Critic's picks: It's fun to be stuck in 'The Middle'

"The Middle" -- Too long have the hilarious and down-rent relatable Hecks lived in the shadow of their upscale-yet-seeming-unemployed neighbors on"Modern Family." Patricia Heaton's Frankie and Neil Flynn's Mike remind us on a weekly basis that fatigue and bewilderment are the real resting states of family life and their assorted children -- jock Axl (Charlie McDermott), sweet 'n' goofy Sue (Eden Sher) and oddball bookworm Brick (Atticus Shaffer) -- are the anti-Abercrombie kids most of us once were. The season finale will be chock full o' milestones, Axl graduates high school, Brick moves on to middle school and Sue tries to get her license, for the sixth time. ABC, Wednesday, 8 p.m.

"Borgen" -- Having got out of the PBS biz right before the debut of "Downton Abbey," KCET is playing a bit of catch-up by debuting the Danish political drama that has had critics buzzing long before the show made its way to the U.S. Following the personal and political machinations of Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), the fictional first female prime minister of Denmark, "Borgen" nicely fills the gap for those who finished "House of Cards" and are still awaiting Season 2 of "The Newsroom." (Warning: subtitles) KCET, Friday, 10 p.m.

"How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)" -- Protest ABC's cancellation of this very funny midseason replacement by watching its final episodes. More biting than "Modern Family," more reckless than "The Middle," it's a show not afraid to own the real pathology of parenting. Also, it has Brad Garrett married to Elizabeth Perkins and when is that dream date ever going to happen again? ABC, Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.

"Grimm" -- Celebrate the continued life (picked up for a third season!) of the only criminal procedural in which the monsters are really monsters by watching the second half of its season finale. For the uninitiated, a Portland, Ore., detective is also a Grimm, that is a human who can see the various nonhuman characters who walk among us. Dark and fun and endlessly imaginative, it should be a much bigger hit than it is. NBC, Tuesday, 10 p.m.


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