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TV’s best bets: ‘Jezebel James’ opens strong

Fri., March 14, 2008

Tonight’s must-see

The Return of Jezebel James” debut, 8 and 8:30 p.m., Fox.

Like most central characters on TV, Sarah (Parker Posey) is great at her work and clumsy at life. She’s a successful book editor. Her longtime boyfriend has left; her apartment and life are empty.

Now she’s learned that she can’t give birth. She turns the job over to her sister Coco (Lauren Ambrose), a drifter and rock groupie.

A classic comedy of opposites is done by skilled hands. The creator is Amy Sherman-Palladino, who wrote zesty dialog for “Gilmore Girls.” Posey has long been a superstar of the independent-film world; Ambrose co-starred in “Six Feet Under.” This mid-season show crackles with sharp, verbal humor.

We can’t vouch for the second episode, which brings in Oscar-winner Dianne Wiest and actor-turned-novelist Ron McCarty as the parents of Sarah and Coco. The opener, however, is a great start.

Tonight’s must-see II

“Grey’s Anatomy,” 8 p.m., ABC.

This reruns the episode that actor T.R. Knight should be offering at Emmy time. A great character is at his best.

George O’Malley tends to be shy and hesitant. Now he’s the go-between for two strong characters: Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is tied up in surgery; her husband is waiting semi-patiently outside.

George must handle the shuttle diplomacy for a fragile marriage; Knight does this beautifully. And a late scene with Bailey’s patient offers the flip side of a quietly diligent soul.

Other choices include

“College Hill,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., BET. Here’s the opening of a season that puts several students together in Atlanta. As things start, the guys seem terribly interested in sex; the women have their doubts.

Basketball, 8 p.m., ESPN and ESPN2. The busy time for college fans is starting now, with both channels offering a conference-tournament doubleheader. It’s the Big East on ESPN, the Atlantic Coast Conference on ESPN2.

“Glory Road” (2006), 8 p.m., TNT. Instead of watching a current game, this is a good night to relive a classic one. This peaks with a first – the 1966 NCAA championship game between obscure Texas Western, with an all-black starting line-up, and powerful Kentucky, which was all-white. John Lucas plays Western coach Don Haskins; Jon Voight plays legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp.

“Ghost Whisperer,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Melinda meets a young girl who seems to have the same abilities she has.

“Dateline” (NBC) and “20/20” (ABC), 9-11 p.m. With the networks still getting their post-strike episodes ready, both news magazines expand. We might count that as one of the benefits – there haven’t been many.

“Hustle & Flow” (2005), 9 p.m., BET. Terrence Howard plays a pimp who tries to go legit, as a rapper. The film drew praise, plus an Oscar for the song “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp” and a nomination for Howard.


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