A clever take on barnyard banter

By Kevin McDonough

United Feature Syndicate

The British are coming! The British are coming! Two staples of British television invade prime time tonight.

A beloved hit in the United Kingdom, "Creature Comforts" (7 p.m., CBS) combines audio clips from on-the-street interviews with cute, stop-motion animation of animals, birds, insects and other critters. The combination is guaranteed to raise a smile. Or at least a bemused titter.

"Creature" kicks off with one of its funnier, if less subtle, gags. A male voice is heard trying to describe strains of tastes and smells in what we can only presume to be a glass of wine. It sounds like a scene out of "Sideways." But the cartoon reveals two dogs smelling a certain section of another dog as only dogs do, and the audio takes on an altogether different flavor.


In keeping with its British origins, "Creature" is consistently deadpan. A female bird rattles off an exhaustive list of the doctors and therapists she’s seeing while her taciturn mate responds with downcast eyes. A hound dog describes his philosophy of lovemaking with the throwaway casual exactitude of a blues musician. Two bees, presumably long married, argue in thick Bronx accents.

Much like "The Office," another British comedy successfully imported here, "Creature" has a documentary feel about it. Things seem to flow thematically rather than structure themselves into a beginning, middle and end. There are few obvious punch lines. The feeling is more slice-of-life, or in this case, slice-of-clay. "Creature Comforts" is made by Nick Park and Aardman Animation Ltd., the folks behind "Wallace & Gromit."

• Hosted by British super-chef Gordon Ramsay, "Hell’s Kitchen" (8 p.m., Fox) enters its third summer season. Twelve experienced chefs compete for a $250,000 prize and the chance to run a swank eatery in a desert gambling resort.

• "Inside the Taliban" (8 p.m., National Geographic) presents a two-hour look at the extremists who took over Afghanistan and who provided a safe haven for Al Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. Six years after their ouster from power, the Taliban are back and more resilient than ever. "Inside" includes footage of Taliban methods with tribal leaders and ordinary Afghan citizens, as well as interviews with CIA veterans of the war against the Taliban and Pakistan leaders past and present who discuss their nation’s delicate dance with extremist terror groups.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Stanley Cup hockey (7 p.m., NBC).

• Contestants submit their films on "On the Lot" (7 p.m., Fox).

• "Six Days in June" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) recalls the six-day 1967 war between Israel and its neighbors.


• Offshore construction on "Oil, Sweat and Rigs" (7 p.m., Discovery).

• After her ex’s death, Natalia falls under suspicion on "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14,V).

• Tensions mount on the season finale of "The Riches" (9 p.m., FX, TV-MA).

Cult choice

Criminals stop at nothing to steal a secret tape of an opera performance in the 1982 French thriller "Diva" (7 p.m., Flix).

Series notes

A boxer and a power eater trade lives on "Wife Swap" (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Electioneering on "Everybody Hates Chris" (7 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) ... Dating mature men on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (7:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Construction woes on "All of Us" (7:30 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) ... A near-drowning experience on "Two and a Half Men" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG,D) ... The scorned seek self-esteem for our entertainment on "Ex-Wives’ Club" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14) ... Barney’s brother visits on "How I Met Your Mother" (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG,D) ... Parents need help on "Supernanny" (9 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).

Kevin McDonough can be reached at

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