Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, September 13. All times are Eastern.
Glee (Fox, 9 p.m.): Graduation is the greatest hurdle faced by any TV series focused on high-school-aged characters. Many trip themselves up on their trip to the quad; few are the Degrassi imitators who push one class out the door while welcoming a fresh batch of personalities and story generators. Ryan Murphy’s planting his feet in both camps for the fourth season of Glee, handing the show’s inevitable cover of “Call Me Maybe” to the “new” New Directions while introducing New York Rachel to pants-less NYADA instructor Katie Hudson. In light of the changes, Todd VanDerWerff will hand coverage of the show to Brandon Nowalk—but not before taking one last crack at the show that once drove him to the edge of insanity.
The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): Speaking of the edge of insanity: Did Britney Spears survive to the second round of X Factor auditions? Join Jessica Jardine to find out!
Project Runway (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): The only joy ever felt by the employees of Mood Designer Fabrics—the rush of elation that follows Project Runway contestants exclaiming “Thanks, Mood!”—is torn away as the designers are tasked with creating their own fabric. Perhaps a guest review from John Teti will fill that void.
Wilfred (FX, 10 p.m.): Jenna’s getting married to Drew, and for Wilfred (and Ryan, though he won’t admit it) that. Will. Not. Do. Sensing a big to-do, Rowan Kaiser puts on his best “getting thrown out of a wedding” suit.
Awkward. (MTV, 10:30 p.m.): In an attempt to cover her online trail, Jenna starts writing fictional posts for her blog. Myles McNutt is reticent to point out that the entirety of Awkward., the blog included, is already fictional.
Childrens Hospital (Cartoon Network, 12 a.m.): Sy handles a snake—which is not a clever variation on jumping the shark (or Henry Winkler performing that infamous feat on Happy Days), but rather a literal description of one scene from tonight’s episode. David Sims thinks this feature is really handling the snake. (Huh? What does is that supposed to mean? And how did it become a thing so quickly?!?)
NTSF: SD: SUV:: (Cartoon Network, 12:15 a.m.): An orca is dead, and the NTSF squad is held accountable. Kevin McFarland suggests the investigation turn its attention to other killer whales—“killer” is right there in the name! (Besides, NTSF only kills people.)
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): “There is a house on Qo’noS / They call “The House of Quark” / it’s been the ruin of at least one Klingon / and Zack Handlen’s favorite fork.” (Sure, it makes no sense—but the rhyme scheme really hemmed us in.)
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
America’s Got Talent (NBC, 8 p.m.): Look, Justin Bieber isn’t going to show up for just any episode of your televised talent show. It needs to be the finale (or close to the finale) and preferably broadcast on a corporate cousin of his record label. Fulfilling both prerequisites, The Biebs will deign to appear on America’s Got Talent’s seventh-season finale.
The Real Housewives Of Miami (Bravo, 9 p.m.): The popular choice for worst series in the Real Housewives franchise (which, to be fair, is itself “the worst”) underwent some major work between seasons—thus satisfying fans of the franchise and the requirement that a plastic-surgery cheap shot must follow all mentions of a Real Housewives series.
Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap (VH1, 9 p.m.): Ice-T, whom scholars contend was an MC before he embarked on a 100-year journey to blithely comment on every especially heinous sexually based offensive in New York City, made his directorial debut with this oral history of hip-hop. It’s a subject on which the long-time television police detective appears to be an authority.
Snooki & JWoww (MTV, 10 p.m.): Don’t cry for the cast of Jersey Shore: Its booze-powered, cheese-stuffed, overly tan flagship is due for retirement, but shows like Snooki & JWoww will allow the famewhores of the shore to live on—in the second season that follows this first-season finale. Truly, MTV is a benevolent creator.
Training Day (IFC, 8 p.m.): At the high point of the “playing an agent or something” period of his career, Denzel Washington nabbed an Oscar by playing a corrupt cop who spends a day scaring the shit out of rookie Ethan Hawke.
Shakespeare High (Showtime, 8 p.m.): Inner-city high schoolers compete for top prize in a regional Shakespeare festival. No matter who ends up winning, their bite-size renditions of The Bard suggest all’s well that ends well
NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay (NFL Network, 8:20 p.m.): A Thursday-night showcase for one of the National Football League’s most storied rivalries, as the Bears attempt to capitalize on a strong opening-week showing with the help of celebrity endorser Brian Urlacher, who used to play football before he was in commercials. (Between this and Ice-T, we have no idea what to think anymore!)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Damages: Five years, two networks, and an armful of awards after its debut, the legal drama draws to a close. “They’re all out of damages!” Joshua Alston wrote, before deciding the show deserved a more dignified elegy.