Week in DVR: Our Favorite Show, Kidman Kids, Duff Grows Up

Monday: Chuck
We’re not exactly sure when it happened, but sometime during the last four months, Chuck became our favorite show on television. Maybe it’s because of the brilliant cast, which seems to have chemistry on top of their chemistry; or perhaps it’s the fact that we find it impossible to watch Chuck without feeling warm inside when it’s over. Whatever the reason, we’re in love. Which makes us all the sadder that tonight brings the season, and possibly series, finale. The bottom line is that Chuck simply doesn’t have enough viewers to survive on Monday nights (the show gets around 6 million per week). It’ll be interesting to see how NBC handles this—they’ve saved fledgling shows before (The Office and Friday Night Lights), so perhaps they’ll keep Chuck around for season three. Fans have been encouraged to send Nerds (the candy, not the social group) to NBC, and/or buy Subway sandwiches today to show their support. Guess we’ll be having a $5 Footlong for lunch. Do us a favor and have one too. [NBC, 8 p.m.]

Tuesday: Law & Order: SVU
Meanwhile, even NBC’s biggest successes are causing the network grief. Earlier this month, Entertainment Weekly‘s Michael Ausiello reported that Law & Order: SVU stars Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay might not return to the show next season because they’ve priced themselves out of NBC’s budget. Thankfully the two charismatic and no-nonsense actors are still around to finish up this season, the series’ eleventh. In this “ripped from the headlines” sweeps episode, Hilary Duff guest stars as a mother accused of killing her daughter (think: the Caylee Anthony case). Three cheers for Ms. Duff, who has successfully navigated her way from tween starlet to believable twenty-something actress. Miley Cyrus should take notes. [NBC, 10 p.m.]

Wednesday: To Die For
The other night we stumbled upon The Invasion, the ill-begotten revamp of Invasion of the Body Snatchers that Nicole Kidman fronted two summers ago, and it got us thinking: remember when Ms. Kidman had a sense of humor? For our money, she was never better than her funny/deranged performance in To Die For. One of Gus Van Sant’s more mainstream directorial efforts, To Die For allows Ms. Kidman to play off her beauty (and her crazy eyes) to give a star turn that tows the line between camp and satire absolutely perfectly. Forget all those weepy period pieces! It’s time for some intrepid director to once again let Ms. Kidman loose in a dark comedy. [Encore Mystery, 6:10 p.m.]

Thursday: Southland Tales
At just under two-and-a-half hours, Southland Tales is an interminable watch. Still, there are some gems to behold in Richard Kelly’s confounding follow-up to Donnie Darko—Dwayne Johnson kinda crushes as the tattooed hero, while Justin Timberlake, under a mountain of disfiguring makeup and lip syncing to The Killers, is inspired. But the main reason to watch Southland Tales is so that if you ever bump into New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis on the street, you can ask her what she was thinking when she gave this thing such a rave review. [Starz Cinema, 12 a.m.]

Friday: X-Men
You could go out and spend $12 bucks on X-Men Origins: Wolverine on Friday—or illegally download the workprint right now—but we think you’d be best served by staying home and revisiting the first film in the series. Released in 2000, before it was commonplace to see comic book superheroes ruling the summer months, X-Men now feels almost quaint compared to the spectacles that these films have become. Give director Bryan Singer the credit: he infused X-Men with just enough pathos, subtext and reality—the mutants are treated like second-class citizens simply because they’re different from the majority—to allow for it to rise above the silliness of watching men-in-tights. [Outer Max, 6:15 p.m.]

Week in DVR: Our Favorite Show, Kidman Kids, Duff Grows Up