Oh baby! 'Parenthood,' 'In Plain Sight,' and other important TV things I need to tell you

laurengraham_gilmoregirls_s7_240.jpgYou know how on TV shows when a child is about to go off to college, the parent grabs them and tries to impart all the knowledge they possibly can in their remaining minutes together? That's kind of how I feel about today's column. I'm trying to remember everything I want to tell you before I head off on my maternity leave.

So here it goes:

I'm surprised by how much I've liked Ellen so far as a judge on "American Idol."  I knew she would be funny but I'm really enjoying her constructive criticism. I'm also declaring my early favorites to be Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens and Ashley Rodriguez.

We haven't seen nearly enough of Dana Delaney this season on "Desperate Housewives" but she'll be appearing on a two-part episode of "Castle" on March 21 and 22. She'll play Federal Agent Jordan Shaw and this, of course, reunites her with Nathan Fillion, who played her husband on "Desperate Housewives."

I still HATE "Accidentally on Purpose."

You need to watch the new episodes of "Southland" which begin on TNT on March 2. I'm sworn to secrecy about what happens but I can tell you it's an excellent second season premiere.

I've decided I'm rooting for Anthony to win "Project Runway." He always had the best personality of this year's contestants and now I'm starting to really like his designs.

Mark your calendar and don't forget that "10 Things I Hate About You" is back with new episodes on ABC Family on March 29. "Glee" is back on FOX on April 13 and "Friday Night Lights" begins its run on NBC on April 30.

I think we should all tune into "FlashForward" and "V" when they return on March 18 and March 30 respectively. I agree that "FlashForward" has been flawed in its execution but I still like the premise and that the series is trying to do something very different. Come on, let's give these shows a chance.

Maybe it's because I'm partial to Tyler Labine (and he seems to be one of those actors people either love or hate), but I thought the new FOX comedy "Sons of Tucson," premiering March 14 at 9:30 p.m. was really funny.

Some of my favorite actors star including Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Mae Whitman, and Sam Jaeger star in the new NBC series "Parenthood," which premieres Tuesday, March 2 at 10 p.m. There's a lot to like about this drama based on the 1989 movie. Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson are the parents of the extended and close knit Braverman clan. I was most concerned that I would have trouble seeing Graham as a new character since Lorelai Gilmore was such a definitive TV character. But Graham does a nice job of leaving Stars Hollow behind (it helps that her character Sarah talks a lot slower) and after a few minutes I was able to totally believe her as the struggling mother of two teenagers. I also really liked Krause's character Adam. Adam and his wife Kristina (Monica Potter) are trying to be the best parents possible but, in the pilot, they realize some things are beyond their control. The remaining siblings' storylines are a bit weaker and cliched. Erika Christensen is the powerful attorney who has trouble balancing motherhood with her work life. And so far Dax Shepard is the stereotypical cad who is so afraid of commitment that he tells his girlfriend he'll have a baby with her in three years and then immediately tries to get out of his "quasi-engagement." But I see a lot of "Brothers & Sisters" type potential in this show. As you know, I think family dramas are the most difficult to execute. With no crime to solve, patient to save, or case to litigate, the viewer really has to believe in the family. I think the Bravermans will become a family I can believe in but for now three and a half out of five stars.

Ask TV Gal

Any word on In Plain Sight? Eileen

Very timely question Eileen! I just learned that "In Plain Sight" returns with new episodes on March 31 and in the season opener, Mary (Mary McCormack) and Marshall (Fred Weller) will be on the hunt for the person who almost killed Mary in last season's finale. I'm so excited the show will be back soon.

I wanted to know if you have any information on FlashForward, Flashpoint, Three Rivers, Stargate Universe, and Eureka. I wanted to know if they are returning and when. Barry

As I mentioned above, "FlashForward" is back Thursday, March 18. CBS has ordered more episodes of "Flashpoint" so the show will be back but there's no premiere date yet. "Three Rivers" has been cancelled but Alex O'Loughlin has been cast in the remake of "Hawaii Five-O" so we may be seeing him on CBS again in the fall. "Eureka" will be back for a fourth season but Syfy hasn't announced an air date yet. "Stargate Universe" will also be back for a second season but not until Fall 2010.

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Robin recognized Mark Espinoza as the head of the pharmacy on "House." He's best known as Andrea's husband Jesse on "Beverly Hills, 90210."

Sonja Sohn was the wife who came home to find her babysitter murdered on "The Good Wife." We saw her as Trish last season of "Brothers & Sisters," the woman who gave her baby up for adoption to Robert and Kitty. She was also Kima on "The Wire" and Toni on "Cold Case." I was so happy to see James McDaniel as the detective on the case on "The Good Wife." He was Lieutenant Arthur Fancy on "NYPD Blue."

Michelle recognized Clare Carey as Janet on "CSI: Miami." Carey was Mary on "Jericho" and Sarah on "Point Pleasant." But like me, Michelle always remembers Carey as Coach's daugher Kelly on "Coach".

Paul Ben-Victor was the music executive on "The Mentalist." He currently plays Stan on "In Plain Sight" and was also the Coach on "Everybody Hates Chris." Kevin Rahm was the car salesman who had committed murder. He currently plays Lee on "Desperate Housewives" and he played Amy's cousin Kyle on "Judging Amy." Currie Graham was the rich man fascinated by Jane's skills. Among his many TV roles, he was Nick on "Raising the Bar," Lynette's boss Ed on "Desperate Housewives," Lt. Thomas Bale on "NYPD Blue," and Nate on "Suddenly Susan."

I think somehow I've forgotten to tell you that Sean Faris who is currently playing Ben on "Vampire Diaries" was Dino on "life as we know it" and Craig on "Reunion." James Remar was Damien and Stefan's dad on "Vampire Diaries." Remar is Harry on "Dexter" and I always think of him as Samantha's boyfriend Richard on "Sex and the City." Bianca Lawson was Emily. She was Shawna last season on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," Nikki on "Dawson's Creek" and Kendra on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Kelly Hu was Katherine's friend Pearl. We saw Hu on "Army Wives" as Jordana, the officer who was interested in Frank.

Diane recognized Jeff Kober who made an uncredited appearance as the mechanic who helped Kate get her handcuffs off on "Lost." Kober was Jacob on "Sons of Anarchy" and Dodger on "China Beach." But many of us remember him as Rack on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." And it was so fun to see Rob McElhenney, Mac on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," back as Aldo on "Lost" - even if he didn't stay around for long.

Ryan recognized William B. Davis as Whitey on "Human Target." Davis was The Cigarette Smoking man on "The X-Files."

Suzy Nakamura was the mom of Brick's friend on "The Middle." Nakamura is Principal Holland on "10 Things I Hate About You" and we recently saw her on "Private Practice" as the pregnant woman who delivered her baby early so her dying husband could meet their daughter.

We all recognized Ray Wise, the Devil on "Reaper" and Leland Palmer on "Twin Peaks," as the sports agent who ended up being the murderer on "Castle." I have to say I thought his character did it from the moment he stepped on the screen - I guess that's a side effect of playing the devil. Chandra West was the wife of the murdered baseball player. She was Dr. Jennifer Devlin on "NYPD Blue" and Gail, the girlfriend of Naomi's mother on "90210."

Megan Henning was the pregnant woman who tried to commit suicide on "Private Practice." She was Meredith on "7th Heaven" and Betty's sister-in-law Judy on "Mad Men."

Brian George was the waiter in love with the woman who had been coming to his restaurant for 15 years on "Grey's Anatomy." He was Babu on "Seinfeld" and Dr. V. M. Koothrappali on "The Big Bang Theory." Pamela Reed was the woman who the waiter loved .She's Leslie's mom Marlene on "Parks & Recreation" and was Gail on "Jericho." 

Quotes of the Week

"It's something called 'The Naked Man.' I read about it on some guy's blog." Don to Robin after he greets her with no clothes on "How I Met Your Mother."

"Hi." Peter to Alicia upon coming home from prison on "The Good Wife."

"You're not a zombie, right." Hurley to Sayid on "Lost."

"This is so much better than cheesy garlic bread." Phil to Claire when she tells him she's naked under her coat on "Modern Family." The couple usually went to their favorite Italian restaurant for Valentine's Day.

"It's a wonder you guys got any work done." Jackson to Lexie after recapping all the romantic couples on "Grey's Anatomy."

Well that's all for awhile. Thank you again for all your well wishes. I will definitely post an announcement once the baby makes his or her grand premiere - it's my own personal February sweeps event! I hope you have a wonderful couple of months. Definitely still feel free to write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com and follow me on Twitter. Also, as I mentioned before, while I'm gone, my old columns will remain up so you can continue to talk amongst yourselves. I look forward to talking TV with you again in June.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal