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Critic’s picks: Television

Andrew Eccles/NBC

SUNDAY

Family Tree 10:30 p.m., HBO

This kooky treat from Christopher Guest isn’t “must see.” But it definitely qualifies as “see if you want a little laugh.” Christopher O’Dowd is a great gentle lead as a man looking for his roots – and for the feeling of belonging. But Nina Conti as his sister steals the show. She’s a ventriloquist whose darker thoughts come out via her dummy. In this episode, she gets a gig at a wedding reception.

MONDAY

Anger Management 9:30 p.m., Fox

Lucky you? Fox is going to be giving Charlie Sheen’s FX sitcom a plug on Monday nights this month only. The first two episodes, this week and next week, will be new – not even seen on FX. The second two will be repeats.

TUESDAY

America’s Got Talent 9 p.m., NBC

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Summer TV officially begins with the appearance of this show, which is the most circus-like of the reality contests. The eighth season will feature the return of judges Howard and Howie – Stern and Mandel, respectively. Newcomers are former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, a.k.a. Mel B, and Heidi Klum. Nick Cannon is the host. Later in the season, after the endless audition segments, the live episodes will air from Radio City Music Hall.

WEDNESDAY

Toddlers & Tiaras 9 p.m., TLC

Of all the reality shows on all of the channels on all of our TVs and Web channels in all the countries in all of the world, this one has to be in serious contention for the grossest. But it’s back for season 6, so enough viewers like to be grossed out to keep it in business. This episode travels to Shreveport, La., for a Disco Fever pageant for kids and their awful mothers. Studio 54-ette with Coke?

THURSDAY

Showville 9 p.m., AMC

Yes, it’s another reality contest in a summer that is crowded with them. (Actually, all year round is crowded with them.) But this one aims for local flavor, as each week talent coaches Alec Mapa and Lisette Bustamante comb various small towns for talent. They groom a few acts, get them to perform, and let the town decide which act wins $10,000. Sounds like “America’s Got Talent” meets “Waiting for Guffman.” This episode takes place in Walla Walla, Wash.

FRIDAY

Tanked 9 p.m., Animal Planet

I still marvel at the specificity of reality shows these days. And since this week’s column is reality-centric – the new scripted series don’t kick in until later in the month – I have to mention “Tanked.” It’s about an aquarium manufacturing business that make tanks in all kinds of shapes, including phone booths, kegs, and cars. This episode finds them replicating a sailboat.

SATURDAY

The Good Mother 8 p.m., Lifetime

No, nothing to do with Sue Miller. And probably nothing to do with “good,” either. This Lifetime movie is about a teen who begins to think her best friend’s mother is a murderer. The case includes Helen Slater and Beverly D’Angelo.

MATTHEW GILBERT

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com.
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