Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, September 16. All times are Eastern.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO, 9 p.m.)/Weeds (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Organized crime on TV gives up a major stake in the pot game while increasing its involvement in bootlegging tonight: Over the course of two hours, television will have a little more Boardwalk Empire and a lot less Weeds. The former opens its third season on the eve of 1922, while the latter ends it all with a conclusion that Mary Louise-Parker promises isn’t a “‘happily ever after’ thing.” Either way, we anticipate misty eyes (of gratitude and grief-mixed-with-gratitude, respectively) from Noel Murray and Myles McNutt.
The Thick Of It (Hulu, 5 p.m.): Malcolm fucking Tucker returns, unbound by BBC America Standards and Practices and therefore ramming all the profanity up your shitter with a lubricated horse cock. Which is good, because David Sims isn’t ready to say “fuckety bye” to such a classic character.
Hell On Wheels (AMC, 9 p.m.): Reverend Cole goes all John Brown on the railroad, much to Alasdair Wilkins confusion, delight, and satisfaction with regard to his ability to recall lessons from U.S. history class.
Copper (BBC America, 10 p.m.): Elsewhere on “Mostly Period Drama Sundays”: Detective Corcoran is assigned to protect the wealthy of New York City from the Robin Hood of 19th-century Gotham. In response, Farihah Zaman is currently planning the inaugural gathering of Occupy Copper.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Doctor Who (Classic) (11 a.m.): A Fourth Doctor-era serial plants “The Seeds Of Doom” and Christopher Bahn watches them bloom into a vibrant, terrifying example of the series’ ability to blur the lines between horror and science fiction.
South Park (Classic) (1 p.m.): The denizens of the quiet mountain town are terrorized by malevolent, bearded outsiders: First Star Trek-indebted doppelgängers, then Charles Manson. In light of that theme, Phil Dyess-Nugent crosses his fingers for a cameo by perennial World Beard and Mustache Championship contender Jack Passion.
The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): Bart and Lisa learn the vagaries of TV writing by penning an Itchy And Scratchy spec script. They should’ve just talked to Nathan Rabin, who’s still waiting for feedback on the Who’s The Boss? spec he slipped to Tony Danza in 1991.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
Alien Deep With Bob Ballard (NatGeo, 7 p.m.): Try to integrate the title of this undersea exploration series into everyday conversation this week. Some samples: “Sorry, can’t go to lunch—I’m alien deep in paperwork”; “I can’t wait to be alien deep into that novel later tonight”; “Since watching Alien Deep With Bob Ballard, I can’t even get in the bathtub without worrying about terrifying monster fish.”
Behind The Music: Train (VH1, 9 p.m.): Despite frequent claims to its immortality, rock ’n’ roll has died, following complications from a Behind The Music profile of soft-rockers Train. It was 61. The popular music style is survived by rap, jazz, folk, and “Hey Soul Sister,” which will never, ever leave your head now. Thanks a lot, Train.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians (E!, 9 p.m.): By presenting the newest Kardashian offspring to the world in the seventh-season finale, E! ensures another generation of grating, entitled pseudo-celebrities will make the network’s viewers feel better about themselves (and help them forget about national tragedies) well into the first half of the 21st century.
Leverage (TNT, 10 p.m.): In its midseason finale, the Leverage gang is called on to help one of its own, who’s been framed for stealing a priceless work of art. Phil Dyess-Nugent looks forward to seeing what these kooky kids have been up to while he was away.
The Departed (FMC, 5:30 p.m.): The rat symbolizes obviousness in the otherwise excellent crime thriller that won Martin Scorsese the Best Director Oscar he should’ve won for Goodfellas. (Really, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Kevin Costner helming Dances With Wolves over Scorsese and his crowning achievement? Ugh.)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Nickelodeon, 8 p.m.): This is the “revised 20th anniversary version” of the epic tale of a boy and his telecommunications-obsessed alien pal, so be warned—not that a walkie-talkie floating where a gun should be actually ruins Steven Spielberg’s heartlight-rending film.
Sunday Night Football: Lions at 49ers (NBC, 8 p.m.): Detroit turned a lot of heads in 2011, notching its first winning season in more than 10 years before losing to New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card playoff. One week into the new season and the Lions have already won more games than they did in all of 2008; they face off against a similarly 1-0 49ers here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Great Performances (Friday): At the end of four nights of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, we’re impressed Phil Dyess-Nugent didn’t just turn in 100 pages of “All work and no play makes Phil kill the wabbit” repeated ad infinitum.