WASHINGTON, December 11, 2012 –Storage Wars is one of the many basic cable shows that rivals major network-backed programs in the Nielsen ratings. The show is easily popular enough to break the top 25 list with each new episode. In addition, for the last two consecutive Friday nights, Discovery Channel’s show Gold Rush has beaten everyone else in its time slots, major networks included. Perhaps it’s significant that both shows tease their avid viewership with the notion that somehow, it’s still possible for Joe Sixpack and his friends to take a risk and achieve instant wealth.
Whether hunting gold in the Amazon basin or betting on uncovering untold riches amidst old frying pans piled sky-high in a neglected random storage unit, people love the idea of scoring instant wealth. With all the gloom and doom in the news, the very thought of stumbling on that elusive pot of gold becomes even more alluring.
Back in the day at least, most people still felt that hard work and a dedication to those things—like a college education—that mattered would guarantee at least the chance of success in this land of unbridled possibilities. Now, that notion and nearly everything else all seem to have failed us. Yet we can’t help but look for other ways to sustain ourselves. It still seems to be in the American genes. Which is why the whole current mess is still frustrating to the max.
I personally feel powerless to affect change in those things that matter to me in the bigger picture of life. I feel held hostage by a system that is either badly in need of repair or is broken beyond redemption. I think the majority of people feel the same way. So why not lose ourselves in TV “reality series” shows that promote this or that far-fetched hope that possibilities and short cuts to success actually still exist?
We can all tune in to these shows and feel an infusion of cosmic love when the capricious Fates decide, on occasion, to smile kindly on one of our kindred spirits. On the other hand, maybe this is just our version of Nero fiddling while Rome burns to the ground. The jury’s still out, but everybody’s still fiddling.
Some days nothing in my half-full philosophy beaker seems able to overcome the reality of what we are all dealing with in these Days of Our Lives. Today is one of those days.
Let’s at least try to break this joyful mood by heading for that blessed getaway land of the Lost, TV tonight. Which, on Fox at least, brings us a new episode, appropriately, of Raising Hope.
Or, maybe even better, we can catch new episodes of NCIS and NCIS: LA on CBS where we can thrill to the adventures of at least a few Federal employees who actually earn the outsized salaries we pay them. Tonight, as we’ve come to expect, Gibbs, Callen, and their hardworking bi-coastal colleagues fight, like Superman, for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. We NCIS honorary probies proudly salute these excellent dudes and dudettes.
Also this evening, the cavalcade of reruns blessed by the Ghost of Christmas Past continues with the 1970-vintage Fred Astaire- and Mickey Rooney-voiced, claymation-animated, cliché-ridden Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town at 8 (ABC); and the 2008 Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa travelcade at 9 on the CW. Wish we were collecting the royalties for these Christmas puppies.
As Ronald Reagan once observed, there’s gotta be a horse in there somewhere!
All times are EST
ABC: Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town: (Repeat) A mailman (the voice of Fred Astaire) explains why Santa has whiskers, lives at the North Pole and brings presents once a year.
CBS: NCIS: (New) Gibbs teams up with FBI Agent Fornell (Joe Spano) on a joint NCIS/FBI investigation after Fornell becomes the target of a shooting, but they face an unexpected twist in the case when their mutual ex-wife, Diane Sterling (Melinda McGraw), gets involved.
FOX: Raising Hope: (New) Virginia becomes an extreme couponer to stock up on supplies when she believes an apocalyptic prophecy from an ancient calendar, and encourages the family to get ready for the end of the world.
NBC: The Voice: (Live) Two artists are sent home in a results show.
CW: Hart of Dixie: (New) Zoe (Rachel Bilson) finds herself anxious that her ever-critical mother will be visiting BlueBell soon for the holidays. In order to avoid spending quality time with her mother, she busies herself with a patient but potentially ruins Christmas Eve for the whole town.
FOX: Ben and Kate: pilot episode: (Repeat) Comedy series about Kate, a straitlaced single mom raising her young daughter with assistance from her new houseguest, older brother Ben, who’s a young-at-heart dreamer. In the opener, Kate prepares for a first date with help from a coworker, while Ben reunites with his childhood buddy, and together they try to stop Ben’s ex from getting married.
ABC: Happy Endings: (New) Jane and Alex’s parents host a party to celebrate 20 years in the mattress business; missing Penny, Max looks for a new best friend.
CBS: NCIS: Los Angeles: (New) The NCIS: Los Angeles team investigates the strange and brazen heist executed by gunmen in costumes that could directly impact the U.S. economy.
FOX: New Girl: (New) While attending multiple holiday parties in one night, Jess tries to avoid Sam, Nick tries to keep up with his adventurous date and Winston gets a cranberry stuck in his ear.
NBC: Take it All: (New) Join host Howie Mandel for the exciting new game show where contestants face the choice of a lifetime!
CW: Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa: (Repeat) The Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Muppets deliver an all new one-hour special filled with song and dance, mayhem and heaps of holiday high spirits. On Christmas Eve the Muppets mistakenly avert three letters from making their way to Santa Claus in the North Pole—leaving three Christmas wishes at stake.
ABC: Don’t Trust the B–H in Apartment 23: (New) While James is in Los Angeles, Chloe uses his penthouse for one of her scams; June tries to teach Chloe about honesty; James causes a stir.
FOX: The Mindy Project: (New) Mindy throws a Christmas party at her apartment for her colleagues, who finally get to meet Josh, but no one is more surprised than Mindy when she learns her new boyfriend’s secret.
ABC: Private Practice: (New) As a new woman brings Sheldon happiness, he also becomes more suspicious about a patient’s involvement in Sarah’s disappearance.
CBS: Vegas: (New) When a young Vegas showgirl is attacked and murdered, the Lambs work to track down the killer, realizing early on that there’s something about the case that resonates personally with Katherine.
NBC: Parenthood: (New) The Bravermans rally around Christmastime to get Kristina through a rough patch.
New episodes of:
Storage Wars at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on A&E
Chopper Live: Countdown to the Revenge at 8 p.m. on DSC
Chopper Live: The Revenge at 9 p.m. on DSC
Mankind: The Story of All of Us at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Doomsday Preppers at 9 p.m. on NGC
Dangerous Grounds at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Million Dollar Decorators at 10 p.m. on BRAVO
Chopped at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
Four Houses: Deck the Halls at 10 p.m. on TLC
NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel
For movie lovers:
The Thornbirds on ENC
Guilty as Sin on FLIX
Blow on FMC
Rush Hour on FX
The Magnificent Seven on TCM
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy at 9 p.m. on HBO
The Debt at 9 p.m. on MOMAX
Green Lantern at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Jarhead at 10 p.m. on REELZ
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