The Week in DVR: Is Modern Family the Best New Fall Show? (Yes!) Plus, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Sean Penn and the return of Friday Night Lights

pv 06300  dsc5959 ret  The Week in DVR: Is Modern Family the Best New Fall Show? (Yes!) Plus, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Sean Penn and the return of Friday Night Lights

Monday: The Painted Veil

File this under movies not enough people went to see: 2006’s The Painted Veil is a haunting drama, based on the (excellent) W. Somerset Maugham novel. The film stars Edward Norton and Naomi Watts as a British couple in the midst of marital strife, who go to a small Chinese village during a cholera outbreak. We’re pretty sure it’s one of the more ingenious take-revenge-on-your-cheating-wife plots ever; it has insanely gorgeous cinematography; and both of the lead actors turn in fantastic performances. Gosh, we wish Edward Norton worked more (we got to talk to Mr. Norton way back when about making this film, and can report that he’s super smart…like a computer!) [HBO, 12 p.m.]

Tuesday: The Biggest Loser

Some people watch The Biggest Loser for the inspiration (people changing their lives healthily and for the better), others for the contestant drama (that Tracey lady is totes the craziest person we’ve ever seen on this thing) and still more because it makes one feel thin and pretty by comparison (till sometime later in the season when the contestants start weighing within 20lbs instead of 200lbs from you). But for those who still need more convincing, Derek Jeter pops up tonight to lead the fatties (what? They are!) in a baseball challenge. We know, our head just went boom, too. (Though we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention that the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is on ABC tonight. People, this is what the DVR was invented for). [NBC, 8 p.m.]

Wednesday: Modern Family

We know that our own Christopher Rosen doesn’t agree, but we don’t care: Modern Family is the funniest new show on television, and it is fast becoming a consistent bright spot in our weekly television viewing. The good news, for those not yet on board, is that it’s easy to join in. In the show, three different families make up one big complicated one, and it is sharply written with great actors. Al Bundy/Ed O’Neill stars! Here’s a clip from last week for everyone to enjoy. [ABC, 9 p.m.]

Thursday: Milk

 

There was an awful lot of hype this time last year for the movie Milk. It had all these big stars (Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Alison Pill) and maybe one of the best trailers we’ve ever seen, and you know what? It holds up! HBO started running this movie last weekend, and it’s worth watching again for the snappy Oscar-winning screenplay by Dustin Lance Black, the excellently understated performance by Mr. Brolin and the man who took home the best actor award, Sean Penn (who basically admitted during his Oscar acceptance speech that he’s kind of a jerk!) [HBO, 4:15 a.m.]

Friday:  Friday Night Lights

We bet you’re wishing you had Direct TV now….for those lucky ducks who have no problem putting something on their roof that allows them to get stuff from outer space, Friday Night Lights season four premieres. This is the little-show-that-could, perhaps one of the very best that is somehow always in danger of being cancelled. Don’t let it! Tonight’s season opener will be directed by executive producer Peter Berg (who hasn’t been behind the camera since the show’s pilot in 2006), and it sure is going to get interesting fast out there in Texas, with Coach Taylor coaching the East Dillon Lions (ack!) and hottest-mom-ever Tami Taylor still working as the principal of West Dillon High. Who gets to keep the “clear eyes full hearts can’t lose” manta? And where is Tim Riggins!? For all us fans without Direct TV, we’ll just have to wait and see this one in 2010. Sigh. [DirectTV, 9 p.m.]