Feature: Watch It!

Watch It! Premieres of Top Gear, Top Desserts, and MTV's Top Videos

By , Columist

Bravo's Top Chef "Just Desserts"

It’s the dog days of summer and the programming ain’t easy on TV this week of August 21. Besides the usual reality shows, the seasons of Rescue Me, Breaking Bad, and Burn Notice are in full swing — and there are some gems to be discovered, even some options. Set to record:

Monday August 22

Top Gear at 9 pm on BBC America

Celebrate the 50th birthday of the Jaguar E-type on the premiere episode of the long-running guys-and-their-cars show. An American version will zoom onto the History Channel this fall with comedian Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me), stunt driver/rally racer Tanner Foust, and Speed Channel’s Rutledge Wood. Will US audiences shift Gears?

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Alphas at 10 pm on Syfy

Are you hooked on this show yet? Starring the exquisite David Strathairn in a show about a clandestine group of ordinary citizens with superhuman abilities working within the Department of Defense to catch new kinds of enemies.

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Tuesday, August 23

Blade Runner at 9 pm on SyFy

See the original 1982 classic with Harrison Ford tracking replicants and falling for Sean Young. See it before Ridley Scott shoots his reboot. Even the National Film Registry chose to preserve the original. Some icons shouldn’t be touched.

Wednesday August 24

101 Gadgets That Changed the World at 9-11 pm on History Channel

If you missed it the first airing June 15, learn how the transistor radio launched rock ’n’ roll, how the audiocassette overthrew the Shah of Iran. Duct tape, the Swiss Army Knife and lots more.

Top Chef: Just Desserts 10 pm on Bravo

Dueling cupcakes. Pastry spinoff of the popular Emmy Award-nominated and James Beard Award-winning Top Chef. Fairy-tale confections, edible room decor and sweet treats serve up a second season.

Thursday, August 25

Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero at 8 pm on Discovery

The vision behind the reconstruction of the new World Trade Center, “Reclaiming the Skyline, part 1 and 2,” plus “Stories from the Pile,” covering the collapsed World Trade Center and the climb to replace it and create the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The countdown to commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks begins.

Life 2.0 at 9 pm on OWN

An intriguing documentary about those who live other lives online in Second Life, the virtual-reality community.

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Friday, August 26

A Hard Day’s Night at 8 pm on VH1 Classics

If you never saw The Beatles’ groundbreaking 1964 film, catch Richard Lester’s black & white romp. And if you have, see if for the upteenth time - it still holds up to see music video-like excerpts of songs like “Tell Me Why" and "And I Love Her" as well as the classics.

Saturday, August 27

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon at 7:30 pm on Showtime

An intimate documentary about the multi-platinum rockers from Tennessee and their fundamentalist background. Premiered on Showtime Sunday and repeats also played Monday at 10 pm, Tuesday at 9 pm and Friday at 9:30 pm.

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Sunday August 28

MTV’s Video Music Awards 9 pm on MTV and VH1

Lady Gaga opens the show to top her usual grand entrance. Britney Spears gets a tribute (really?). Bruno Mars, Adele, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Nicki Minaj perform, Jonah Hill and the ubiquitous Kim Kardashian present, while Katy Perry dukes it out with Adele for Best Female Artist and we vote on Best Video (as seen on YouTube).

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Roberta Cruger has written for Salon, The Believer, the LA Times magazine, and more. She was the founding media editor of Creem magazine and a member of MTV’s original programming team. Based in LA, she covers the green carpet for Treehugger and entertainment as US correspondent for the AFP’s RelaxNews.

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