Greek - The Kappa Taus struggled with their lack of membership, forcing them to go against their principles and actually--gasp--try! Unfortunately, their attempts to use orthodox recruitment techniques to attract pledges ended in tragedy (the death of a brother: their pet snake, Timmy). This led Cappie to declare, "when we try, snakes die" so the house decided to revert to their original strategy of using "karmic synergy" (read: drinking beer and being lazy) to get new members. Ultimately, though, it was Rusty who thought to screen potential pledges and find the gems like Peter Parks (AKA Pledge Spider-Man) for them to recruit. Meanwhile, Casey was having a hard time being at ZBZ (as temporary house mom) without getting to be a part of the sorority, since she's now in law school. She got some surprisingly helpful and not mean words of wisdom from Tegan (the fabulous Charisma Carpenter) who talked about her own post-ZBZ experience and how she still helps the girls without being in the sorority. Another strange and potentially hilarious development was Dale's decision to rush a fraternity, since apparently he knows more about brotherhood than anyone else. Tune in next Monday to see how that pans out, and how Beaver copes with the death of Timmy the snake.
Castle- We found out that Castle is (of course) a fan of magic, and surprisingly so is Beckett, who told Castle he reminded her a bit of her grandfather? (Awkward.) Hijinks ensued, involving identical twins, secret passageways, and interoffice romance. But that's nothing compared to the milestone coming up next week (January 24th).
The Good Wife - This show amazes me more every week, and after a month on hiatus I was blown away once again by how strong it is in all aspects. Is there a more well-acted and well-written, consistently great show on network TV? It's astounding to me how they manage to juggle so much (week-to-week legal cases, overarching plot lines, not to mention character development) and still keep each episode so tight and precise. This week featured the return of Alicia's brother Owen (Dallas Roberts), his "I was born this way" conversation with a skeptical (slightly inebriated) Jackie regarding his sexuality, a bombshell from Diane (she's starting her own firm!), the gradual realization that Will's moral compass may be very off-kilter (even for a lawyer), Cary's charming-but-deadly smirk, and a suspenseful case-of-the-week (involving guest star Leelee Sobieski) which turned into a moving portrait of love and sacrifice. All that goodness jammed effortlessly into an hour and they still had time to include the most amusing scene of the night: Blake breaking into a home only to find its owner sitting with Kalinda, who looked completely unfazed as she told him to "come on in." This. Show. Is. Perfect.
Modern Family - You know I love me some Modern Family, but I just couldn't get into this week's episode. The only storyline I really liked (though I did "aww" at Cam and Mitchell's adorable "we can embrace another child into our lives" talk/hug session) was Phil and Claire's attempts to be (or at least appear to be) smarter parents so that Alex wouldn't feel inferior to her overachieving classmate Sanjay, the spawn of brilliant doctor/professor parents who enjoy French cinema and can probably finish the New York Times crossword puzzle. But in the end, we love our Dunphys just the way they are: ignorant, hilarious, and appreciative of cheesy movies like Croctopus. (Honestly, how has the SyFy channel not made that movie yet?)
Top Chef - Bravo, Bravo. Making the cheftestants catch their own fish for this week's Elimination Challenge was a clever move. Not only did we get to watch two of the men struggle to "hold [Marcel's] rod" while reeling in a fish, but we also found out Angelo is afraid of sharks. (I don't know why this amuses me so, but I really don't like Angelo and it pleases me to know his weakness.) Unfortunately, Marcel did not fall off the boat and get beaten to death by merpeople and/or sharks (or--God willing--CROCTOPUS). But he did come this close to getting Dale to forget everything he learned in anger management training and punch him in his little foam-loving werewolf face. Also this week: Fabio and Blais is the new Fabio and Stefan (although their chemistry is not nearly as palpable as Fabio and Stefan's was).
Off The Map- If you transported Grey's Anatomy to the set of Lost, you'd pretty much have Off The Map. Not that that's a bad thing. I for one am fully in favor of Shonda Rhimes' "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to the time-tested medical soap formula of pretty people + intense situations + beautiful setting = success(ful ratings)! (See: Hawaii Five-O, Baywatch, America's Next Top Model.) Not being a Grey's fan myself, I thought Off The Map more resembled the late ABC drama The Deep End which followed pretty first-year associates as they struggled to get their bearings working in the cutthroat environment of their big bad law firm. Both shows involve naïve young professionals being thrown into "the deep end" to either sink or swim while jaded authority figures mess with/mentor/sleep with them. (Both shows also involve Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight) sleeping with one of said authority figures.) Martin Henderson plays one of these experienced doctors who demonstrated his badassery by pulling a manta ray (and its stinger) out of a guys foot, and climbing a palm tree to retrieve coconuts to use as IVs. Of course he's all hot and broody and clearly big on the having of emotional baggage, which we will delightfully uncover as his relationship with newbie doc Lily (Wonderfalls' Caroline Dhavernas) progresses. (After he's done having meaningless sex with Rachelle Lefevre, that is.) Other reasons I'll keep watching this show are Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife) and Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights), whom I would probably watch in a TV adaptation of Annie (with the sound off, of course). If you like watching pretty doctors discuss their emotional issues and undress each other with their eyes (and sometimes their hands) while simultaneously competing with each other professionally, then Off The Map might be for you. If you don't enjoy overly-earnest medical dramas, then maybe not.
I know: I'm a lazy bum for only including a handful of shows (and not even bothering with Thursday), but what can I say? Most of my shows return next week. And Cougar Town and How I Met Your Mother weren't new this week. This coming week: Things get really interesting with the return of Chuck, the series finale of Life Unexpected, the premiere of Being Human, and the unveiling of NBC's Thursday night three-hour comedy block! (WATCH COMMUNITY.) I'm positively giddy with excitement! In the meantime, enjoy the Golden Globes and watch out for Croctopi.