Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, May 6. All times are Eastern.
Sherlock (PBS, 9 p.m.): When your DVR keels over from exhaustion around 11 p.m. tonight, there’ll be only two men to call: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who you didn’t call upon earlier because you were watching Game Of Thrones. Steven Moffat’s 21st century Sherlock Holmes adds to the very 21st century problem of an overcrowded night of quality TV, beginning the Stateside run of its second series (“If you invoke Benedict Cumberbatch, it follows that you should use British production terms” reads an addition to the TV Club style guide we just made up) tonight. John Teti is on the case.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): It’s getting near high noon in Storybrooke (far more whimsical and coded than high noon in, say, Dodge City), and Regina is cooking up a plan to finally lay Emma low. Oliver Sava advises readers to fully inspect any red apples they eat tonight.
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): [Cue badass snare drum intro and memorable guitar riff still owned by CBS] The 20th edition of The Amazing Race winds through Japan before wrapping up in beautiful Honolulu, where it’s bound to run across promos for the upcoming Hawaii Five-0 finale. Scott Von Doviak books ’em, Danno, etc.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Since the start of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston has kept his considerable comedic chops sharp through bit parts on a number of other shows. Still, it’s a wonder he was heard on every Seth MacFarlane show before finally finding a role in Springfield. If Homer opens his door and gets shot, don’t think it’s Cranston—Rowan Kaiser is the one who knocks.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Then again, Cranston hasn’t voiced a character on Bob’s Burgers yet, either. He has to get in line behind the entire Los Angeles standup community, though—and if the show is just now calling on the vocal services of Patton Oswalt, Cranston will have to wait even longer. Rowan Kaiser wants to know where this theoretical line is, and if he could feasibly sneak into it.
The Killing (AMC, 9 p.m.): Sure, we all like to joke about The Killing’s “leave no stone unturned, even if that stone was found underneath two other stones that didn’t yield any information about Rosie Larsen’s murder” technique, but at least it offers more conclusive answers than the average “On the next Mad Men” montage. And that’s what allows Brandon Nowalk to sleep at night.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): Kevin McFarland isn’t the only person who’s noticed how little the writers and characters of Family Guy care for Meg Griffin. As such, expect the Internet to produce a lot of grousing after Stewie heads to Paris to find his kidnapped sister. What are we to believe, that Meg’s kidnapping triggered some sort of magical empathy and compassion switch in Stewie’s heart or something?
Game Of Thrones (HBO, 9 p.m.): Like many people throughout histories fictional and factual, Daenerys believes she was denied an honor which is rightfully hers. Unlike most of those people, she has fucking dragons to help her fight for what she lost. If Todd VanDerWerff and David Sims had dragons, they wouldn’t be able to file their Game Of Thrones reviews, because everything would be on fire.
Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 9 p.m.): The contestants design a four-page print ad for a hair dryer with a touchscreen—which is a bit like distributing a broadside in service of spreading the word about the latest iPhone. At the very least, the challenge provides Margaret Eby the chance to shoot poorly coiffed fish in a gold-plated barrel.
Nurse Jackie (Showtime, 9 p.m.): A new dress code causes consternation among the staff at All Saints’. Of course, it’s the rare dress code that doesn’t cause consternation among the people who have to follow it. For instance, Phil Dyess-Nugent went bananas when we requested he wear pants while filing his reviews.
American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): The premise of tonight’s episode features two surefire laugh-generators: an alter ego (Roger’s previously unheard of roughneck alias, “Ricky Spanish”) and the phrase “the most hated man in [insert geographic location].” The latter is a conceit so unfailing, it even made an episode of The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody funny. Kevin McFarland remembers fondly the time Mr. Moseby was “the most hated man in Boston.”
The Big C (Showtime, 9:30 p.m.): At the request of Joy the Joyologist, Paul takes the stage to tell the story of his brush with death. And thus Phil Dyess-Nugent’s fantasy of a touring Susan Sarandon-Oliver Platt stage show comes one step closer to being realized. Maybe he can cast them in a radically reinterpreted version of The Odd Couple.
Mad Men (AMC, 10 p.m.): Extrapolating from incredibly vague clues including the episode title (“Lady Lazarus”) and the episode synopsis (“Peggy reluctantly harbors a secret”), we can only guess that this is the episode where Peggy becomes a superhero with revivification powers. Todd VanDerWerff hopes she can bring new life to our swiftly decaying “everything we know about Mad Men this season is so vague” jokes.
Veep (HBO, 10 p.m.): It’s Selina Meyer’s 20th year in Washington, D.C.! If you’re the type to buy congratulatory gifts for a fictional character, Meredith Blake suggests a dog, as Selina’s out looking for a canine companion in this week’s episode. For maximum Arrested Development crossover potential, she could name the pooch Buster!
The Borgias (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Crack that history book: Real-life historical figures Girolamo Savonarola, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Caterina Sforza return to stir the pot of Roman politicking. Also sending Les Chappell to the reference desk at his local library: The lightning strike which hits St. Peter’s during the events of “The Choice.”
Girls (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): Hannah has that recurring nightmare where your roommate’s horrible boyfriend and his even more horrible buddy read your diary and then turn it into a musical performance piece—except it’s not a nightmare, it’s actually happening, and Todd VanDerWerff has all the sordid details.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): Bart’s misbehavior is met with the harshest dose of discipline imaginable: Homer forbids his son from ever seeing The Itchy And Scratchy Movie. It’s a cruel and unusual punishment, but Nathan Rabin sure enjoyed watching it play out all over again.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Between Two Ferns: A Fairtytale Of New York (Comedy Central, 8:30 p.m.): Zach Galifianakis and Scott Aukerman take their popular Funny Or Die chat show from the small screen attached to your computer to the larger, but still small screen attached to your cable or satellite receiver. Guests include Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Sir Richard Branson, and a ton of awkward silence.
The Second Annual Comedy Awards (Comedy Central, 9 p.m.): A Fairytale Of New York is ostensibly a sendup of Barbara Walters’ traditional pre-Oscars interview special, a satirical prelude to this, the unfussy sendup of stuffy award ceremonies saluting the year in humorous arts.
GCB (ABC, 10 p.m.): So the good Christian bitches of Dallas didn’t turn out to be the Desperate Housewives replacements ABC was hoping for, ratings-wise, but there’s still a potential for Wisteria-style twists in the show’s first season finale. Maybe we’ll finally get to know what GCB really stands for!
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (TLC, 10 p.m.): Our own Margaret Eby is a tireless champion for the British import My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and as such couldn’t turn down a chance at reviewing its American-set spin-off. And the American Roma don’t disappoint, putting a 14-year-old bride-to-be in the show’s spotlight—if only she had the groom to go with all the preparations for her wedding.
Iron Man (FX, 8 p.m.): Just in time for Avengers weekend, it’s the film that planted the seeds for the epic team-up that’s currently gobbling up box-office returns like Galactus at the celestial buffet. The Avengers’ cinematic back issue presents the origin stories of both Tony Stark’s metallic alter ego and the overeager comic-book devotees who hang around after the end credits of every Marvel Studios release.
About Last Night (TV Guide Network, 10 p.m.): Just in time for Police Academy Week, it’s the adaptation of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity In Chicago, written in part by Tim “Officer Sweetchuck” Kazurinsky. There are more emotionally honest moments in this romantic comedy than all seven Police Academy movies combined, but they’re on equal footing in terms of 1980s time capsules. (Check out Rob Lowe’s hair!)
MLB Baseball: Phillies at Nationals (ESPN, 8 p.m.): One month into the season, the erstwhile Montreal Expos find themselves in a strange position: Atop the National League East, with the right arm of pitching phenom Steven Strasburg in good working order. That still isn’t drawing fans to Nationals Park, though: Maybe the organization should consider adding one of the Racing Presidents to the starting lineup.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Saturday Night Live (Saturday): Did Eli Manning fumble in his debut as an SNL host? Or did the show’s cast correctly run its routes, allowing the New York Giants quarterback to throw for the maximum amount of sketch completions with minimal effort? David Sims has the call (and fewer bad football metaphors).