Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, Jan. 12. All times are Eastern.
30 Rock (NBC, 8 p.m.): This show’s been gone… we’re not gonna count, but it’s been gone since last May, so it’s nice to see that Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, and the whole gang still exist. Here’s hoping that Nathan Rabin gets a season full of great hijinks, strategically deployed Kenneth, and Tracy Jordan at his best and nuttiest. If he doesn’t get that, well, that’ll be fine, too, as there’s nothing we here love more than stabbing things we once loved in the heart. (You know this is true.)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): It’s a good thing you have 30 Rock in this hour, because we’d hate for this to be your only comedic option here. Oliver Sava is pretty sure there used to be some other comedy that aired opposite this one. But which?
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is entitled “Our Town,” and we have to assume that Damon will learn all about how life happens when you aren’t paying attention. Carrie Raisler hopes he takes this message to heart.
Parks & Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): Here at the TCA press tour, NBC has officially launched the campaign of Leslie Knope with the slogan “Knope We Can.” And now we can’t stop saying it. Only Steve Heisler can keep the madness at bay.
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): It’s time for a trivia challenge, as Andy tries to get all of Dunder-Mifflin involved in Oscar’s trivia quest. Myles McNutt wonders if this is the very last plot from the original British show the remake had left to plunder.
Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): Genevieve Koski takes the baton from John Teti with coverage of this shockingly low-rent all-star edition of everybody’s favorite fashion design show. Seriously, it looks like it was filmed in a basement.
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9 p.m.): The damn witch kids on this show are always having school dances and parties. Katherine Miller wonders when they’re going to have time to get good enough SAT scores to attend respectable state schools.
Up All Night (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): Margaret Eby takes over this show from Erik Adams, and it’s time for a… New Year’s Eve episode? Well, we suppose better now than in, like, April or something. But it still feels just a touch passé. To us, at least.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Seinfeld (1 p.m.): This week, Elaine confronts the horror of The English Patient, a film that few have been able to survive without their brains slowly dissolving into piles of greenish goo. David Sims has seen The English Patient, but he has no brains.
Cheers (3 p.m.): Marshall the nerd returns in the first of this week’s two episodes, both of which have some interesting tricks up their sleeves in regards to the show’s structure and its status as a comedy with some fascinating dramatic moments.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Rob (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): We’ve long thought that Rob Schneider was just the guy to solve the racial divide between white people and Latinos, and we’re glad he’s got a new sitcom to do so. Todd VanDerWerff and Phil Nugent hail the brave new era.
The Finder (Fox, 9 p.m.): You’d think this show would be about Geoff Stults finding things that are missing that are actually exciting like missing people. But no, it’s just about him finding lost socks. Erik Adams and Todd VanDerWerff look frantically.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9 p.m.): We don’t really have much of anything to say about this one, but it came back last week incredibly strong. While that was due to lack of competition, it also could be due to our renewed fascination with Mc-Nicknames.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (HBO, 9 p.m.): This final film in the story of the West Memphis Three includes footage of what happened after the three young men accused of murder were finally released from prison. We’ll have a review.
The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (TCM, 8 p.m.): If you’ve never seen a Powell and Pressberger film, this probably isn’t the best place to start, but this amusing tale of a British officer’s, er, life is a lot of fun. You should know these directors anyway.
Tabloid (Showtime, 8 p.m.): Errol Morris’ latest film is packed with twists and turns, as it takes viewers through the story of a beauty pageant winner who kidnaps a Mormon missionary. In true Morris form, there’s more to this than meets the eye.
NBA Basketball: Knicks at Grizzlies (TNT, 8 p.m.): Do you suppose there are people in Vancouver who really miss the Grizzlies? Do you think they stare moodily out at the ocean and toss their Mike Miller jerseys into the deep? Probably not.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Suburgatory (Wednesday): Brandon Nowalk had a lot of fun with this episode, and as a bonus, it featured Dan Byrd—of Cougar Town and Easy A—hanging out and doing his very best 21 Jump Street impression. We assume that’s not a spoiler.