Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, January 17, 2013. All times are Eastern.
Archer/Legit/Newsreaders (FX/FX/Adult Swim, 10 p.m./10:30 p.m./midnight): On a night when American Idol auditions sent a lot of network offerings on a run for the hills (actually, they all said they were going to do it, and then CBS took off and everybody stayed behind, snickering), cable stands by to answer crowd-pleasing karaoke schadenfreude with an alcoholic super-spy, a misanthropic Australian comic, and a fake newsmagazine faker than the fakest fake Daily Show report. Todd VanDerWerff pulls Archer back into action and welcomes the Jim Jefferies vehicle Legit while Brandon Nowalk gets the scoop on the latest Childrens Hospital spin-off, Newsreaders.
Last Resort (ABC, 8 p.m.): As part of Shawn Ryan’s ongoing post-cancellation experiments in television, tonight finds Andre Braugher staring straight into “The Pointy End Of The Spear” for a full hour. Scott Von Doviak knows better than to question a master like Ryan.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Apparently no one told Rebekah about that upcoming Originals spin-off, because she’s hellbent on discovering the cure for vampirism. Carrie Raisler, meanwhile, thinks Claire Holt is just trying to maneuver her way out of playing a vampire forever—which is in itself a form of vampirism.
30 Rock (NBC, 8 p.m.): Having opted not to pull the ripcord on his “back-out” parachute after 30 Rock’s choppy fifth season, Alec Baldwin must now travel to Florida. In a parallel timeline, Pilot Viruet has no episode to review, because the show wouldn’t have made it this far without Baldwin.
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): The show moves to its new timeslot, where Steve Heisler asks it to assure us that it’ll never leave, because all the other Thursday-night shows are leaving and that’s just not fair!
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): Conspicuously absent since “The Whale,” Clark Duke returns—and he’s bringing an espresso machine with him, so all is forgiven. Erik Adams will have a half-caf capp with soy milk, no whip, extra sprinkles, and an additional double espresso dropped into the cup for good measure.
Suits (USA, 10 p.m.): “A criminal case resonates with Mike,” TV Guide tells us of this midseason première. Or, as Carrie Raisler refuses to write it—because she has too much respect for the show—“Suits suit resonate with Suits guy in suit.”
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): An unpopular splinter of conspiracy-theory culture holds that Quark, Rom, Nog, and Odo were actually the extraterrestrial creatures held at Area 51 following the Roswell UFO incident. Zack Handlen thinks it’s a bunch of hogwash—but how does he explain the large amount of latinum recovered at the crash site?
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): Did Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj pluck one another’s eyes out? Did a new William Hung arise from the auditioning masses? Did Randy just sit there, muttering “$15 million for Britney Spears? That’s a little stupid, dog”? Caroline Framke has the answer to these and other burning questions.
Haven (Syfy, 8 p.m.): Delayed due to the Newtown massacre, the two-part Haven finale—the first hour of which deals with a school shooting—sees the light of day.
1600 Penn (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): Look, we don’t want to look like a bunch of flip-floppers, so here’s a moment of total transparency: NBC sent us three episodes of this show, and Molly Eichel’s going to cover each and every one of them. And then we’ll decide whether or not to impeach President Bill Pullman when the page views come in.
King Of The Nerds (TBS, 10 p.m.): Pop culture’s shifting portrayal of the nerd (scientific name: geekus maximus) could take a few steps back thanks to this reality competition hosted by Revenge Of The Nerds alums Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine. Of course, if Armstrong ends up quoting his character from Better Off Dead in this première, Jessica Jardine will absolve the show of all its sins.
My Week With Marilyn (TMC, 8 p.m.): This 2011 adaptation of the memoir of the same name earned Michelle Williams an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress—and earned The A.V. Club a bottle of “luxurious hand soap,” which, like Marilyn Monroe in England, is the only thing your What’s On Tonight correspondent wears in bed.
48 Hrs. (VH1, 8 p.m.): Cop Nick Nolte enlists con Eddie Murphy to help apprehend a pair of killers, and Murphy has… a certain amount of time away from prison to do so. Don’t remind us what it is—it’s so close we can feel it, or maybe even read it.
NBA Basketball: Clippers at Timberwolves (TNT, 8 p.m.): The 2012-13 Clippers reached the 30-win mark faster than any other team in franchise history. They work toward the next 30 against the struggling T-Wolves.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Arrow: Stephen Amell and his ludicrous physique return to serve as either the vessel of your vicarious superhero wish fulfillment or the prime example of everything you’re not. (“Not only do you lack six-pack abs, but you’re neither a millionaire playboy by day or a masked vigilante by night!” chides the voice inside your head, which sounds a lot like your mother) It’s okay, though: Alasdair Wilkins likes you just the way you are!