Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 11, and Saturday, January 12. All times are Eastern.
Out There (IFC, 10:30 p.m., Friday): Do you need another quietly quirky animated show in your life? Would you take one where all of the characters are kids who look like they belong in the graphic novel Black Hole? Would you also like it if the voice cast included the talents of Linda Cardellini, John DiMaggio, and Kate Micucci? We suspect you might be just fine with that, so we’re letting you know a “special preview” episode is airing tonight after Portlandia, before the show officially debuts February 22. Cory Casciato takes a look at several episodes of the show to let us know if it lives up to its promise.
Fringe (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): Hey, guess what? There are only two Fringe Fridays left, and this is one of them. With three episodes spread over two weeks, we’re guessing tonight will be lots of table setting for the series finale, but Noel Murray doesn’t care. He just wants to see Joshua Jackson’s dreaminess again.
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m., Friday): It sounds like most of the sketches tonight will revolve around Nina’s birthday party, which reminds Les Chappell that he forgot to get her a present. Since he just spent the last bit of his paycheck on organic hummus, he’s going to have to make her something. Gross, Les.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The X-Files (1 p.m., Saturday): Even in the show’s more sucktastic seasons, Zack Handlen somehow seems to get all of the best episodes, not that Todd VanDerWerff is bitter about that or anything, just because he wanted to do “X-Cops,” Handlen! Why? Why? Why must the calendar persecute him so?
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): It’s been a little underreported how weirdly political this show has become this season, reportedly at the behest of series star Tim Allen, but now, we’re reporting it, because we know What’s On Tonight is the most-read entertainment publication that there is!
Enlightened (HBO Signature, 9 p.m., Friday): If you’ve never seen this show, you should probably try and watch all 10 episodes before season two begins on Sunday. If you have, then revisit the sublime “Consider Helen,” one of the best episodes of TV to air in 2011. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, etc.
Pretty Bad Girls (Investigation Discovery, 9 p.m., Friday): ID is hoping that you may have heard of this Pretty Little Liars that all the kids are talking about nowadays, but if you haven’t, well, here’s a show about attractive women who also commit crimes, which sounds like a recipe for success to us.
Banshee (Cinemax, 10 p.m. Friday): Alan Ball of American Beauty, Six Feet Under, and True Blood fame produces this new series about an ex-con who takes a job as a small-town sheriff for fun. Ryan McGee checks out the first two hours to see how many explosions and boobs Cinemax crammed in there.
The 2013 Miss America Pageant (ABC, 9 p.m., Saturday): Fear not, folks! There’s still ample opportunity for pretty women to march on a stage in front of you and have you silently judge who is the prettiest. And if one of those girls is very lucky, Brent Musberger might ogle her on live TV in a couple of years!
Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual (We, 9 p.m., Saturday): Just in time for us to wonder what we’re going to put in the second Saturday slot, We is bringing to the air this show that follows Cyndi Lauper around as she does things faded pop stars do. Tonight, she has lunch with Kathy Griffin! We’re so excited!
The Iron Lady (Showtime, 8 p.m., Friday): Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for this problematic biopic about Margaret Thatcher. Streep is predictably pretty good, but the whole of the film is a mess, and it tries too hard to cram Thatcher’s greatest hits in there. But, hey, she won another award, so why not?
It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (TCM, 8 p.m., Friday): Stanley Kramer, of all people, directed this comedy that essentially defines the word “madcap.” Crammed full of stars, the film depicts the pursuit of a hefty sum of money by a group of wacky strangers, who come together in their race for the cash.
Margaret (HBO Signature, 9 p.m., Saturday): For the longest time when we would bring this movie up, you guys would be, all, “We haven’t seen that movie! Don’t talk about a movie we haven’t seen!” Well, now, you can, because it’s airing on HBO tonight, and you have no excuses beyond not having HBO.
NBA Basketball: Bulls at Knicks (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): We were talking to a Knicks fan who had given up on the team in the off-season and now is begrudgingly following them again since they lead their division and all. Have the courage of your convictions, man! Cheer for the Brooklyn Nets! It’s only right!
NFL Playoff: Packers at 49ers (Fox, 8 p.m., Saturday): We almost didn’t put this in here, because we don’t want to jinx the 49ers by acknowledging their existence, but we almost have to, right? There’s nothing else we could pick. So here’s hoping that there’s just a really good game (that the 49ers win).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
1600 Penn (Thursday): We—as in the team of robots that writes What’s On Tonight—thought the second episode of this show was a solid improvement over the first one. Granted, that wouldn’t have been hard, and we’d still only give it a B-, but check out this review and see if Molly Eichel agrees.