Wednesday, July 28, 2004

TV's best bets

Gannett News Service


Amish in the City debut, 8-10 p.m., Channel 25.

For all of its slick contrivances, this reality show has a decent, human core. Most Amish communities really do allow young adults to sample the outside world before committing to their faith. This show simply magnifies that: Five young Amish adults share a spectacular Los Angeles mansion with six party-hardy non-Amish folks.

Some of these people are only borderline interesting. Randy, who's Amish, has a chiseled torso and a blank look. Meagan, who's not, screams a lot. Others, however, are intriguing, especially two of the Amish people. Mose is a gifted inventor with a droll sense of humor. Ruth never had a chance to go beyond the eighth grade, but she keeps a desire to learn about life. Suddenly, she's an attractive young woman in a bikini, learning to swim; it's a pleasure to see the joy on her face when she sees the beaches near the ocean for the first time. At moments like this, Amish in the City has a warm soul.

Rescue Me, 10 p.m., FX.

After last week's terrific opener, tonight's episode is deeper, darker and even better. Last week, we met Lt. Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary), a firefighter whose marriage has crumbled. Tonight, he wants to sabotage his wife's new lover. Also, his chief (wonderfully played by Jack McGee) begins raging about a news story saying there are gay firemen.

Both situations spin wildly out of control in stories that continue next week. Rescue Me has it all - humor, deep characters and an ability to stop us cold with moments of intense tragedy.

Worth watching

Democratic National Convention, 8-11 p.m., Channels 48, 16 and C-SPAN; 10-11 p.m. on ABC, CBS and NBC; throughout the day on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel. The big networks will jump in at 10 p.m., when Sen. John Edwards gives his acceptance speech as the vice-presidential candidate. If you want more, try PBS or cable.

Next Action Star, 8 p.m., Channels 5, 22. Here is the finale, picking the people who will then star in an Aug. 11 movie on NBC. One will be Sean or Jared, the other Jeanne or Corinne.

My Wife and Kids, 8-9 p.m., Channels 9, 2. This one-hour rerun has Michael and Jay approaching their 15th anniversary - while she wonders if he even cares.

The Drew Carey Show, 9 and 9:30 p.m., Channels 9, 2. In the first episode, Drew ends up in the middle of an argument between gay lovers; in the second, he bungles an attempt to motivate Mimi's lazy boyfriend.

Law & Order, 9 p.m., Channels 5, 22. A City Hall shooting leaves one official dead and another wounded.

The Simple Life, 9 p.m., Channels 19, 45. In Texas, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie try to help a 14-year-old with his homework and take jobs at a beauty salon.

Two and a Half Men, 9:30 p.m., Channels 12, 7. Charlie and Alan's mother (Holland Taylor) has a new boyfriend. He happens to be the father of a woman Charlie has been ducking.

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