- 'NURSE JACKIE': Edie Falco and Peter Facinelli star.
9 p.m. Sunday, June 14
Yes, folks, just when you thought you might finally be able to bring yourself to throw away your WTF was I thinking? duds from High School, the early '90s are back! The latest sign? This show, about the life of M.C. Hammer — AKA Stanley Burrell. Back in the early 1990s, Hammer's mix of radio-friendly beats, drunk-girl-sing-along hooks, flashy clothes and flashier dance moves pushed him to chart-topping heights no rapper had dared to dream of before. A few years, a $22 million dollar mansion and a tour featuring an entourage of Hammer's 200 closest friends later, however, and the money was gone like a pair of hammerpants in a tornado. In this show, Hammer brings fans up to date on his life, his faith, his six children and his wife, Stephanie. Episodes we caught find it to be fairly standard reality show fair, but you can still see the Hammer mystique at play.
9:30 p.m. Monday, June 15
I don't like hospitals, which means that — by default — I don't usually like hospital shows. Blood? Guts? Screaming? Why would I ever want to experience it from my couch? That said, I found a lot to like in the pilot episode of Showtime's new series “Nurse Jackie.” Starring Edie Falco (once the matriarch of the Sopranos clan over on HBO), the show follows a veteran NYC trauma nurse with a painkiller problem as she struggles with the emptiness of seeing people day after day who are experiencing the worst moments of their lives. It's not as bleak as it sounds. There are some genuinely funny moments here (such as when Jackie and a co-worker debate over who should do the saving when an old lady chokes in the restaurant where they're having dinner). But there's also quite a bit of moral fence straddling as well, as when she peels the lamination off the license of a recently deceased bike messenger and forges his organ donor slip so his death won't be in vain. Promising acting and some pretty fine writing make this one a show to watch. If it sticks with character study and doesn't fall into the crisis-of-the-week plots that are epidemic in the medico genre, it might be a real gem.
ORSON WELLES MARATHON
8 p.m. Tuesday, June 16
Turner Classic Movies
It might be said that Orson Welles never lived up to the promise of his debut effort, 1941's “Citizen Kane.” You can't really blame the guy. After you create what is arguably the greatest film of all time, what do you do for an encore? While Welles' output after Kane wasn't on that sky-high par, the roster of films he did manage to make would be considered a hell of a day at the races for any other filmmaker. Here, Turner Classics devotes the better part of a day giving us five from the great director (check the TCM listings — they're doing scads of these one-director rock blocks this month, featuring everybody from Howard Hawks to Billy Wilder to Akira Kurosawa). It all starts with “Citizen Kane,” followed by “The Lady From Shanghai.” Then it's the underrated “The Magnificent Ambersons.” Next, Welles takes a stab at the Bard with “Macbeth,” followed by his 1963 Kafka adaptation, “The Trial.”