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This week: 'Skin Wars' amazes; 'Partners' disappoints

Sometimes the week's preview is about warnings, and that's the case this week, which is heavy on reality.

1. "Partners," 9 p.m. Monday, FX

Sad to say, the channel of “Louie” has gone kerflooey. FX steps backward with the musty, mushy “Partners,” debuting with back-to-back episodes. The sitcom presents Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence as an odd couple of lawyers.

Allen Braddock (Grammer) is so pretentious and ethically challenged that his father fired him from a tony Chicago firm. Marcus Jackson (Lawrence) is ethical and so generous that he’s letting his wife take him in a divorce settlement. Allen steps in to help, and it’s the beginning of a not-so-beautiful friendship.

No actor does pompous better than Grammer, who remains crisply sarcastic. Lawrence plays self-pity with amusing conviction and hilarious facial contortions. Their bickering has promise, but the crude, corny writing fails them. In the second episode, the lawyers stage a fake gay wedding. The results are disastrous. Through it all, the loud laugh track remains obnoxious, a reminder that “Partners” is no “Frasier” at earning guffaws. 

2. "Bachelor in Paradise," 8 p.m. Monday, ABC

"Running Wild With Bear Grylls," 8 p.m. Monday, NBC

Viewers suffering "Bachelorette" withdrawal can turn to "Bachelor in Paradise," which brings back veterans of the franchise for more romantic tests, this time in Tulum, Mexico. Despite that backdrop, "Bachelor in Paradise" seems a tired extension of a familiar franchise. If you prefer challenges that are more physically demanding, Bear Grylls sees what Ben Stiller can do on "Running Wild." 

3. Summer Under the Stars, this week, TCM

Turner Classic Movies continues it 24-hour salutes to memorable film figures. The lineup: Judy Garland on Monday, Barbara Stanwyck on Tuesday, Paul Muni on Wednesday, James Stewart on Thursday and Jeanne Moreau on Friday. The Muni tribute on Wednesday spotlights two classics: "I Am a Fugitive From the Chain Gang" at 8 p.m. and the original "Scarface" at 9:30 p.m.

4. "America's Got Talent," 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, NBC

"Big Brother," 8 p.m. Wednesday, 9 p.m. Thursday, CBS

Two of the summer's most successful reality series roll on. The live performances at Radio City Musical Hall continue at 9 p.m. Tuesday on "America's Got Talent," a show that sits atop the ratings. The results will be announced at 9 p.m. Wednesday. "Big Brother" keeps pulling in young adults, an achievement in summer.

5. "Skin Wars," 9 p.m. Wednesday, GSN

The format may remind you of "Face Off," but the art is something fresh and new in this body-painting contest. If you like to watch local people compete, there's Shannon Holt, a well-known Orlando artist. Her work in the premiere is mighty impressive.

6. "Top Chef Duels," 10 p.m. Wednesday, Bravo

"Top Chef" fans will want to sample this addition to the successful franchise that brings back 18 standout contestants. Curtis Stone hosts, and the judges are Wolfgang Puck, Gail Simmons and Hugh Acheson. The celebrities popping in this season include Shailene Woodley, P!nk and Andy Samberg.

7. "The Knick," 10 p.m. Friday, Cinemax

Steven Soderbergh directs this flashy drama about a brilliant, troubled surgeon, Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen), in 1900 New York. Thackery may remind you of Dr. House, but Thackery is crueler and nastier, and  Owen plows ahead fearlessly.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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