Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, March 19. All times are Eastern.
The Mindy Project (Fox 9:30 p.m.): Mindy’s back after two weeks, which was time enough for David Sims to plan a surprise birthday party for the character. Shhhh! Don’t let her know! Show up at Fox at 9:30 (8:30 Central) with a gift, a dish to pass, and a potential romantic interest who can cause comedic complications on Mindy’s big day.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): The new must-have item in Schmidt’s life is a fish. He will have, he can’t live without it, and nothing will get in his way—not even Erik Adams paying more attention to tonight’s Jess-Nick plot.
Justified (FX, 10 p.m.): Following last week’s “Get Drew” challenge, the four competitors have split into two teams: Team A Lawman Is Hard To Find, consisting of Raylan and Drew, and Team Anyone Who Helps Those Two Out Of Harlan Is A Dead Man, combining Boyd and the forces of Theo Tonin’s Detroit gangsters. Refereeing tonight’s events will be Noel Murray.
Smash (NBC, 10 p.m.): After more or less receiving its closing notice, the cast and crew of Smash puts on a brave face and soldiers on, high-kicking its way toward the tiny, out of the way Saturday Theatre. The Saturday Theatre was previously home to Noel Murray’s one-man version of Spider-Man: Turn Of The Dark, which closed after one death-defying performance.
Cougar Town (TBS, 10 p.m.): Those cul-de-sac kooks join a dodgeball league, apparently comfortable with forging through repressed memories of gym-class “bombardment.” The mere sound of a red, rubber playground ball hitting a hardwood floor sends Ryan McGee into sweaty fits of terror.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Shield (11 a.m.): Walton Goggins pursues the wrong SUV in what Brandon Nowalk calls, with only the slightest hint of irony, “the greatest car chase in television history.”
Home Movies (1 p.m.): Birthday, birthday, doodly-do / Erik Adams has Home Movies thoughts for you / Ice cream is cold if you eat it fast / Enjoy a funny stroll through Coach McGuirk’s past!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Splash (ABC, 8 p.m.): The Alphabet’s celebrity diving programme may boast bigger names on its marquee, but we can all agree Stars In Danger: The High Dive got the sexier title. Though Ndamukong Suh rescuing a drowning Louie Anderson implies that this is the true Stars In Danger.
How We Invented The World (Discovery, 9 p.m.): Profiling the four inventions that “define the modern world”—cell phones, cars, planes, and skyscrapers—with talking-head commentary from comedians, if we’re lucky. Because who doesn’t want to hear Mo Rocca’s sarcastic take on the Empire State Building. (“Art decco? More like art blech-o!”)
Twisted (ABC Family, 9 p.m.): The latest Pretty Little Liars finale is followed by this pilot, the next ABC Family attempt at taking a teen drama then stuffing it full of murder-mystery aspects (a convicted murderer returns to his hometown, only to be accused of killing again) and hashtags. #wemightcover
Urban Tarzan (Spike, 10:30 p.m.): In one of the great title bait-and-switches of 2013, this is an unscripted series about a New York-based on the animal wrangler/relocater legally known as UrbanTarzan, and not a revival of The WB’s disastrous Tarzan update from 2003.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (AMC, 7 p.m.): At the risk of paraphrasing Clerks, there are two kinds of people in this world: The Empire Strikes Back people, or Return Of The Jedi people. And us Empire people still can’t comprehend how the clearly superior Two Towers didn’t take a Best Picture Oscar, but Return Of The King did.
Rushmore (Cinemax, 8:30 p.m.): For the discerning, kite-flying, Latin-saving, looking-for-a-Tuesday-night-viewing-option-featuring Bill Murray among you, the Max Fischer Players proudly present Wes Anderson’s second-best film. (Because there’s also a Rushmore/Royal Tenenbaums binary, one that inspires all sorts of manifestos typed only in Futura.)
NIT Basketball Tournament: A first-round game (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.): While The Big Dance cues up the overture with its cute little “First Four,” the NCAA tournament’s scrappier little brother is already in full swing. Because the NIT does not play around with pageantry—it’s probably not in the budget.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Bates Motel: You’d have to be psycho to miss Todd VanDerWerff’s take on this A&E miniseries. Don’t let not reading it become a skeleton in your closet. People who don’t read it deserve to be stabbed to death in the shower by the silhouette of a matronly figure while Bernard Herrmann conducts a bunch of screeching violins. (Too far? Yeah, probably too far.)