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Weekend TV: The Super Bowl, plus a few alternatives

The Finder

Saturday, Fox, 9 p.m.

If you missed the recent start of this new, fun series, a spinoff from Bones (but only sort of), this is the pilot episode. Created by Canadian Hart Hanson, the Bones show-runner, it's funky, old-fashioned TV. We meet Iraq veteran Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), a guy whose damaged mind has something called "Finder Power" – the ability to locate people and things by obsessively following small clues. Or something. In the pilot he recovers a guitar stolen from John Fogerty, and Fogerty appears and plays briefly. And he helps a teenage boy locate his missing father, a military pilot who vanished. The setting is the Florida Keys, which adds to the goofy, strung-out ambience. Sidekicks for Sherman include a U.S. Marshal (Mercedes Masöhn) who hates but really loves him. It's that kind of show.

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Puppy Bowl VIII

Sunday, Animal Planet, 6 p.m.

Now as much an institution as, and often more memorable than, the other Bowl on Sunday, this is cuteness epitomized. What is it? A two-hour show consisting of puppies gamboling aimlessly on a fake football field, that's what. The show began as a jokingly feeble attempt to counterprogram against the Super Bowl, some years ago, but quickly became startlingly popular. Last year, more that nine million viewers in the U.S. caught it. That's only 10 per cent of the Super Bowl audience. But still huge for the channel. The commentary, which mocks all the hoopla about NFL football, is priceless.

Super Bowl XLVI

Sunday, NBC, CTV, 6 p.m. ET

Right, then – it's New York Giants vs. New England Patriots. Will Tom Brady win his fourth Super Bowl ring? It matters little to many people watching. The ritual of the long, long, game-day coverage, the socializing and the food matter more. What will be talked about later is Kelly Clarkson singing The Star-Spangled Banner with the Indianapolis Children's Choir and Madonna performing at halftime. The latter performing annoyingly, probably. "I have to say that over 25 years of performing, I've never worked so hard or been so scrupulous or detail-oriented," she said the other day, saying the right things. And then there are the commercials and people in Canada complaining that they can't see the hot commercials. That's part of the ritual too.

The Voice

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Sunday, NBC, Global, 10 p.m.

NBC kicks off the second season of The Voice by giving it the plum, post-Super Bowl slot. The show, yet another singing competition, did surprisingly well last year and NBC wants it to be as big as American Idol. Here comes the next great warbler. And, you know, it really is all about the voice – the judge can't see who is singing! Viewers can see and indeed can also see what wacky outfit is worn by judge Christina Aguilera. Which is distracting. And if you are utterly unmoved by Super Bowl programs of any kind, take note that Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.) continues along merrily, with Mary – oh, swoon! – and Sir Richard going shopping for a new country estate.

Check local listings.

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