Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 4, and Saturday, January 5. All times are Eastern.
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m., Friday): Against all odds, this quiet little sketch comedy series has attracted a surprising amount of attention, a loyal cult audience, and an Emmy nomination. And all of that from making fun of what seems like it could be the most ultra-specific, narrow concept in the world: the constant attempts of well-meaning white people to live a sustainable lifestyle. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are back for another season of mild-mannered chuckles, and we’ve recruited actual Portlander Les Chappell to tell us if their jokes have any basis in reality, just as soon as he finishes his cup of fair trade coffee and his organic vegan omelet.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The X-Files (1 p.m., Saturday): Todd VanDerWerff has gotten to the first half of the “Mulder finds out what really happened to his sister” two-parter, which he remembers as a muddled mess with a Moby song, but first, he’s going to watch an hour of snake handlers. Because everyone loves snake handlers!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
CSI: NY (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): CBS is all new tonight, and we’re going to recommend you drop in on this one. TV Guide says, “Two murders are linked by a very unusual weapon,” and the episode title is “Command-P,” so we’re just going to go out on a limb and say the weapon is a computer.
Great Performances (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): God only knows why PBS has been rolling out the new Great Performances episodes with such abandon recently, but here’s one about the making of Paul Simon’s Graceland, which is the best Paul Simon album for when you need a Ladysmith Black Mambazo fix.
Infested! (Animal Planet, 9 p.m., Friday): Tonight, a woman’s house is infested with vicious bats. In upcoming episodes, we’re going to call in this show’s infestation experts to take a look at our comments sections. Please recommend any pernicious pests here, that our experts may better deal with them.
Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m. Friday): TV’s greatest reality experiment returns, fresh for the new year, and we are moved to compose the following, to the tune of “Ode To Joy”: All new Shark Tank/ All new Shark Tank/ All new Shark Tank/ Shark Tank’s new! (We hope you understand what we’re going for here.)
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m., Saturday): If you’ve been wondering, “Say, what’s this goofy fairy tale show that’s a surprisingly big hit, despite the fact that its CGI looks like it was ripped straight from Riven, the sequel to Myst?” then here’s a marathon of significant season two episodes just for you!
Marvin Marvin (Nickelodeon, 8:30 p.m., Saturday): Lucas Cruikshank—that charming young man behind the Fred videos—now has this sitcom, in which he plays an alien. All we’re going to say is that if he gets as famous as Ray Walston, Robin Williams, or ALF, we’re going to be very, very disappointed.
Creature From The Black Lagoon (TCM, 8 p.m., Friday): Turner Classic’s got a full lineup of ‘50s B-movies tonight, including that one with the giant tarantula. (It’s called Tarantula.) But by far the best of them is this movie about an amphibious man beast and the women he must drag into his lair.
Tangled (Disney Channel, 8 p.m., Friday): There were so many bad signs about this Disney adaptation of the story of Rapunzel that it would have been surprising if the movie was any good at all. That it turned out to be as enjoyable as it is seems like a minor miracle. Let’s just call it the luck of Mandy Moore.
Hop (MoMax, 7:20 p.m., Saturday): Hey, remember how Hallmark aired Christmas movies from roughly mid-September until just a few days ago? Well, this little-seen Cinemax spinoff channel is going to be just like that but for Easter. And you know what? You’re going to like it.
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): If you haven’t seen Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, here’s your last chance to for quite a while. Oklahoma’s quarterback, Landry Jones, is a senior. What an old man! He should give it up!
NFL Playoff: Vikings at Packers (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday): The NFL playoffs begin Saturday, with the Bengals and Texans facing off at 4:30 Eastern. But this is the game we’re really looking forward to, the third time these two teams have faced off in the last six weeks, with each team winning one so far.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Person Of Interest (Thursday): Because we’re writing this before the show even airs, we don’t know if this episode was any good or not, but we do know you’re missing a real treat by not watching this show. Phil Dyess-Nugent could tell you how it’s turned into a truly compelling sci-fi/crime drama mash-up.