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The Must List: Week of April 19, 2009

”The Cougar,” Adam Lambert, Doonesbury, and 12 more pop culture gems YOU — and EW staff — love this week

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Vivica A. Fox
Neiko Roman/TV Land

TV
THE COUGAR on TV Land
Forty-year-old Stacey is looking for love, and we all know the best way to do that: on a reality show filled with hardbodied ­single guys in their 20s and hosted by Vivica A. Fox. Cougar wins by keeping its tongue lodged in its cheek, never taking this himbo hunt too seriously.

TV
JOHNNY DEPP on SpongeBob SquarePants
Edward Scissorhands. Sweeney Todd. Jack Kahuna Laguna? Depp debuts his newest memorable character (a mellow surf legend) on Nickelodeon and nick.com April 17. Also on DVD.

INTERNET
ON THE SET Dioramas on Flickr
Finally! We’ve been waiting for someone to construct mini sets of Alice and The Price Is Right.

DVD
SKINS, VOL. 2 on DVD
Slumdog Millionaire‘s Dev Patel is but one part of this genius Brit show that tackles teen life head-on. Need more drama? Not everyone survives the season.

MOVIES
STATE OF PLAY
TMZ meets Watergate when eager-beaver blogger Rachel McAdams teams up with Russell Crowe’s grizzled old-school journalist to crack the case of a politician’s murdered mistress. Based on a riveting British miniseries, Play has an unimpeachable pedigree, a corker of a plot, and Helen Mirren as a world-weary newspaper boss.

MOVIES
EVERY LITTLE STEP
Call it meta-meta-theatrical. This engaging doc is about auditions for a Chorus Line revival, which was itself about auditions for a Broadway show. An artful blend of material and medium, it has everything you want in a backstage drama: archival footage, oceans of tears, and a few dreams no longer deferred.

DIGITAL
DOONESBURY
Garry Trudeau’s strip is ever-current: Reporter Roland Hedley tweets, Duke liaises with rogue nations, and Mike’s kid Alex dates a funny, sweet Iraq-war vet with a brain injury. (At doonesbury.com or in your local newspaper.)

BOOKS
LAURA RIDER’S MASTERPIECE, by Jane Hamilton

Why this novel? Well, who wouldn’t want a peek inside the mind of an aspiring romance writer who cuts off sex with her hubby, then engineers an affair for him so she can study it?

MUSIC
GREAT NEW MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS
Go retro with Adventureland‘s download-only collection of ’80s artists (like the Cure), then hit it Fast & Furious with tracks produced by the Neptunes, and newbie Rye Rye’s slammin’ ”Bang.”

READER’S CHOICE: TV
ADAM LAMBERT on American Idol
Front-runner Lambert may spark debate (the hair! the guyliner! the drama!), but there’s no arguing his talent (or his fashion debt to the Cure). His version of ”Mad World” was so tender, it even got Simon Cowell out of his seat. —Submitted by Katie

READER’S CHOICE: MUSIC
A POSITIVE RAGE, the Hold Steady
Here’s the perfect chance to relive rock’s best punch-drunk live show. —Seth

READER’S CHOICE: TV
LIFE on NBC
Best American show on television. Of course NBC will probably cancel it. —Claire

READER’S CHOICE: TV
ASHES TO ASHES on BBC America
A sequel of sorts to Life on Mars with the gorgeous Keeley Hawes and the gruff, but sexy, Philip Glenister. —Liz P.

READER’S CHOICE: TV
GILLES MARINI on Dancing With the Stars
He is the breakout star of the Stars on DWTS and he’s getting better every week. He can also take credit for giving Cheryl some of her spark back we’ve been missing the past few seasons. —EM in MS

READER’S CHOICE: TV
DEADLIEST WARRIOR on Spike TV
It’s pretty cool how they break it down. Just watching each expert make fun each other was priceless. —John

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