Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, February 6. All times are Eastern.
The 2014 Winter Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.): Welcome to the first night of The A.V. Club’s Olympics coverage! The opening ceremonies aren’t until tomorrow, but coverage of the first events for figure skating, snowboarding, and women’s freestyle skiing starts tonight in Sochi. Specifically: Slopestyle snowboarding (which Shaun White just opted out of, citing a course that carried “the potential risk of injury”) and the first-ever team figure skating short program, which we do not understand at all, but is explained in some detail here. NBC decided this new figure skating competition is so important, they’re covering it ahead of schedule. Is it just a ploy to tap into the skating-obsessed subculture of American viewership? Most definitely!
And so you know: Every night until February 23, we’ll have a TV Club writer on duty to guide you through the inevitable #NBCfails and controversies of the Sochi games, and will kick off the games properly with a livechat tomorrow night during the opening ceremonies. Tonight, Ryan McGee will start things off for us by setting the scene in the frozen wastes of Putin’s Russia—which, last we checked, are significantly warmer than the What’s On Tonight Chicago offices. (Sigh.)
Reign (The CW, 9 p.m.): How is possible that you all aren’t watching this batshit insane show? Reign is still a teen soap opera set in the 1520s, but as the story advances this season, so do the ridiculous dramatic stakes. Everything is always For Scotland! Or For France! Caroline Framke is giving this series higher and higher grades, which we assume is either a sign of delirious illness or a sign of its increasing quality. Either way, you should definitely check out her review tonight—who doesn’t want to see 400 words of ranting about the subtle differences between a Mary/Bash pairing (Mash) and a Mary/Frances pairing (Franny)?
Spoils Of Babylon (IFC, 10 p.m.): The first night of the Olympics overshadows the “epic” finale of this short IFC series, in which Winston sets his dramatic sights on the annual Christmas party. Though the series has not been nearly batty enough for his satisfaction, David Sims was pleasantly surprised by last week’s episode. With tonight’s finale he’ll also give us his verdict on the whole season.
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): And because we almost forgot to cover it last week: Elementary returned from its winter hiatus last week, and this procedural is still one of our favorite shows on television—in that quiet, CBS way that The Good Wife has perfected. Myles McNutt reviews tonight’s “Corpse Du Ballet,” which is about a dead ballerina. Total bummer, but good title.
The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC, 11:30 p.m.): It’s Jay Leno’s last show—again. Billy Crystal and Garth Brooks are guest stars. On February 17, Jimmy Fallon will take over as host of the storied franchise.
ELSEWHERE IN TV CLUB
In honor of Leno’s last night, Matt Wild introduces an idea that will not be controversial at all: Jay Leno was good at being bad. We’ll let you trot over there for the rest of this incisive For Our Consideration. But this line is sort of priceless: “It’s useful to remember that Jay Leno’s crappiness wasn’t always self-evident.” Damning with faint praise is an ancient A.V. Club tradition.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (10 a.m.): Zack Handlen’s Fictional Space Station Support Group will be meeting at the usual time and place. There will be no snacks. Not after what occurred last time. You know what you did.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC, 8 p.m.): TLC keeps telling us that there are four new episodes of Honey Boo Boo every night, but it looks like the show is remastering old episodes with new production, which is why the listings think they’re new. We don’t really know! But anyway, at some point on TLC, there will be a new episode of HCHBB, and will be about peeing while standing up.
The This Old House Hour (PBS, 8 p.m.): An Arlington Italianate mansion is the subject of tonight’s episode. 150-year-old corbels play an important role. We googled “corbel” and learned it is a type of bracket. You can all go home now.
Toned Up (Bravo, 10 p.m.): This reality show about two fitness trainers who are both partners and friends ends its first season tonight. Katrina and Karena have a fight in these two final episodes, which is dramatic, theoretically.
Shark Tank (ABC, 10 p.m.): A repeat of an episode featuring a couple from Texas selling knee-high boot socks, a team selling smartphone clutches, and a pitch for made-to-order chocolate bars. There’s literally nothing else worth watching on.
The Cutting Edge (TVGN, 8 p.m.): The TV Guide network is getting into the swing of things with this ‘80s figure skating rom-com. It’s a very weird movie and honestly, sort of terrible, but a pre-West Wing Moira Kelly plays a skating version of Kate from Taming Of The Shrew, so it’s at least interesting.
The Little Mermaid (Disney, 8 p.m.): The animated 1989 classic, which heralded the beginning of Disney’s resurgence as an animation heavyweight, airs tonight. And in case you were wondering, Ariel is 16 years old—she’s not a child!
Ghostbusters (Esquire, 8 p.m.): The only thing that the What’s On Tonight team has ever wanted from life is to be ghostbusters. WHEN THERE’S SOMETHING WEIRD / AND IT DON’T LOOK GOOD / WHO YA GONNA CALL / WHAT’S ON TONIGHT
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Middle: On its way out for a hiatus during the Olympics, The Middle offered up a crazy episode: While the Hecks are eating at a church buffet, the minister—played by Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele—pulls them aside for group therapy. Will Harris has the details.