Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, August 29. All times are Eastern.
Hollywood Game Night (NBC, 10 p.m.): Plying entertainers with alcohol and foisting them on simple games being played for the benefit of non-celebrities—who would’ve thought this could be so much fun? Besides, you know, the producers of nearly every game show made during the 1970s and ’80s. But never mind that: The teams for tonight’s first-season finale are made up of a strange mix that says “Well, we already called in most of our favors with the casts of Parks And Recreation, The Office, and Saturday Night Live—so here’s Tom Arnold, Terry Crews, and Hoda Kotb!” Genevieve Valentine just wants to know if Hoda switches to a different drink of choice when she’s doing TV at night.
Wilfred (FX, 10 p.m.): Try though TV Club’s usual Thursday shows might, it’s going to be pretty hard to out-weird the image at the top of this article. Wilfred tries its best by putting Jason Gann’s character “on the path to valor,” for which Rowan Kaiser gives the show a loving pat on the head.
Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim, midnight): Lola fields overtures from some sort of task force, probably something to do with preventing her from being abducted by a bad sitcom. No, whatever the next Guys With Kids is: David Sims will not let you take Erinn Hayes.
NTSF: SD: SUV:: (Adult Swim, 12:30 a.m.): The return of the Time Angels marks cable comedy’s second trip to the Wild West this week. Good thing Kevin McFarland’s rental on that sheriff’s costume is good for a whole week. (Question: Does it matter that it’s a Sheriff of Nottingham costume?)
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Friends (3 p.m.): Can you believe the viewers of the past had to wait four months to find out how Rachel was going to react to the big reveal of Friends’ first-season finale? Thank future goodness for DVDs and the Internet, which will provide Sonia Saraiya and Joe Reid with the answer that eluded those VHS-watching, no-Internet-having neanderthals when Friends reviews return in October.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Motive (ABC, 8 p.m.): In its native Canada, Motive debuted as CTV’s big post-Super Bowl broadcast. In the U.S., Motive’s first season goes out as a two-parter on a fairly dead Thursday night. Maybe the involvement of celebrities playing silly games could’ve helped its Stateside chances—Alan Thicke solving a crime via Solitaire, perhaps?
Pawn Stars (History, 9:30 p.m.): The title of the show’s latest season finale, “You’re Out,” refers to a baseball-related item that’s brought into the Gold And Silver, and not the potential departure of one of the show’s stars—though the Pawn Stars creative team is surely trying to figure out if they can trade Chumlee to Duck Dynasty for one of the Robertsons.
Attack Of The Celebrity Bikinis (E!, 10 p.m.): Celebrity bikinis pose the greatest current threat to American freedom. Be aware, be vigilant, and watch this informational special to know how you can protect your family from celebrity bikinis.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (USA, 10 p.m.): Graceland will not be seen tonight, so that USA can bring you this feel-good SVU in which The Wonder Years’ own Dan Lauria plays a basketball coach accused of committing unspeakable acts. Featuring feel-even-better cameos from Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
The Day After Tomorrow (MoMAX, 6:45 p.m.): On a night where several classics of big-screen comedy are stacked against one another—Slap Shot, National Lampoon’s Vacation, the first Austin Powers—the movie where Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum have to outrun cold might be the funniest thing on the schedule.
I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (TCM, 10:45 p.m.): Three cheers for this rough-and-tumble Depression-era classic, which not only affected change within the U.S. justice system—it also possesses a title you can incredulously refute like the real comedic type. “You’re not a fugitive from a chain gang,” you’ll say, real funny like. “You’re a movie!”
College Football: North Carolina at South Carolina (ESPN, 6 p.m.): As sure a signal of the coming fall as Labor Day and the rollout of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the college football season begins in earnest with this annual gridiron matchup that asks the tough question “Which Carolina is the best Carolina?”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Futurama: Having previously placed three petrified dragons eggs at the center of a funeral pyre, Zack Handlen stands at the perimeter of the blaze. Without hesitation, he steps into the heart of the fire, seemingly lost to the flames—until, hours later, when the sun has risen and the embers cooled, he stands among the ashes, alive and well, with a review of the Emilia Clarke Futurama perched on his shoulder.