TV

HBO Brings The Funny

I pretty much love everything Ricky Gervais, so I'm eager to check out his new HBO series "The Ricky Gervais Show" at 9 p.m.



It's an animated series based on his podcasts in the UK with long time writing partner Stephen Merchant. Together with a third friend, Karl Pilkington, the trio discuss all sorts of topics.



From what I have heard, Gervais and Merchant take a back seat to Pilkington, who offers some very oddball observations. Supposedly, Pilkington isn't trying to be funny -- this really is his outlook.



The show will be followed by the season premieres of "The Life and Times of Tim" at 9:30 p.m., another animated series, featuring the guest voices of Will Forte and Tony Hale, and "The Bill Maher Show" at 10 p.m. I actually try to avoid the last one -- I think Maher is something of a moron. But other people like the series for its discussions of various political topics.



Finally, at midnight, it's the premiere of "Funny Or Die," which is based upon the very popular (and wickedly clever) Web series by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. I'm not sure if its a compilation of the Web stuff or new material, or a mix of both, but it's often very funny in its satirical outlook.



MAGA UPDATE: Speaking of very funny Web series, MAGA attendees were treated to Illeana Douglas' Web-based series "Easy To Assemble," which she produces, writes and stars in. It's worth checking out, since it is very much in the absurdist style of "It's Garry Schandling's Show" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."



Douglas ("Goodfellas," "To Die For") plays a wacky version of herself, quitting Hollywood to work at IKEA. Soon, she finds herself in a rivalry with Justine Bateman, who has also quit to work at IKEA. There are guests galore, including Tim Meadows, Cheri Oteri, Ed Begley Jr. and Jane Lynch to name but a few.



"Easy To Assemble" is starting its third season online at www.easytoassemble.tv. You can check out more of what's going on at MAGA at www.maconfilmfestival.com, including the appearance of Jack McBrayer from "30 Rock" Saturday night.



WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Geez, it seems like forever since I saw "Caprica," (SyFy, 9 p.m.) since I saw the aired episodes weeks earlier. Tonight's picks up with Daniel revealing the Cylon prototype while Amanda may be in danger from the Adamas.



On regular TV, the Olympics continue on NBC, while "Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.) is new as Clark makes a wish come true with Lois which goes awry.



On Saturday, the new BBC America series "Survivors" continues at 9 p.m.



On Sunday, "The Amazing Race" (CBS, 8 p.m.) continues with what might be the dumbest bunch of contestants the show has ever assembled. Seriously, this season might be one of attrition. It's followed by "Undercover Boss" and "Cold Case."



Fox is all new with its animated sitcoms, except for "Family Guy." ABC has a new "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 9 p.m.) with guest star Julie Benz, while "Brothers & Sisters" is new at 10 p.m.



On cable, HBO airs a new "Big Love" at 9 p.m.

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