Here’s what’s up in the world of television for Thursday, July 31. All times are Eastern.
The Quest (ABC, 8 p.m.): Is this show invented to pander to us, dear readers? Because if so, it’s working. Tonight ABC debuts its live-action role-playing reality television show, and as it turns out, this might be all that we have ever wanted from life, or at least from ABC, the scrappy little network that could. Genevieve Valentine is fulfilling her and our wildest dream by covering the premiere tonight, so if you want to watch The Quest and then read her review of the episode, that could work really well. From ABC’s press release:
A genre-bending new reality series unlike anything else on television, “The Quest,” combines harrowing and intense competition challenges, narrative storytelling and cutting edge special effects and prosthetics to conjure an immersive fantasy environment. 12 real people, pulled from their everyday lives, are transported to a fantasy world where they are declared Paladins, defenders of a noble cause. The Paladins must compete to save the besieged kingdom of Everealm but only one will prevail and earn the right to be called the One True Hero.
And ladies and gentlemen, here are your LARPers:
Shondo Blades (30, MMA Fighter from Houston, TX)
Lina Carollo (27, School Counselor from Delran, NJ)
Jim Curry (22, Student from Little Rock, AR)
Andrew Frazer (25, Personal Trainer from West Hartford, CT)
Bonnie Gordon (28, Property Manager from Lafayette, LA)
Ashley Guerrero (35, Horse Trainer from Murrieta, CA)
Patrick Higgins (41, High School Math Teacher from Joliet, IL)
Jasmine Kyle (31, Mother and Homemaker from Media, PA)
Adria Kyne (41, Marketing Director from Nashua, NH)
Leticia Reyes (36, Executive Assistant from White Plains, NY)
Katherine “Katie” Smaluk (26, Bartender from Chicago, IL)
Christian Sochor (23, Server from New York, NY)
Also, yo: It’s filmed on location in Austria. Here for it.
The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV, 10 p.m.): Sundance brings yet another haunting miniseries to the table via the BBC—this one starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as a British-Israeli businesswoman with a tortured past. Come for the performances and beautiful direction; stay for the mounting despair that engulfs you as you realize the futility of war. We won’t do weeklies of this, but Sonia Saraiya did the pre-air review, here.
Maron (IFC, 10 p.m.): And we bid goodbye to Marc Maron’s show tonight, as it closes out its second season. In the finale, Marc meets an old friend that wants a favor, but then the friend dies, and Marc is all like “oh shit, success is fleeting.” This is a metaphor for life.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7 p.m.)
Regular Show (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.)
Defiance (Syfy, 8 p.m.)
Rectify (Sundance, 9 p.m.)
Married (FX, 10 p.m.)
You’re The Worst (FX, 10:30 p.m.)
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1 p.m.): It’s the penultimate review, folks. Zack Handlen is gearing up his hot-air balloon to ascend to the great flying circus in the sky. But before that, there’s two more reviews of the great trapeze artists of the age vaulting, without a net, into the clouds below...
ELSEWHERE IN TV CLUB
In honor of Gravity Falls returning to Disney XD for its second season on Friday, Erik Adams sat down wtih Alex Hirsch, creator of the show, for a walkthrough of the first season. He said something very funny about trying to create mysteries in our era of Internet television fandom:
Cumulatively, the minds of the Internet have solved problems that no single human possibly could. If they can fill holes in a DNA strand, they can fill holes in our plot. [Laughs.] They are now a terrifyingly powerful force to be reckoned with. If you want to keep something a secret, and you also want to tease it, it’s harder than it’s ever been. If one fan comes close to an answer and broadcasts it, it can become as known as the actual plot points—even if it’s not true. It’s a blessing in terms of hyper-engagement. It’s also a curse in terms of “How do our four writers trick the mental might of the entire Internet?”
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Layover With Anthony Bourdain: Extra Miles (Travel, 9 p.m.): The description for this indicates that literally for most of this episode Bourdain rides around in a red convertible. That sounds like compelling TV, though. (We are being entirely serious.)
Dating Naked (VH1, 9 p.m.): Disturbingly, the TV Guide description for this describes a blonde as “perky,” which strikes us as unfortunate in a show about naked people. Unless the description is intended to just make us think about her boobs. (It probably is. Congratulations, VH1, we are now thinking about boobs.)
#candidlynicole (VH1, 10 p.m.): “Nicole meets several mothers from her children’s school, but she grows concerned that they’re treating her differently because of her partying past.”
Leah Remini: It’s All Relative (TLC, 10 p.m.): Leah and Angelo go to New York to show Sofia where Leah grew up. Oddly, it’s not a Hollywood backlot for The King Of Queens.
LeAnn And Eddie (VH1, 10:30 p.m.): LeAnn and Eddie go to Nashville and hang out with her dad. Eddie tries to connect to his father-in-law. The implication is that he probably doesn’t succeed at first but then eventually wins him over. And all that, in just a half-hour!
Pacific Rim (Cinemax, 10 p.m.): MECHS FIGHT EACH OTHER! Actually, this movie could suck on the small screen, because you wouldn’t get Guillermo Del Toro’s sense of massive scale. On the other hand, we should all just watch it again, because it’s so fun.
Red Dragon (MOMax, 9 p.m.): For all you people jonesing for your Hannibal fix, here’s another incarnation—not as satisfying, but good reference material.
Bayern Munich vs. Chivas Guadalajara (ESPN, 8 p.m.): A friendly soccer match being played in Harrison, New Jersey—just in case the two weeks since the World Cup final was too long.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Extant: Sonia Saraiya is still reviewing this show all by her lonesome, in a venture so isolated it feels like a 13-month long space mission... wait a minute, is she pregnant with an alien baby?! UH OH.