The Week in DVR: Once, The Original Maverick, Life on Mars

Monday: Chuck
Gossip Girl is a rerun tonight, so you really have no excuse to let Chuck slip by your DVR. This episode should be especially good, as the intimidating Melinda Clarke (better known as The O.C.‘s Julie Cooper), stops into the Buy More. Ms. Clarke plays a nefarious spy known as The Black Widow whom Chuck (Zachary Levi) must seduce in order to get a vital piece of information. In the previews, he’s shown pathetically trying to warm her up by asking about her favorite bands. Ha! Perhaps we find this more hilarious than you do, only because we’ve done exactly that. [NBC, 8 p.m.]

Tuesday: Top Gun
Remember when Tom Cruise was a lovable mega star, and not quite such a sideshow freak? We do! Top Gun was Mr. Cruise’s first smash hit at the box office and it’s still righteously awesome. The action! The music! The motorcycle! The volleyball! With apologies to John McCain, Mr. Cruise will always be the original Maverick. [HBO Family, 3:20 a.m.]

Wednesday: Once
Once is such a simple and intimate movie that we can hardly believe how powerful it is. Easily one of our favorites from 2007, John Carney’s film about an Irish busker (Glen Hansard) and his vacuum toting soul mate (Marketa Irglova) is perfect. Most great films are lucky to have one moment that actually elicits chills from audience members. Once has two: the first performance of Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly” and the film’s denouement, an act of perfect romantic selflessness. Believe us: Once is that good. [HBO Zone, 12:10 p.m.]

Thursday: Life on Mars
There is entirely too much television to watch on Thursday nights! This week alone brings new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and The Office, the season premiere of CSI and the series premiere of Kath and Kim. Not to mention Weekend Update Thursday, the first primetime Saturday Night Live election special. So with all that to catch live, we’ll happily DVR Life on Mars. Based on the BCC series of the same name, Mars follows a New York City cop (Jason O’Mara) who, after getting hit by a car, time warps back to 1973. The original pilot by David E. Kelley was scrapped and much of the show has been recast, so our hopes aren’t entirely high. Still, any chance we get to see Michael Imperioli, forever Christopher Moltisanti, is one we’ll gladly take. Check out his ridiculous facial hair! We’re sold. [ABC, 10 p.m.]

Friday: The Manchurian Candidate
Dark, bizarre, creepy and incredibly ahead of its time, John Frankenheimer’s signature film is just as good now as it was when we first saw it. Of course, Angela Lansbury steals the show, while Frank Sinatra yeomanly plays his part of the confused hero. However, we’ll take Laurence Harvey over both of them. Mr. Harvey’s Raymond Shaw is … the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being we’ve ever known. [Encore Drama, 7 a.m.]

The Week in DVR: Once, The Original Maverick, Life on Mars