Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, February 1. All times are Eastern.
Top Chef (Bravo, 10 p.m.): It’s the night before February sweeps begins, which means, of course, that absolutely nothing is on. And we mean nothing. We looked for weird reality shows debuting. We looked for something in the daytime. We even checked out the middle of the night. But what we’re left with is Top Chef, which is doing an episode in which the chefs create “imaginative pancakes for Pee-Wee Herman.” And while we like imaginative pancakes as much as anybody, particularly Emily Withrow, we’re not quite sure this is the sort of big TV excitement anybody had in mind.
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): Auditions move to Portland, Ore., tonight, which suggests that all of the judges will imbibe a fine glass of sloe gin fizz, secure in the knowledge that they will almost certainly not be fired. Now, if that ain’t love, then tell me what is, uh huh. Claire Zulkey runs a feminist bookstore.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Survivor (Classic) (11 a.m.): After a long stretch, Meredith Blake has come to it finally. The finale. The episode of the snake and rat speech, the only thing anybody remembers about this season of television. And we’ll be there, as we watch Kelly and Richard face off for the final prize. Spoiler alert: We all lose.
Carnivàle (1 p.m.): Ben’s secret is almost exposed to the world, already, in episode three. Todd VanDerWerff’s secret was exposed to the world way back in episode two of What’s On Tonight, but nobody cared, so he’s mostly safe to live freely among otherwise normal humans. Mostly.
Alias (3 p.m.): Ryan McGee remembers just how much fun it was to follow the Bristow-Derevkos out in the field and watch them work out their family angst while doing so, then watches a great episode he’d completely forgotten about, in which Marshall takes to the field and has a blast. So does the audience.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials (CBS, 8 p.m.): If this special doesn’t have “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker,” then we will proclaim the experiment to have been a failure. Yes, it’s all fun and games when some guy runs and throws a hammer through a giant viewscreen, but we want tackling!
My 600-lb Life (TLC, 9 p.m.): TLC, which never met a physical difference and/or ailment it couldn’t exploit, is back at it again, with a brand new show about what it’s like to be someone who weighs 600 pounds. Well, all we do is watch TV and sit around, so we can tell you that it sucks, TLC. It sucks.
Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy (History, 9 p.m.): Oh. This show is back again. Tonight’s episode is called “Naked Cowboys And Reptile Wranglers,” which is both an episode of Only In America With Larry The Cable Guy and the most accurate description of The A.V. Club’s holiday party last year.
Inside Nature’s Giants (PBS, 10 p.m.): Tonight, PBS takes you inside the Great White Shark, which is all well and good, until you realize that going inside a Great White Shark inevitably involves sliding down the deck of your rapidly sinking ship into the giant fish’s toothy maw, blood churning in the water.
New York Stories (Flix, 8 p.m.): This movie isn’t a great one, but it features some interesting work from Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Woody Allen, all of whom contributed a short film centered on the titular city to this anthology film. Also, whatever happened to director-oriented anthology films?
Rocky (TCM, 8 p.m.): Even though it was the worst of the five films nominated for Best Picture that year, we still enjoy good ol’ Rocky, and its arrival on our screens can mean only one thing: It’s time for Turner Classic Movies’ annual 31 Days of Oscar event, which sounds like a good idea in theory but often isn’t.
NBA Basketball: Thunder at Mavericks (ESPN, 8 p.m.): It seems like the same seven or eight teams play in all of the NBA games that are broadcast, and we don’t think that should be the case. What about the earnest Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, and Denver Nuggets fans of the world? What about them?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
New Girl (Tuesday): We’ll just say this upfront here: If this show added Lizzy Caplan as a regular and as a foil for Zooey Deschanel, we’d probably watch it every week in eager anticipation, instead of letting it pile up on our DVR. Erik Adams watches what Caplan brings to the proceedings and nods happily.