Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7. All times are Eastern.
Do No Harm (NBC, 10 p.m., Friday) NBC aired only two episodes of Do No Harm back in February before pulling the plug and sending this medical drama down the drain like the filth from a surgeon’s hands as he scrubs in after a night of debauchery brought on by his evil alter ego who is only conscious from 8:25 p.m. to 8:25 a.m. With such a simple, solid, relatable premise, it’s shocking that the series set a record as the lowest-rated scripted drama on a Big Four network. NBC's summer burn-off of this modern day Jekyll & Hyde adaptation comes to an end with the appropriately titled episode, “This Is How It Ends,” although that title is now tinged with a sense of ironic sadness. Kind of like the ironic sadness a neurosurgeon with an evil, rigidly-scheduled alternate personality might feel.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 10 p.m., Friday): Comedy Bang! Bang! is the latest in the Bill Hader whirlwind tour that has seen the comedian bidding farewell to SNL, costarring in The To Do List, podcasting with Marc Maron, and roasting James Franco. David Sims will be watching this episode in his Bill Hader t-shirt, drinking from his Bill Hader souvenir mug, and hugging his plushy Bill Hader as he wonders if Bill Hader is a little overexposed these days.
Strike Back (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): After taking off the Labor Day weekend—presumably for a cookout and a game of horseshoes—Section 20 is back to shoot guns and blow stuff up. Myles McNutt checks in on episodes three and four and reports back on the guns, the explosions, and who won the hot dog eating contest at the Labor Day BBQ.
Borgen (LinkTV, 1 a.m., Saturday) In the first half of Borgen’s first two-part episode, Birgitte must decide whether to intervene in a civil war in an African republic. Intervention in a foreign country has been a hot-button topic in the news lately, but this episode originally aired in Denmark back in 2011. While this coincidence is most likely due to the cyclical nature of the moral and ethical dilemmas of political leaders, Todd VanDerWerff has a theory that the creators of Borgen are actually time travelers who write about events that will take place two years in the future (kind of like a reverse Newsroom).
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Babylon 5 (11 a.m., Friday): Rowan Kaiser’s coverage of Babylon 5’s third season comes to a close as Sheridan’s supposedly-dead wife returns to take him to the Shadow homeworld, Z’ha’dum. On a related note, Rowan is looking to sell his timeshare on Z’ha’dum. The massively destructive dust storms are a tad annoying, but the mountain views are lovely!
The Twilight Zone (1 p.m., Saturday): The Twilight Zone ends it’s fourth season—and it’s experimentation with hour long episodes—with a mysterious ocean liner and William Shakespeare. Todd VanDerWerff has had mixed feelings about the hour-long format, but if there’s one thing he’ll watch for an hour, it’s William Shakespeare.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team (CMT, 9 p.m., Friday): Looking for a show that appeals in equal measure to 6-year-old girls and 54-year-old men? Look no further than the eighth season première of this reality show about the bouncy, bendy leaders of cheer.
Hello Ross (E!, 10 p.m., Friday): Ross Mathews made a name for himself as a snarky, squeaky television personality on shows like Chelsea Lately, but he first got his start as an intern at The Tonight Show. We’d make fun of the kid, but going from intern to talk show host? That’s a modern day Cinderella story if we ever heard one!
Luther (BBC America, 10 p.m., Friday): It feels like only yesterday that the third season of Luther began airing on BBC America—in fact, it was three whole days ago—but this British crime drama is already airing it’s fourth and final episode of the season. Farewell Luther, we hardly knew ye.
House Hunters (HGTV, 10 p.m., Friday): House Hunters is always pleasantly entertaining comfort TV, but this episode title caught our eye: “Chicago Couple Seeks House With Enough Space For Chickens.” Considering the A.V. Club headquarters is located in Chicago and our staff is notoriously chicken-friendly, might we suggest that Chicago couple give our office a gander?
Cupcake Wars (Food Network, 8 p.m., Saturday): What do Weird Al, Lance Bass, Minnie Driver, Kristin Cavallari, Fran Drescher, and Tiffani Thiessen have in common? They’ve all been guest hosts on Cupcake Wars, of course! Jessica Alba joins that prestigious list of celebrities who have hawked a product on a baking reality show as the contestants battle to create the best all-natural, organic cupcakes.
Buying The Bayou (Destination America, 10 p.m., Saturday): According to its press release, this new Destination America series about bayou real estate “meets the needs of gator hunters, catfish noodlers, [and] shrimping and crawfish enthusiast[s].” Coincidentally, The A.V. Club has been hoping to cater more towards the gator hunter/catfish noodler market (crawfish enthusiasts, however, will have to look elsewhere for their pop culture updates).
A Knight’s Tale (BBC America, 7 p.m., Friday): A Knight’s Tale is Heath Ledger’s one foray into the type of pretty-boy roles he spent most of his short career trying to avoid. The strange mashup of medieval jousting, romance, buddy comedy, and ’80s music works far better than it should—helped in no small measure by Paul Bettany’s turn as a histrionic Geoffrey Chaucer. What the film lacks in historical accuracy, it makes up for in Queen.
Star Trek (FX, 7 p.m., Friday): While some Trek fans thought JJ Abrams’ action-heavy style might have been better suited for the Star Wars world (Disney apparently agreed), Abrams did perfectly capture one of Trek’s most beloved tropes: using time travel to handwave away continuity issues.
Giant (TCM, 8 p.m., Saturday): This Texas-set epic about big oil, family, and racism earned James Dean his second posthumous Oscar nomination (the first was for East Of Eden). Dean was shooting the film when he was killed in a car accident at the age of 24, and Elizabeth Taylor was reportedly so upset the day after Dean’s death she had to be excused from working on the film for the day.
WWE Smackdown (SyFy, 8 p.m., Friday): The TV Guide description invites viewers to “see which WWE superstar or diva finally steps up against Triple H’s tyranny.” Since WWE airs on SyFy, we can only assume the winner will be a Sharknado, a Chupacabra, or a Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gator.
College Football: Notre Dame at Michigan (EPSN, 8 p.m., Saturday): When the Michigan-Notre Dame football rivalry began in 1887, Grover Cleveland was president and there were only 38 states. Thanks to a home field advantage, Michigan is favored to win the 41st matchup on Saturday. The teams will meet again in 2014, but after that they’ve put a hiatus on games until at least 2019 so watch the Fighting Irish battle the Wolverines for possibly the last time this decade.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Wilfred: Rowan Kaiser is getting a lot of practice at saying goodbye lately. Not only is he bidding adieu to the third season of Babylon 5 today, he did the same thing with Wilfred’s third season last night. Parting is such sweet sorrow.