Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23. All times are Eastern.
Gravity Falls (Disney Channel, 9 p.m., Friday): Television has been lacking a “creepy goings-on in a small town” series since the cancellation of Happy Town—and no, neither The Vampire Diaries nor The Secret Circle counts. And you’d have to reach back to the glory days of Eerie, Indiana to find such a show attuned to the macabre interests of middle-school outcasts. All that changes with the debut of Gravity Falls, a supernatural curio that does the children of former video-store clerks and current roller-derby brawlers the solid of providing entry points to Twin Peaks and the work of Kristen Schaal. Alasdair Wilkins will meet you there for some damn fine coffee and… whatever food they liked on Eerie, Indiana.
Twenty Twelve (midnight, BBC America, Saturday): After introducing its Olympic mockumentary in a three-episode bloc on Thursday, BBC America moves the show to its regular, late-Saturday-night timeslot. For Erik Adams, it’s like staying up to catch Monty Python’s Flying Circus reruns back in the day—only this show’s about preparing, rather than staging, the “Upper Class Twit Of The Year” show.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Babylon 5 (11 a.m., Friday): If you’ve been following Rowan Kaiser’s “watch this, not that” approach to Babylon 5’s first season, you’ll know that the second of this week’s episodes is a must-see. You may also remember more about “The War Prayer” than he does.
Firefly (1 p.m., Friday): “Safe” is the last taste of Firefly you’ll get for the next couple of weeks, so savor it and remember it fondly for the coming days when Noel Murray and Donna Bowman aren’t there to answer your cries of “Where’s Firefly?”
Chappelle’s Show (3 p.m., Friday): They say you can tell a lot about a person from how far they make it into Dave Chappelle’s R. Kelly parody, “Piss On You.” We draw the line at the “Hershey stains” lyric (and accompanying image); Ryan McGee had to watch the whole damn thing for this week’s review, so he much have a will of steel and a stomach of cast iron.
Animaniacs (11 a.m., Saturday): Slappy The Squirrel teaches her nephew (and Genevieve Koski) about the inherent immortality of cartoon characters. It’s an important episode for anyone who assumed everyone’s favorite retired, geriatric cartoon rodent would’ve died from emphysema by now.
The X-Files/Millennium (1 p.m., Saturday): Jodie Foster had it easy: Her Freaky Friday only lasted a single day. Poor Mulder has to spend an additional hour in Michael McKean’s body. By comparison, a KISS cameo on Millennium doesn’t seem that bad. Following an incident involving an enchanted copy of Destroyer, Peter Criss is standing in for Todd VanDerWerff this week.
Pulling (3 p.m., Saturday): There’s a character named Oleg in this episode, which tripped our 2 Broke Girls-induced “automatic sitcom skepticism” detectors. Margaret Eby assures us there’s no reason to worry, but we can’t be certain until we see this Oleg pass up the chance to make a high-larious joke about Kat Dennings’ boobs.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
True Justice (Reelz, 7 p.m., Friday): The first season of the Steven Seagal vehicle sputters to a stop, where it will then be towed to The A.V. Club’s Worst TV of 2012 scrap heap.
Chasing UFOs (NatGeo, 9 p.m., Friday): In the reality-TV realm, ghosts get hunted, but UFOs are chased. That’s because ghosts are just dumb spectral projections of human beings, while UFOs are piloted by highly intelligent life forms who probably want to enslave us and our dumb ghosts. Rowan Kaiser, for one, welcomes our new UFO overlords.
Mariachi High (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Attention TV producers in need of ideas: This profile of a high-school mariachi ensemble is just sitting here, waiting to be adapted into a wacky, high jinks-filled, slice-of-life sitcom about a school where all the students are mariachis. The Ramones already wrote you a theme song, too: “Mari-, Mari-, Mari-, Mari-, Mariachi High School!”
XIII (Reelz, 9 p.m., Friday): Will Harris sits down at the International House Of Conspiracy Thrillers to enjoy this Franco-Canadian adaptation of a Belgian comic book starring Irish-born actor Stuart Townsend. Mmm, intercontinental cooperation…
My Cat From Hell (Animal Planet, 8 p.m., Saturday): Contrary to anecdotal evidence, the cats profiled in this series—entering its third season—don’t originate from the depths of Hades. Though we’re willing to be proven wrong by the cast of the National Geographic show we just made up, Hellcat Catchers.
Bigfoot (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): The Elvis of the cryptozoological world demands only the best, which is why this Syfy original co-stars Barry Williams, Danny Bonaduce, Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever!), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne!), Andre Royo (Bubs!), and, in a move of true brilliance, one-time Harry And The Henderson patriarch Bruce Davison. With a cast like that, Phil Dyess-Nugent couldn’t say “No” to a review.
Wicked Attraction (ID, 10 p.m., Saturday): This one’s for the romantics: Grab a bottle of Syrah, dim the lights, and watch this true-crime profile of two homicidal men bent on maiming and eating their victims.
ER Nights (Discovery Health And Fitness, 10 p.m., Saturday): If that doesn’t get your temperature rising and your pulse pounding, flip over to this pulse-stopping series set in a Sydney emergency room. Saturday night belongs to lovers—and gory imagery.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Cinemax, 8:15 p.m., Friday): And if the UFOs don’t get us, the genetically altered spawn of Caesar the chimpanzee certainly will. When the time comes to prostrate yourself in front of our damn, dirty ape overlords, don’t forget to blame James Franco!
Casino Royale (1967)(Oxygen, 7 p.m., Friday): Given the grisly plot of Casino Royale, it’s appropriate that Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel would have a, ahem, tortured path to the big screen—one which goes through this satirical take on the Bond franchise with David Niven in the role of 007, along with six others posing as “James Bond.”
Big Fan (Sundance, 8 p.m., Saturday): Full disclosure: Big Fan was written and directed by one-time Onion editor Robert Siegel and stars friend of The A.V. Club Patton Oswalt. Fuller disclosure: We’d recommend this dark comedy about an obsessed New York Giants fan no matter who wrote and starred in it.
Quarantine (Telemundo, 9 p.m., Saturday): We’re picking this one out of sheer strangeness, however: It’s the Hollywood adaption of the Spanish-language found-footage creepshow REC—but dubbed in Spanish. It’s a hall of shaky-camera mirrors.
X Games: Moto X, skateboarding (ESPN, 9 p.m., Friday): In our rush to turn in the Thursday edition of What’s On Tonight?, we completely blanked on the opening of the 2012 X Games in Los Angeles. So we’re making up for that here by highlighting a night of Big Air competition for skaters and three separate motocross events: Best Whip, Step Up, and Best Trick.
Women’s Softball: Canada Vs. U.S. (ESPN, 7 p.m., Saturday): The United States has won five out of the first six World Cup of Softball tournaments. This is presumably part of the reason softball is no longer an Olympic sport, as well as the reason to expect a victory against the country’s northern, fast-pitching neighbors during this World Cup match.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT