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Archive for Thursday, November 12, 2009

‘Office’ plots looking terribly familiar

November 12, 2009

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Has “The Office” (8 p.m., NBC) run out of ideas? Disturbing rumors about Dunder-Mifflin’s future drive Michael to peculiar and distracting behavior, leading Jim to doubt his sanity. Let’s put aside the question of why this is the first time Jim has wondered about Michael’s mental health. This is the second time in the young season that Michael has engaged in bizarre behavior to distract from unsettling rumors.

And last week’s episode about a double date with Jim and Pam and Michael and Pam’s mother (Linda Purl) had echoes of the disastrous dinner party thrown by Michael and Jan (Melora Hardin) some time back.

Even the best series run out of creative gas. “The Office,” based on a British comedy that ran only two stellar seasons, appears to have done just that.

• Ray (Laurence Fishburne) takes on human traffickers on “CSI” (8 p.m., CBS) touching the third base (or more accurately, his home base) of the November Sweeps crossover trek around the “CSI” franchise.

• “Supernatural” (8 p.m., CW) has been making the most of Sweeps gimmicks. Last week, the show parodied TV’s most popular series. Tonight offers a send-up of superhero comic fan conventions, as Becky gets more than she bargained for when she tricks the boys into attending a fan convention by using Chuck’s (Chuck Benedict) phone. Some avid conventioneers even dress up as Sam and Dean.

• The country’s two wealthiest men and leading philanthropists take questions at a Town Hall-style meeting at Columbia Business School on “Warren Buffett and Bill Gates: Keeping America Great” (8 p.m., CNBC).

• TCM continues its Thursday-night salutes to Grace Kelly in November with three of her most noteworthy films, “Dial M for Murder” (7 p.m.), “Rear Window” (9 p.m.) and “The Country Girl” (11 p.m.), which earned Kelly an Academy Award.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Special effects outshine the stars of the 2005 adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s Christian allegory “The Chronicle of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” (6:30 p.m., Family).

• A tip leads Mark to the marked man from his dream on “FlashForward” (7 p.m., ABC).

• A journalist takes a very personal tour of the beauty business in the United States and United Kingdom on “Super Botox Me” (7 p.m., BBC America).

• A New York kidnapping drama in New York may be connected to Massive Dynamic on “Fringe” (8 p.m., Fox).

• The new cast member (Cheyenne Jackson) has an immediate effect on his colleagues on “30 Rock” (8:30 p.m., NBC).

• Jane collaborates with Lisbon and Bosco to find a kidnapped woman on “The Mentalist” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Tim mentors the final three designers as “Project Runway” (9 p.m., Lifetime) begins its two-part finale.

• Mac and Brenda need space on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (9 p.m., FX).

• A lunch becomes more than a meal on “The League” (9:30 p.m., FX).

• The spat between Tamra and Gretchen eclipses Lynne’s showcase on “Real Housewives of Orange County” (9 p.m., Bravo).

Cult choice

An ex-con’s (Mickey Rourke) return sparks a Brooklyn gang war in the 1996 drama “Bullet” (7:15 p.m., IFC).

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