Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, January 29. All times are Eastern.
American Horror Story (FX, 10 p.m.): It’s time for a convoluted mess of a season to end, but, then, we really don’t expect anything else from Ryan Murphy. At the same time, we’re sort of hoping that he can pull something crazy out of his ass on the way out and redeem at least part of this shitbag of a show. Because that’s the thing about a Ryan Murphy show: You might hate all of it, but if he can pull something utterly bizarre off in the final five minutes, you’ll at least have to give him props for that. And with a promo that suggests the season finale is going to pull heavily from the grammar of reality TV show reunion specials, Todd VanDerWerff has… well, not exactly high hopes, but definitely hopes. Phil Dyess-Nugent puts the season as a whole in perspective for us.
Arrow (The CW, 8 p.m.): Tonight, somebody named “Bronze Tiger” shows up. With characters named that, can Detective Chimp be far behind?! Alasdair Wilkins wearily shakes his head and crushes our dreams by saying Arrow takes place in much too realistic a universe for Detective Chimp.
Suburgatory (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Don’t forget this is all new, because ABC has buried a new episode amid a bunch of reruns. And it’s a good episode, too, with Tessa getting excited for the return of Ryan Shay… only to learn he’s bringing his girlfriend. Brandon Nowalk lets out a terrified “Nooooo!”
Workaholics (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): And you guys thought we’d drop this one! Ha! Dennis Perkins has taken on the task of summarizing the adventures of everybody’s favorite group of slackers for their latest season, after Pilot Viruet dropped in on the premiere.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Mad Men (1 p.m.): Todd VanDerWerff went away to the TCA press tour for a while, but now he’s back, and he’s covering one of his favorite episodes, “Red In The Face.” If that doesn’t ring a bell, maybe the thought of Roger trying to get all up on Betty Draper will.
ELSEWHERE IN TV CLUB
It’s a merry Christmas for all you Taxi fans, as Les Chappell takes his look at the 10 most representative episodes of the all-time classic sitcom in our TV Club 10 feature. Did he make room for “what does a yellow light mean”? You’d better believe he made room for “what does a yellow light mean”!
And a little later today—by which we mean that you should look for this article at 12 p.m. Eastern—Carrie Raisler leads Zack Handlen, Genevieve Koski, and Todd VanDerWerff through a roundtable discussion of one of her favorite TV episodes ever—ER’s heartbreaking “Love’s Labor Lost.”
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials (CBS, 8 p.m.): The A.V. Club will be making its own picks for the greatest Super Bowl commercial ever come Friday, but if you’d like to see what CBS picked, well, then you can just watch this special, can’t you?
Miley Cyrus Unplugged (MTV, 9 p.m.): We’ll admit this: We can get behind a lot of ostensibly annoying pop music, but something about the timbre at which Miley Cyrus’ voice is pitched unlocks some rage center in our brains. It’s nothing personal, Ms. Cyrus. We just apparently hate altos.
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond (BBC America, 10 p.m.): BBC America imports this look at the life of James Bond creator Ian Fleming back when he was a young pup. Our own John Teti thinks the series comes up a swing and a miss, but you can check it out for yourself tonight.
Hawking (PBS, 10 p.m.): PBS joins BBC America in the “shows about people with last names that end in —ing” party by checking in on a bio-doc about Stephen Hawking, who very well may be the smartest man alive, somehow even smarter than all of the T.V. Club writers combined!
The Manchurian Candidate (TCM, 8 p.m.): This paranoid thriller is one of the all-time greats, combining equal parts wild satire and dark drama about the seedy underbelly of early ‘60s America. It’s like Mad Men on speed, sort of, and there’s nothing quite like Angela Lansbury’s work in the film. Check it out.
The Skeleton Key (Oxygen, 8 p.m.): Toward the end of 2005, a few months after this movie came out, a bunch of critics—maybe in Slate’s movie club?—tried to convince us this was an overlooked gem. We mostly disagree, but, hey, maybe you want a spooky voodoo warm-up to American Horror Story.
NBA Basketball: Thunder at Heat (ESPN, 7 p.m.): The Heat have been having their struggles of late, but the Thunder have lost their last six match-ups with Miami. One thing’s for sure: This will be the most exciting showdown between two teams named after weather phenomena tonight!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Cougar Town (Tuesday): Did you notice that Cougar Town is back? Maybe you didn’t, since it seems like a fair number of you tuned out between seasons, given readership numbers, but Les Chappell is still watching, and he’s still waiting, and he’s still hoping you’ll join him and the Cul-De-Sac Crew for wine.