Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Monday, May 20. All times are Eastern.
Rectify (Sundance, 10 p.m.): It seems like midseason was just full of great new dramas. There was the somber spy fun of The Americans. BBC America gave us our new favorite sci-fi show in a while with Orphan Black, while NBC and Bryan Fuller beat the odds and made Hannibal a surprisingly, supremely addictive delight. But Sundance’s Rectify just might be the best of them all (okay, we’d still go with The Americans, but it’s really, really close). A beautiful series about the cost of being removed from your life—then returned to it—Rectify blends a hooky premise—criminal returns home after imprisonment—with some gorgeous filmmaking and soulful acting. Erik Adams is sorry to see it go.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.): Peppermint Butler tries to get Princess Bubblegum interested in a new suitor because he thinks she’s been working too much. Honestly, guy. Just let Princess Bubblegum pursue her career! Oliver Sava thinks you’re only young and ambitious once.
Regular Show (Cartoon Network, 8 p.m.): When Thomas drinks a slushy too quickly, it freezes his brain, which is absolutely one of those things that can happen. Alasdair Wilkins reminds us about a little thing called suspension of disbelief and call shenanigans on our eye roll worthy adherence to realism.
Defiance (Syfy, 9 p.m.): Nolan catches up with an old war buddy, which just makes us miss Firefly, because of that one episode where the Serenity’s crew… well, actually, almost everything makes us miss Firefly, because we’re hopeless that way. Rowan Kaiser misses Firefly, but he also misses John Doe.
Bates Motel (A&E, 10 p.m.): We genuinely have no idea what this show is building to in its season finale, which could either be exciting or vaguely terrifying. The important thing is that Todd VanDerWerff gets to see more things like Norma Bates chewing out a burned-out hippie for “smokin’ a doobie.”
Revolution (NBC, 10 p.m.): In an episode entitled “Clue,” we’re pretty sure that the entirety of the action will take place when someone discovers an abandoned Parker Brothers warehouse full of old board games. Les Chappell would totally be down with that, but only if we all play Zoboomafoo.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Peep Show (11 a.m.): Phil Dyess-Nugent concludes his look at season four, then takes a break for a few months for a different, exciting TV Club Classic. Don’t worry, though. Peep Show reviews will be back once he’s done with that. We wouldn’t deprive you of the show forever, now would we?
Batman: The Animated Series (1 p.m.): After finishing out the series proper, Oliver Sava has agreed to cover the four remaining movies that were made featuring the show’s characters. We don’t entirely know where he’ll be beginning in that process, so consider this an ultra-vague update on the issue.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The Goodwin Games (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): The How I Met Your Mother guys haven’t gotten a new show on the air since that series made it back in the fall of 2005. This one actually succeeded, but we’re betting it’s not long for this world with only a six-episode order. David Sims will let you know if it’s any good.
Rules Of Engagement/The Big C (CBS/Showtime, 8:30/10 p.m.): Two shows see their series finales tonight, with the former ending at exactly 100 episodes—and presumably running in the middle of the night for the rest of time—and the latter petering out after just three seasons and a miniseries.
American Masters—Mel Brooks: Make A Noise (PBS, 9 p.m.): PBS will begin its long summer hibernation later this week, but not before it has a chance to let you in on the life and times of one Mel Brooks, comedic mastermind. Phil Dyess-Nugent watches, then offers his favorite Spaceballs quotes.
Motive (ABC, 10 p.m.): ABC’s promotional materials insist this isn’t a whodunit but, rather, a whydunit, which is sort of interesting until you figure out that understanding people’s interior psychological motivations is something visual media are uniquely ill-suited to handle. We’ll let you know how it is.
Our Man Flint (TCM, 8 p.m.): Spy spoofs became a big deal in the mid-60s, thanks to the ubiquitous presence of Mr. James Bond. In this one—one of the funniest—James Coburn stars as the titular man Derek Flint and does his best—and most hilarious—to stop the bad guys from taking over the world.
The Scorpion King (AMC, 8 p.m.): Check out this Rock star vehicle to be reminded of the time when the Mummy movies—yes, the ones starring Brendan Fraser—were a thing. Then consider that George Clooney’s producing partner Grant Heslov also stars and think about the arc of American pop culture.
Cheerleading Competition: World Championships (ESPN2, 9 p.m.): Did you even know cheerleading had world championships? We sure didn’t, but it would seem that they’re airing tonight on ESPN2. We’d tell you who we’re cheering for, but everything we know about cheerleading we learned from Hellcats.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Simpsons (Sunday): The Simpsons wraps up its 24th—count ‘em, 24—season with an hour of all new episodes. The show is only renewed through season 25, so this might turn into the last proper season finale it ever does. Robert David Sullivan doubts that the show will ever die, to be honest.