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The week’s best TV: ‘Raising Hope’ starts up, ‘Jersey Shore’ winds down

Updated: November 2, 2012 6:16AM



It’s the beginning of the end as a couple of television series start their farewell seasons. They’re among my picks for this week’s premieres:

MONDAY

“Half the Sky”: 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on WTTW-Channel 11

Filmed in 10 countries, this investigation examines trafficking, maternal mortality, discrimination and other problems faced by females around the world. The downer aspect gets offset by the inspiring people on the frontlines fighting for change. Meg Ryan and Diane Lane are among the celebs lending their star power to the cause.

TUESDAY

“Raising Hope”: 7 p.m. on WFLD-Channel 32

Broadcast TV’s version of the Honey Boo Boo brood is back for a third installment of this underappreciated Fox comedy about a lovably dysfunctional family. The season opener introduces Melanie Griffith in an amusing guest arc alongside her mother, Tippi Hedren. Then stick around to watch Griffith’s daughter, Dakota Johnson, star in her new sitcom, “Ben & Kate.”

WEDNESDAY

“Life After Top Chef”: 9 p.m. on Bravo

See how four former chef-testants are coping personally and professionally since their respective runs on the popular cooking competition. When we meet them in the premiere, fan favorite Fabio Viviani is as charming as ever (and talking about opening his upcoming restaurant in River North), Richard Blais is having trouble with the wifey, Spike Mendelsohn is still obnoxious and Jen Carroll looks (and acts) like she’s sucked the life out of a lemon.

THURSDAY

“30 Rock”: 7 p.m. on WMAQ-Channel 5

After six years of vacillating between OK and great, the curtains are about to fall on Tina Fey’s three-time Emmy winner for outstanding comedy. The seventh and final season starts this week. I want to go to there.

“Jersey Shore”: 9 p.m. on MTV

Five seasons ago, these self-described guidos and guidettes fist-pumped their way into pop culture with their out-of-control antics at the Jersey Shore. As this farewell season begins, the Situation is sober, Snooki’s baby bump is bigger than her poof, and Sammi and Ronnie are back together for the bazillionth time. The series has been past its sell-by date for a while now, but I’ll keep it in my guilty-pleasure rotation for old time’s sake.

Lori Rackl, TV critic



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