Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, November 1. All times are Eastern.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): It’s back, okay? It’s back, after baseball and X Factor took it from you for so long, and now you can continue watching the wacky adventures of Zooey Deschanel and all of those guys she lives with for whatever reason. Honestly, it’s been so long that we’ve forgotten what the hell the premise of this thing is. Let’s try to suss this one out from the title then, huh? Zooey Deschanel is probably the “girl,” we’d guess, which means that she’s also “new” in some way, perhaps in the sense that she’s a strange innocent, arrived from another planet and born from a weird, egg-like chrysalis thing. And once she’s mated with one of the men, she will kill him, and her spawn will rush out to infect the planet. Hell of a high-concept for a sitcom, New Girl. Hell of a high concept. Erik Adams salutes you.
Glee (Fox, 8 p.m.): Right. This is back too, and after the first three episodes suggested the series was perhaps getting back to telling halfway coherent stories, mostly by just ignoring the fact that season two ever even happened. (Don’t worry, Glee. We do that too.) Anyway, tonight, the Irish guy who was on that Glee Project show—which we didn’t watch but made Myles McNutt check out instead—joins the series, and Todd VanDerWerff will not regret for a second that he skipped the reality show.
Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is called “Co-Ed Softball,” instead of “Last Co-Ed Softball Standing.” Of the five episodes that have aired so far, three have followed the “Last (Noun) Standing” template, while the other two have had incredibly generic names. How can we make fun of you Last Man Standing if you don’t keep titling all of your episodes as lazily as possible? We even got a few ready for you, just in case. “Last Burrito Standing.” “Last Canker Sore Standing.” “Last Hemlock Poisoning Standing.” Todd VanDerWerff would love any of those episodes.
Ringer (The CW, 9 p.m.): This one is called, “Oh Gawd, There’s Two Of Them,” which suggests all of the characters will have realized that they live in a delightful universe just off to the right of ours, where there are two Sarah Michelle Gellars instead of one. It could also refer to a potential plot where one of the characters has to assemble a particularly complicated bookshelf, then realizes that he’s actually supposed to put together two of them. Hilarity will ensue, and Carrie Raisler will laugh.
Raising Hope (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Fox’s extended experiment in trying to kill off its biggest live-action sitcom in years (New Girl) and one of its tentpole hits (Glee) by taking them off for the better part of a year has also resulted in this show going away for that period of time, but we legitimately missed this one, which is shaping up into one of TV’s better comedies. Fortunately, it’s back, even if it’s reached the, “Tonight, this happens on Glee, this happens on New Girl, and an all new Raising Hope” portion in its promos. Phil Nugent still loves you, show.
Covert Affairs (USA, 10 p.m.): Carrie Raisler, who covered this spy show for us over the summer, has turned things over to Simon Abrams, and we’d like to say that she had some words of wisdom for him on how to cover it or that she gave him some good advice on what to do or that she even just summarized the plot for him so far, but mostly, she just slapped the screener into his hand and raced off cackling about being “free” or somesuch. Odd, that.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): This one’s called “Forced Family Fun.” When we have forced family fun at the ol’ A.V. Club, it mostly just involves Todd VanDerWerff, who’s a paddleboat fanatic, forcing us all to go out in his custom-made bumper boats so we can ram into each other while he sits on a pedestal above us and shouts, “Ram! Ram, you slatterns! Ram!” Also, he makes us all call them “ducks,” which is just stupid. We really need to overthrow him and convince him covering three shows on Tuesday is a bad idea. (Believe me, guys. I know. Now RAM!—TV)
Sons Of Anarchy (FX, 10 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is called “Kiss,” and if this were Glee somehow, we could expect Ron Perlman to work his way through a cover of Prince’s immortal classic of the same name. Somehow, though, we doubt Kurt Sutter has it in his head to turn this one into a musical, even if Katey Sagal has some pipes on her, so we’re probably going to have to go without hearing Perlman’s dulcet tones working their way through the funkadelic hits of the ‘80s. Zack Handlen would buy that album off a late night commercial.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Avatar: The Last Airbender (11 a.m.): TV Club Classic winter premiere week continues, as Hayden Childs returns with coverage of the back half of the second season of Avatar (whew). When last we left our hero, Aang, he’d been placed in a situation that left him confused, bitter, and angry, which is kind of how all of you were when you found out we were taking this coverage away until November. We’re happy to bring it back, and your angry letters and hurled bricks were accepted with love.
The Muppet Show (1 p.m.): It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets as Erik Adams begins covering the first season of The Muppet Show in a critical retrospective designed to show how Jim Henson’s creation is one of the best variety shows and one of the best sketch comedy shows in the history of television. Also, as you may well know, it’s time to put on makeup. It’s time to dress up right.
The Larry Sanders Show (3 p.m.): Listen, guys. You weren’t the most receptive to our coverage of The Larry Sanders Show this summer. We get it. You can’t follow everything we do. But this is one of the great comedies of all time! And it’s on Netflix Instant! All of your excuses are moot! Moot! If you want nice things, you have to support them, which is why if you don’t read these articles by Kyle Ryan, we’ll force Todd VanDerWerff to stop covering Last Man Standing. Force him! (No. Seriously. Read them. They’re great, and it’s a great show.)
WHAT ELSE IS ON
NCIS (CBS, 8 p.m.): We’re also bringing back everybody’s favorite semi-regular, semi-condescending feature, “Box Populi,” wherein we watch the most popular shows on TV and see if there’s anything in ‘em worth writing home about. Phil Nugent drops in on this heavily promoted episode of CBS’ venerable drama, wherein Gibbs’ long-unseen ex-wife finally drops by and probably gets hit by a pie or something.
Unguarded (ESPN, 8 p.m.): NBA lockout and/or the dissolution of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ marriage got you down? Then check out this documentary about basketball player Chris Herren, former Boston Celtic, who failed multiple drug tests over the course of a troubled career. Scott Tobias sees if ESPN’s generally solid streak of good sports documentaries continues.
Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo, 9 p.m.): After becoming embroiled in controversy, there was some talk that Patti Stanger might not be back on our TVs any time soon. But you can’t kill a good millionaire matchmaker without rock salt, so that means Stanger and her whole cast of wacky characters is back for another string of episodes that we will watch quietly while weeping to ourselves.
Reed Between The Lines (BET, 10 p.m.): This multi-camera sitcom isn’t reinventing the form or even trying anything all that ambitious, but in its attempts to earnestly discuss issues of importance to African-American audiences, it’s become something well worth watching all the same. Plus, Malcolm Jamal Warner is turning in a very warm performance, so warm that we wish he’d become our dad. Don’t run away, Malcolm! Don’t you want to adopt TV critics? Please? Now we’re crying again.
Home Alone (Encore, 8 p.m.): Time for the Christmas movies to start up in earnest, which means you’re, oddly enough, going to see way more movies about guys getting hit in the crotch than you see in the other 10 months of the year between now and the end of December. Both this film and It’s A Wonderful Life are just full of nutshots.
Sleeper (TCM, 9:45 p.m.): Check out one of Woody Allen’s earlier films and one of the first ones to bring him to widespread, general acclaim, a few years before he broke through into the mainstream with Annie Hall. He’s made better movies since, but when people sniff about how they like the “early, funnier movies better,” they pretty much mean this one, which is packed with great gags.
NHL Hockey: Ducks at Capitals (Versus, 8 p.m.): One of the things really holding hockey back is the lack of awesome mascots. We know from Emilio Estevez that nobody messes with a duck, but a capital? That’s an abstract concept that’s difficult to illustrate through a simple symbol! And look at the other teams! Senators? Islanders? Canadiens? Buncha wimps, if you ask us.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Justice League (Monday): That’s right, it’s TV Club Classic winter premiere week, which means that we’re going to keep flogging these articles until you’re sick of hearing about them because this is all we have, and if you reject us, what will we do then? Anyway, this has been a depressing installment of What’s On Tonight, so we’ll conclude by saying Oliver Sava knocks this look at the first two installments of this series out of the park, and you’d do well to read it. So we can stop crying.