The Week in DVR: Winterbottom’s Claim, 13 Going on 30, and Margaret Cho!

Monday: 13 Going on 30
Though we try to recommend a classic straightaway, this week we’re going with a bubblegum hit. A 13-year-old girl, Jenna, makes a wish on her birthday to bypass adolescence and just be 30, which of course happens. (It’s Big, gone girly!) She wakes up to discover that she’s got an incredible body, a fab job as a magazine editor, a hot boyfriend, and a wardrobe to die for—but she’s also a total bitch. Jennifer Garner manages to be completely charming as a teen soul trapped in—or blessed with—a body toned by years on Alias. (The always yummy Mark Ruffalo co-stars.) Warning: The ending actually offended our feminist self—there’s a white picket fence involved—but the ensemble re-enactment of “Thriller” partway through the movie more than makes up for it. [FX, 8 p.m.]

Tuesday: Fringe
We’ll offer a full review of Fringe tomorrow, but consider this a reminder to set your recorder. In a fairly disappointing season for new TV shows, Fringe stands out as one that at least has some potential. From the fertile mind of J.J. Abrams (Felicity, Alias, Lost), Fringe goes to the edge of science where things cross over into the weird and supernatural. In the pilot episode, an FBI agent (Anna Torv) tracks down the genius son (Dawson’s Creek’s Joshua Jackson) of an institutionalized former Harvard professor (John Noble)—the only person alive that can help her solve a case involving an entire plane full of dead passengers. We won’t tell you more, except that there’s some crazy stuff involving a woman going into a coma in order to read another person’s mind. We’re thrilled to see Mr. Jackson back on the small screen, but also concerned that he may forever be Pacey Witter, even when he’s supposed to be the smartest guy in the room. [Fox, 9 p.m.]

Wednesday: The Claim
We will watch anything by the great Michael Winterbottom (even 9 Songs, which is basically a hipster porno). But The Claim is actually one of our favorites. It’s based on the Thomas Hardy novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, but this is about a prospector (Peter Mullen, in the film) who trades his wife and baby for rights to a coal mine. Twenty years later, his wife and daughter (played by the always wonderful Sarah Polley) turn up in his town, called Kingdom Come, along with a railroad surveyor (Wes Bentley) who’s deciding whether to lay railroad ties nearby. Yes, it’s an Old West movie, but it’s not a western; Kingdom Come’s got a frigid, snowy landscape, and the ladies act like ladies and the men are gentlemen (for the most part). With a budget of $20 million, this was Winterbottom’s biggest budget to date, and it was a commercial flop upon its release in 2000. He followed it up with the huge indie hit 24 Hour Party People. [IFC, 9 p.m.]

Thursday: The Cho Show
We’ve only caught one episode of The Cho Show, which seems to be VH1’s answer to Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, but it seems pretty cute! The reality series follows comedienne Margaret Cho through her everyday business—dealing with her Korean parents (who want her to have a baby so badly that they buy her baby clothes); soothing crazed, sobbing fans (yes, she has them); and managing her career, which seems to be in pretty good shape. In this episode, she endeavors to immerse herself in the world of pop celebrity, and records the requisite pop single and a sex tape. We can’t wait to see what her parents think. [VH1, 11 p.m.]

Friday: Waitress
If you’re in need of a good Friday night cry, try Waitress. The criminally beautiful Keri Russell plays a small town waitress and pie maker who dreams of escape from her nasty husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto) even while she’s pregnant with his child. She stumbles into a passionate affair with her doctor, played by the too-neglected Nathan Fillion (we’re pretty sure this is the first time we’ve seen a pregnant woman having illicit sex on screen), who makes her realize that she isn’t so trapped at all, and opens up a world of possibility for a woman who never thought much of herself. Hal Hartley muse Adrienne Shelley wrote, directed, and co-starred. She was tragically murdered before the film’s release, but her spirit is very much alive in this wistful, charming picture. [HBO-Z, 4p.m., and On Demand]

The Week in DVR: Winterbottom’s Claim, 13 Going on 30, and Margaret Cho!