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Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tune In: A night of finales and ‘Idol’s’ penultimate cut

May 19, 2011

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Cliffhangers and emotional confrontations abound as seasons end for most of the night’s series. Over on ABC, Thursday’s aging — yet sturdy — soaps come to dramatic crossroads of a personal and professional nature. Meredith’s deception may have far reaching consequences on the season ender of “Grey’s Anatomy” (8 p.m., ABC). Weak links on the staff of Oceanside Wellness may result in the closing of the whole operation, scattering the staff and the cast of “Private Practice” (9 p.m., ABC) to the winds. As they say, not bloody likely.

“The Mentalist” (8 p.m., CBS) has maintained a balance between Patrick Jane’s (Simon Baker) jokey nonchalance and his tragic back-story, involving his family’s murder at the hands of the Red John killer. Tonight, in a two-hour seasonal end-cap, he confronts the killer in ways that may change his relationship with the team.

“Parks & Recreation” (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., NBC) wraps up its season with back-to-back episodes about Leslie’s wayward romance and a memorial service for Li’l Sebastian, a popular miniature pony that the town residents clearly revere more highly than their fellow citizens. As you might expect, things conclude with several cast members mulling possible life-altering possibilities.

Like “Community,” but unlike the cancelled “Outsource, “Parks” will return next fall. “30 Rock” will be back, but fans will have to wait until mid-season for that critical favorite.

“The Office” (8 p.m., NBC) will also return next season. It’s not clear if fans of the series think that is a good thing. The episodes without the departed Steve Carell as Michael Scott have been rather wobbly and have also seen audience erosion.

In tonight’s season-ender, the casting call for a new manager results in cameo appearances by Jim Carrey, Will Arnett, James Spader and Ray Romano as well as British comic and mimic Catherine Tate and series co-creator Ricky Gervais.

• The blood-splattered shenanigans on “Bones” (8 p.m., Fox) wrap up with a corpse found crammed in a bowling alley and an overheard “Star Trek” fantasy inspires Raj to seek a change of roommates on “Big Bang Theory” (7 p.m., CBS). It’s companion CBS sitcom “Rules of Engagement” (7:30 p.m., CBS) wraps up with Russell making reservations on a cruise line catering to older women.

Not even CBS could dodge a bullet last season. The network may have dominated ratings, but it’s freshman William Shatner comedy “$!t My Dad Says” did not avoid cancellation.

Of course, all of this takes place on the night that “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox) announces the two top finalists to perform in next week’s extravaganza.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Fans of Keanu Reeves get to choose between “The Matrix” (7 p.m., AMC) and “Speed” (7 p.m., E!).

• TCM puts the spotlight on MGM’s aquatic star Esther Williams in a night of cinematic baubles beginning with the 1952 biography “Million Dollar Mermaid” (7 p.m., TCM). Things reach a mythic crescendo as Williams plays a shapely Roman out to stop Hannibal’s elephant-born invasion in “Jupiter’s Darling” (2:30 a.m.) from 1955.

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