Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Wednesday, March 21. All times are Eastern.
Bent (NBC, 9 p.m.): We’ve reached the portion of the TV season when networks frantically start shoveling content they picked up for reasons they don’t quite remember onto the air. NBC begins the age-old, ignoble practice with the debut of this new show tonight, burning off the six-episode order in just three weeks. (That’s a way to win over an audience!) Despite the way the network is treating the show, it’s not abysmal, and there are hints of something that could find its voice given time. Plus, you’ve got actors like Amanda Peet, Jeffrey Tambor, Jesse Plemons, and J.B. Smoove rattling around in there. Don’t have anything else going on? Check out the first half-hour, then switch over to Happy Endings. Just like Todd VanDerWerff will do!
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): Claire Zulkey, irritated by this show’s refusal to morph into The Hunger Games, like The Voice apparently has, is just so over its complete lack of contestants bow and arrow-ing each other. Also, can any of you who don’t watch name one contestant this year? That’s an Idol fail!
Survivor (CBS, 8 p.m.): Sounds like we’re getting a major injury tonight, one that could kick one castaway out of the game. Remember when that one dude was kicked out of the second season because he fell and got his hands scorched in the fire, but you couldn’t see it? Carrie Raisler thinks he was a wuss.
America’s Next Top Model (The CW, 9 p.m.): The synopsis says the models will pose in vintage American cars while wearing couture British hats. Listen, show: We watched the Royal Wedding. We know the Brits call their hats “fascinators.” You don’t need to remind Margaret Eby twice!
Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30 p.m.): Having successfully rehabilitated the image of Elisha Cuthbert—who’s now one of the funniest parts of the show when “comedienne” didn’t belong anywhere near her name a year ago—the writers turn their eyes to Zachary Knighton’s Dave. David Sims longs for better gags.
Psych (USA, 10 p.m.): This show is starting to play out a little like Mad Libs to us, with all of the wacky situations Gus and Shawn find themselves in. Tonight, the two solve a crime in the amazing world of a cappella singing, and if you’re guessing at least one of them will sing, Kevin McFarland agrees.
South Park (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): Call us simple-minded—because we totally are—but the thought of Cartman setting up a cash for gold business fills us with an endless amount of glee. We hope the inevitable cash for gold parody ads are as funny as the ones Marcus Gilmer has already outlined for us.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Avatar: The Last Airbender (11 a.m.): Hayden Childs has finally gotten to a pivotal season three two-parter, but that’s not what we want to talk about. What we want to talk about is that The Legend Of Korra finally has a debut date, you guys! It’s April 14, and there’s no way it would ever disappoint us!
Carnivàle (1 p.m.): Today’s episode is called “Hot And Bothered,” which is what Todd VanDerWerff gets every time he contemplates being made a “creature of dark” and given unlimited ability to make coins poor from people’s mouths. Not because he likes being evil. He just really likes quarters. And nickels.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Narco Bling (National Geographic, 8 p.m.): In its latest attempt to warn people away from the drug trade, National Geographic launches a special telling you how much money you can make selling drugs. If one of you hasn’t registered an account named “Narco Bling” in the next half-hour, you have all failed.
Couples Therapy (VH1, 9 p.m.): It’s a big night for half-assed reality shows on basic cable channels, beginning with the debut of this new Celebrity Rehab spinoff all about celebrity couples entering, you guessed it, personalized Skinner boxes. Hulk Hogan, terrified by the isolation, roars!
American Digger (Spike, 10 p.m.): Spike, meanwhile, thinks it can win your, “Hey, I’m tired and a little drunk, so let’s just leave the TV on this moderately interesting program” eyeballs with a new show about people who dig for treasure. We’re hoping it really gets into the intricacies of digging.
Duck Dynasty (A&E, 10 p.m.): But in the “Hey, I’ve just watched 13 episodes of this show, and where the fuck has my Saturday gone?!” sweepstakes, the true champion is this new A&E show about wacky Southerners who manufacture duck calls. Naturally, we “called” (heh) on Scott Von Doviak to review.
The Flight Of The Red Balloon (Sundance, 8 p.m.): We don’t blame you if you don’t want to watch any of the above, but if that’s the case, then why not check out this lovely Hou Hsiao-hsien film, which stars Juliette Binoche? Then when you tell your co-workers what you watched, you can totally feel superior to them.
Green Lantern (HBO, 8 p.m.): We heard this movie was super-shitty, so we didn’t go see it, despite our love of doing impressions of whatever that thing is that Blake Lively calls “acting.” But you should totally watch it or whatever. We’re going to be watching Game Of Thrones screeners. Just wanted to rub it in.
Track and Field: NCAA Indoor Championships (ESPNU, 9:30 p.m.): ESPNU is just piling up all of the big “these are sports people only care about in Olympic years” events tonight, with swimming and diving early in the evening, then a good three hours of track and field action. Throw that javelin, college kids!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Southland (Tuesday): Kevin McFarland marks the end of another Southland season, with an episode that presumably shuttles a character who was just brought in to boost ratings this season off of the show. Thanks to the approximately 50 of you who found your way to our reviews every week!