What To Watch: 01/07/2021

After yesterday’s semi-scheduled coup by a red-hatted army of assholes goaded on by our dumbest President in history, it’s refreshing to watch a businessman turned political leader whose follies we can laugh at–and that he’s played by outspoken Trump critic and all-around delight Ted Danson. The one-time fictional Red Sox relief pitcher is having one hell of a sitcom second act. And hope you like game shows, because there’s a lot of them tonight.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Mr. Mayor [NBC, 8p]
Ted Danson stars as a retired businessman who surprises everyone when his bid for mayor of Los Angeles is successful. Unlike present day stories, the new mayor seems to lack ulterior motives (looking at you, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum), and must stand for something while connecting with the people, his staff, and his (bratty) teen daughter. Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the previews feel more Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt than 30 Rock, but if by the end of tonight’s two episodes Danson’s mayor don’t seem like the type of guy to support nazis for a 2024 or 2028 presidential bid, than we (I) might be sold.

JASON’S PICK:
Coyote [CBS All Access]
This new streaming series starring Michael Chiklis looks to answer the question what if it were Hank who was forced to break bad? A retired Border Patrol agent who’s coerced into shuttling refugees over the U.S.-Mexico line is certainly a landmine of a premise, but the early buzz is that it is a compelling drama that handles its lightning rod of a subject with nuance.

BRAD’S PICK:
Hell’s Kitchen [NBC, 8p]
Cooking’s trial-by-fire returns to Fox tonight. In a world gone upside down, the subtle comfort of Gordon Ramsey calling hapless chef wannabes “donkey” seems like a nice distraction

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • It’s been a real best of times/worst of times situation for Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings. Not only did he put himself in the position of having to defend his own questionable tweets; his podcast partner also got a nickname (“Bean Dad”) on the social media site and that’s rarely a good thing. On the brighter side, the 75-time champion of the quiz show is set to be its new host. As warm up for that, he joins friends and fellow answer-with-a-question afficionados James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in the latest incarnation of the American version of The Chase. The stump-the-geniuses game show starts on ABC tonight.
  • And there’s an absolute barrage of new (or, well, new-adjacent) game shows tonight. Well, two. On ABC. It’s more of an ABC Game Show Night. It opens with Celebrity Wheel of Fortune which we might gloss over if it didn’t have a wonderful collection of eager contestants (game game show guests?) led by Yvette Nicole Brown and Leslie Jones. The Hustler is hosted by the ever-appealing Craig Ferguson and its the latest in collaborative quizzes with a twist. The gimmick is a gentler variation on The Mole where there is one plant who is given the answer but must keep his or her identity secret if they want to win everybody’s share of the money. Actually, that’s not gentler at all–that’s the sort of cruel nonsense that’s the last thing we need in 2021. But Ferguson is charming.
  • A reality talent competition program is kind of like a quiz show and TBS’ The Go Big Show is all about the most extreme, most audacious, most raucous performances. If you remember The Jim Rose Circus from the ’90s, you might have some idea what’s in store. And who’s a better choice to host this proudly loud affair than the shirtless beer-bellied “Machine” of a comedian who exudes a Groundhog Day if that day started and ended with a frat party, Bert Kreischer.

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