What a great night of Sunday TV fearuring so much great animation, a 3-wheeled car scam by a flawed trans hero(?), nothing but razzle-dazzle and the amazing return of John Oliver for his long-awaited eighth season. Also a new episode of the longest-running scripted show of all-time (the one we just clumsily referenced).
The Great North [Fox, 8:30p]
We’ve seen a couple of teaser episodes but tonight this animated show with, essentially, Ron Swanson officially begins. Nick Offerman plays a single salt of the earth dad trying to keep his family together in Alaska. Oh and his daughter has an imaginary friend named Alanis Morrisette who likes to appear in the Northern Lights. Just when you think there’s nothing more to be said in the genre of animated family comedies you get a breath of fresh arctic air.
The Lady and the Dale [HBO, 9p]
HBO airs the conclusion for its Duplass Bros. -produced miniseries about con artist Elizabeth Michael. (Will it answer my family’s nagging questions about her wife, Vivian? Unlikely.)
Bob’s Burgers [Fox, 9p]
Loren Bouchard’s Belchers have been the best half-hour holiday experience for 11 years now. The fact that this year the Valentine’s Day episode takes its name from either a classic 1980s adventure flick or the underrated Eddy Grant hit that somehow was cut from said film and replaces “Stone” with “Beef” just adds to the appeal. Tammy throws an anti-V-Day party while Louise has something trick under her bunny ears as she convinces her parents to open the restaurant on one of the biggest dining days.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- After blowing up 2020, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver returns just in time and although we’re sure he’d prefer to talk about ice salinization standards or cattle corruption, but given the news of yesterday, he’s going to have to dive deep once more into the vast sea of Trump. Frankly, we’re just so, so glad he’s back and whatever he covers, we’re back and can’t wait to hear what Adam Driver can do to him next.
- Tucci Gang, Tucci Gang, Tucci Gang. The ultra-suave character actor and amateur mixologist named Stanley adds travel host to his repertoire with CNN’s Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy. Tucci Gang, Tucci Gang, Tucci Gang!
- Hey, ho, The Luminaries is not a biography of a 2010s folksy alternative band by a screenwriter who didn’t bother to get the band’s exact name, but a UK/New Zealand period piece based on an Eleanor Catton novel and starring Eve Hewson.
- Fox’s Sunday night line-up is not called Animation Domination because there are a couple animated shows. They’re filling it to the brim with off-kilter but well-drawn characters as they add the comforting Southerners of Bless The Harts to an already crowded line-up. The dean of all programming, The Simpsons finds both Bart and Lisa surprised, but by different things. Finally, Brian the Dog and his girlfriend’s son becoming friends sounds like something out of the Family Guy plot manatee’s mix-n-match, but here we are.
- While animation may be dominant at Fox, there’s still room for one live action game show in the line-up; this one is full of Pepsi product placement and is hosted by the guy best known for being hated by OITNB fans and, oh yeah, for something to do with a pie. It’s weird to remember that Eugene Levy was Jason Biggs’ father in those films. All that said, as commercials disguised as game shows go, Cherries Wild does not look particularly bad, per se.
- The show that laughs at the notion of spontaneity and true love gets a front row seat on Valentine’s Day on Discovery+. Two spin-offs of the three months + a stranger = eternal wedded bliss(?) show drop tonight with the game show 90 Day Fiance: Love Games and the compilation 90 Day Fiance: Lovers Collection. On a random note: a Cali band called Dante Elephante wrote a song inspired by the show called “90 Days” and it’s pretty not bad.
- It’s you feel like a binge on a meaningless CBS-style procedural, there’s worse you can do than the “nickus” spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles. On tonight’s standalone episode, a popular recurring character returns. Down on the bayou, Scott Bakula’s Pride has his team investigating an officer who murdered his therapist on NCIS: New Orleans.
- The interseason movie for Bounce’s successful soap opera, Saints & Sinners: Judgment Day finds the mayor under arrest and everything else all aflutter.
- For a more animated side of the law, Momma Named Me Sheriff returns in the late night Adult Swim block for a second season. It’s pretty much what you might expect for a show on that network with that title.
- For equal levels of disturbing, you can watch yet another show trying to figure out what lurked within the mind of the NFL’s greatest serial killer, focusing on his brief time in jail before his suicide, on Reelz’ Aaron Hernandez: Life Inside.
- Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton are pretty on-the-nose hosts for one of the odder intervals ever to be used as a flashpoint for celebration A Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music. In fairness, who knows what will be left in 2026, so NBC is right to take this moment to celebrate a musical style which has evolved from the Carter Family to Lil Nas X. And Dolly will be there, so we will too.
- Two stars of Outlander, Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, both Scots themselves, have become pals to the point they penned a #1 NY Times Best Seller together. On Starz, the pair travel through their homeland both sharing the corners they know and discovering ones knew to them in Men In Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam & Graham.
- In conclusion (sorry, one of us has been grading essays by college freshmen this weekend), Lifetime is eerily silent on this February 14. No worries, though, as Hallmark has got us covered with Crossword Mysteries: Terminal Descent where we’re pretty sure the murderer was Oona Chaplin with an awl. It does star Lacey Chabert–but then you can say that about at least 17 other Hallmark Movies according to her Wikipedia page. That’s followed by Valentine’s Again, where in the tradition of the movie set 12 days earlier, it’s a V-Day time loop after our busy businesswoman drops her smartphone and meets her fairy godmother. Also, there’s a cute dog and the weirdest bad date where her handsome suitor is so horrified by the fact she has a dog, he walks out of the fancy restaurant. Seriously, that’s where this movie is going with that. Now that’s good writing!