It's time to call it a season — almost
We're entering - technically - the last week of the broadcast TV season, and I say "technically" because ABC still has some action next week, including the two-hour season finale of "Lost."
So that's the first thing in this week's edition of Stuff to Watch (or Not). "Lost" won't have an original episode this Thursday to let "Grey's Anatomy" finish its season with its own two-hour finale. "Lost" gets it done on May 29.
Also, yeah, it was an all-time short stretch of original episodes for all the network shows. That was because of the writers' strike, which also will mean that a few of the summer cable dramas will be starting a bit later than usual. The fun just keeps on coming.
Speaking of fun, let's get to this week.
"American Idol" (at 8 p.m. on Fox): It's the last chance for the Davids to impress America with their song stylings and Simon with their song choice.
"Left for Dead: Miracle on Everest" (at 9 p.m. on National Geographic Channel): The story of Lincoln Hall, the Australian climber who was declared dead by sherpas high on Mt. Everest in 2006. Hall somehow survived a night without oxygen and was found by other climbers the next day.
"NCIS" (at 8 p.m. on CBS): The team is on the ropes in this two-hour cliffhanger and someone is going to die.
"Reaper" (at 8 p.m. on CW).
"Dancing With the Stars" (at 9 p.m. on ABC): It'll take two hours to get a winner announced, but all the celeb dancers will come back for one more boogie.
"Shark" (at 10 p.m. on CBS): This is the series finale for James Woods and Co.
"MI-5" (at 9 p.m. on BBC America): Here comes season four of the whip-smart British spy thriller.
"American Idol" (at 8 p.m. on Fox): It's the two-hour gala of whatever they're going to do for two hours, then a David will win, confetti will fall, and Paula will continue to toss out random words as if they were actual sentences.
"Criminal Minds" (at 9 p.m. on CBS).
"CSI: NY" (at 10 p.m. on CBS).
"Boston Legal" (at 10 p.m. on ABC).
"Law & Order" (at 10 p.m. on NBC).
"So You Think You Can Dance" (at 8 p.m. on Fox): It's the start of one of the rare summer reality shows where the people have some real skills and talent.
"Last Comic Standing" (at 9:30 p.m. on NBC): This is the start of another summer reality show where a couple people have real talent.
"Reno 911!" (at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central): The world's worst law enforcement unit is back in action on what could be America's most underappreciated comedy.
"Ugly Betty" (at 8 p.m. on ABC).
"Grey's Anatomy" (at 9 p.m. on ABC): The two-hour season-ender includes the surgeons working to free a boy from a hardening block of cement. (And don't you think "hardening block of cement" is nifty metaphor for the show?)
"Cheaper by the Dozen" (at 8 p.m. on Fox): The 2003 version with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. And, yes, it's the best I could come up with for a Friday.
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (at 9 a.m. on USA): Since everyone's looking for "Sex and the City" tie-ins, USA is running a 14-hour marathon of episodes with Chris Noth - Mr. Big in the film - playing hard-guy detective Mike Logan. By the way, note that new episodes of "Criminal Intent" return to USA starting June 8.
"Vinegar Hill" (at 8 p.m. on CBS): It's a good story based on the bestseller by A. Manette Ansay, and it's got a solid cast featuring Mary-Louise Parker. But all together, it turns out just OK.
"The Indianapolis 500" (at 1 p.m. on ABC): For lots of people, this is the one car race they watch. I can't help much with the details, but I've seen enough commercials to know Danica Patrick has nice hair.
"Mars Live: The Phoenix Lands" (at 4 p.m. on Science Channel): A two-hour live look at photos sent back from the surface of Mars with reactions and analysis from NASA scientists. (Note: Science Channel is available only on Comcast's higher digital tier and on some satellite systems.)
"Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins" (at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet): Whoopi Goldberg narrates this charming re-telling of the life of the late, great Flower.