What to Watch: 02/02/2016

It’s a densely packed little Wednesday, as the darkest Muppet timeline returns, critically heralded The Expanse hits the end of its season (and contracts?), we begin to relive the Crime of the 20th Century: 90s Edition with all its speeding vans and Kato Kaelins, and we all anxiously await the shadow judgments of Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck, and all the other revered rodents across this great land. Our recommendations are a couple of ongoing programs of excellence and one perfectly on-the-twitchy-nose holiday movie classic. But we better get going with this What to Watch if we want to stay ahead of the weather.

Groundhog Day [Comedy Central, All Day]
It’s a Groundhog Day marathon! Watch Phil live his life over, and over again. (Only three months until spring!).

New Girl [FOX, 8p]
Last week’s first edition of New Girl minus the new girl was so wonderful, partially due to the brilliant pairing of Cece and Winston. This week promises more of that, as the duo hunts down her wedding dress. It also implies farce and…”wife” swapping(?!) in its title “Bob & Carol & Nick & Schmidt

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce [Bravo, 10p]
Things are heating up as Jo’s English playboy baker professes his feelings for her and Abby puts Dr. Harrie through the ‘boyfriend test’.


As seen above, ABC brings back a revamped Muppets, Syfy closes up the first season of The Expanse, and the highly anticipated true crime mini-series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story commences on FX…there’s continuing faithful shows like The GrinderiZombie (our hero takes on the characteristics of an erotic fiction author tonight — could be fun), Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fresh Off The Boat and Marvel’s 

Monday’s Best Reviewed: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Last night’s reviews were all over the board, as all four major shows earning review got at least one rave and at least one downright pan. The winner by default is burgeoning cult classic musical Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s return to camp (with Josh, of course).

Monday, February 1’s Best: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (8.0/10)

besyescrazyMost liked this quirkiest of “love” stories as CEG sent Becca an Josh back to camp. Present in A- praise was AV Club calling it the “latest in a line of strong episodes” for “how nimbly it balances not one, but three big storylines.” Christine Laskodi at TV Fanatic is less enamored, dipping the show into the mid-3s for its “slow start,” but loves the revelations.

The Rest of the Night:

Jane the Virgin – 7.9

JTV‘s 32nd chapter got almost identical grades as Crazy Ex from all comers, save a tenth less of a star from TV Fanatic‘s Amanda Steinmetz who felt “nothing about [Jane’s] two potential suitors interested [her].”

Supergirl – 7.1

Supergirl‘s introduction of their take on the classic Bizarro character was polarizing to say the least. Caroline Siede at AV Club found it “elevates” the series and loved its feminist twist and how Supergirl saw her doppelgangerly opponent as a “victim not a villain.” On the other end of the spectrum, IGN‘s Cliff Wheatley, while recognizing the show caught some of its new villain’s “inherent tragedy,” unloaded on the episode as “rife with melodrama, hammy acting, odd character choices, and relationships we simply aren’t invested in.”

The Magicians – 6.7

IGN, on the other hand, loved the third episode of The Magicians for its penchant to “allow for nice touches for each of the characters.” AV Club was more tepid, issuing a warning to viewers who thought the initial pair of episodes “tore through plot too quickly…that problem is not going away.”


What to Watch: 02/01/2016

We’re halfway through the bitterest Winter months, and there’s a full complement of shows on the air, but sometimes the best call is to bask in classic 1990s movies of all varieties for a few days.

Angie Tribeca (TBS, 7p)
Yes, I know I have been hawking AT at every week’s beginning, but this episode where Tribeca & Giles go undercover as a pair of newlyweds to bring down a coke-smuggling wedding planner is the Naked Gun-esque’s series high point so far.

No Mas Bebes [PBS, 10p]
This doc discusses how Mexican mothers were coerced into getting sterilized in hospitals during the 1960s and 70s. I’m interested to see if they mention how it was also happening in Puerto Rico at the same time but under false pretenses, which is even more devastating.

Dick Tracy [TMC, 6p]
When this violent trainwreck came out in 1990, I wasn’t allowed to see it (for good reason–sex! a muddled plot! violence! terrible acting!), even though all the kids had bright yellow Dick Tracy lunchboxes. Hindsight, paired with Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This has resulted in relief that I can view this film with a critical, adult lens.


The X-Files improved from its tenth season’s first to second episode, and tonight we see if it can rise anywhere near the delightful insanity of its 1990s episodes (on FOX, of course)…if you enjoy awkward rich Brits, you have a couple choices: if you desire highbrow, Downton Abbey‘s final season marches on over at PBS, but if you feel like descending down to a floor above Benny Hill, check out the delightfully bizarre mock-reality show Almost Royal on BBC.

What to Watch:01/31/2016

On the days of most major NFL games, the rest of the evening’s television can be a bit dud-ish as the networks avoid anything which might be wasted on an audience that’s elsewhere. However, that all goes out the window with the hapless Pro Bowl, and at the very least, it’s a pretty normal day…

Billions [Showtime, 10p]
Showtime’s latest drama takes on the world of high finance and features some great thespian chops in Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis, and it started out a bit tepid, but came on in a more thrilling second offering. This episode promises political double-crosses galore.

Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry [E!, 10p]
Mediums plus Hollywood entertainers make for an intriguing mix. Honestly, I need to know what Brittany Murphy has to say, don’t judge me!

Jurassic Park [IFC, 6p]
The 1993 original, starring Santa Claus Richard Attenborough.


FOX is certainly not afraid of no football all-stars as they bring out the latest in the let’s-revive-nostalgic-musicals-with-b-level-stars gambit with Grease: Live — I snark, but will I be singing lustily during “Summer Nights” (well, leaving out its objectionable Kenickie line): probably not, because I’ll be watching elsewhere, but it sounds like fun…a bunch of ninjas who fashion themselves warriors will be gathering in the Americas on NBC to select the new GOP presidential candidate on American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. the World…then there’s Naked & Afraid with a marathon ending on an episode titled “Snaketacular Clip Show” and does anything sum up what we think that show might be any better?


What to Watch: 01/29/2016

As Fridays go, it’s not the worst of line-ups, particularly with a nice New on Netflix type of offering and the finale of one of the more respectable (and adorable) reality competitions. There’s also the return of a monster series that can be polarizing (even within the same person).

MasterChef Junior [FOX, 8p]
It’s the finale and with two finalists, a girl is guaranteed to win–for the first time! Both girls are funny, plucky, and talented chefs. This is an exciting night!

Gringolandia [Netflix]
Adapted from the Chilean web series, fun-loving Peter immigrates to New York to chase his American dream of owning a hot dog stand and all the riches that might entail. However, he soon finds out navigating the hipster world is no easy task.

Grimm [NBC, 9p]
I know I’m not alone in having a hate-watch show (you know, the kind of program you’re drawn to, but are also annoyed at the ridiculous — and yourself for BEING drawn to it). Grimm, with its goofy creatures and melodramatic notes, is it for me, and this one which brings “Juliette” back and focuses on the overblown Trubel, should be one of the most schadenfraude-y of episodes. Although it does seem to have a Monroe and Rosalee C-plot, so that could be genuinely fun.


The spigot has truly gone a bit dry beyond that…there’s a couple programs from the Major Network Shows That Waste Genuine Talent[TM?] file in NBC’s Undateable and ABC’s Dr. Ken…of the schedule-load of reality shows, there’s Bring It and Undercover Boss, which are both generally watchable (if a bit of a guilty treat on the latter)…and a new title, Deadliest Job Interview, which could intrigue some, but kind of just makes me sad.


What to Watch: 01/28/2016

There are no shortage of options on a Thursday night — today’s a day you might want to check your DVR is set up for action — but we’re going with the debut of a kooky apocalypse sitcom, the surprisingly solid J-Lo/Ray Liotta cop vehicle…and one of us is digging way into the channel-turning crate for a bit of cool 60-plus year old noir.

You, Me, and the Apocalypse [NBC, 8p]
Ok, so we already have the excellent Last Man on Earth, but who says the small screen world has no room for two bizarrely goofy post-apocalyptic romps. This one boasts Rob Lowe as a priest and the buzz is not half bad.

Shades of Blue [NBC, 9p]
Many say Ray Liotta is carrying this police drama but I am happily surprised with how well J. Lo is portraying her part as a crooked cop compromised by the FBI. During every episode I’m sure her cover is blown but then she finagles her way out of it. Let’s see if her good luck continues tonight.

Ivy [TMC, 8p]
Joan Fontaine is a “scheming murderess” in this pulpy thriller from 1947.


Comedy Central’s line-up of ne’er-do-wells colliding looks especially fun tonight with Blake adopting a cat on Workaholics which could be hilariously discomfiting — or just plain discomfiting, and on the so-far satisfying Idiotsitter, oddest couple Billie and Gene going on a funeral road trip which sounds like it should earn at least 3 “Mads” out of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad WorldColony on USA has Josh Holloway and a ridiculous, but compelling brave new world of aliens premise which has so far not gone completely off-the-rails…and if that’s not enough over-the-top intrigue, The Blacklist (NBC) has a medieval device murder going on…then there’s Baskets on FX, easily the most original show on the air, if its pilot is any indication, and with Zack G., it probably is, and hopefully it keeps up its measured peculiarity.

What to Watch: 01/27/2016

It’s a pretty standard Wednesday, but our suggestions run the range from odd couples on late night shows to better-than-average TV Land sitcommery to a scientific examination of disaster and tragedy.

Younger [TV Land, 10p]
Liza’s adventures continue as a newly single mom of 40 reentering the workforce pretending to be the ripe ol age of 26. How will she continue to keep up this charade through season 2??

Conan [TBS, 11p]
Divine Intervention booked Carol Burnett and Eric Andre.

NOVA: Himalayan Megaquake [PBS, 9p]
PBS’ pre-eminent science program looks behind the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, trying to explain the reasoning behind the enormity of the tragedy, while looking into the mysterious, and still elusive, attempts to try to predict where and when the next tremor will strike.


Criminal Minds (on CBS of course) has been on an impressive run of above-average, character-driven episodes — this week, the BAU is investigating murders at truck stops, so there’s that…Supernatural‘s Sam & Dean grace the CW with an episode about musically driven deaths, which actually sounds like a pretty damn exciting episode…also, there’s the first non-audition episode of American Idol, a preview of next season’s Duck Dynasty, and yet another 2 Broke Girls if you like those sort of things — and if you do, you know where to find them…