Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, January 30. All times are Eastern.
The Americans (FX, 10 p.m.): It’s been a lousy season for new serialized TV dramas, and even some of the ones we’ve had around for a while disappointed a bit. FX hopes to ride to the rescue of all fans of serialized dramas with its new high-concept drama about Soviet spies living in the suburbs in the early ‘80s, and it’s hoping that you’ll love ‘80s music on the soundtrack, Keri Russell in mom jeans, and knifeplay as a substitute for foreplay enough to make this your new weekly stop-in. In all seriousness, tonight’s pilot is good stuff, and Genevieve Koski and Todd VanDerWerff will have their thoughts to you later this afternoon.
Arrow (The CW, 8 p.m.): When Thea is threatened with jail time, thanks to possession of an illegal drug, Oliver steps up his superheroic antics to help out his sister. Superheroes! Always looking out for their little sisters! Alasdair Wilkins hopes the show gradually turns into a scathing indictment of the drug war.
Supernatural (The CW, 9 p.m.): Sam and Dean meet a man who claims to be their grandfather, because that’s the sort of wacky shit that happens on this show. Phil Dyess-Nugent may time travel himself. If he does, Carrie Raisler will be there to create several paradoxes that result in her never being born.
Suburgatory (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): Tonight’s episode title mentions Yakult, and Brandon Nowalk just can’t help but love that little dog. Why, it’s the whole reason he named his cockatoo Activia, and he’s hoping that tonight’s episode will just be lots of footage of Yakult doing stuff. Immediate and instant A+!
Top Chef (Bravo, 10 p.m.): The chefs head out for Alaska, where they’re challenged to do something clever with iceberg lettuce. Get it? Emily Withrow thinks you would get it if we set the word “ICEBERG” off somehow. Because, y’know, Alaska has a lot of icebergs. But fewer and fewer of them every day!
Workaholics (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): Alice resigns, meaning the guys are going to get a new boss. If you don’t mind, Kevin McFarland would like to recommend himself. If you’ll just check his references, you’ll find that he’s listed over 30 separate people who work for something called “The TeeVee Crew.”
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Slings & Arrows (1 p.m.): Now that one of the show’s main characters is dead, we can really get started on the story! Todd VanDerWerff thanks you for turning out for last week’s episode, and he hopes that you’ll come back this week, because things are just about to get good. Also, there will be appetizers.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Banshee (Cinemax, 8 p.m.): Our own Ryan McGee didn’t think much of this—and the overall reviews were hit-and-miss—but enough random people we know have talked about how good this is getting that maybe we’ll take another look sometime. Catch up with what’s aired already in this marathon.
Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials 2013 (CBS, 8 p.m.): It used to be fun to pretend you watched the Super Bowl “only” for the commercials, but now that the San Francisco 49ers, the team chosen by God Himself to bring hope to people, is playing in the big game, watching just for the ads is sick and wrong.
Super Bowl Tailgate Takeover (Travel, 9 p.m.): Adam Richman shows up at people’s houses to give them the ultimate Super Bowl tailgate party or something. Honestly, we just want Adam Richman to show up at our house so we can have a serious discussion of the flaws of the BITE Scale. C’mon, Adam!
Chicago Fire (NBC, 10 p.m.): NBC’s been kind of annoying about this lately, sending us multiple notices about how we have a screener for this one and it’s a can’t miss episode and all of that. Plus, the show is climbing in the ratings, even among young folk. So consider this your notice: Chicago Fire exists!
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Starz, 9 p.m.): Starz invites you to remember when you were really excited by a Tolkien adaptation movie, when it didn’t seem like an already bad idea stretched out to even more of a bad idea, and when people didn’t ride on sleighs pulled by rabbits.
The Stranger (TCM, 9:45 p.m.): For the second straight Wednesday in a row, TCM is celebrating the work of Loretta Young, probably because the network just loves Loretta Young that much. On the other hand, this one’s worth checking out because it’s directed by one Orson Welles. Yes, that Orson Welles.
NBA Basketball: Heat at Nets (ESPN, 8 p.m.): Look, these are two of the 10 teams ESPN will ever show, so we’re just going to talk about the Clipper game we went to the other night. In short, it was awesome. They are sure a fun team to watch! And that Blake Griffin seems like such a nice young man!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
New Girl (Tuesday): If you’ve already watched, you know the singular event Erik Adams spent almost half his review talking about, even if it only lasted a few quick seconds. If you haven’t, we probably just spoiled you, because if you think about it for a little bit, you’ll get it. See? There it is! Good work, team!