Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, May 20. All times are Eastern.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): On February 14, 2002, Family Guy aired the final episode of its original run: “Family Guy Viewer Mail #1,” featuring three condensed Griffin adventures supposedly requested by members of the show’s audience. (And thus whomever wanted to see Peter and the gang re-imagined as the The Little Rascals had the happiest, creepiest Valentine’s Day on record.) Tonight, in a display that the show isn’t entirely intellectually bankrupt, Family Guy returns to the mailbag for one half of its hour-long 10th-season finale. It would appear Kevin McFarland’s pitch for a Hoosiers riff where Brian salvages the Northwestern Wildcats’ 2011-12 basketball season was rejected.
Ultimate Spider-Man (Disney XD, 11 a.m.): We’ve been running reviews of this show for weeks, but only just now realized it’s never received its What’s On Tonight? propers. So here goes: Oliver Sava gets deeper into Avengers-mania as Spidey and Thor defend Asgard from Loki.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Latter-day Simpsons episodes tend to tread softly when it comes to transporting real-life cultural objects and personalities to Springfield. (Care to read the latest Angelica Button e-book on your Mapple MyPad?) Unless, of course, those personalities voice themselves, as Lady Gaga does in this episode that has Rowan Kaiser going rah rah ah ah ah roma roma ma gaga ooh la la.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): The Sasquatch is one of America’s most-adored cryptids, a legend so magnetic it’s used to sell mid-sized summer music festivals and processed meat products. The ape man’s ties to carnivorous lifestyles comes in handy for Bob’s Burgers, which tonight introduces the world (and Rowan Kaiser) to a new Bigfoot-ground chuck hybrid: Beefsquatch.
The Killing (AMC, 9 p.m.): Last week hinted at some legitimate momentum for the long-form murder mystery. This week could gain further ground, what with Richmond throwing some extra “oomph” behind the search for Rosie’s killer. Brandon Nowalk would like to see Billy Campbell strap The Rocketeer’s jet pack to this thing and watch it really take off.
Game Of Thrones (HBO, 9 p.m.): There’s a seemingly major, cryptically described development buried deep within the synopsis of the latest Game Of Thrones, which suggests even the authors of capsule previews are wary of spoiling this show. Todd VanDerWerff isn’t wary of ending anyone spoiling future episodes in David Sims’ newbies reviews.
Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 9 p.m.): Unfortunately for American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, Celebrity Apprentice isn’t a reality competition where the second-place finisher can still end up the “winner.” Donald Trump simply wouldn’t allow such a squishy definition of victory—and Margaret Eby wouldn’t expect him to.
Nurse Jackie (Showtime, 9 p.m.): With “Day Of The Iguana,” the people behind Nurse Jackie almost certainly won’t offer a prequel to Tennessee Williams short-story-cum-play The Night Of The Iguana. Of course, if Phil Dyess-Nugent files anything detailing Edie Falco being booted from a Mexican church, all bets are off.
Sherlock (PBS, 9 p.m.): Moriarty’s chipping away at Sherlock’s credibility, outwitting his formidable nemesis and sullying his name in the press. Of course, being disparaged in the British press is a rite of passage in the U.K., so this can’t be too much of a setback. Meredith Blake has the story on page 5.
The Big C (Showtime, 9:30 p.m.): Most people have given up on this Laura Linney cancer dramedy, but Phil Dyess-Nugent is going to see it through—reader interest be damned. Of course, it gets mighty lonely covering these Showtime series every week—keep Phil company while Susan Sarandon pushes Oliver Platt to potentially dark places, won’t you?
Mad Men (AMC, 10 p.m.): Christmas episode?! Todd VanDerWerff loves Christmas episodes! And Mad Men! How does he feel about Harry Crane (who, we were reminded last week, is still a character on this show) getting into the spirit of glad tidings and goodwill to all men? We’ll have to wait until he watches the episode!
Veep (HBO, 10 p.m.): Selina’s hung up on the nicknames she earns from political bloggers. It must be hard to be a politician whose first name is phonetically similar to a fallen pop icon and whose last name is almost that of a hot dog. Meredith Blake—formerly known as Janis Joplin Ball Park Franks—knows Selina’s pain.
The Borgias (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Historical fiction time: Cesare and Machiavelli attend Savonarola’s bitchin’ Bonfire of the Vanities, a rager where the passionate friar and his followers burned paintings, mirrors, music, and other objects of temptation. If you bring the graham crackers and chocolate, Les Chappell will bring the booze-infused marshmallows for his infamous Sinful S’mores.
Girls (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): They say you can’t go home again—and when your parents have just cut the financial cord, that goes double. Todd VanDerWerff accompanies Hannah as she returns to Michigan to celebrate her parents’ anniversary (and not disparage The Mitten, if she knows what’s good for her).
Metalocalypse (Cartoon Network, midnight): Also traveling to the Great Lakes Region tonight: Dethklok, which aims to end the Dethcession with a hybird concert tour/traveling carnival of horrors. Phil Dyess-Nugent is saving a seat for you on the Ferris wheel.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): Mr. Burns hires Marge and Bart literally cries wolf in another unimpeachable episode from The Simpsons’ string of season-four winners. At this rate, Nathan Rabin’s going to run out of synonyms for “perfect.”
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Movie Talk With Peter Bart (Encore, 10 a.m.): As Roger Ebert’s recent attempt at updating At The Movies attests, talking about film on television is no longer the draw it was when Ebert occupied our boob-tube balconies alongside the late Gene Siskel. Variety critic Peter Bart takes a stab at correcting that with Movie Talk; will Brandon Nowalk give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down?
Mrs. Eastwood & Company (E!, 10 p.m.): The reality series starring Clint Eastwood’s wife and daughters (and on which no one gets in to see The High Plains Drifter, not no way, not no how) makes its legitimate bow on E!, and Jessica Jardine is there to catalog the petulant behavior of Dirty Harry’s daughters and handicap Dina Eastwood’s chances of inciting worldwide Overtone-mania.
Hannibal Buress: Animal Furnace (Comedy Central, 11 p.m.): Hard to argue with the description of the first hour-long special from standup comedian Hannibal Buress: “Topics include dancing and his love for apple juice.” Sounds like perfect jumping-off points for the man who’s so convincingly played 30 Rock’s favorite tinfoil-hat enthusiast.
The Eric Andre Show (Cartoon Network, 12:45 a.m.): Everything’s coming up Hannibal tonight: In addition to the debut of Animal Furnace, you can see Buress as the deadpan sidekick on this deconstructed talk show from absurdist standup Eric Andre. Steve Heisler has the review—assuming he didn’t hallucinate the whole thing.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (Reelz, 8 p.m.): Clint Eastwood’s but a presence on the fringes of the reality show that bears his last name, but he’s all over this Western, playing a vengeful farmer caught between the sides of the American Civil War. Much like he’s caught between the sides of the civil war at home on Mrs. Eastwood & Company, Sundays on E!
L.A. Confidential (Ion, 9 p.m.): A shadowy Hollywood conspiracy kept Guy Pearce from unraveling every noir-tinged mystery post-Memento, so it’s good to see the actor brandishing a firearm and vintage wardrobe in promo shots for Lawless. Get excited for that bootlegging caper (and, what the hell, Prometheus, too) with this adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel about homicide in Hollywoodland.
MLB Baseball: Cardinals at Dodgers (ESPN, 8 p.m.): The Cards are the defending World Series champions and they’re steamrolling the competition in the National League’s Central Division. Until neither of those things is true, they’ll be hogging these primetime ESPN broadcasts. At least they square off against the equally fearsome Dodgers tonight.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Tron: Uprising: If you want Kevin McFarland to continue covering this animated bridge between the Tron films, let us know. At the very least, it will increase the number of Reboot allusions ’round these parts by tenfold.