by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Living With Ed
(Mondays, 10:30 pm, HGTV)
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & E & lt;/span & verybody loves Ed Begley Jr. Sure, he may be of an older vintage (he first made his name on St. Elsewhere), but at least he's not signed up for Dancing With the Stars. No, he's the star of a surprisingly cool reality show, Living With Ed.
Ed's a quirky guy, and this is a quirky show -- but an important one, as the world continues to heat up. Ed, you see, is one of the greenest people in Hollywood (Santa Monica, actually), and the show follows his efforts to leave a light carbon footprint. It also follows the rolling eyeballs of his long-suffering wife, Rachelle Carson. It's not that Rachelle isn't on board -- she's devoted to the cause, too. It's more that Ed is, well, just Ed.
One hilarious scene has Ed leaving the hardware store with his arms full of loose items, some falling all over the ground, as he ambles back to his electric car. Turns out he forgot his reusable bag, and in Ed's world, the answer to "Paper or plastic?" is "Not over my dead body!"
Now into its second season, the producers are amping up the star power, as Ed and Rachelle are out visiting other green stars of a certain vintage -- Larry Hagman, Jackson Browne, Cheryl Tiegs. Then there's Ed's nemesis and neighbor, Bill Nye the Science Guy. Ed and Bill have a kind of keeping-up-with-the-Joneses thing going -- if you replace the usual sports cars with the latest in solar panels.
But jokes aside, Ed really is a pioneer. He even refused to fly to the Sundance Film Festival, choosing to drive his hybrid instead. (Rachelle went ahead and flew.) And in this era when everyone wants to do something, Ed shows you how. (And, yes, switching to those funny-looking light bulbs does make a difference.) It's pretty amazing to see what people are doing -- Jackson Browne lives 100 percent off the grid, and his little electrical and water systems prove you can do it. (Lots of money seems to help, but still.)
Watching Ed drool over his old buddy's battery shack and weather station is good TV, especially as he tells his wife, "Now you know what I want for Christmas."
Rachelle rolls her eyes again, but Ed will probably get it. And then you know Bill Nye is going to want one, too.
Nowadays they don't call these reality shows; they're docu-soaps. This one traces the tribulations of musicians trying to make it in Country's capital city. The show also promises a peek behind the closed doors of Music Row. But with a Friday at 9 pm time slot, the real drama could be how long it stays on the air. (Series premiere, FOX, Friday, 9/14, 9 pm)
You've probably heard all the controversy surrounding this really bad idea of a reality show -- throw a bunch of kids into a Wild West town and see how long before they go all Lord of the Flies on each other. Now you can see if it's actually any good. (Series premiere, CBS, Wednesday, 9/19, 8 pm)
Inside the NFL
Ever since ESPN gave up on NFL PrimeTime and created The Blitz, which is mixed in with SportsCenter, I've had to wait until Wednesday night for my highlights from the weekend's football action. Now in its 30th year, Inside the NFL offers up a compelling feature every week sandwiched by slo-mo action and miked-up players and coaches. (HBO, Wednesday, 9/19, 10 pm)