBS, 9 p.m.): We've been hearing about it for months, and the day has finally arrived: Laurence Fishburne debuts as Raymond Langston, who we meet this week when the soon-to-depart Grissom (William Petersen) seeks advice regarding what appears to be a copycat serial killer and joins one of Langston's classes.
Friday: The Starter Wife (USA, 10 p.m.): A second season of life among the divorced elite wraps up with Molly (Debra Messing) attending Lou's wedding and reaching a decision about her relationship with Zach. Of course, what will probably happen is Molly will say she's made a decision, and then we tune in to the season three premiere to see what she decided. See? I'm thinking like a programmer now.
Saturday: Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m.): In his native Britain, Hugh Laurie is still thought of primarily as a funny man, so his occasional stints hosting SNL have served to show Americans what Dr. House actually does best. Kanye West and his Ego of Christmas Past, Present and Future is the musical guest.
Sunday: Californication (Showtime, 10 p.m.): As a non-fan of the first season, I must admit that the series improved some this go-round, as Hank Moody and the satellite characters appeared to be more grounded in a recognizable world rather than in a middle-aged male screenwriters' fantasy. For the finale, Hank finishes his biography, Charlie gets a depressing new job, and Karen's plans mean both Hank and Becca have choices to make.