Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28. All times are Eastern.
2012 Summer Olympics (7:30 p.m., Friday/Saturday): The Summer Olympics are here, direct from London. And instead of just making a bunch of jokes about “bobbies” and “lifts” and “bad teeth,” we’re going to cover each and every night of the games. Why? Well, because NBC’s coverage—should it continue in the vein it has for the last several games—might be just that bad and because we feel the need to overburden ourselves even more than we already have. Also, we’re just that big of fans of the modern pentathlon. On our first two nights, Noel Murray cracks open the Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremonies, and Marcus Gilmer takes a look at the first day of full competition.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): We’re just going to say that the shift from WWE Smackdown to Lost Girl has to be one of the weirder transitions on TV right now. Kevin McFarland just wants to watch some wrestling, and instead, he has to keep watching all these Canadian ladies with magical powers!
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Babylon 5 (11 a.m., Friday): One of this week’s episodes features an elite alien fighting arena, which is great, but another is written by Christy Marx, designer of Conquests Of Camelot and Conquests Of The Longbow. We’re super-psyched. Rowan Kaiser will provide you with a review, if you answer a riddle.
Firefly (1 p.m., Friday): So there’s this place where everybody’s just nuts about Jayne, and it’s called Jaynestown. And they have a whole song about how he’s the “hero of Canton,” and… listen, just start singing it already, okay? Donna Bowman and Noel Murray will be more than happy to join on in.
Chappelle’s Show (3 p.m., Friday): This week, Ryan McGee reviews three episodes, including one featuring the sketch “A Moment In The Life Of Lil Jon,” which is another we remember quite fondly. “A Moment In The Life Of Ryan McGee” involves cream cheese spread on bagels and copious tears.
Animaniacs (11 a.m., Saturday): Hey, guess who’s here? It’s Chicken Boo! We’ve been waiting for that lovable bastard for a long time, and Genevieve Koski can’t wait for him to get mistaken for someone he’s not and thrust into a situation he’s not prepared for, the scamp. This week, Chicken Boo tries ballet.
The X-Files/Millennium (1 p.m., Saturday): A small town is in the midst of a drought and needs rain. A man shows up to call down rain from the skies. Then, Zack Handlen shows up to review that man’s attempts to seed the clouds. After that, he’ll review one of the very worst Millennium episodes!
Pulling (3 p.m., Saturday): “Karen discovers a cat in her bedroom and decides to keep it,” says Wikipedia’s summary of this episode, and that sounds like the sort of sensible thinking that makes us glad Margaret Eby is covering this series. We keep all animals that find their way into our bedroom.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne/Tyler Perry’s For Better Or Worse (TBS, 8/9 p.m., Friday): If you want original programming during the Olympics, your choices are going to be fairly sparse. Fortunately, TBS and Tyler Perry are stepping in to fill in the gaps opposite the opening ceremonies, so you’re safe.
Havana, Havana! (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Four Cuban musicians who left their homeland to pursue careers abroad return to put on a homecoming concert in the city of their youth. Come for the festive music, stay for the stories of the performers’ childhoods and the depiction of preparations for the show!
You Live In What? (HGTV, 9 p.m., Friday): Here’s a whole show about people who live in weird things. Tonight’s weird things to live in include a missile silo, an old schoolhouse, and a corset factory. What? There aren’t going to be any segments about people who live in shoes? (We apologize for this joke.)
Comedy Bang! Bang!/Bunk (IFC, 10/10:30 p.m., Friday): Here’s another solid option if you need something to watch other than endless depictions of the greatness of Britain. Elizabeth Banks guests on the former, while the latter involves the comedians literally adding insult to injuries. Hijinks ensue.
The Nerdist (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): Two new specials inspired by the popular, Chris Hardwick-hosted podcast make their debut, including one that’s all about Comic-Con. If you’ve been spending the last couple of weeks wondering what happened at Comic-Con, since Google baffles you, you’re in luck!
The Philadelphia Experiment (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): For some reason, Syfy decided it was high time to remake the “classic” ‘80s film about the experiment that sent a whole battleship into the future or something. Expect an influx of calls about the situation to the switchboards of Coast To Coast AM.
Starting Out In The Evening (Sundance, 8 p.m., Friday): Frank Langella is mesmerizing in this depiction of an old man and out-of-print novelist who gets involved with a much-younger grad student writing a thesis about him, played by Lauren Ambrose. Perfect if you need something way off the beaten path.
Time Bandits (Flix, 8 p.m., Friday): You could also spend the night with Terry Gilliam, who wasn’t asked to coordinate the opening ceremonies for some reason. We’re sure that whole thing would have been a crazy nightmare that would have plagued millions of children the world over. So watch this instead.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane (TCM, 8 p.m., Saturday): Wondering why news of a potential remake so embittered so many people? Check out the original article—and cult classic—featuring some terrifically, horrifyingly over-the-top work (as you’d expect) from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
SportsCenter Special: Jets training camp (ESPN, 8 p.m., Friday): ESPN, having realized that most sports fans’ eyes will be elsewhere for the next couple of weeks, is just shoveling whatever it can find onto the air in a frantic attempt to keep you watching. First up: Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez throw footballs!
High School Football Skills Competition: The Opening (ESPNU, 8 p.m., Saturday): Here’s another. We’d try to explain what it was to you, but, well, it’s all kind of in there in the title. ESPN will be raiding the larder for some caber tossing by the time these Olympics are over with. And it won’t be happy about it.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Friday Night Lights (Thursday): The first series of our TV Roundtable comes to a close with a seminal episode of Friday Night Lights, “I Think We Should Have Sex.” Suffice to say that our internal discussions about this episode spurred several sexual harassment seminars. (These are the jokes, people.)