Nine of spring's best TV shows |


Nine of spring's best TV shows

Why we're loving ''Breaking Bad,'' ''Lost,'' ''Friday Night Lights,'' and ''Fringe.'' Plus, scoop on what's coming up next on these programs

Ken Tucker gives his critical take, and we offer teases as to what’s coming up next

No. 2 - Breaking Bad
AMC, premieres March 21, 10-11PM

Ken’s take
His marriage in crisis, Bryan Cranston’s Walt is driven as never before to turn his life of meth-making crime into something positive, while Aaron Paul’s Jesse is trying to find inner peace via rehab. If you think either of those things will come to pass, you don’t know what you’re missing on TV’s wildest, most unpredictable series.

What’s next
The drama’s third-season premiere is a game changer in the truest sense of the word. ”My wife finds out that I’m a drug dealer,” reveals Cranston, ”and everything [Walt] worked for could come crumbling down.” Meanwhile, Jesse will ”go through a transformation,” Cranston hints, adding that the new season is about Walt and Jesse adjusting to their new reality. ”There is clearly a dark side to both of them, and they have to be willing to accept that.”

No. 3 - Lost
ABC, Tuesdays, 9-10PM

Ken’s take
The final season is taking its shape from not only its much-bruited ”flash-sideways” sequences but also the decision to focus part of each episode on an individual character. So far, the result has been rich storytelling that’s giving up more secrets with every hour, as the series comes to what looks like a triumphant climax.

What’s next
Ding-dong, the Temple’s gone. So now what? Lost’s castaways will be asking that very question as they decide whether to join Un-Locke/the Monster (Terry O’Quinn) in his quest to flee the Island. Also on tap: a flashback episode for Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell), and a Sideways-world episode for Ben Linus (Michael Emerson).

No. 4 - Friday Night Lights
NBC, premieres April 30, 8-9PM

Ken’s take
Having seen this new season on DIRECTV’s 101 Network, I can say with assurance that you’re going to moan, cry, and cheer at the new obstacles facing Coach Eric (Kyle Chandler) and Tami (Connie Britton) Taylor, that the new characters will steadily work their way into your heart, and that Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) is prime-time TV’s key source for the Wisdom of Coolness.

What’s next
The season 4 highlight reel includes a significant death, a major breakup, an abortion scandal, a shocking arrest, and a season-ending showdown between the scrappy underdog East Dillon Lions and the mighty Panthers. Also of note: Tami gets kissed by someone other than Eric, and Kitsch takes his shirt off at least three times.

No. 5 - Fringe
Fox, returns April 1, 9-10PM

Ken’s take
Tension between the alternate universes has only been increasing, even as the emotional through-line of this season — John Noble’s Walter Bishop coming to terms with the (wilder, more aggressive) man he was and the (brilliant but repentant) man he is now?becomes more moving and poignant.

What’s next
The relationship between Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia (Anna Torv) ”will develop a lot” by the end of the season, teases exec producer Jeff Pinkner. But the duo we’re most looking forward to getting together are partners-turned-frenemies William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) and Walter, who finally come face-to-face ”over there” in the big two-part finale.