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A select viewing guide for Monday, Sept. 3
REALITY: Hotel Hell (Fox, Global, 8 p.m.) The remarkable summer of Gordon Ramsay is almost over. The bombastic British chef has been the most-watched man on American television in recent months with two summer TV perennials (Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef) and this new arrival, which wraps tonight but is destined to return in the future. In the vein of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, the show’s format features the mad chef and a team of hospitality experts performing rescue missions at foundering hotels. In tonight’s two-hour finale, Ramsay checks into the River Rock Inn in Milford, Pa., where he immediately flips out upon finding stains on a bedspread. Next stop: Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, where the owner of The Roosevelt Hotel is more concerned with dressing like Sherlock Holmes for the murder-mystery nights than removing the musty smell from the lobby.
DRAMA: Coma (A&E, 9 p.m.) Although based on the same novel by Robin Cook, this four-hour miniseries bears little resemblance to the 1978 feature of the same name. The new version was one of the final projects of the recently deceased director Tony Scott, who co-executive produced with his more famous director brother, Ridley. In this version, former Six Feet Under regular Lauren Ambrose plays the young medical resident Susan, who is shocked when her best friend is pronounced brain dead following routine surgery. Susan’s sleuthing reveals that a substantial number of other young people have met a similar fate and that all the comatose bodies were moved to a secret facility. Richard Dreyfuss, Geena Davis, Ellen Burstyn and James Woods play doctors embroiled in the mystery.
(Bob Mahoney/A & E Network)
DRAMA: The West Wing (CTS, 9 p.m. (Eastern Canada only)) Nostalgic for the days of idealistic TV drama? Originally broadcast from 1999 to 2006, this earnest NBC series created by Aaron Sorkin was Hollywood’s response to George Bush in the White House. In this fictional administration, the commander-in-chief was the kindhearted American president Josiah Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen, who was surrounded by like-minded Democrats all trying to do the right thing. In tonight’s original series pilot, Bartlett’s chief of staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) gets into trouble after criticizing a Christian commentator on live television, while deputy communications director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) gets caught with a call girl. If only U.S. politics were really this exciting.
DRAMA: White Collar (Bravo!, 10 p.m.) Quirky and well-written, this drama from the USA Network makes the most of its odd-couple setup. Buttoned-down FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) enlists the assistance of creative con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) to catch bad guys. Most episodes in the series involve a clever red-herring twist with occasional comic support coming from TV veteran Diahann Carroll as Neal’s inquisitive landlady. In tonight’s new episode, the arrest of the son of an American diplomat threatens to become an international incident, unless Neal and Peter can sort out a recent imbroglio at the Burmese embassy.
MOVIE: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Vision, midnight) One of the early breakout efforts of a nascent Canadian film industry, this 1974 adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s best-known novel is crude but endearing. The coming-of-age story casts a pre-Jaws Richard Dreyfuss as the titular Duddy, a young Montrealer with no money but lofty ambitions. Duddy’s climb toward financial independence begins with a summer waiter job at a Jewish resort hotel, where he launches a gambling scheme and romances the lovely Yvette (Micheline Lanctot). Against the backdrop of the majestic Laurentian Mountains, Duddy has his epiphany: “A man without land is nobody.” Veteran character player Jack Warden shines as Duddy’s gruff cab-driver father.