Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, March 15. All times are Eastern.
Community (NBC 8 p.m.): It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, the day you thought would never come—Community returns to Thursday nights, and that’s really all you need to know. Doesn’t matter that it’s the “wedding” episode, doesn’t matter that one storyline finds Troy and Abed attempting to be normal adults—all that matters is that you’re in front of the television at 8 p.m. Eastern /7 p.m. Central to help ensure that the study group gets a fourth year at Greendale. Todd VanDerWerff will reserve a seat for you.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): Murders occurring in this episode bear eerie similarities to those committed a century ago. Rowan Kaiser steps in for Carrie Raisler as the mystery unfolds, bringing with him other fun facts about the year 1912. For instance, did you know it was the year the Titanic sank and the year Paramount Pictures was founded? (But you should watch Community to shore up the live-viewer ratings.)
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.):The Idol process has been thrown into chaos following the Jermaine Jones controversy, and as of this writing, there’s no indication how it will affect the number of hopefuls sent home in the coming weeks. Join Claire Zulkey as the show devolves into a version of Lord Of The Flies where a Coke cup replaces the conch. (Or you can help Community score higher than a 2 rating in the 18-49 demographic, seeing as so many other people will be doing the same for American Idol.)
30 Rock (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): In case you missed it, Community’s back tonight, meaning 30 Rock is back at 8:30, a return to old comforts that merits a visit from Liz’s ex-boyfriend Dennis Duffy. On St. Patrick’s Day, Liz makes like the saint himself, forced to once more drive an Irish pest—who once knowingly sold a faulty beeper to Nathan Rabin—from her life.
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9 p.m.): In The Secret Circle universe, there exists a device that can rob a witch of her powers—you know, like when Sabrina The Teenage Witch moved from high school to college. Phil Dyess-Nugent promises there will be no Sabrina The Teenage Witch allusions in his Secret Circle review. He also pledges to spend the hour before The Secret Circle watching Community, and then watching it again via DVR.
Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): As popular consensus dictates, this season was engineered to give a Project Runway All Stars victory to either Mondo or Austin. And if the “big twist” of the finale’s first part fucks that up, SHIT WILL GO DOWN. Genevieve Koski hopes the twist isn’t “Surprise! Kenley’s actual the winner!” (We’re all winners tonight, of course, thanks to the return of Community.)
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): Thought the whole Florida arc was over? You obviously didn’t see Andy’s last-second declaration of love for Erin last week. We can’t blame you—you were obviously distracted by wondering if Jeff and Britta are actually the ones getting married on tonight’s Community. Myles McNutt can catch you up.
Up All Night (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): The Brinkleys consider having another child, which introduces an intriguing concept for the series: Every season, there’s a new kid. There’s a sweet moment with Shirley’s kids on tonight’s Community. Margaret Eby is sick of this running gag.
Archer (FX, 10 p.m.): Remember the space-simulator episode of Community? Todd VanDerWerff sure does, and he thinks it’d make a good double-feature with this, the first part of Archer’s third-season finale—a.k.a. ARCHER… IN… SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!
Awake (NBC, 10 p.m.): Our Awake coverage went to sleep last Thursday, and woke up on Friday to find itself in the capable hands of Zack Handlen. Zack’s first episode on the beat finds Britten confronting the fact that there could there could be a reality where neither his son nor his wife is alive. (Not wanting to live in the darkest reality/timeline where Community no longer exists, we implore you to watch Community tonight.)
Unsupervised (FX, 10:30 p.m.): Here comes Charlie Day to give It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s sister series a little boost—and Joel and Gary an important lesson in economics. Believe it or not, tonight’s Community finds Shirley actually applying some of the business know-how she showed off way back in season one’s “Environmental Sciences.”
Delocated (Cartoon Network, midnight): By this point in the night, you should’ve had plenty of time to watch Community, rewatch Community, read Todd’s review of Community, tell Todd he’s wrong about Community, drop into the comments for “Regional Holiday Music” (approaching 36,000 last we checked), look for new Alison Brie .gifs, examine the “Straight ‘A’s of Greendale” poster in the background of tonight’s post-episode tag, record and post a frozen-pizza review to your YouTube page, and maybe rewatch Community again. Why not wind down with a night cap of Delocated with Steve Heisler, where Jon, in a surprising moment of self-awareness, realizes he hasn’t a friend in the world.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): Just when Zack Handlen thinks he left his nemesis, Lwaxana Troi, back in Star Trek: The Next Generation, she comes strolling back into his life. Why won’t she just leave him alone?
Seinfeld (1 p.m.): Either our memories of this season are sharper than we thought, or there are some significant Seinfeld moments packed into the series’ final episodes. This week’s doubleheader includes “The Reverse Peephole,” the titular gag of which our younger selves thought was awfully funny. David Sims peers through the peephole to confirm or deny these opinions.
Cheers (3 p.m.): Our reviewers are divided with regard to Dick Cavett’s guest appearance in one of this week’s episodes. On the one hand: Hey, TV’s Dick Cavett! On the other hand: Why does TV’s Dick Cavett have to mess with the proven chemistry of the Cheers gang?
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Missing (ABC, 8 p.m.): Ashley Judd is Liam Neeson in Taken—or so it would seem from the promos for this midseason replacement. Todd VanDerWerff checks in with the pilot to let you know whether or not Double Jeopardy has some new competition on the “tough Judd” front.
Babies Behind Bars (Discovery Fitness And Health, 9 p.m.): Like so many specials aired on Discovery Fitness And Health, this is a hilarious title hiding a bummer of a premise: This is not a documentary about a jail for infants, but rather the more depressing topic of mothers who give birth in prison.
Touch (Fox, 9 p.m.): Before the Kiefer Sutherland-starring, “child with a developmental disorder solves the world’s problems” series begins in earnest, Fox re-airs its pilot. In that spirit, here’s what we said about it the first time around: “Though it’s kind of goofy and definitely schlocky, this Fox series has an intriguing pilot that we, nonetheless, enjoyed watching.” Be forewarned for next week: It’s also from Heroes creator Tim Kring.
Jersey Shore (MTV, 10 p.m.): We’re reticent to highlight this two weeks in a row, but we used to review it on a weekly basis, for crying out loud—it’s hard to quit these Italian-American goofballs. With the heat of the franchise fading, we again bid farewell to Seaside Heights, as it braces for Hurricane Irene and the end of Jersey Shore’s fifth season.
The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl (Disney, 8:30 p.m.): Blame this Robert Rodriguez passion project for some cultural ills—the proliferation of 3-D, exposing the world to Taylor Lautner—but it’s a fun little superhero trifle that’ll at least ditch the 3-D in this cable airing.
The Whole Town’s Talking (TCM, 10 p.m.): Edward G. Robinson stars in John Ford’s mistaken-identity caper, playing the dual roles of an infamous bank robber and his mild-mannered lookalike. Of course, with a punim like Robinson’s, you’re either a wanted criminal or guy who looks like one—this time he gets to be both!
NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: Baylor vs. South Dakota State (TruTV, 7:15 p.m.): The Jackrabbits of South Dakota State University made it to the tournament for the first time this year, which is why one TV Clubber/SDSU alumnus is in Albuquerque and not fulfilling his duty of watching Community live. Sometimes, March Madness makes you shift your priorities.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Monster Man: According to Kenny Herzog, the Syfy reality program centering on a special-effects guru who mixes business with blood actually contains two series in one—unfortunately, the most interesting of the two isn’t the one involving star Cleve Hall’s family.