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.

JASON’S PICK:
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.

NAVANI’S PICK:
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.

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

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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.

NAVANI’S PICK:
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??

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Conan [TBS, 11p]
Divine Intervention booked Carol Burnett and Eric Andre.

JASON’S PICK:
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.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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…

Tuesday’s Best Reviewed: The Expanse

Tuesday was packed with sci-fi, superheroes, and sitcoms, and mostly it was a well-reviewed kinda day, although Reverse Flash didn’t send people reeling. New Girl survives the lack of the new girl in stride. Brooklyn Nine-Nine benefits from a cruise and a host of cool low-key guest stars. Surprisingly, the day was won by the quietly cult-building Syfy space opera starring Thomas Jane.

Tuesday, January 26th’s Best: The Expanse (8.8/10)

0126expanse

The Expanse hits a watershed moment as it ties together its plots in by all accounts splendid fashion — as AV Club puts it: “We have narrative cohesion!” Henry A. Otero of TV Fanatic gets positively giddy about “the pieces [starting to] fit together nicely” and declares the finale is “going to be killer, trust me.”

The Rest of the Night:

Marvel’s Agent Carter – 8.1

New Girl – 8.0

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – 8.0

Pretty Little Liars – 7.0

The Flash – 6.8

Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce – 6.5

The Grinder – 6.0

So Long, Abe, And Thanks for Being Fish

abevigoda

Sadly, this site, created almost two decades ago, finally had to make its first content update.

Every once in a while, it seems like an actor just may have achieved immortality, and Abe Vigoda, for whatever reason, was one of these men. He was the ultimate in lovable surly as Sgt. Fish on Barney Miller, and by all accounts, a great human being.

Here he is with two actors who also passed too soon, talking about the best food on earth:

What to Watch: 01/26/2016

Grinders off to grind on their own, perfectly mismatched cops romcomming on the seas, and pandas lead our choices on this fairly packed Tuesday.

NAVANI’S PICK:
The Grinder [FOX, 9:30p]
Looks like Stewart has finally gotten his wish – for Dean to be out of his hair. Dean takes a job offer from another firm (ha, showed Stewart) and  he is actually now practicing law in court, but against his own brother.

JASON’S PICK:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine [FOX, 9p]
Not to oversell this program, but how can I not rec’ up an episode where Peralta & Santiago go on a sea cruise. The rest of the team-ups are awesome as well as Gina & Terry collabo on machinations surrounding Capt. Holt and some always welcome bantering between Rosa & Charles (hopefully as wonderful as their interplay about his sadly departed dog).

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Panda Republic [Animal Planet, 8p]
A look at two organizations in China, trying to breed pandas in captivity in hopes of releasing the cubs into the wild.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

It’s New Girl minus the titular new girl as sequestered Jess means probably a lot of chaos at the loft…if you’re a superfan of the Windy City’s essential services, well, NBC is the channel for you tonight…if hunting houses is more your speed, then mosey on over to HGTV…

Monday’s Best Reviewed: Jane the Virgin

A busy Monday of reviewable shows and, with one glaring exception, yesterday’s television was well-received. The X-Files second offering after its decade-plus hiatus earned much better reviews than its pilot (expectations can be a…). Syfy’s adaptation of Lev Grossman’s popular novel series The Magicians was welcomed with an absolute thud, and the lowest grade we’ve seen yet (in two whole days of tracking). Lucifer‘s buzz was so blah that I could only discover one review of it. However, the day was owned by shows with female heroes.

Monday January 25th’s Best: Jane the Virgin (9.2/10)

bestrevjane

Terrific use of Gramma “Glamma” Rita Moreno, honest emotions, and a host of secrets revealed helped earn the generally beloved drama Jane the Virgin best of night with “Chapter Thirty-One.” Vulture loved the manner the Jane stories — her starting a role as TA and her sleep-training her son — are “woven together” by basketball. TV Fanatic called Rogelio’s tender exchange with his mom “a lovely, unselfish choice for the character.” AV Club harbored some reservations, but commended the “small victories” as necessary for “finding ways to bring more emotional honesty to the sweeping, telenovela-inspired moments.”

The Rest of the Night:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – 9.2 (but a lower 9.2)

The most adventurous show on television was eked out by a decimal, as CEF‘s Winter Premiere earned high praise — the highest from AV Club who gave it props for “mostly stick[ing] with what works: a funny song, jokes that come out of left field, lots of awkwardness, and the occasional moment that punches you right in the gut.”

Supergirl – 8.5

This surprising superhero story flies on — with IGN touting it as a “dark, emotional episode,” “a good, if heavy-handed, bit of television.”

The X-Files – 7.8

The ballad of Mulder & Scully 2.0 rebounded on its second episode in two nights, or as AV Club put it, it got “some of its groove back.”

The Magicians – 5.9

Pans all around for the debut of the awaited Syfy series, including Vulture‘s disappointed observation that fans will want to “take [their] dog-eared copy of Lev Grossman’s arch, explosive novel and toss it into a water square at your closest welters pitch,” due to the show’s tonal disconnect from its original, YA cult fave source. Although they did give it a relatively hopeful 3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday’s Best Reviewed: Galavant

This new feature will scour the internet for reviews of the previous night’s programs to see what shows we might first want to catch up on our DVR’s or favored streaming site. Or just have our suspicions confirmed that, yes, last night’s episode of Blah Blah Blah was no-good, awful, piece of trash. In any case, we’ve taken the ratings, put them through our hackily derived, pointless formula and here ya go…

Sunday, January 24’s Best: Galavant (8.6/10)

yesbes0124galavant

Dan Fogelman’s little medieval musical comedy that could beat out the return of Mulder & Scully, the Gallagher family’s continued depravity, and good ol’ reliable Downton to fairly easily capture the top-reviewed show of last night. The AV Club avers that the program has “earned its darkness,” and showed “balls” of which its pilot could never have dreamed. IGN was a bit less glowing, liking the double episode overall, but adding that the “second half-hour didn’t quite hold the momentum of the first installment.”

The Rest of the Night:

Shameless – 8.5 

Frank’s debauched affairs got nice write-ups where they did, but I could only find two reviews. AV Club gave it a solid B+ and dubbed it “a definite improvement over last week’s outing,” but lamented the catch-22 in its need to reinvent itself — as they do, the situations become more contrivance.

Downton Abbey – 7.7

The soft-spoken Brits earned solid reviews for this mostly transitionary episode where Thomas the Evil Footman learned it’s hard out there for a butler (particularly when he’s a jerkface) and the hapless Daisy went about saving her one time father-in-law.

Billions – 7.5

AV Club calls the second episode of this Showtime Paul Giamatti/Damian Lewis drama about Wall St. hijinks (but serious ones) “much improved” from its disappointing debut.

The X-Files – 6.7

Everybody wanted so much to believe in this reboot (well, technically a very late arrival of Season 10 of the original) of one of the best shows of the 1990s, featuring the original cast, but reviews of its opening episode have been tepid to say the least. We’ll let you hunt down the reviews, but here’s hoping tonight’s episode brings back the quirky sci-fi, shady characters, and snappy interplay between the leads which made The X-Files legend.