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TV Junkie: 2 Extremes - 'True Blood' & 'The Marriage Ref' Return on Sunday

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"True Blood" returns to HBO this Sunday at 9pm and nothing I could write could possibly affect the hype machine that has been running non-stop since last season ended. The show has enjoyed unparalleled attention with several stories a week, cast members on magazine covers, comic book launchings, a night at PaleyFest2011, and a continuous stream of sneak peaks from HBO over the past 6 months. Are they doing all the right things? Yes, of course, they're doing what you have to do to keep a show popular and on the air without having to co-brand bags of Cheetos. The problem is that this show about vampires, werewolves, faeries, and witches set in the South is not Shakespeare, it's more of a cartoon, and a very fun one at that, but it may have a hard time living up to all this noise. I'll be glued to the TV for every episode but I'll be keeping it in perspective. Sunday's opening episode is very rocky, a fact that will have to be admitted by even the most fervent fan, but I'm here to tell you that "True Blood" gets its sea legs back fairly quickly, and that it will get better, jut stick with it. We scored a bottle of True Blood and we'll be making cocktails this Sunday and every Sunday over the Summer.
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I have a duty to offer an alternative to the Sunday "True Blood" machine if you don't care for that kind of thing. If the comedy of "The Marriage Ref" (NBC @ 10pm on Sunday) isn't enough for you (see our interview with host Tom Papa, above), may we suggest a live act for you to check out? "Up Late with Adam Fisher" is a live talk show in the late night format with a monologue, two comedy pieces, two guest interviews, and musical guest, with the twist being that all the comedy is written on-the-spot based on audience suggestions gathered at the beginning of the show. Past shows have included guests like "Reno 911!"'s Ben Garant (see video below), Jonathan Mangum of "Drew Carey's Improv-a-ganza", and more. "Up Late with Adam Fisher" happens every Sunday night at the National Comedy Theater (733 Seward, Los Angeles) at 10pm and this weekend they'll have "MAD TV" writer/performer Ryan Smith and Derek Mears from Friday the 13th, Pirates of the Caribbean and Wild Wild West - check it out!
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Rest In Peace: Peter Falk. When I was a kid in the late '70s/early '80s, for some reason when I came home there would always be "Columbo" on TV if I didn't want to watch a "Thundercats" rerun for the 50th time, so I grew up watching Peter Falk work in a character-based detective series that had legs compared to the more action-based ones. Add his participation in films that ranged from Husbands, to The Princess Bride, to Wings of Desire, and you realized he was an actor that brought a lot to the table. I know he was ailing for the last few years from Alzheimer's so perhaps his death provided some relief, but at least we have all these movies and great TV shows to remember him with.
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The TV Junkie Must-Watch Plan: Tonight - "Real Time With Bill Maher," "The Soup," "Fashion Police," "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (Journalist Bob Costas; actress Raven-Symone; Archers Of Loaf performs). Saturday - "CHAOS." Sunday - "True Blood," "The Marriage Ref" (Ricky Gervais, Julianne Moore and Jerry Seinfeld)

Tonight

8:00pm Real Time With Bill Maher HBO - Journalist David Carr; political strategist Susan Del Percio; journalist Michael Smerconish; journalist Richard Engel; filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi

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9:00pm Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution ABC - A meeting with the district's incoming superintendent gives Jamie hope

10:00pm The Soup E! - Joel McHale & Co. have a great one lined up for this week

10:30pm Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings IFC - Series Premiere.

10:30pm Fashion Police E! - Joan Rivers effing rips celebs a new one

11:35pm The Tonight Show With Jay Leno NBC - Actor David Spade; TV host Tom Papa; Plain White T's perform.

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12:35am The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson CBS - Actor Morgan Freeman; TV personality Carson Kressley.

12:35am Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC - Journalist Bob Costas; actress Raven-Symone; Archers Of Loaf performs.

Saturday

8:00pm CHAOS CBS - The agents make a surprising discovery when they travel abroad after a U.S. ally is assassinated.

9:00pm Swamp Shark Syfy - Made for TV - A monstrous, mutated shark wreaks havoc on the Mississippi River.

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9:00pm CHAOS CBS - The CIA turns to a legendary former agent (Bruce Boxleitner) for help when it discovers a private security contractor's plan to put moles in U.S. embassies.

Sunday

9:00pm True Blood HBO - Season Premiere. She's Not There Sookie journeys away from Bon Temps; Eric and Bill try to charm the human public; Tara finds refuge; Sam bonds with his own; Hoyt and Jessica debate; Jesus urges Lafayette to join a coven; Terry attempts to alleviate Arlene's fears.

9:00pm Leverage TNT - The team must recover lost evidence from a mountain while battling hired guns and bad weather.

9:00pm Law & Order: Criminal Intent USA - To the Boy in the Blue Knit Cap

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9:00pm Food Network Star Food - Cougar Town and Paula Deen A Kellogg's product to create hors d'oeuvres for a surprise guest; cast and crew of hit show ``Cougar Town.''

10:00pm The Marriage Ref NBC - A woman is frustrated with her husband's obsession with growing giant pumpkins; a man questions the length of his mother-in-law's visits; celebrity panelists Ricky Gervais, Julianne Moore and Jerry Seinfeld.

10:00pm Treme HBO - The community mourns; Toni seeks Colson's help; Sonny is smitten; Janette earns a new nickname; Sofia faces temptation; Delmond and Albert head south to work on their record.

10:00pm In Plain Sight USA - Kumar vs. Kumar Mary must mediate a WITSEC divorce.

10:00pm Falling Skies TNT - Tom encounters an alien skitter during a rescue mission; a doctor may have a way to save harnessed children.