BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT: SAN QUENTIN
8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10
A few weeks back, this writer made it down to the Varner Unit, the supermax prison where Arkansas's death row prisoners are housed. One look at that joint — with its electric fences, bare brick walls and decided lack of a food court — was all I needed to help me remember that I never want to commit a felony of any kind, ever. My mouth is too pretty for life in the Big House. That said, there are those who walk among us who didn't get the message that I did from mom and pop: That no matter what it is you want to get up to, no matter how smart and careful you think you are while committing that crime, you will be found out. At that point, the justice system will enfold you into its bosom before bouncing your ass to the Ironbar Hotel. While I've been around crime and the courts system enough to know that's not always the case, the thought of doing 5-10 with people so self-destructive, sociopathic and reckless that they have to be locked in a cage is enough to keep me out of trouble. For others, not so much. Here, in this new series from A&E, a group of four teens who have already been in trouble with the law get a temporary taste of what will be their permanent situation if they continue to screw up. This week, the little snowflakes are ferried to the notoriously tough California prison at San Quentin, where they'll be leered at by horny dudes named Duke and Bubba until they either fly right or wet themselves, whichever comes first. Whatever the case, it's bound to be entertaining.
MUST LOVE CATS
8 p.m. Saturdays
Look, cats are cool. I've got a cat my own self: a strapping specimen named Mr. Kitty. It's a good thing that he's relatively healthy, because every time I take him to the vet, I'm pretty sure they're going to charge me with animal neglect, both for that name (I wanted to name him "Monkey," but the spousal unit overruled) and the fact that he weighs 26 pounds. Just for a little perspective, the average housecat weighs between 6-10 pounds. It's not his fault! All he eats is one bowl of dry cat food a day. He's just big-boned. Anyway, like I said: I like cats. But there are those in the world who LIKE like cats. This new show from Animal Planet is for those folks. Every week, musician and host John Fulton travels around America, seeking out surprising examples of the feline species and being wholly and completely ignored by them until he starts the can opener. BONUS: On the Feb. 19 show, Fulton visits Little Rock "to learn who is the most popular cat on television in Little Rock." Unless Kevin Kelly has a kitten stuffed under the desk over at KLRT Fox 16, we're assuming that means Fulton will be visiting KTHV Channel 11 for a hard-hitting sit-down interview with on-air personality Joey the Garden Cat. Expect topics on the agenda to include: birds, birds, hairball control, birds, his recent stint in rehab for catnip addiction, and whether he had anything to do with the mysterious death of his predecessor, Larry the Garden Cat.
ALSO: THE 53rd ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS, 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, on CBS: Tune in to remember why you never, ever want to go see any of your favorite artists live.