Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, April 22. All times are Eastern.
Veep (HBO, 10 p.m.): When it comes to beating the “Seinfeld curse,” it’s all about choosing the right roles. Consider this: While Jerry Seinfeld was pouring his money and attention into a crummy animated movie about bugs and Michael Richards was burying himself in racial epithets, their old co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus starred in The New Adventures Of Old Christine—not a show of Seinfeld’s caliber, but miles above, say, Jason Alexander’s Listen Up!. Louis-Dreyfus looks to continue her choosy hot streak with Veep, Armando Iannucci’s attempt at giving American politics the type of political skewering he applied to the British government in The Thick Of It. After having Free Agents and The Playboy Club yanked out from under her last fall, Meredith Blake is just glad to be covering a non-doomed series that isn’t Boss.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): After biting into a poisoned apple and falling into a two-week slumber, ABC’s fairy-tale fantasia wakes up to the kiss of a Rumpelstiltskin-centric plot. Oliver Sava wonders what happens if you guess ol’ Rumpy’s name and get him to say it backward, à la Mr. Mxyzptlk.
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): The Amazing Racers catch Bollywood fever, taking part in what’s hopefully a bright, garish, and inexplicable musical number in an Indian musical. If they need some elephants for the production, Scott Von Doviak knows where you can get ’em dirt cheap.
The Killing (AMC, 9 p.m.): Dead people are now passing out clues to the Rosie Larsen murder, because even they are frustrated by The Killing’s aversion to closure. If the dead also know where Brandon Nowalk misplaced his house keys the other day, that’d help, too.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.): The legal drama plays to a nation in the grips of Stanley Cup mania with an episode titled “The Penalty Box.” Of course, that nation is Canada, so the show’s sizable American audience won’t get the hockey metaphor. Still in the throes of residual Linsanity, David Sims has no time for sports with pucks.
Game Of Thrones (HBO, 9 p.m.): This second season hasn’t been kind to Arya, and the littlest Stark gets to see all manner of human cruelty while being held prisoner at Harrenhal. Todd VanDerWerff knows what’s in store, while David Sims can only imagine how acting in Game Of Thrones is coloring young Maisie Williams’ perception of the world outside of Westeros.
Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, 9 p.m.): Of the remaining Celebrity Apprentice contenders, who do you buy as the most likely face of a designer fragrance? Aubrey? You mean Danity Kane didn’t come prepackaged with a scent. Clay? It’d be the smell older women want but can never have. Margaret Eby nominates Lisa Lampanelli because “Lisa LampaSmellMe” pretty much writes itself.
Nurse Jackie (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Jackie is out of treatment and back on the job, which is a totally different place without the influence of her Nurse’s Little Helper. Turns out that when Jackie’s not on drugs, Phil Dyess-Nugent doesn’t review the show—he’s on the show.
The Big C (Showtime, 9:30 p.m.): Here comes Susan Sarandon, whose guest shot promises a “life-changing decision” for Cathy. It has to do with ping-pong, doesn’t it? If not, Phil Dyess-Nugent doesn’t know how else Susan Sarandon changes lives these days.
Mad Men (AMC, 10 p.m.): Missed Peggy last week? Fear not, she has a spotlight moment this week, struggling with her latest campaign. Avowed member of Team Peggy Todd VanDerWerff has already broken out his “Go Go Olson!” banner to cheer her through the rough times.
The Borgias (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Les Chappell assures us this is the episode that will finally convert all the Borgias skeptics out there into Borgias boosters. Given the promise of approaching French soldiers and a hunger-striking Lucrezia, we’re inclined to agree.
Girls (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): While we’re on the subject of shows that breed skepticism: There’s another episode of Girls on tonight, confirming that it is a television show and not an imagined straw-man for everyone with an axe to grind with Brooklynites, young artists, children of the famous/quasi-famous, or Todd VanDerWerff.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): In an important moment in the character’s evolution, Lisa Simpson wins a beauty pageant before speaking out against the pageant’s Big Tobacco sponsor. Also, Bob Hope drops by for a cameo that has Nathan Rabin gleefully rubbing his palms together.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Fox 25th Anniversary Special (Fox, 8 p.m.): Following the first episodes of Married… With Children and The Simpsons (which are worth recommending themselves), Fox throws itself a 25th birthday bash. If it’s anything like our 25th birthday, the night will end with Fox at a karaoke parlor, drunkenly improvising fake Jim Morrison poetry over the instrumental portion of The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” Only, you know, with the casts of In Living Color and Ally McBeal in attendance.
Masterpiece Classic: Birdsong (PBS, 9 p.m.): Casting rumors about the third series of Downton Abbey not enough to satisfy your jones for sudsy tales of British life during the early 20th century? Satisfy your cravings with this two-part adaptation of Stephen Faulks’ 1993 novel, which follows a World War I soldier through flashbacks to an illicit, pre-war affair with a married woman in France. Phil Dyess-Nugent’s the one you call Dr. Feelgood.
MythBusters (Discovery, 9 p.m.): In case you haven’t heard, the eternal battle of the sexes has turned into a full-on War on Women (or it hasn’t, depending on your source), so it’s the perfect time for MythBusters to bust some myths pertaining to gender. Finally, we’ll all know why women drive like this, while men are always driving like this.
William & Kate: One Year Later (TLC, 10 p.m.): It was nearly a year ago today that the Duke of Cambridge married Kate Middleton, thus ensuring never-ending updates and retrospectives on the royal couple’s magical day. TLC looks back on that day, hopefully devoting copious amounts of airtime to the ornate and flamboyant hats worn to the ceremony. Oh, the hats…
Your Highness (HBO, 8 p.m.): Feeling the sting of losing its weekly dose of Danny McBride after last week’s Eastbound & Down finale, HBO airs McBride and David Gordon Green’s unapologetically shaggy sword-and-sorcery farce. It’s dumb, for sure, but much funnier than legend/the film’s poor box-office showing tells.
The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters (ESPN Classic, 9 p.m.): The film that made a folk hero out of competitive gamer Steve Wiebe also made a reluctant villain of arcade icon Billy Mitchell—a distinction which Mitchell has no problem discussing in unexpected phone calls to pop-culture publications. Give Seth Gordon’s engrossing documentary on the Wiebe-Mitchell rivalry a watch and decide for yourself who’s telling the truth.
MLB Baseball: Yankees at Red Sox (ESPN, 8 p.m.): The Yankees and Red Sox came into their first meetings of the regular season at opposite ends of the American League East standings—but this series has been as much about the 100th anniversary of Boston’s Fenway Park as the two team’s storied rivalry. Tonight, the century-old ballpark gets the primetime treatment—and you’ll swear it doesn’t look a day over 95.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Paul F. Tompkins: Laboring Under Delusions (Saturday): In his latest one-hour special, standup comedian, ubiquitous podcast guest, and noted clotheshorse Paul F. Tompkins delves into stories about his various showbiz and non-showbiz occupations. Erik Adams can think of no better job than getting paid to hear the words that emit from beneath Tompkins’ mustache.