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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: February 20

A select viewing guide for Wednesday, February 20

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COMEDY Whitney (NBC, 8 p.m.) There is still room in primetime for sitcom simplicity. Currently in its second season, this half-hour show mines comedy gold from the single-white-female existence of sassy standup Whitney Cummings, who serves as a producer on the series and naturally assumes the title role. Most episodes focus primarily on Whitney and her seemingly perfect relationship with live-in slacker boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia), but the show’s writers are slowly bringing her family members into the fold, presumably toward the cause of TV longevity. In tonight’s new show, Whitney hides her purse when her deadbeat father Vince (Peter Gallagher) drops by for a visit, but imagine her surprise when the old man hands her $5000!

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COMEDY The Neighbors (ABC, CTV Two, 8:30 p.m.) The best new show you’re probably not watching, this offbeat sitcom takes place in suburban New Jersey, where average guy Marty Weaver (Lenny Venito) and wife Debbie (Jamie Gertz) have recently moved into a new development with their three kids. Marty and Debbie are only a little taken aback to discover the entire community is populated by extraterrestrials who have inexplicable adopted the names of American sports celebrities. Tonight, the alien known as Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) becomes obsessed with winning an Academy Awards and truly believes his documentary chronicling Marty’s son Max (Max Charles) in the local spelling bee will be the ticket with Oscar voters. Larry Bird, phone home.

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SCIENCE NOVA (PBS, 9 p.m.) What makes a person walk into a church or movie theatre with an automatic weapon and open fire on innocent people? In light of the recent horrific shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut and a suburban Denver movie complex, this special edition of the revered PBS series delves into theories about what drives rampage killers. Host Miles O’Brien interviews several experts on the current methods available to identify a brain at risk for extreme violence. The big question: Can brain scans and personality profiling enable law enforcement to recognize dangerous minds in time to stop the next Newtown tragedy?

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REALITY King of the Nerds (Slice, 10 p.m.) If you identify with any or all of the characters on The Big Bang Theory, have we got a show for you. Hailing from the TBS cable network, the series is hosted by actors Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong (they were in the Revenge of the Nerds film franchise back in the eighties), who run a gaggle of pocket-protector types through the wringer in pursuit of the dubious honour of being crowned the penultimate geek. In tonight’s new outing, the remaining six contestants scramble to construct massive Rubik’s Cubes in order to get numbers from the cube faces that will help them solve a Sudoku puzzle. What would Sheldon Cooper do?

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MOVIE Catwoman (AMC, 10 p.m.) Was it a hit or a miss? Critics were not kind to this Batman spinoff when released to theaters in 2004, but the presence of Halle Berry guaranteed a steady stream of moviegoers in its first couple of weeks. Berry already had her Best Actress Oscar (for the 2001 drama Monster Ball) so she could easily afford to take the role of a cosmetics worker named Patience, who tries to blow the whistle when her employers launch a new skin cream with monstrous side effects. The bad guys drown Patience to keep her quiet, but somehow she’s brought back to life by an Egyptian cat and thereafter possesses unique cat abilities, including clawing the furniture and turning up her nose at canned food. In fact the story is predictably ho-hum, but Ms. Berry does look pretty darn fetching in her catsuit.

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