Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, April 1. All times are Eastern.
Game Of Thrones (HBO, 9 p.m.): We’ve heard the rumblings for months: War is coming. And that war will surely tear the TV world asunder, as the House of Games Of Thrones Devotees and the House of People Who Just Don’t See What The Fuss Is About clash over the second season of HBO’s A Song Of Ice And Fire adaptation. Tonight, expert Todd VanDerWerff and novice David Sims revive their campaign to quell dumb reactions like that New York Times review, cheering for Tyrion, jeering for Joffrey, and praising the television gods for four months where Game Of Thrones and Mad Men will run back-to-back.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): At last, the world will know why The Evil Queen despises Snow White. “Other than the whole ‘Who’s the fairest of them all’ kerfuffle?” you ask. “Guess so, but at least it means the return of Giancarlo Esposito,” Oliver Sava answers.
The Killing (AMC, 8 p.m.): Using the shadow cast by Game Of Thrones’ return to sneak back onto TV, one of 2011’s most polarizing series attempts to move on from the maddening twist of its first season finale. But we see you there, The Killing—and Todd VanDerWerff is coming to make you pay for what you’ve done. (Or to help make this second season go down more smoothly.)
Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 8 p.m.): Three hours is a lot of time to fill, and recently retired talk-show icon Regis Philbin has a lot of time on his hands, so he’s lending a hand on this super-sized Apprentice. Margaret Eby bets Reege calls everyone on the show “Gelman.”
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): The rivalry between Bob and Jimmy Pesto boils over into the digital realm, as a high score becomes the latest bone of contention between the restauranteurs. Rowan Kaiser currently holds the world record for highest score on BurgerTime.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): If there’s a list of suitable hosts for children’s TV shows, Peter Griffin is at the very bottom, somewhere between Kim Jong-Un and that astronaut who tried to kidnap her astronaut lover’s girlfriend at the airport. However, Kevin McFarland (No. 472 on the list, btw) thinks this shouldn’t stop Peter from making the next Yo Gabba Gabba.
Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.): It’s finale night on Showtime, because, well, war’s coming and everything, and the pay-cable network could really use some Laura Linney and Edie Falco-style backup against Game Of Thrones and Mad Men. Joshua Alston has chewed his fingernails to nubs in anticipation of Eddie’s insurance money arriving at Chez Gallagher.
American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Because Stan has probably never read Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound Of Thunder” (dude strikes us as someone who took the Firemen’s side while reading Fahrenheit 451) his time-traveling paternity test in tonight’s episode sends ripples through the space-time continuum. Sounds like American Dad star Tilda Swinton and U.S. President Rowan Kaiser are in for a doozy of an episode from Fox’s premier hour-long historical drama, huh?
Mad Men (AMC, 10 p.m.): Season five is looking to be a big one for Peggy Olson, as the secretary-turned-copywriter gains more and more authority at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Think her name might end up on the lobby wall soon? Ha! Of course not, it’s still the 1960s—though progressive thinker Todd VanDerWerff wouldn’t hesitate to open Olson-VanDerWerff with her.
House Of Lies (Showtime, 10 p.m.): House Of Lies ends up back where it began, as the season finale finds Marty and the Pod dealing once more with MetroCapital. Rowan Kaiser would come up with a witty metaphor for this scenario—but hasn’t House Of Lies taken enough from him already?
Californication (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.): Hank finishes Californication’s fifth season with a trip to Hell—though a generation of cynical Angelenos would like to ask “What’s the difference between Hell and L.A.?” “Fewer studio executives in L.A.” answers David Duchovny as he tips his shades and high fives Kenny Herzog.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Dr. Who (Classic) (11 a.m.): The Third Doctor and Jo tangle with the Ice Warriors on the planet Peladon, all the while protecting an unfortunately phallic (yet hermaphroditic) delegate from the Alpha Centauri system. Christopher Bahn will preserve the sanctified, still atmosphere of your Sunday morning by restricting the number of times he writes the phrase “that alien looks like a dick.”
The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): Joining Game Of Thrones in the “back from hiatus” column: Nathan Rabin’s look back at the golden years of Springfield. Season four begins with a holdover from season three: The summer-camp horror show of “Kamp Krusty.” Nathan will be sure to send you a postcard.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Great Expectations (PBS, 9 p.m.): 12 years since its last Masterpiece treatment—and 13 years since it became part of the brief “let’s update every piece of classic literature and stick Ethan Hawke in the lead role” craze—Charles Dickens’ bildungsroman returns to PBS, with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham. Will she ever find the man who doomed her to spinsterhood? According to Phil Dyess-Nugent, the truth is out there.
Saving The Titanic (PBS, 10 p.m.): “Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic” has become a metaphor for keeping up the appearances of a failed endeavor, but here’s a dramatic reenactment that suggests the phrase ought to be “shoveling coal to keep the Titanic’s lights on.” Yeah, that has a nice ring to it.
Wicked Tuna (National Geographic, 10 p.m.): Missing Deadliest Catch? Can’t wait less than a week for it to come back? Perhaps National Geographic can distract you for an hour with the adventures of a fleet that doesn’t include Sig Hansen, one which is looking for bluefin tuna rather than crabs. It’s “the similarly deadly, but off the coast of New England” catch!
Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule (Cartoon Network, 12:30 a.m.): We’re going to visit with Channel 5’s least-qualified correspondent sometime in the coming weeks—until then, check in with John C. Reilly’s dim-bulb alter ego as he drops some Brule’s rules about managing your finances.
Blade Runner (Encore, 8 p.m.): Just as the citizens of Ridley Scott’s Philip K. Dick-inspired dystopia don’t know when they’re dealing with replicants or humans, television audiences can never tell which cut of Blade Runner is popping up on their cable packages. Theatrical version? International cut? Director’s cut? Scott’s “final cut”? Either way, you’re not getting a clear answer about the true nature of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard.
Butterfield 8 (TCM, 10 p.m.): Elizabeth Taylor reportedly hated the film that won the actress her first Academy Award—which she filmed out of contractual obligation in order to flee MGM for 20th Century Fox and its costly historical boondoggle, Cleopatra. Nonetheless, she gives a stunning performance here as the troubled “kept women” of a wealthy Laurence Harvey.
NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament: Connecticut versus Notre Dame (ESPN, 6:30 p.m.): The No. 1 seeds in the women’s tourney have all made it to the Final Four—and befitting its perennial powerhouse status, Connecticut is expected to advance to the championship game on April 3. But first, the Huskies have to make it past the Fighting Irish, whose Skylar Diggins scored a triple double against Maryland in the regional final.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Magic City (Friday): Is Magic City the mid-20th-century period drama that can dispel the fumes of Pan Am and The Playboy Club’s quick flameout? Only if it effectively taps into the cultural melting pot of its Miami setting, says Ryan McGee.