Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, March 29. All times are Eastern.
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9 p.m.): In what sounds like the premise of a supernatural teen-comedy from the 1980s (or something you’d find on Cinemax at 2 a.m. during the 1990s), Adam enlists Faye and Melissa to lend a hand around the Boathouse—as long as they can all team to use their powers for romantic purposes. Of course, as 1989’s Teen Witch taught an entire generation, there are a million ways to magically ensnare someone’s heart: Rap battles, popularity spells, “believing in yourself” (snore) … If events proceed along the lines of the first option, Katherine Miller requests a performance of “Top That.”
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): This show was previously missing from the nightly wrap-up—which is absurd, seeing as Leonard Nimoy is the special guest star on this week’s episode. We hereby apologize to Nimoy and Oliver Sava, who are currently forcing us to recite “Highly Illogical” for their personal amusement.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Operation: Kill Klaus is in full effect. First order of business: Buy protective vests that prevent Klaus from ripping your heart out. He’s already done it to Carrie Raisler, and she’s not pleased with the results.
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): It’s results time for “Sing something by your idols” week—we predict Jessica went with something big-and-ballady-y by Jennifer Hudson, Heejun chose Keyboard Cat, and Skylar covered a shotgun and a bottle of whiskey. Just try to prove us wrong, Claire Zulkey!
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.): The growing schism between Troy and Abed manifests in opposing blanket forts, the construction of which threatens to finally rend this troubled nation in two. What? This troubled nation still isn’t watching Community? Well, it’s going to give Todd VanDerWerff reason to worry, at least.
30 Rock (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): Kristen Schaal’s Hazel has been a frustratingly scattershot addition to 30 Rock’s ensemble, and her Single White Female routine with Liz might be its most exasperating component. Can’t the character just be one type of crazy? Nathan Rabin would even settle for “considers squirrels her closest confidants”-crazy.
Up All Night (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): Just like the white-winged dove sings a song, sounds like Ava and Reagan are singing “We’d like Steve Nicks to appear on Ava—Ooo, baby, ooo. Ooo.” Margaret Eby rings like a bell through the night—and wouldn’t you love to read her review?
Awake (NBC, 10 p.m.): Portlandia has really cast a spell on other television shows, hasn’t it? First The Simpsons went to the Rose City, and now Britten’s therapists suggests a head-clearing trip to Oregon. He’ll be living the dream of the 1890s soon enough, growing a full beard and using Zack Handlen’s blue-ribbon pickling methods.
Delocated (Cartoon Network, midnight): Jon is the last person who needs help being impulsive, but this week he’s enrolled in an “impulse therapy” course that pushes him to reveal his face for the cameras of a Girls Gone Wild-style series. Steve Heisler did the same thing once, but he did it for the beeeeeeeeeads! (SPRING BREAK!)
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): A last-minute audible (and an excellent episode) prompted Zack Handlen to push his showdown with DS9’s big science-versus-faith episode to this week. Enjoy the end of the series’ first season, where aliens and people of the future engage in arguments that we present-day human beings can’t seem to stop having ourselves.
Seinfeld (1 p.m.): In the buildup to what will likely be a contentious, ugly electoral season in the United States, remember that none of the real candidates for public office will represent you the way Cosmo Kramer will represent the people of Morty and Helen’s condo complex. David Sims has the pocket Willard organizer to prove it!
Cheers (3 p.m.): Given Cheers propensity for leaving larger-than-life characters—Vera and Derek, for instance—unseen, it’s surprising the series put a face to Carla’s sleazeball ex-husband Nick halfway through its second season. Of course, that face belongs to Dan Hedaya, so our Cheers review squad (and future Tortellis review squad?) couldn’t be happier to see it—or the ear hair growing alongside it.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Rules Of Engagement (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): Returning from a Rob-induced hiatus, “that show with Puddy and David Spade” returns to squeak itself past the syndication barrier. “How did I end up watching four hours of Rules Of Engagement?” your future self wonders on a lazy Saturday afternoon—four hours before you wonder the same thing about ’Til Death.
Punk’d (MTV, 10 p.m.): With Jersey Shore on hiatus, MTV bolsters its Thursday-night lineup (and the debut of Jersey Shore spin-off The Pauly D Project) by putting Justin Bieber in a Ashton Kutcher costume and letting him pull practical jokes on his celebrity friends. Are you being punk’d? Nope, Punk’d is a thing again, and we’ll probably have a review.
My Mom Is Obsessed (Discovery Fitness & Health, 10 p.m.): In the TV modification of a 12-step program, the first step is admitting you have a problem; the second step is making sure there’s a cable documentary series that will exploit that problem for money. In the première of the latest addition to the ranks of “addicted”/“obsessed” shows, daughters confront mothers about fixations on plastic surgery and exercise.
Mary Mary (We, 10 p.m.): Gospel sister act Mary Mary is only a duo, which reduces the potential for Braxton Family Values histrionics. But get a load of all the sass in the press images for Mary Mary. Also, the sacred nature of their music doesn’t preclude Erica and Trecina Atkins-Campbell from the music business’ shady side, and Mary Mary comes complete with a skeezy lawyer who looks and behaves an awful lot like a Bob Odenkirk character.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (HBO, 6:30 p.m.): This cracking adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s rock-’n’-roll-kung-fu-romance epic was a costly misfire for Universal and an unfortunate barrier toward mainstream acceptance for Shaun Of The Dead/Spaced director Edgar Wright—but it quickly found the cult audience it deserves. A cult audience whose members, much like its underachieving hero, probably have time to take in a movie at 6:30 on a Thursday night.
Fresh (Flix, 8 p.m.): Before he was Breaking Bad’s Gustavo Fring (please don’t remind us he’s Once Upon A Time’s magic mirror now), Giancarlo Esposito played another even-keeled drug kingpin in Boaz Yakin’s directorial debut. Instead of pushing around a dying chemistry teacher and his junkie flunky, Fresh finds Esposito guiding a 12-year-old drug runner, which is marginally more seemly.
NIT Title Game: Minnesota versus Stanford (ESPN, 7 p.m.): Common logic dictates that the winner of the NCAA’s National Invitation Tournament is only the 69th-best men’s college basketball squad in the country. Well, at least the Golden Gophers and the Cardinal can content themselves with this fact: Win tonight, and they’ll be the 75th 69th-best men’s college basketball squad in the country. That’s like being the world’s tallest dwarf—but encrusted with diamonds!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Survivor: Sadly, the episode title “The Beauty In A Merge” refers to shifting allegiances, not a challenge where the castaways are rewarded with selections from the Merge Records catalog. Carrie Raisler weighs in on an episode that could’ve benefited from a few No Pocky For Kitty cuts—but what wouldn’t?