"American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" have been addressed in previous posts. Notes on these other shows after the jump. ...
I would have preferred to see "Reaper" back in the fall, but I'll take the midseason order (see the CW announcement below) as better than cancellation. Once again this week the show demonstrated how smoothly it can operate. Yay, they didn't get rid of Gladys! Boo hoo, Lucy Davis is on the run. And I am not sure how I feel about Sam as the devil's son, even though there have been plenty of signs of it in the first season. A lot will depend on how it's handled in next week's season finale.
Still, there are a lot of possibilities in Andi's more pro-active approach to dealing with Old Scratch, not all of them good; it reminds me some of what "My Name Is Earl" has done with Earl and Billie -- getting them together but not making them compatible. I had really lost interest in "Earl" during the coma episodes, and found myself fast-forwarding through Earl's sitcom dream. But when I caught up with two post-coma episodes, the show was back in gear, And the coma, the dream sequences make more sense. Not enough to justify so many of them, but the idea indicated what a romantic Earl is, and how difficult it is for him to fit his fantasy life with a reality where Billie takes his potato chips, prefers Van Halen with Sammy Hagar and took a lackluster approach to The List. Much better than the coma misfire.
And "Earl" the last couple of weeks was decidedly better than what the folks at "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" were up to. I generally like both comedies, but this week was not good. "HIMYM" squeezed in another Britney Spears appearance -- and ensured its renewal by doing so -- but it felt way too contrived. Spears's first appearance as Abby was a logical piece of the show, a case of having a character written that Spears could play; this time, it was more of a "we have to get Abby back into the story but, oh, mercy, how will we do it?" And the answer was a half-thought-out idea too rapidly executed. Nor was the Marshall/Lily stuff all that good.
"Men," meanwhile, should have rebounded from the "CSI" crossover episode from a week ago with something much stronger than yet another look at Charlies's mother issues. And not an especially inventive one.
As for "Bones," steady work hurt only by the stalker-shoots-Booth ending. On the plus side, they didn't do that in the season finale, so I give them credit for avoiding a cheesy brand of finale cliffhanger (well, until we see what they have in mind next week). On the minus, this sort of scene has been beaten to death on TV -- I think David E. Kelley alone has done a zillion or so -- and my reaction at this point is basically, "Oh."