Here’s what’s up in the world of television for Thursday, January 2. All times are Eastern.
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.): The great televisual beast wakes once more this evening, a waking that brings with it shows that have been off the air for months as well as weeks. Namely, Community, kicking off a once-inconceivable fifth season under the even-more-once-inconceivable guidance of creator Dan Harmon. What’s On Tonight has seen three episodes of the new season, and since we’d rather manage expectations, we’ll just point you toward David Sims’ pre-air review. Todd VanDerWerff manages no expectations, and he fully expects the comments on tonight’s premiere review to hit the 500,000 mark before the weekend.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): Network synergy achieves singularity when the biggest comedy on TV finds a way to crossover with the biggest drama on TV, NCIS. Speaking of NCIS, Oliver Sava would like to announce that he’s making a cameo appearance on the NCIS edition of TV Club 10.
The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): The word “party” appears in the synopsis of the episode “Party” no less than three times. Robert David Sullivan thinks someone forgot to tell the show that New Year’s Eve was Tuesday.
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): A great enemy looms on the periphery. No, not the third series of Sherlock, but Moriarty. Which is a relief to Myles McNutt, who for a second there thought that mean he’d unwittingly entered into an “eternal nemesis” pact with Natalie Dormer.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): The “Kristina Braverman for mayor” plot is mercifully at an end, but it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire when Joel finds himself working through a Julia-Ed conflict. This only ends in one way: With Todd VanDerWerff curled up in a corner, wondering what sort of carefree life Haddie Braverman is having offscreen.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Taste (ABC, 8 p.m.): The reality competition that dares to ask “Wouldn’t The Voice be so much better if we got to watch the judges eat?” begins its second season. With any luck, the set dressing has been updated to alleviate fears that it’s going to trap the contestants, This Is Spinal Tap style.
The Assets (ABC, 10 p.m.): While Scandal sorts through the rubble of a frustrating fall, ABC’s betting big on this spy thriller that’s apparently more than just a broadcast-network attempt at cloning The Americans. Of course, information on attempts to clone The Americans is top secret, but Sonia Saraiya can fill you in on the details—FOR A PRICE!
Toned Up (Bravo, 10:30 p.m.): Begin cheating on that New Year's resolution by watching other people exercise on your television. And since it's a Bravo docuseries, the guilt is already built in!
Steven Seagal Lawman (Reelz, 10 p.m.): The network that never met a Steven Seagal property it didn’t want to acquire begins airing the “lost” episodes of Seagal’s time as a real-life law-enforcement agent. With any luck, we’ll learn why the episodes were ditched by A&E in the first place. Did Seagal roundhouse kick a suspect without proper cause? Did he file some paperwork incorrectly? Or maybe it was just the very real legal troubles that threatened the show’s original cancellation.
Doc Hollywood (TVGN, 8 p.m.): A blast from Michael J. Fox’s past—one that doesn’t involve a DeLoren or a Huey Lewis And The News theme song, but does point a way toward a future where it was okay not to like a Michael J. Fox character.
Seven Psychopaths (Showtime, 8 p.m.): Or what can you no longer call Community now that Chevy Chase has officially left the show. (And in a few weeks, you won’t even be able to call it Six Psychopaths [Donald Glover crying face.])
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Alabama (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.): Poor decision making in the big game against rival Auburn haunts The Crimson Tide all the way to New Orleans—though if this year’s Iron Bowl was any indication of how tonight’s game will play out, Oklahoma can just sit back for four quarters and nab a victory at the very last second.
BEST OF TV CLUB
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Oliver Sava’s reviews of Drag Race form an essential catalogue of every last “What the fuck?” moment from TV’s most consistently entertaining reality show/reality show takedown. Crucially noted in the report on “RuPaul Roast”: The sound made by thousands of jaws hitting the floor when a lip-syncing Roxxxy Andrews pulled off her wig to reveal… ANOTHER WIG.