Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, Feb. 12. All times are Eastern.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards (CBS, 8 p.m.): Steven Hyden’s already done a great job convincing you to give the Grammys a chance, so it’d be useless for us to list the high-caliber talent (plus Foster The People—zing!) due to take the stage at the Staples Center, about which Steve will have much to say at the end of the night. So here’s a list of musical performers you won’t see at the music industry’s big night of self-congratulation: Enuff Z’nuff. Baha Men. Wheatus. Divinyls. Yarbrough And Peoples. Buckner & Garcia. Haircut One Hundred. Jump ’N The Saddle Band.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Snow White, Cinderella, and the waitress who’s most definitely Red Riding Hood turn the Valentine’s Day paradigm on its head by planning a girl’s night out. Meanwhile, Oliver Sava begins to worry that Once Upon A Time is starting to crib less from Fables and more from Sex And The City.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): It’s always sad when The Simpsons’ lengthy production cycle causes it to be months/years late to a cultural touchstone—tonight, the series finally catches Mythbusters fever. When the show’s inevitable Lana Del Rey episode arrives in 2014, Hayden Childs will need reminding who Lana Del Rey is.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): The frustratingly lopsided zombie epic went into its midseason hiatus on a high note and a gut-wrenching cliffhanger. It returns with an episode titled “Nebraska,” which we’re taking as a sign that this will be the lo-fi, stripped-down follow-up to “Pretty Much Dead Already”’s The River. Zack Handlen thinks Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska is the perfect soundtrack to life among the living dead.
Luck (HBO, 9 p.m.): There’s so much bubbling under the surface of this show that boiling it down to a two-sentence synopsis is a fool’s errand. Which would be a great name for a racehorse: Fool’s Errand. Stable-owners interested in giving this name to one of their horses may contact Todd VanDerWerff.
Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): Spanish flu rocks Downton Abbey, which can only mean one thing: Aristocratic bottle episode! Or, you know, the untimely deaths of members of the household. After last week’s installment, either option sounds good to Meredith Blake.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): Peter turns bizarrely altruistic, and helps mustachioed news anchor Tom Tucker achieve his dream of Hollywood stardom—you know, like fellow news anchor cum reliable TV guest-star Brian Williams. Tom, Kevin McFarland served with Brian Williams. He knew Brian Williams. Brian Williams was a friend of his. And you are no Brian Williams.
Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Showtime’s saga of the Family Gallagher takes a page from P.D. Eastman with an episode titled “Can I Have A Mother?” Join Joshua Alston as he follows the whimsically illustrated adventures of the Chicago brood, who bounce from location to location looking for, among other things, the continuation of last week’s insurance-benefits plot, a shady character from Grammy Gallagher’s past, and a mother bird. (Only two of those things are true—do you know which ones they are?)
American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): An inspiredly silly pop-culture riff returns to the Smith abode as Steve and Roger’s fake, Stephen J. Cannell-attributed detective agency welcomes Stan into its ranks. In Rowan Kaiser’s fantasy world, Wheels & The Legman finds a healthy, largely elderly audience in The Cleveland Show’s timeslot.
Pan Am (ABC, 10 p.m.): There’s a lot in this episode—like the presence of Erin Cummings as Dean’s batty flame Ginny, and Laura’s encounter with the Life magazine photographer—that suggests it was supposed to air earlier in the period drama’s run. It’s a suspicious package, and Erik Adams is alerting the nearest authority.
House Of Lies (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Say what you will about this increasingly sour satire, at least it tackles gender-identity issues with aplomb and a modicum of grace. Of course, this episode also finds Marty contending with the unwanted attentions of a stripper, so… Rowan Kaiser raises a skeptical eyebrow.
Californication (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.): Samurai has writer’s block. Kenny Herzog suggests he just spend 30 minutes watching some old kung-fu movies, but doing so would negate David Duchovny’s contributions to the episode. What if Duchovny re-enacted key moments from Master Of The Flying Guillotine? That ought to inspire at least half a “Protect Ya Neck”-level jam right there.
Angry Boys (HBO, midnight): HBO assured future cult success for Chris Lilley’s latest comedy series by banishing it to a late-night slot and burning off two episodes per week. Join Claire Zulkey in catching the final two episodes, and you too can say “I watched Angry Boys before it was cool.”
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Critic (3 p.m.): Despite many haughty protestations and Margaret Dumont-worthy clutching-at-pearls from Nathan Rabin, those zany Marx Brothers mixed up the running order of TV Club Classic’s coverage of The Critic, slotting “A Day At The Races And A Night At The Opera” in where “Dr. Jay” should be. We sincerely apologize for the mixup, as well as the puns Groucho intermittently sprinkled throughout the website.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Extreme Couponing: Black Friday Blitz (TLC, 8 p.m.): The subjects of Extreme Couponing are usually so methodical and calculating, it seems a shame to apply their powers to a shopping event as disorderly as Black Friday. Of course, there’s still a good deal of planning involved in not getting trampled in the name of $45 HDTVs.
Bait Car (TruTV, 8 p.m.): Have you ever heard the This American Life episode about how a “bait car”—an automobile wired with surveillance equipment intended to lure car thieves into stealing it—more or less destroyed the lives of two good samaritans in Austin, Texas? If not, then you’ll love this TruTV reality show of cops fucking around with intentional car thieves.
Comic Book Men (AMC, 10 p.m.): Fear not, geeks: Comic Book Men comes not to bury you, but to praise you, in the self-deprecating tones of über-geek Kevin Smith. Todd VanDerWerff takes a look around the Smith-owned Jay And Silent Bob’s Secret Staartists/la-roux,76789/sh, and he promises he’ll invoke The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy only once.
Absolutely Fabulous (BBC America, 11 p.m.): In a savvy rejoinder to those who’d argue AbFab ought to give it a rest already, the second of the classic Britcom’s 20th anniversary specials finds Edina clawing at relevancy among cameos by generation-spanning pop artists Lulu, Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton, and La Roux.
Up (Disney Channel, 8 p.m.): We know, we know—just thinking about the opening minutes of Pixar’s 2009 feature has you in tears. But if you keep crying, you’re going to miss the lush jungle vistas and the lesson that no one is too old for adventure.
Funny Girl (TCM, 8 p.m.): In bringing a role she originated on Broadway to the big screen—real-life “funny girl” Fanny Brice—Barbara Streisand went on to tie Katharine Hepburn for the Best Actress honors at the 1969 Academy Awards. And thus was the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences forever divided between valuing demanding musical performances and performances that required extensive medieval garb.
NHL Hockey: Flyers at Red Wings (7:30 p.m.): The Red Wings have won 19 straight home games going into this rematch of the 1997 Stanley Cup Championships. If this game turns out anything like that series—where the Wings dominated the Flyers, taking the cup in a four-game sweep—at least one A.V. Club employee is going to end up running around his parents’ neighborhood screaming at the top of his lungs. Not that we’d know who that guy is.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Fringe: Noel Murray raises an appropriately twisty observation for the increasingly twisty predicament in which Peter Bishop now finds himself: Maybe Peter is heading home, or maybe “home heading is heading for him.”