Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, Jan. 29. All times are Eastern.
Luck (HBO, 9 p.m.): It feels like we’ve been waiting for David Milch’s return to television for, conservatively, the last 100 years, but it’s actually only been since the brief, disastrous run of John From Cincinnati back in 2007 that he’s been gone. But in that time, plenty of other new shows have popped up, featuring writers to challenge Milch’s title as TV’s literary heavyweight. Enter Luck, a horse racing drama that’s got about as good a first season as we’ve seen, stylish direction from Michael Mann, terrific acting, and, of course, the triumphant dialogue of Milch. Todd VanDerWerff re-examines the series after reviewing the pilot last month.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Now we’re getting genies involved? Oliver Sava hopes that King Leopold is smart enough to ask said genie all of our pop culture wishes, but if he’s not, Oliver would be totally fine with a really nice bottle of 7-Up.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): After taking last week off for football, Fox’s animated shows are all back to spread love, hope, and joy, like they do. Hayden Childs watches as Moe’s bar rag narrates the story of his life. Jeremy Irons voices the rag, of course.
Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): Matthew and William are facing fierce fighting down at the front, and all we can hope is that they meet a magically stoic horse who teaches them something about friendship. Meredith Blake would love a magic horse.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): The show takes on religion, as Lois tries to take one of Stewie’s friends to the hospital, then learns the kid’s parents refuse treatment on religious grounds. Kevin McFarland thinks this can only end well on this show.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.): Wendy’s case against Will ramps up, and Alicia is forced to reveal details of her relationship with him on the stand. David Sims will only disclose when he’s in a relationship with someone in court. Or on Facebook.
Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.): So, if you were going to pick your favorite version of the song of the same name, would you go with Billy Joel or Garth Brooks? Joshua Alston likes Garth Brooks’ grandiosity, but c’mon, can you really go against Joel?
American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Tonight’s episode indulges in red hot country club humor. While that’s a timeless topic, given how far behind this show is, Rowan Kaiser thinks it’s entirely possible this episode was produced back in 1996.
House Of Lies (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Marty brings his son, Roscoe, along on a trip to San Francisco, but he ends up spending most of his time with an irritating teenage software CEO. Rowan Kaiser wants to know if there’s any other kind of teenage CEO.
Californication (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.): Frank sex talk at a party Hank attends offends some of the guests. We’re betting this show is so embarrassed that the exact same plot was used on Hot In Cleveland this very week. Kenny Herzog sure is!
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Hayley: World’s Oldest Teenager (TLC, 8 p.m.): TLC looks for yet another vaguely uncomfortable-making reality series with this new one about a 13-year-old with the premature aging syndrome you’ve probably heard about once or twice before.
Screen Actors Guild Awards (TBS/TNT, 8 p.m.): It’s time for even more awards, but these often have a stronger correlation to the Oscars than many other awards. Anyway, we’re pulling for Larry the Cable Guy for his sublime work in Cars 2.
A Smile As Big As The Moon (ABC, 9 p.m.): A special education teacher fights to bring his students to space camp in the 1980s, in the latest attempt by a big network to resurrect the dead specter of the big, schmaltzy made-for-TV movie.
Extreme RVs (Travel, 10 p.m.): We haven’t seen this, but we’re going to guess that this is going to be the rare show that proves that you can’t just stick “extreme” in front of anything and, thereby, make it legitimately extreme. Doesn’t work that way.
Black Swan (HBO2, 9 p.m.): Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her work in this one, which was one of the big “love it or hate it” movies of 2010. Well, we loved it, and we also loved Portman, who’s rarely been our favorite prior to this one.
-30- (TCM, 10 p.m.): TCM’s celebrating the life of Jack Webb tonight, and we’re going to recommend this look at eight hours on a big city newspaper’s night shift sight unseen, because we like newspapers, and the 1950s were a good age for them.
NFL Pro Bowl (NBC, 7 p.m.): Given how good the NFL is at keeping its image intact, we’re surprised the league’s all-star game sucks as unbelievably much as it does. What could the league do to improve it? That’s your discussion question for today.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Spartacus (Friday): Ryan McGee checks out the season premiere of the second season of this series, which finally arrives after a lengthy delay, thanks to the death of the original star. How is Liam McIntyre at stepping in? Read on to find out.