The Week in DVR

%name The Week in DVR Wednesday, Jan. 13:

The Human Spark

Oh, Alan Alda, what can’t you do? Mr. Alda (a man that, through an entirely un-scientifically conducted poll, we’ve concluded reminds most people of their dad) hosts the three-part PBS series devoted to what makes humans unique. Tonight’s installment, “So Human, So Chimp,” is devoted to—you guessed it!—chimpanzees! But don’t get your hopes up for giant diapers, bicycles and funny hats: This is PBS, and Mr. Alda will examine just how closely chimps resemble we the people, through concepts of empathy, tools and language. This involves a field trip to a small Caribbean island, where Yale University’s Laurie Santos is “studying rhesus monkeys’ ability to steal grapes … and read minds.” Um, say what, now?  Monkeys … just a little less scary than robots. [PBS, 8 p.m.]

Thursday, Jan. 14:

Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice 

Hey, remember when Grey’s Anatomy was airing new episodes? Us neither! But tonight, the soapy favorite one can’t help but still watch returns for a big ol’ crossover “special event” with spin-off Private Practice. What does this mean? Addison is back in Seattle! And, judging by the previews, people are running around the halls while doctors yell things like “shut it down!” Exciting! It’s also nice to see that McSteamy (Eric Dane) is going to get a little extra screen time (two whole hours’ worth), even it means
he has to hook up with the female staffs of both shows (read: McSlut). [ABC, 8 p.m.]

Friday, Jan. 15:

The Squid and the Whale

Beware to all of you who have parental divorce in your background: This 2006 film from writer-director Noah Baumbach is as heartbreaking as it is (painfully) funny. Set in ’80s era Park Slope (no Food Co-op or Bugaboos!), The Squid and the Whale follows Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels as they try to navigate their separation and the raising of their two sons, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline (fun fact: son of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates). Mr. Daniels seems to get the choicest of lines, including our favorite, the oft-repeated “filet of the neighborhood.” But trust us, everyone is good in this, including William Baldwin and Anna Paquin. [Sundance, 3 a.m.]

Saturday, Jan. 16:

The Abyss

Already seen Avatar at least twice? Take a look at James Cameron’s earlier foray into the great unknown with the underappreciated The Abyss from 1989. With Avatar-hindsight, you can totally see what was starting to brew in and occupy Mr. Cameron’s brain for the next 20 years! Instead of Pandora, we get the ocean. (Which is really just outer space with water. Think about it.) And instead of Sigourney smoking a cigarette, we get Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who is excellent, plus, do we even need to mention that Ed Harris also stars? Oh, and weird, watery aliens? The best thing about this movie is to remember that, reportedly, the crew liked to wear T-shirts that read, “Life’s Abyss, Then You Dive.” [HBO, 10 a.m.]

Sunday, Jan. 17:

The Golden Globes

Yes, we know there are some very important football games on today (go Jets!), but let’s get our priorities in order: Awards show fever officially kicks off tonight with the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Sure, people can say that these Hollywood Foreign Press Awards don’t matter, but you know what? They do! The stars come out in all their feathery frocked finery (and seem to drink rather freely, judging from shows past), and one gets to watch the weird, awkward high-school hierarchy of television actors mixing it up with big movie stars. Still not convinced? Ricky Gervais is hosting, which we’re pretty sure means good times indeed. [NBC, 8 p.m.]

Monday, Jan. 18:

Life Unexpected

New show alert! And this one looks fine-tuned to entice all those Gilmore Girls/Felicity/My So-Called-Life fans to the CW. The premise: A 15-year-old who has spent most of her time in foster care decides to become an emancipated minor, which leads her to her biological parents—a “30-something” (shriek!) aging frat boy and a local radio celebrity (snicker), played by Rosewell’s Shiri Appleby. And then a judge awards joint custody! And get this—the biological mother’s boyfriend, her on-air partner, is played by Dawson’s Creek vet Kerr Smith. Which means, truly, that we are old. Prepare for a lot of Juno–meets–something-else talk, pretty Portland, Ore., scenery and, natch, tears. [CW, 9 p.m.]

Tuesday, Jan. 19:

The Biggest Loser

For those unsure of whether they want to get with the whole Biggest Loser machine, might we suggest that this is the time to check in? It’s only the third episode in this cycle, which is usually when these very hungry and stressed-out people start becoming unglued (plus, they’ll still outweigh you by at least 100 pounds, which is reassuring). Tonight’s drama-fest will include one player threatening to leave after some sort of disagreement with one of the trainers (we’re guessing it’s tough-love Jillian), and accusations fly at the weigh-in. Oh boy. We can’t wait until the Olympics makes weight loss an official event. [NBC, 8 p.m.]