Top TV picks Sept. 16-20

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 4:21 PM

Kelly Macdonald and Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire."

Photo: Macall B. Polay, HBO

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"Breaking Bad" deserves mad props for its unpredictable nature, but so does its fellow Emmy nominee "Boardwalk Empire" (8 p.m., HBO), which returns for a third season after killing off one of its main characters in a brutal fashion that would make Walter White proud.


Zooey Deschanel gets the lion's share of media attention, but let's not overlook sister Emily Deschanel's solid work on "Bones" (7 p.m., KMSP, Ch. 9), which returns for an eighth season. It's three months after Deschanel's character, Brennan, ditched David Boreanaz's Booth to protect their daughter.


"Face Off," the reality competition series about makeup artists, was such a hit that the producers have come up with "Hot Set" (9 p.m., Syfy), in which set designers take on challenges. First up: creating an alien landscape with just three days and $15,000.


"Survivor: Philippines" (7 p.m., WCCO, Ch. 4), the 25th edition of the reality series, would have been peachy keen if producers had convinced the entire cast of "Facts of Life" to compete. (My money would have been on Cloris Leachman.) Instead, they were able to coax only Lisa "Blair" Whelchel, who will face off against former MVP baseball star Jeff Kent, two beauty pageant winners -- and the evil-hearted Russell Swan.


The departure of MVP Kristen Wiig isn't the only headache "Saturday Night Live" is facing. It needs to do political comedy with a field of fairly pedestrian (so far) figures. "SNL Primetime Election Special" (7 p.m., KARE, Ch. 11) will show us just what the team has come up with. Even more promising is the season premiere of "Parks & Recreation" (8:31 p.m., KARE, Ch. 11), in which John McCain and other senators make cameos.


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