Fallen (Friday-Sunday, 7 p.m., ABC Family) is about a teenager who discovers he's half-human, half-angel. And not just any half-human half-angel--the Chosen One who will send fallen angels back to heaven. In the three-part series, Aaron (Paul Wesley) deals with normal teenage desires while struggling to come to terms with his new celestial role. Hey, we've all got our problems.
Fallen succumbs to the common pitfalls of an angel-on-earth drama. Aaron encounters a series of ho-hum wonders, including good angels, bad angels, a talking dog and a guardian with an outrageously deep voice. (Now we know who sings bass in the heavenly choir.) And you can bet there's a professor with an Old World accent who schools Aaron in angelic mythology from Paradise Lost.
But as corny as it is, Fallen holds your interest. Aaron seems a lot like us, despite his penchant for stopping time. And the plot keeps you guessing.
It also doesn't hurt that the good angels are gorgeous. To be honest, I wouldn't kick the bad ones out of bed, either.
Saturday, 7 pm (BBC America)
Nobody can adapt a British tale like the British. This TV movie outdoes previous versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, setting Robert Louis Stevenson's horror story in the present. No magic potion this time - Dr. Jackman (James Nesbitt) occasionally finds his personality changing for reasons he can't explain. I can relate to that.
Of course, viewers may have a hard time relating to this particular personality change. Jackman transforms into Mr. Hyde (Nesbitt again), a growling creature obsessed with sex and murder. Still, the story will pique the interest of anyone who's ever struggled with a healthy id. The contemporary setting is ingenious, with Jackman and Hyde communicating via Dictaphone. Their modern messaging can lead to horrifying moments, as when Jackman learns that the diabolical Hyde has paid a visit to his - their - wife and kids. It can also lead to humorous moments, as when Jackman mutters into his Dictaphone, "Just bloody once could you tell me where you parked?"
Part of me thinks the Hyde scenes are a bit silly, with their strenuous attempt to portray evil. But the other part of me...well, to be honest, it feels a bit creepy to think about the other part of me right now.
Sunday, 7 pm (TNT)
This three-part series ("an epic television event," TNT says hopefully) portrays the CIA vs. the KGB during the Cold War. The U.S. spies (Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina, Michael Keaton) try to outwit their Soviet counterparts in an elaborate game of crosses and double-crosses. In the opening scene, our guys collect intelligence from an Eastern Bloc agent who wants to defect. But is the agent just setting them up? "My nose always twitches when I sense a phony," says a U.S. spy.
This is juicy material, but the filmmakers don't have the skill (or perhaps the budget) to do it justice. The stagy lighting, cheap-looking sets and shaky Russian accents let us know we're in Cheesy TV-Movie Land. Occasionally, the spy-vs.-spy machinations grind to a halt so two Soviets can enact a perfunctory love story.
"Every time you call me on zee telephone," she says, "my heart races."
"Every time I leave you," he replies, "part of my soul stays in your possession."
My nose is twitching.
Power of 10
Tuesday, 7 pm (CBS)
Drew Carey hosts this new game show, in which contestants try to predict the public's response to poll questions. "How many Americans believe they're smarter than George Bush?" "What percentage of Americans said they were virgins the day they got married?" Anybody who correctly answers five of these in a row will win $10 million.
Here's another possible poll question: "How many Americans think Power of 10 will last until September?"
Tuesday, 9 pm (Bravo)
Bravo's new reality series plunges us into the world of an L.A. house-flipper named Jeff Lewis. We watch him juggle mortgages, rehab interiors and finesse appraisals. "I paid $2,290,000 for the property, but I think I could get as much as $4.5 million for it," he says.
It's potentially deadly subject matter (don't most people watch TV to escape thoughts of mortgages?), but luckily, Lewis is crazy. He's an obsessive-compulsive type who stipulates the exact proportions of lemonade (70%), punch (20%) and Sprite (10%) in his drinks. He hires an assistant to put sunscreen on his dogs' noses and another to make sure that every bottle in the fridge has its label facing outward. He contracts with a medium to put him in touch with spirit guides, who pass on ghostly business advice. (Apparently, the Wall Street Journal offers delivery service to the Other Side.)
"We're selling a lifestyle here," Lewis says of his house-flipping empire. "You either live like me or you want to live like me."
I, for one, don't want to live like him. I prefer only 5% Sprite in my drinks.