Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, January 22. All times are Eastern.
Rake (Fox, 9 p.m.): Tonight marks the debut of Fox’s take on the anti-hero drama: Rake, about a smarmy lawyer with a twinkle in his eye. The most important thing here is not that Fox got this series from Australia or that it’s placed in the lucrative post-American Idol slot—it’s that Greg Kinnear is the lead. Greg Kinnear! Smiling, tanned, white-teethed Greg Kinnear—master of the shit-eating grin before Jason Bateman was a twinkle in Mitchell Hurwitz’s eye, “the other guy” in a thousand romantic comedies, and an American national treasure. Todd VanDerWerff writes in his pre-air review of the series that “Kinnear is such a natural fit for the part of unscrupulous-but-winning lawyer Keegan Deane that it’s surprising to realize this program existed before without him (in another country no less).” Tonight, Scott Von Doviak will take on the show in the first of his weekly reviews. And we will all make time at 9 p.m. to gaze upon the lovely visage that for a few fleeting weeks will grace our television screens.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Greg Kinnear is not in this show, but he would fit right in, the handsome devil! The Vampire Diaries returns from its winter hiatus tonight to tell the story of some terrible stuff that happened to Katherine—in 1490. Carrie Raisler is looking forward to the period flashbacks, because…
Reign (The CW, 9 p.m.): …maybe they’ll cross over with tonight’s other returning CW series, which takes place only about 50 years later? Caroline Framke has missed Reign so—she staged that gorgeous “running away from the castle” scene a hundred times over winter break. Of course, in tonight’s episode, Mary and Bass return to the castle, so now she has to stage an anticlimactic return, too.
The Greatest Event In Television History (midnight, Adult Swim): It is none of the things it purports to be, but it exists! Hooray! Starring Henry Pollard and The Man Who Was Supposed To Be Henry Pollard! And also Some Other People. An A.V. Club Reviewer might review it. But We don’t know Who just yet. (Maybe Greg Kinnear.)
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m.)
White Collar (USA, 9 p.m.)
The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC, 9:30 p.m.)
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.)
Spoils Of Babylon (IFC, 10 p.m.)
ALSO IN TV CLUB
Todd VanDerWerff reviewed Black Sails, Starz’ new drama about a life of piracy on the high seas, and discovered that because of budget constraints, the show is “less a tale of bloodthirsty curs roaming the high seas, cutting down everyone they come upon, and more a tale of the pirate bureaucracy, of the democratic procedures and accounting tricks that keep mutiny from overthrowing captains of pirate ships.” Rah rah bureaucracy!
Matt Wild takes us through the “bullshit-strewn” works of Penn & Teller in a TV-themed Gateways To Geekery:
At their very core, Penn and Teller are old-fashioned con men, eager to fool and delight their audience by lying through their teeth. Their early reputation as the “Bad Boys Of Magic” was predicated on the idea that they were cheerfully breaking the unspoken Magician’s Code and revealing the secrets behind their tricks and illusions. Of course, that was a lie, too, and their seemingly secret-shattering tricks often led to more questions than answers. Their act was—and still is—essentially a lie within a lie, all masquerading as the truth.
And John Teti looked at Mitt, a Netflix original documentary about a certain bland Republican nominee. He pronounces it largely tepid, although at times, insightful: “[This is] a version of Romney that the Obama narrative couldn’t account for: a man who is not only aware of his privilege but also is determined to make it mean something.” Still unknown: why he is named after a piece of sports equipment.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (10 a.m.): Zack Handlen’s Fictional Space Station Support Group will be meeting at the usual time and place. We have invited Greg Kinnear. He may not attend.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Fighters (Discovery, 8 p.m.): A new series, on the world of boxing in South Boston. We haven’t seen it, but you know, it sounds like it was inspired by Ray Donovan.
Law & Order (Sundance, 8 p.m.): It’s worth pointing out that Sundance is currently airing classic Law & Order, weeknights at 8 p.m. and at various points on Sunday. Tonight’s episode: “Consultation,” starring Wendell Pierce as a Nigerian tribal chief.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.): The third season of this TLC show came back on January 16, but in case you missed it, the network is airing the premiere and three more new episodes. At least two of them will be “WatchNTweet” episodes, which is a horrifying new invention that is still not as awful as “WatchNSniff.”
Braxton Family Values (WE, 9 p.m.): Toni performs at the Annual Breeders’ Cup and gets to work writing her autobiography. You go, Toni! You go!
Drive (Esquire, 8 p.m.): Drive free association, go! “Scorpion satin jacket.” “L.A.” “Driving.” “A real human being and a real hero.” “Ryan Gosling. Not the feminist kind.” “I want to say… Carey Mulligan?”
Sister Act (Oxygen, 8 p.m.): Hail holy queen enthroned above (clap-clap) / Oh, Ma-ri-aaaa / Hail mother of mercy and of love (clap-clap) / oooo-oh-oh-Oh, Ma-riii-aaaaa / Triumph all ye cherubim (CHER-u-bim) / Sing with us sweet seraphim (sweet seraphim) / Heaven and earth resound the hymn / Sallllveeee / SAAAAAAALVEEE / Saaaaalll-VE re-GI-naaaaaaa
X Games Aspen: Snowboarding, snowmobiling (ESPN, 9 p.m.): Whet your winter-sports appetite with X-TREME WINTER SPORTS!! Day one starts tonight with the snowmobiling freestyle final and superpipe elimination for snowboarding.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Workaholics: Hey, we changed our minds—we are covering Workaholics week-to-week, after all! Pilot Viruet weighed in on the premiere last night, and Dennis Perkins will take over for her starting next week.