"Californication" (10:30 p.m., Showtime) is a comedy that pretends to be about one Hollywood cliché -- the serious writer who sells his soul to show business -- when it's a different one entirely: the aging star's massive ego trip.
In his first TV series since "The X-Files," David Duchovny plays Hank Moody, an author whose dour debut novel "God Hates Us All" was purchased for an obscene amount of money by a movie studio, which turned it unto an upbeat Tom-and-Katie-starring romantic comedy called "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Since then, Hank has suffered a crippling case of writer's block -- "I can't produce so much as a (gosh-darn) predicate," he complains -- compounded by the realization that he was an idiot to walk out on longtime girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone) and their daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin, far better than the show deserves).
Before you go and throw a pity party for poor Hank, know that he's found a unique way to suffer for his sins: by having cheap, meaningless sex with every surgically-enhanced L.A. woman who'll have him. Judging by the pilot episode's frequent nude scenes (which resemble outtakes from Duchovny's last Showtime series, the softcore anthology "Red Shoe Diaries"), it's a long list. Added to it is Mia, who takes Hank to bed after a meet-cute in a bookstore and spices up their fun, sexy time by repeatedly punching him in the face.
"Californication" debuts immediately after the return of "Weeds" (10 p.m., Showtime), which three seasons in remains a show I want to like much more than I do. It has so much going for it on paper -- notably Mary-Louise Parker as a pot-dealing soccer mom -- but the series' creators remain so pleased with themselves that they're rarely as funny as they obviously think they are.To read the full thing, click here. (Printer-friendly.)