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"Ranch House" rounds up some rough riders (alyson hannigan mention)

Mike Hughes

Monday 1 May 2006, by Webmaster

Tonight’s Must-See: "Texas Ranch House," 7-9 p.m., PBS; continues through Thursday.

The year is 1867 and Texas is in transition. During the Civil War, longhorn steer were ignored; they roamed free, reproducing. Outsiders can now start a ranch and try to round them up.

That’s just what some outsiders - from the 21st century - try in this eight-hour reality miniseries.

Bill Cooke is a hospital administrator. He arrives by stagecoach with his wife (a homemaker), their three teen daughters and Maura Finkelstein, a "girl of all work."

The guys are already there. They include a crabby foreman, a grumpy cook and some would-be cowboys.

Several people soon become hard to like. The senior Cookes come off as cold and distant. The foreman and cook come off even worse.

Still, the cowboys - including Springfield resident Anders Heintz - and Maura are a wonderfully likable bunch. We quickly feel the problems of unending work and unrelenting heat. It all seemed greener and easier in the Hollywood westerns.

Other choices tonight include:

"Prison Break," 7 p.m., Fox. Things are tougher than ever. Not only is Linc in solitary, but he’s also chained to a wall. Michael’s prison-break plan needs some rethinking after the hole in the floor of the guard’s break room is discovered. Meanwhile, the scheming vice president faces new pressures.

"All of Us," 7:30 p.m., UPN. Facing a midlife crisis, Robert responds in a guy way: He gets a motorcycle and dates a college student.

"How I Met Your Mother," 7:30 p.m., CBS. There’s nothing like going to a prom shortly before your wedding. Lily (the delightful Alyson Hannigan) sneaks into a prom so she can hear a band that she might hire for the wedding.

"24," 8 p.m., Fox. When last seen, Henderson had been recaptured and Jack had slipped into the cargo section of a plane just before take-off. Tonight, he faces airborne crises.

"The New Adventures of Old Christine," 8:30 p.m., CBS. There’s more frustration for Christine at her son’s school when the "new Christine" (her ex-husband’s new girlfriend) makes a better impression during parent night.

"CSI: Miami," 9 p.m., CBS. A rich man gets married on a cruise ship before being killed.

"Medium," 9 p.m., NBC. Molly Ringwald guest stars as a woman who shows up in Allison’s dreams without being harmed. Allison remains convinced she’s in danger.

"What About Brian," 9 p.m., ABC. Brian tries to simplify his life by spending the evening with Lisa. Alas, people have other plans for him.