Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, January 22. All times are Eastern.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): For the first time in years, fans of NBC programs have no need to fear the spring—a rising, top-network tide lifts all boats after all (and when midseason shows are ditched before they even air, the network’s development slate leaves an awful lot of breathing room). Honorary Bravermans have even less to worry about, as Parenthood has routinely won its timeslot in recent weeks. Of course, NBC’s bound to find some way to fuck this up, but for now, join Todd VanDerWerff for a Parenthood finale where the only anxiety about something coming to an end stems from Kristina’s ongoing cancer treatment.
Raising Hope (Fox, 8 p.m.): Todd Giebenhain’s Frank is frequently Raising Hope’s ace in the hole (see also: “The Men Of New Natesville”), so it’s a good sign that the character’s name pops up multiple times in descriptions of “What Happens At Howdy’s Doesn’t Stay At Howdy’s.” This news has noted Frank enthusiast Phil Dyess-Nugent so excited, he’s willing to forgive the allusion to that tired Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority tagline.
Ben And Kate (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Ben’s “Sky Mall, but for trains” idea gains further traction this week, which has Molly Eichel thinking of all sorts of products that would catch the attention of the discerning rail traveler, forever on the go (on the rails). Too bad so many of the good pet-crates-in-disguise ideas are already taken.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): The Fox comedies appear to be hitting all of TV Club’s sweet spots tonight: Erik Adams obsessively tracks New Girl’s use of pseudonyms and alter egos, so he’s suitably amped to watch Nick go undercover as a mole in Jess’ adult-education class. The episode, “Pepperwood,” is even named for the identity Nick affects. INSTANT “A”!
Go On (NBC, 9 p.m.): Comedy world, prepare for your next great duo: Brett Gelman and Terrell Owens. Their absurdist, 18-hour-long spin on “Who’s On First?” already has Sonia Saraiya in stitches.
The Mindy Project (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Two nights after an unceremonious ouster from the art world (after which her character took a sorta demeaning restaurant gig), Allison Williams pulls her eyepatch back on for a return visit to The Mindy Project—not an auspicious week for the Girls co-star. Either that, or it’s a very auspicious week for the actress—these developments have David Sims all twisted up inside.
Justified (FX, 10 p.m.): Justified’s creative brain trust wasn’t lying about building multiple mini-arcs into the show’s fourth season: Three episodes in, and the Last Chance Holiness Church is already aiming to take down Boyd. Noel Murray will keep his head from spinning fast enough to register his thoughts on these and other Harlan County occurrences.
The Joe Schmo Show (Spike, 10 p.m.): One of the fake contestants reveals some difficult truth, meaning there are lies-on-lies in this version of Joe Schmo. Thankfully, none of this will puncture the seamless illusion of covering “the revived Joe Schmo Show” for “TV Club” that we’ve built around Scott Von Doviak.
Cougar Town (TBS, 10 p.m.): This week in “Interpreting Cougar Town through the Tom Petty song that lends the episode its name”: Characters are caught in the middle of competing ideals, people, or personalities in “Between Two Worlds.” In a second interpretation, Ryan McGee predicts Grayson will open the episode with a bitchin’ guitar riff.
White Collar (USA, 10 p.m.): Remember last winter, when your DVR nearly buckled under the strain of a crowded Tuesdays-at-10 lineup? Well, White Collar is here to straight up snap your digital recording devices in half by adding another show to your priority list. Kenny Herzog has no reason to worry about that, though, because Neil Caffrey is his only Tuesday-night priority.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The Taste (ABC, 8 p.m.): In the spirit of Rail Mall: This new entry into the reality-competition arena is like The Voice, but for cooking. Also: With a much smaller budget! But at least the judge’s opinions of the food aren’t being informed by the contestants’ looks!
Pioneers Of Television (PBS, 8 p.m.): Now that PBS is home to the most successful primetime soap on the dial, Downton Abbey, here’s a look at all the hair that had to be pulled and J.R.s that had to be shot to pave the way for Americans to delight in the withering insults of Maggie Smith.
Private Practice (ABC, 10 p.m.): Speaking of which: The history of the primetime soap is being chronicled on the same night one primetime soap becomes history. Bid farewell to Dr. Kate Walsh, and wish her luck in finally completing that Newsreaders interview.
Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan (BBC America, 10 p.m.): No, in the première of this nature series, the man who was Charlie Pace does not track a polar bear that’s mysteriously shown up on a desert island—nor does he encounter orcs or elves or any sort of Middle Earth creature. Dominic Monaghan is a real person, everybody, and we’ll just have to get used to that fact. (Of course, if there’s some sort of FlashForward allusion built into this, we’re going to feel awfully silly.)
Dante’s Peak (Encore, 8 p.m.): Ever seen the “Polynesiantown” episode of SCTV, where Johnny LaRue gets in big trouble for ending his latest project with an expensive crane shot? Dante’s Peak is a lot like the closing shot of “Polynesiantown,” only with a volcano in place of John Candy—and about a million more swooping, diving, and epically panning out crane shots.
How To Steal A Million (TCM, 8 p.m.): Audrey Hepburn reunites with Roman Holiday director William Wyler (and teams up with Peter O’Toole) to take a Paris museum for all it’s worth—even though the target of her robbery is a worthless forgery.
NHL Hockey: Flyers at Devils (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.): Post-lockout, the NHL is wasting no time in presenting marquee matchups—like this primetime rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals, which the Devils took in five games on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Adventure Time: Your What’s On Tonight correspondent had been toiling for months on a YA-lit pitch chronicling amateur sleuthing among medieval prison guards—tentative title: Mystery Dungeon—but then Adventure Time came along and swiped that title out from under him. Oliver Sava’s suggested back-up title: Whodunit Hole.