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Primal Screen

'The Finder' delivers hero juice

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The Finder (7pm Thursday, Fox)
If I had a dime for every pilot that failed at being simultaneously exciting, funny, sexy,  and poignant, I’d be able to finance my own series. (Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja TV Critic.) But The Finder actually gets the job done, thanks to a rare combination of great acting, writing, and filmmaking. Walter (Geoff Stults) is a comic-book handsome, classic American hero-outsider, and slightly cracked ex-major holed up in a Florida backwater solving mysteries his own way. “The military approaches everything in a rigid manner – shock and awe,” he says. “I do things differently, which is why I’m no longer in the military.”

Walter’s circle includes an eccentric partner (Michael Clarke Duncan), a sassy U.S marshal (Mercedes Masöhn) who sometimes shares his bed, and a wild child (Maddie Hasson) on parole. Stults looks stunning in T-shirts and shorts, but he’s more than just a (very) pretty face. He has incredible ease on camera, bordering on insouciance. Like the best comic action stars, he can send up the chases and fights while also committing to them fully

Walter may scorn shock and awe, but that’s pretty much what I experienced while watching The Finder.

Golden Globe Awards (7 pm Sunday, NBC)
The Golden Globes are a ridiculous spectacle, from the notoriously corrupt nominations to the alcohol-fueled acceptance speeches. I’d normally make fun of the ceremony in this space, but I think I’ll take a break this year. Returning host Ricky Gervais is guaranteed to mock his own event much more viciously than I ever could. Current, feel free to dock my pay for this blurb.
           
Alcatraz (7 pm Monday, Fox)
When Alcatraz closed in 1963, over 300 prisoners mysteriously disappeared. In the present day, they start showing up again to commit crimes, not having aged a day in almost 50 years. It falls to a beautiful detective (Sarah Jones), an overweight doctor (Jorge Garcia) and a dude who’s built a secret high-tech facility underneath Alcatraz (Sam Neill) to unravel a conspiracy that defies logic.

Alcatraz defies logic as well. J.J. Abrams’ new series is pure hokum, becoming unintentionally funny whenever Neill goes into ominous-glare mode. But, dammit, it’s entertaining hokum, and I’d be lying if I said I had no interest in learning the truth of the vanished prisoners.

“I’m in,” the beautiful detective tells Neill, committing herself to the preposterous investigation.

I’m in too, against my better judgment.

Lost Girl (9 pm Monday, SyFy)
Bo (Anna Silk) is a smart, witty, capable woman with only one problem. As she endearingly puts it: “I sort of drain people.” In the pilot of Lost Girl, Bo learns that she’s a succubus, which explains her vexing habit of leaving dead, discolored bodies in her wake. That makes her sound like a classic (and classically sexist) TV villain, but she’s more complicated than that. Bo wants to cultivate her human side, even when a secret succubus society offers her inducements to partake of their wicked ways.

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