Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The X Factor returns to TV, loaded for bear

Illustration for article titled The X Factor returns to TV, loaded for bear

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, September 12. All times are Eastern.


The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): Perhaps you, like most of America, just didn’t care too much about this show last year. Perhaps you, like most of America, don’t really know what the words “Melanie Amaro” mean. (Hint: She won the first season.) But Fox is betting that you will care about what happens once Britney Spears and Demi Lovato join Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the judging panel, just the latest megastars to be bought by a network for the singing competition judge arms race. (It’ll get even worse in January, when The Voice unleashes an all-new panel, and Mariah Carey joins American Idol.) Anyway, Jessica Jardine will be there to let you know if Britney flips out.

The Voice (NBC, 8 p.m.): Though ratings are down, NBC is betting that you’ll enjoy flipping between Britney and Christina Aguilera, speculating as to how both women’s lives have changed since 1999, and comparing stories of desperation. Caroline Framke can’t believe CeeLo took the space out of his name.

Damages (DirecTV Audience Network, 9 p.m.): After five seasons of twisting plots and Patty Hewes screwing people over, the series wraps up tonight by answering all of its questions and determining the fate of one important character. Joshua Alston hopes the series ends with Zeljko Ivanek’s resurrection.

Top Chef Masters (Bravo, 10 p.m.): The contestants participate in an “underground dining event,” which we thought was the sort of thing that went out with the ‘90s, back when everyone was doing everything in secret underground mobs. Margaret Eby will write her review by glowstick from a TV recappin’ rave.

Carnivàle (1 p.m.): After one week traveling to Damascus, Nebraska, and one week actually there, now, the show is on the outskirts of Damascus, and we’re sure that last week’s shocking cliffhanger will end with everybody dying. Todd VanDerWerff is sure they could all continue as ghosts. It’s that kind of show.


A Football Life (NFL Network, 8 p.m.): The NFL-produced ripoff of MTV’s True Life begins its latest season with an episode that may as well be called “I Am A Tim Tebow,” as it follows the embattled New York Jets quarterback. Denver resident Cory Casciato has some intense feelings on the matter.


Hawaii Air Rescue (Weather Channel, 9 p.m.): This new reality series has a premise so basic that we’re surprised no one thought of it before: How do people who need transportation to the hospital in Hawaii get there, if the nearest hospital’s an island away? Meet the pilots who fly them in this show.

Guys With Kids (NBC, 10 p.m.): After all of those shows about guys without kids, it took a brave network like NBC to put a show about guys with kids on the air. Erik Adams listens to the live studio audience cheer as these men try to deal with the craziness of raising a baby! However could a man do that?


Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC, 10 p.m.): The news that this show had more viewers than the recent conventions wasn’t true. (It beat CNN’s coverage, but the conventions had more viewers overall.) It’s still terrifying that many people are watching a show where tonight’s episode is called “Time For Sketti.”

The Sea Inside (Sundance, 8 p.m.): This film about a quadriplegic battling to be allowed to die is manipulative at times—how couldn’t it be?—but it’s anchored by a wonderful performance by Javier Bardem. Though that’s not exactly a surprise. Is Javier Bardem ever not good? We didn’t think so.


Confidential Agent (TCM, 9 p.m.): Though based on a novel by the great Graham Greene, this film is one that stalled the career momentum of one Lauren Bacall. Why was that the case? Well, we’ve never seen it, so we don’t know, but the TV Guide summary calls it “Fascinating.” That’s endorsement enough!

MLB Baseball: Yankees at Red Sox (ESPN, 7 p.m.): The Sox may be hopelessly out of it, but their win over the Yankees Tuesday night dropped the hated rivals into a tie for first in the division with the Orioles. If the Sox can keep screwing over the Yankees like that, their fans may find some consolation.


Parenthood (Tuesday): Everybody’s favorite family drama returns with the Braverman clan trying to decide whether Sarah’s fiancée, Mark, belongs in the family portrait, even though the two aren’t married yet. Todd VanDerWerff knows how foreshadowing works. This can only end poorly.