Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, November 6. All times are Eastern.
Hell On Wheels (AMC, 10 p.m.): AMC’s had a rough row to hoe with TV critic types after it followed up Mad Men and Breaking Bad with the slow-moving, canceled Rubicon, the fun but not incredibly deep The Walking Dead, and, well, The Killing, but it doesn’t appear things are going to get any easier with the network’s new Western, Hell On Wheels, which debuts tonight with an overstuffed pilot that’s been garnering mixed reviews. Still, it’s a Western—not something you see on TV every day—and it’s got more than a few interesting elements in it, particularly as it goes along. Phil Nugent and Todd VanDerWerff will check in with their take on the series this afternoon.
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): Doesn’t it sort of feel like every leg this season has been a non-elimination leg? We know that’s not true, since the amount of teams has haphazardly decreased, but, man, the show’s over-relying on this device this season. Scott Von Doviak’s plan for the show would involve eliminating everybody all at once. Maybe that’s not preferable.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Your newest drama hit—picked up for a full season this week—has really taken that whole “let’s be the next Lost” thing to heart, what with the way it’s giving us flashbacks into the pasts of the various fairy tale characters, even though we already kind of know their past stories thanks to, you know, existing. Oliver Sava’s hoping for something a little better tonight.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Jane Lynch guest-voices as an assistant for Homer who quickly replaces him, while Bart builds a mechanical seal for a science fair. The show’s really doing what it can to come up with storylines it’s never done before if “Bart builds a mechanical seal for a science fair” is the index card getting pulled down off the writers’ room wall. Hayden Childs would never replace his real seal.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 9 p.m.): We’re going to compliment this show in a way that sounds like an insult but isn’t: There are few shows better at slowly building to something you already know is coming out there. Everything on this show is eminently predictable, but it’s also built to so well you sort of don’t care. Unless you do. But Noel Murray’s with us. Neener neener.
Dexter (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Did the person that seemed to die at the end of the last episode actually die? Will Dexter have his revenge for this death? And just who will the special guest star that turns up in this episode be? All will be answered, plus you’ll get lots of unusually boring—even for this show—supporting character subplots. Next week, Dexter goes to Nebraska! Joshua Alston can’t wait.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): Ryan Reynolds appears as himself, moving to Quahog and becoming obsessed with Peter. Because of course that’s what you’d do. Actually, if this is Family Guy’s take on the famous Frank “Grimey” Grimes episode of The Simpsons, only starring Ryan Reynolds, that could be kind of fun. Or completely awful. Kevin McFarland has a pretty good guess.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.): This episode is called “Executive Order 13224,” which is super exciting and far more exciting than “Executive Order 13223,” the previous high-water mark of the series. But they should probably stop before they get to “13225” because has there ever been an installment 13225 that was any good? Don’t say Rocky. David Sims hates Rocky 13225.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Here’s hoping things work out well for Police Officer Guy, Complaining Red-Haired Wife, Boy Little Kid, and Interloping Deputy Guy. We also hope they turn out well for Redneck Guy, Old Guy, Black Guy, Sad Lady, and Girl Little Kid. Actually, is anyone still looking for Girl Little Kid? Anyone? Zack Handlen will find her.
American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): At this point, it feels like this show has been off the air as long as it was for the summer hiatus, but it returns tonight, with Stan and Francine visiting the world’s largest water park. Is that still Noah’s Ark? Is this show doing a Wisconsin Dells-themed episode? Will everybody visit the House on the Rock? Rowan Kaiser can barely contain himself!
Homeland (Showtime, 10 p.m.): The weird influence of Rubicon—which co-executive producer Henry Bromell also worked on—continues, as we come up to an episode wherein everybody has to take a polygraph test. Fortunately, the episode where that happened on Rubicon was a great one, and maybe we’ll get some information on whether Brody is or isn’t. Todd VanDerWerff fails all polygraph tests.
Hung (HBO, 10 p.m.): “Ray wonders if the missing money was stolen by Lenore.” Geez, Ray. What’s Lenore going to have to do before you realize she is the source of all evil ever, up to and including stealing Ray and Tanya’s clients, nearly breaking up that nice young couple, and instigating the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Will Harris is way ahead of you on this one.
Pan Am (ABC, 10 p.m.): Stubbornly, this show is hanging on, managing to gain slightly in the key demo in last week’s ratings and getting a script order for additional episodes. Plus, tonight’s episode guest stars Gaius Charles, better known as Smash Williams. Here’s hoping that he sees a clear, open field on his way to the end zone. And that Erik Adams uses as many Friday Night Lights puns as possible.
How To Make It In America (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): Here’s something you might not have ever thought you’d hear about this show: Many of the important plot points in the last few episodes have featured bicycles prominently. That puts it in line with several other HBO series, including (and we’re serious here) Deadwood, which is all right by us. Kenny Herzog drops in on the guys, as always.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Doctor Who (Classic) (11 a.m.): This one’s called “The Dalek Invasion Of Earth,” which probably means that the United Kingdom’s favorite robot-voiced salt shakers with electricity thingies in their little arms are going to invade the Earth or whatever. Christopher Bahn, who’s the guy we’ll turn to if the Daleks actually invade, lets us know what the Doctor does about the situation.
The Critic (3 p.m.): Nathan Rabin takes a short break from classic Simpsons to dive into the show created by Simpsons writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss after they briefly left the show. If you’ve been waiting to carefully consider and discuss—in detail—every episode of the exploits of Jay Sherman, well, this just might be the feature for you.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
John Sandford’s Certain Prey (USA, 9 p.m.): USA gets Mark Harmon to star in a new TV movie, meant to kick off a new series of films that will take the whole USA ethos of easily digestible but highly entertaining pabulum to two hours of airtime, from just one. This one’s about a police officer hunting a hit woman while a serial killer hunts him. Sounds… complicated.
Page Eight (PBS, 9 p.m.): Masterpiece Contemporary drops in on Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz in a contemporary spy thriller written and directed by David Hare. In fact, Michael Gambon and it girl Felicity Jones drop by as well. Sounds… classy. Meredith Blake gives you an early look at the project to let you know whether it’s worth your time this afternoon.
The Real Housewives Of Atlanta (Bravo, 9 p.m.): Every so often, we drop in on one of these Real Housewives shows, and all of you pretty much let us know you just don’t give a shit. Then we drop in again, because we’re masochists, and we want to trick some of the people who really care about this bullshit to visit our site. Tonight, Brandon Nowalk gets the drop-in call.
The Heart, She Holler (Cartoon Network, 12:30 a.m., Monday): Steve Heisler’s got an early look at this new adult swim miniseries that stars Patton Oswalt, Kristen Schaal, and all your TV Club pals. Oswalt and Schaal play siblings, which is exactly something that sounds like it would happen, and the two of them get embroiled in an angry dispute over a will. Sounds… hilarious?
Working Girl (Fox Movie Channel, 8 p.m.): Our collective wife will still occasionally break into “Let The River Run” by Carly Simon at random intervals, which lets you know how this workplace comedy, starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, and Sigourney Weaver, got into her head and messed it up. It’s a fun flick, if you’ve never seen it, though don’t expect anything great. Mike Nichols directed.
V For Vendetta (BBC America, 9 p.m.): Proving that it just screws up everything its big brother the BBC does correctly, BBC America schedules V For Vendetta for Guy Fawkes Boxing Day, instead of Guy Fawkes Day itself. Nobody says “Remember, remember, the sixth of November.” Well, we do, but that’s because our cat was born that day.
Sunday Night Football: Steelers at Ravens (NBC, 8 p.m.): You ever notice how the Steelers are always good, but nobody seems to pay a lot of attention until it’s the playoffs and we realize how gravely we’ve underestimated them because we enjoy tuning out Steelers fans? Yeah, it looks like another one of those seasons, doesn’t it?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Veronica Mars (Friday): You asked, and Rowan Kaiser answered, as he returns with his episode-by-episode trip through Veronica Mars, now on the show’s second season. It may be a divisive season, but Rowan looked at the season premiere and said it was one of the best he’s ever seen. So we’re excited to see what he thinks of what’s next.