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5 Best Bets on TV This Week: Mel Brooks Talks Comedy, Dawson Dances and ‘Portlandia’ Celebrates the Season

5 Best Bets on TV This Week: Mel Brooks Talks Comedy, Dawson Dances and 'Portlandia' Celebrates the Season

Sure, Sunday is incredibly overcrowded with high-end TV, including “Homeland,” “The Good Wife,” “Dexter” and more, but what to watch the rest of the time? Every Monday, we bring you five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.

Mel Brooks Strikes Back!”
Monday, December 10 at 9pm on HBO

The comedy legend appears in conversation with the BBC’s Alan Yentob in front of a live audience at the Geffen Theater in Westwood, California, talking about his life and career, accompanied by clips from “Your Show of Shows,” “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles” and “High Anxiety.” This is Brooks’ second special with HBO — in 2011 he did “Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett Together Again.”

“Don’t Trust The B—- in Apt 23”: “Bar Lies…”
Tuesday, December 11 at 9:30pm on ABC

James Van Der Beek, in his continuing role as a douchier version of himself, makes his first appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” in this episode, with Dean Cain and Karina Smirnoff also playing themselves, Dean being Van Der Beek’s main dancing rival.

“19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations”
Wednesday, December 12 at 9am ET/6am PT on TNT

Busy Philipps and Taye Diggs will host a live announcement of the SAG Award nominations on TNT (with the event also being streamed live on the network’s website). We’re expecting some Daniel Day-Lewis, Jessica Chastain, Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Lawrence. The awards themselves will take place on Sunday, January 27th and will also be broadcast on TNT.

“Scandal”: “Blown Away”
Thursday, December 13 at 10pm on ABC

‘Tis a week of “fall finales,” with show’s prepping for a holiday break and a 2013 return, and there’s none more interesting to us than this episode of “Scandal,” which finds Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope back working in the White House while her former lover, President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), remains in critical condition after an assassination attempt and his extremely right-wing VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton) takes the reins of the country. More importantly, we want to know why one of the show’s main characters seems to have been the one who shot Fitz. Also of interest — “Blown Away” was directed by Jessica Yu, of “In the Realms of the Unreal” and “Last Call at the Oasis.”

Portlandia”: “Winter in Portlandia”
Friday, December 14 at 10:30pm on IFC

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s hipster-skewering sketch comedy series “Portlandia” will be back for a new season on Friday, January 4th, but in the meanwhile they’re offering up this holiday bonus episode featuring Peter and Nance’s fight to keep off winter weight, a visit to the feminist bookstore by Candace’s son and a winter vacation at Bryce and Lisa’s new Outlet Hotel.

Also worth a look: The CW’s somehow made a game show out of musical chairs with “Oh Sit!,” truTV has people singing while doing dangerous things on “Killer Karaoke,” so it’s not that unbelievable that Howie Mandel is hosting a holiday TV spectacle based on a white elephant gift exchange on “Take It All,” airing Monday, December 10th at 9pm on NBC; Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) finally open their cupcake shop on “2 Broke Girls,” Monday, December 10th at 9pm at CBS, and if it doesn’t immediately fail we’re thinking they should alter the show’s title; “Girls” star Allison Williams guests on a holiday-themed “The Mindy Project” on Fox on Tuesday, December 11th at 9:30pm; Penelope Spheeris, of “Wayne’s World” and the “Decline of Western Civilization” trilogy, directs Lifetime movie “The Real St. Nick” on Saturday, December 15th at 10pm.

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