Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10. All times are Eastern.
Magic City (Starz, 9 p.m., Friday): Behold the tale of Magic City, that unusual series that is canceled before airing an intended season finale that becomes a de facto series finale. Will it come to be spoken of in the same breath as Deadwood? Almost certainly not, but one imagines that Starz is now seriously ruing the cancellation of Party Down, which resulted in a curse saying that no future Starz series would last beyond two seasons, a curse only Spartacus has managed to avoid. Okay, that didn’t really happen, but Will Harris would be absolutely fine with it if it had.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 10 p.m., Friday): Zoe Saldana shows up this week, and we can only hope that she will take Scott Aukerman on a journey through the galaxy that teaches him about the primacy of all living things. David Sims told us that Avatar jokes passed their sell-by date long ago. We don’t care.
Borgen (LinkTV, 1 a.m., Saturday): Is it just us, or has this season been unusually brutal toward Birgitte’s old white guy allies? First, Bent found himself out of commission after last week’s episode, and now the sights are set on Bjorn. Todd VanDerWerff thinks more TV shows should have characters named Bjorn.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Babylon 5 (11 a.m., Friday): The episodes “War Without End (Parts 1 and 2)” finally arrive, and if you’re going to call something a war without end, then it had better last for the rest of the series, dammit! Rowan Kaiser regrets to inform us that everything from here on out is the characters playing badminton.
The Larry Sanders Show (1 p.m., Friday): Hank’s divorce causes him to hit rock bottom, and Kyle Ryan’s reviews of season three are in their next to last week. Someday, we’ll look back and remember this as the good times before the Sanders reviews disappeared for an indeterminate amount of time again.
Wonderfalls (3 p.m., Friday): When Eric’s wife Heidi returns to town, it turns out she’s played by the lovely and talented Miss Jewel Staite, who was only a little over a year removed from Firefly at this point in time, so we were all a little sad about that still. Les Chappell was still sad about Flash Forward’s end.
The Twilight Zone (1 p.m., Saturday): This week, one dude makes a deal with the Devil, and another dude tries to travel back in time to change history for the better. Todd VanDerWerff shakes his head at these two guys. It’s almost as if they’ve never even seen an episode of this. You’d think they’d know!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The Hills (MTV, 11:30 a.m., Friday): If you’ve been waiting years and years to see the alternate ending of this reality show—because reality so often comes with alternate endings!—then now’s your chance, as it will finally be aired when the show’s core audience is watching TV: at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday morning.
Great White Gauntlet (Discovery, 8 p.m., Friday): A bunch of divers head into Australian waters well-known to be infested with great white sharks because they’re on Shark Week, and they don’t really have anything better to do. It’s too bad Discovery doesn’t air Squirrel Week. We’d know just the park to go to.
The White Queen (Starz, 9:57 p.m. Friday): Meanwhile, Genevieve Valentine has watched the first eight episodes of this British adaptation of the Philippa Gregory novel, and her brain has turned the pleasant consistency of pea soup from trying to figure out all of the character connections and twists and turns.
Strike Back (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): Hey, Strike Back fans! We like this show, too, but there weren’t enough of you to justify weekly coverage. However, the intrepid Myles McNutt has agreed to cover every other episode for us, meaning each two-hour “movie” will get its own post. Check back next week!
Hell On Wheels (AMC, 9 p.m., Saturday): Here’s another show we’re dropping from our regular schedule, but we wanted to make sure we checked in on the two-hour première, for the handful of you who read these articles. Alasdair Wilkins hopes that these two episodes have lots of wolf fighting.
Clear History (HBO, 9:05 p.m., Saturday): When a marketing executive for a car company is humiliated, he tries to reinvent himself under a new name and appearance on Martha’s Vineyard in this new TV movie from Larry David and friends. Erik Adams reviews it in a semi-improvisatory style. Prompts?
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (TNT, 8 p.m., Friday): A film trilogy that started out with an unexpected hit limps over the finish line with a massively bloated and bland final chapter that seems the perfect exemplar of why Hollywood’s strange need to make everything a trilogy is the wrong impulse.
Rio (FX, 8 p.m., Friday): This animated film from Blue Sky Studios is about whether or not two parrots will fuck. Feel free to show it to your children.
The Bad And The Beautiful (TCM, 8 p.m., Saturday): Vincente Minnelli directs this sterling melodrama, with Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner at the height of their respective powers. (See also: sexiness.) It holds the record for the most Oscars won—five—by a film that wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture.
Little League Baseball: West Regional semifinal (ESPN, 9 p.m., Friday): This West Regional semifinal—featuring which two teams we don’t even know—comes to you from San Bernardino, California, which is not the kind of place we’d recommend bringing your children. Well, it does have a nice Applebee’s.
Live from the PGA Championship (Golf Channel, 9 p.m., Saturday): The Golf Channel is taking you live to the PGA Championship all day long, but we’ve randomly selected this hour of coverage because we just can’t imagine you would ever want to watch a whole day of golf, no matter how top-flight it is.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Childrens Hospital (Thursday): In this week’s episode review, David Sims admits that he’s never seen the classic M*A*S*H episode “Abyssinia, Henry.” Look, even though David Sims wasn’t even born when that episode aired (and neither were we), we invite you to hold him up for a steady mocking. He deserves it!