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What to Watch on Friday: 'The Neighbors' and 'Shark Tank' return

Last Man Standing (8pm, ABC) - In the third season opener, Mike assists two loyal customers who need to gear up for their annual moose hunt. Meanwhile, Mike tries to convince Kristin and Ryan to transfer Boyd out of a bilingual school. Because that's un-American!

The Watsons Go to Birmingham (8pm, Hallmark) - A sweet movie based on the 1996 award-winning children's book by Christopher Paul Curtis, which tells the story of an African-American family from Michigan who travel to Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Read Adrienne's full review of "The Watsons Go to Birmingham."

The Neighbors (8:30pm, ABC) - In the Season 2 premiere, Amber and Reggie break the news of their romance to their families (right), who convene for a conference in the Bird-Kersee home to put the relationship up to a vote -- the outcome of which may depend on an emotional speech by Abby.

Shark Tank (9pm, ABC) - You probably thought your night couldn't get any better than a new episode of "The Neighbors," right? Wrong. "Shark Tank" is also back! Tonight we get Lori and Barbara on the same episode at the same time -- what?! Crazytown. Some of the pitches include doctors from Tucson who propose a new social-media tool for patients and medical professionals and an entrepreneur from L.A. who wants to replace traditional postcards with a mobile app.

Inside Costa Concordia (10pm, Discovery) - A look at efforts to salvage the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which ran aground on Jan. 13, 2012, off the coast of Italy.

New Fall Season: Getting past the corny cliches in Reba's 'Malibu Country'

Malibu Country
8:30 p.m. on ABC

Disclosure: I need to tell you right up front that I have never been what you'd call a fan of Reba McEntire, and I didn't care at all for her "Reba" series, which ran for six whole seasons on The WB/The CW. So while I'm obviously not predisposed to loving her new series, "Malibu Country" (which premieres tonight on ABC after Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing" and which sounds an awful lot like that old "Reba" series!), I've done my best to be objective about it.

In "Malibu Country," Reba plays Reba MacKenzie, wife of a "lyin', cheatin'" country music mega-star, whom she dumps in the middle of a live press conference while he's trying to make amends to his fans for his latest affair.

What to Watch on Friday: A retooled 'Last Man Standing' and a new sitcom for Reba

Hurricane Sandy Benefit (8pm, NBC Universal stations and HBO) - This Red Cross benefit for victims of Hurricane Sandy will air on all NBC Universal channels. New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi will perform, as will Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera and Sting. Jimmy Fallon also appears. Hosted by Matt Lauer from Rockefeller Center in New York.

Undercover Boss (8pm, CBS) - The fourth season begins with Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Mitchell B. Modell working undercover at his company.

Last Man Standing (8pm, ABC) - Season two opens as Mandy (Molly Ephraim) prepares to vote in her first presidential election, and Mike (Tim Allen, right) and Kristin (Amanda Fuller, right) try to sway her vote in opposite directions.  Which means lots of jokes about Kenya, Cayman Island bank accounts, gay marriage and community organizers. And it's so hilarious the way Allen's character wishes women didn't have the right to vote. Yes, it's as tiresome as it sounds. Still, expect a few changes in the series this season. "Last Man Standing" returns with a new showrunner (Tim Doyle from "Better Off Ted" and "Ellen") who recast Amanda Fuller in the Kristin role and drastically aged her baby to a 5-year-old. Also, no more Nick Jonas in the recurring role as the kid's father. Instead, Jordan Masterson plays the part.

Malibu Country (8:30pm, ABC) - In the pilot episode of a new comedy series,  Reba McEntire plays the betrayed wife of a cheating country music mega-star. After dumping her husband in the middle of a live press conference, Reba moves to California with her mom (Lily Tomlin) and kids to restart her own singing career. It's corny as heck, but if you love Reba, you'll love this. Review.

Shark Tank (9pm, ABC) - In its new timeslot, "Shark Tank" welcomes a California inventor whose "better fly trap" receives a show of support from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane.

Blue Bloods (10pm, CBS) - Danny learns about voodoo while investigating a stabbing committed by someone in a costume on Halloween. Meanwhile, Garrett reveals a deep secret to Frank, and Erin and Nicky take Danny's sons trick-or-treating.

What to Watch on Tuesday: 'Frontline' season opens with anthrax investigation

Last Man Standing (8pm, ABC) - Tim Allen deserves better than the grouchy male chauvinist role he's playing in this new series. Allen is a macho sporting-goods marketer living with (and complaining about) his wife (Nancy Travis), three teenaged daughters, and infant grandson. The entire series is built around continuous rants that men aren't as manly as they used to be. More here.

Hip Hop Awards '11 (8pm, BET) - Mike Epps hosts the sixth annual awards honoring hip hop artists like Wale, Big Sean, Roscoe Dash and Meek Mill.

Frontline: The Anthrax Files (9pm, UNC-TV) - The season premiere of "Frontline" looks at the 2001 anthrax attacks on the U.S. Senate offices, network news divisions, and a tabloid newspaper. In 2008, the FBI pinned responsibility on Army scientist Bruce Ivins after Ivins committed suicide. This report, however, questions the FBI's investigative methods and whether Ivins really did it. The report is based on a joint investigation with ProPublica and McClatchy.

Women, War, and Peace: I Came to Testify (10pm, UNC-TV) - This five-hour series about the evolving roles of women in war and peace opens with this story of 16 women who testified in international court about their experiences during the Bosnian war of the 1990s, when they imprisoned and raped by Serb-led forces in the town of Foca. As a result of their courage, new international laws about sexual violence in war have been enacted. Narrated by Matt Damon.

Reed Between the Lines (10pm, BET) - A new sitcom series starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner ("Cosby Show") as a married dad with three kids juggling the demands of career and family. Two new back-to-back episodes air tonight. Adrienne has a review.

Unforgettable (10pm, CBS) - Carrie's memories of a crime scene become the only clues to a murder investigation after the scene is destroyed by an explosion.

THE NEW FALL SEASON: 'Last Man Standing'

"Last Man Standing"
8 p.m., ABC

I have got great news for everyone who has missed Tim Allen and corny laughtrack comedies.

ABC's "Last Man Standing" is a lot like the 90s sitcom "Home Improvement," except now Allen can say "balls" and "frickin'" on television. And instead of hosting a home improvement TV show, this time Allen is a male chauvinist executive at an outdoorsman supply company. Also, instead of sons he has daughters (and a baby grandson), and he's married to Nancy Travis. Hector Elizondo is his boss.

And the writing is horrid.

That's kind of it. The pilot has big laughs like this: When Allen doesn't like the "hippy" daycare his daughter takes her son Boyd to, the daughter counters that the school teaches him sensitivity and tolerance.

Allen: "You know how that ends up. Boyd dancing on a float." (Picture flamboyant arm-waving).
Daughter: "And what would be so wrong with that?"
Allen: "The only time men should be dancing is when other men are shooting at their feet."


There's a demographic that might enjoy this. I am not in it.

UPDATE: This is interesting. The two advance episodes I watched had these weird silent moments after "jokes" that were obviously supposed to be filled with laughter from a studio audience, but there was no laughter. So I assumed it was NOT filmed before a studio audience, but on a closed set, and that they planned to electronically add canned laughter in later (I know that's cheating, but shows do it). This Washington Post review indicates the show was filmed before a studio audience -- an audience who obviously agree with everyone else that this stuff isn't funny. I'm guessing they'll be adding that canned laughter to the episodes that air tonight.

"Last Man Standing": Moms are the baddest chicks on the planet!

On the big screen, there's been a mini-trend of women butt-kickers, young female action heroes (think "KickAss" and "Hanna") who can serve it up like the guys.

"Last Man Standing" (Lifetime, 8 tonight) brings that trend to the small screen, and because this is Lifetime, the ante is upped. This woman is not only a butt-kicker, she's a mom!

Yep, as Abby Collins, an ex-soldier who served in Afghanistan, Catherine Bell can not only take a punch, deliver one, and shoot big guns, but she can do all that and still make time to tell her young daughter a bedtime story. One she makes up on the spot!

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