Fox Sports Special: NFL Preseason: Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers (Fox, 8 p.m.): It hardly matters who the competitors are in this exhibition game. (But look over here: a recovering Cam Newton!) What really matters is that the hellish trials and tribulations of the last seven days have concluded, and everybody gets a fresh start with a new week and a burgeoning football season. Sure, the NFL is riddled with its own problems, but let’s ignore those for a night as we all look forward to a Sunday through Saturday drive that has to be better than what came immediately before it.
The Operatives (Pivot, 10 p.m.): A new docuseries profiling ex-soldiers who now secure the homeland shared by all of humanity: Earth. No word on whether or not the stars of The Operatives can conjure an environmental superhero by combining their respective powers of earth, fire, wind, water, and heart.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11 p.m.): The one silver lining of the hellish week that just was is that we now get to hear John Oliver comedically dismantle its various low points, most likely preceded by what’s become the closest thing Last Week Tonight’s has to a catchphrase: Oliver’s many ways of saying “What a horrifying week.”
Robot Chicken (Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.): Among the subjects skewered on the Robot Chicken rotisserie in tonight’s season-seven finale: Jurassic Park, Bop-It, and arcade power couple Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Recede into the warm bosom of nostalgia, then laugh at the many ways that nostalgia can be maimed and/or made to have sex with other people’s nostalgia. (Also: Don’t forget that nostalgia has a bosom, because that’s something that can be a Robot Chicken joke, too.)
TV Club Classic
Farscape (11 a.m.): Alasdair Wilkins concludes season-three coverage, before putting Farscape coverage in temporary stasis. Don’t worry about Farscape coverage, though: Those stasis chambers are mighty comfortable.
Clone High (3 p.m.): This week on a very special Clone High: Marilyn Manson visits, presidential fan-fiction enthusiasts are thrown a bone when Abe and JFK vie for the class presidency, and the mystical powers of Mr. Butlertron’s sweater vest are investigated.
What else is on?
Rachael Vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off/Great Food Truck Race (Food Network, 8/9 p.m.): New seasons begin for two signature Food Network series, which could not be combined into a single series because the latest batch of Rachael Vs. Guy contestants are too young to drive.
Bikinis & Boardwalks (Travel, 9:30 p.m.): Travel Channel coasts off the dregs of Shark Week as it brings this look at top beach destinations to a close.
Vacation House For Free (HGTV, 10 p.m.): Finally, the show that boldly attempts to disprove the old adage “There’s no such thing as a free vacation home.”
Kill Bill: Volume 2 (WGN, 7 p.m.): Fun fact about basic-cable broadcasts of Quentin Tarantino’s ultimate tale of bloody revenge: Standards And Practices prohibit Bill from being killed.
Good Will Hunting (Encore, 8 p.m.): Honor the memory of Robin Williams by watching his Oscar-winning turn in the film that foisted big-screen BFFs Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on the world. And then revisit Williams’ Academy Awards acceptance speech, because you probably have some more crying in you. (Speaking of uncontrollable outpourings of emotion and Good Will Hunting: Elliott Smith’s “Miss Misery” performance from that ceremony can also be viewed on YouTube.)
Lifeboat (TCM, 8 p.m.): Alfred Hitchcock and John Steinbeck meet in a tiny watercraft, and what results is an explosion of creative energy whose strength is comparable to the blow-up caused by a Nazi soldier winding up in a lifeboat full of Allied forces.
Little League World Series: U.S. pool play (ESPN2, 7 p.m.): How much would you bet that some of these kids actually wish they were playing in a pool today?
Tomorrow in TV Club
1994 Week (the inevitable sequel to The A.V. Club’s hugely popular 1992 and 1993 Weeks) begins with Gwen Ihnat’s look at how Friends changed the sitcom landscape. More accurately, it begins with a bunch of 1994-related content and Gwen’s Friends essay—but this is What’s On Tonight, and we swore we’d always be there for you, TV Club writers.
In case you missed it
Project Runway: This show remains on the TV Club bench, but when John Teti offered to do a time-shifted take on the most recent episode, we couldn’t say no. And now the most visually engaging of reality shows gets all of the inline illustrations our old Project Runway reviews (and our old CMS) could never handle.