Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, September 25. All times are Eastern.
Ben And Kate (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): This fall doesn’t offer much in the way of good comedy pilots, but the first episode of this funny, riff-heavy show about a mismatched pair of siblings would stand out even in a crowd of stellar sitcom starters. Oscar-winner Nat Faxon is Ben, Dakota Johnson is Kate, and Erik Adams and Molly Eichel (the latter of whom will cover the show regularly) are the writers offering their opinions on the show that could make Tuesday nights on Fox the most enticing comedy bloc on the dial.
New Girl (Fox, 8/9 p.m.): Of course, Fox’s Tuesday-night revolution wouldn’t have been possible without one of 2011’s biggest hits, the surprisingly sharp New Girl. The network’s betting it all with a double-barreled première, which has Erik Adams brushing up on the rules of True American.
The Voice (NBC, 8 p.m.): NBC’s stranglehold on Mondays and Tuesdays could begin to slip now that other networks are airing fresh content. Until its power is truly challenged, however, The Voice will continue lulling Caroline Framke into a false sense of security with never-ending auditions.
Go On (NBC, 9 p.m.): With a National Hockey League lockout underway, this may be the most hockey you see in primetime until the new year. Sonia Saraiya can’t wait to see Matthew Perry get decked by nine-time NHL all-star Jeremy Roenick.
Frontline (PBS, 9 p.m.): A two-hour Frontline documents the education of four at-risk Houston high-schoolers, and the subject of Frontline once again defies the What’s On Tonight? “Synospis/joke/jokey conclusion with reference to author” format. Rowan Kaiser takes this stuff very, very seriously.
The Mindy Project (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Having expatriated from The Office, Mindy Kaling sets up an OB/GYN/rom-com allusion shop at Fox. Todd VanDerWerff and David Sims are torn on whether or not men and women can truly be friends, but they’ll try to keep that out of their discussion of the show.
Vegas (CBS, 10 p.m.): Contrary to popular ad campaigns, what happens in Las Vegas doesn’t always stay in Las Vegas—otherwise, Todd VanDerWerff and Phil Dyess-Nugent wouldn’t be looking at this elegantly constructed period piece about Vegas’ final days as a mob-run holdover from the Wild West.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): Aw, come on, Parenthood—please don’t turn Lauren Graham into the new Debra Barone. Feel free, however, to tickle Todd VanDerWerff’s funny bone by making Ray Romano say things that sound like an exasperated, Everybody Loves Raymond-era “Debra!” Here’s one: “No, I don’t know why a U.K. crosswalk is called a zebra.” Zebra!
Sons Of Anarchy (FX, 10 p.m.): “Laying Pipe” promises what will certainly be a genteel and gentlemanly hour among the members of SAMCRO. They might even invite Zack Handlen to high tea!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Money And Medicine (PBS, 8 p.m.): Mo’ money, mo’ medicine, right? Actually, as your about to find out, courtesy of this PBS documentary, it’s more like “mo’ money for less medicine, for all of these horrible reasons.” PBS: Your source for crushing reality during the sugar rush of fall-premières since 1970.
Less Than Kind (DirecTV Audience Network, 9:30 p.m.): The third season of this Mark McKinney-helmed, imported comedy debuts, further marking McKinney’s development from Kid In The Hall to Man Who Makes All The Worthwhile Canadian Sitcoms. He’s crushing all your heads, other Canadian comedies.
TV Guide Magazine’s Top 25 Best Oprah Show Moments (OWN, 10 p.m.): Finally, the declaration of Oprah Winfrey’s finest televised moment, as decreed by a third-party but still underwritten by Oprah herself! We can’t wait until this episode is incorporated into future versions of the list!
Brickleberry (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): The première of the Daniel Tosh-produced cartoon that’ll make you want to shoot Axe Body Wash up your nose. Doing so will probably be more fun than watching Brickleberry.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (TCM, 8 p.m.): Before it could be used as a vaguely filthy, child-baffling punchline in a Bugs Bunny short, Betty Smith’s bestselling saga of an immigrant family was the source material for Elia Kazan’s directorial debut.
Tower Heist (Cinemax, 8:15 p.m.): Brett Ratner assembles a rag-tag group of wannabe thieves seeking to pull a Robin Hood on unethical businessman Alan Alda. At the very least, they steal Shirley Bennett’s heart.
MLB Baseball: Cubs at Rockies (WGN, 8:30 p.m.): It’s at times like these, as the Cubbies and the Rockies flail at each other in hopes of avoiding 100-loss seasons, that a baseball fan without an MLB Network subscription longs for the days when TBS joined WGN in broadcasting local teams nationally.
ALSO RETURNING TONIGHT
NCIS, season 10 (CBS, 8 p.m.)
Private Practice, season six (ABC, 10 p.m.)
Tosh.0, season five (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
How I Met Your Mother: Would Ted be so hung up on marriage if he wasn’t always at other people’s weddings? Donna Bowman ponders more pertinent questions than this in her review of the show’s eighth (and final?) season première.