Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 25, and Saturday, January 26. All times are Eastern.
Spartacus (Starz, 9 p.m., Friday): It’s just this show’s third season—okay, its third season in addition to a short miniseries produced between seasons one and two—but it’s ending at the end of this run, both because that’s when the story needs to end and because Starz needs to make room for as many “historical superheroes” detective shows as it can come up with. (More about this later in the spring.) Anyway, Ryan McGee is glad this show is getting to go out on its own terms, and maybe once it does, he’ll stop bugging us about watching it. Oh, who are we kidding? He never will! And we’re awful not to indulge him!
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m., Friday): This week’s episode features a “Battle of the Gentle Bands,” and Les Chappell doesn’t want to miss out on that! His band, Sleepytime Tea, consists entirely of him reading the 1987 World Almanac in a soft voice while periodically chiming a tiny triangle for dramatic emphasis.
Young Justice (Cartoon Network, 10:30 a.m., Saturday): Look, we finally remembered this this week, so just let us say Oliver Sava’s name, then Detective Chimp over and over to play out the string. Oliver Sava! Detective Chimp! Detective Chimp! Detective Chimp! Defective Chimp? Detective Chimp!
Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): Adam Levine is hosting this week. He’s at a payphone, trying to call home, all of his change, he spent on David Sims. Either that, or he’s getting dragged into an insane asylum, his arm chopped off by a murderous Dylan McDermott. Maybe both! You make the call!
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The X-Files (1 p.m., Saturday): Once upon a time, William B. Davis decided to sit down and write his very own X-Files script, in which he explored the dramatic underpinnings of the relationship between the Cigarette Smoking Man and Scully. And he didn’t use Zack Handlen’s erotic fan-fiction! For shame!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The Perfect Family (Lifetime Movie Network, 8 p.m., Friday): Here’s a movie about something all of our readers can relate to! A woman, trying to win a “Best Catholic Family” award for her family, quickly realizes her family may not be so “best” or “Catholic” after all! Uh oh! Better call in the lobotomists!
Easter Island Underworld (National Geographic Channel, 9 p.m., Friday): It turns out there’s an elaborate system of caves underneath Easter Island, and now, people are going to go down there and map them. If NES games have taught us anything, those caves are full of deadly Easter Island heads!
The Following (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): Did you miss Fox’s new serial killer thriller, which debuted to fairly impressive numbers, then seemed to split our commentariat right down the middle in regards to its quality? Well, here’s your chance to catch up. See how many of the plot twists you call ahead of time!
Shakespeare Uncovered (PBS, 9 p.m. Friday): PBS, high off its Downton Abbey success, figures there’s nothing British we silly Yanks won’t gobble up, so it’s imported this series of six documentaries about famous Shakespeare plays, hosted by six famous British people. Kevin McFarland will be (or not be).
The Taste (ABC, 8 p.m., Saturday): In addition to The Following, America also gave this a pretty good debut number. It’ll likely fall off and be canceled, but America either wanted a show that was like The Voice with food, or it was just waiting to watch TV until January. Either scenario is possible!
Abominable Snowman (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): “A group of expert skiers and snowboarders battle blizzard conditions and a legendary monster that eats humans,” says the TV Guide summary. The second we read that, we wondered why the fuck we’re not reviewing, nay, live-blogging this blessed event.
Hard Candy (Sundance, 8 p.m., Friday): Ellen Page was introduced to the world in this spin on the Red Riding Hood tale, in which a young girl is cyber-seduced by a new kind of Big Bad Wolf, then she turns the tables on him. You’ll either find it a chilling morality tale or a laughable one. No middle ground!
Twister (TNT, 9 p.m., Friday): Look, guys, when we went to music camp in high school, we did this “Vocalists Anonymous” sketch, and one of the people in it was the choir instructor, who played a character working on an opera of this movie, containing the line, “There goes a cow. Oh no! It was the same cow!” Huh. Guess you had to be there.
Captains Courageous (TCM, 8 p.m., Saturday): Spencer Tracy won an Academy Award for his work in this coming-of-age tale from the Rudyard Kipling novel about a young boy who becomes a man while working on a fishing boat. And at no point does anyone sing Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat.” Lame!
NBA Basketball: Spurs at Mavericks (ESPN, 8 p.m., Friday): Doesn’t it seem like ESPN shows about the same 10 teams over and over and over, in various combinations? Like, when are we gonna get a Portland Trail Blazers vs. Charlotte Bobcats matchup? Let’s see some variety, oh ESPN overlords!
Figure skating: U.S. Championships (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday): Hey, we all get to pretend we care about teenage girls skating again for a little while! Who’s even competing? Do you remember who won the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics? Hint! It wasn’t an American! (That’s a lie; it was Gabby Douglas.)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
30 Rock (Thursday): There’s just one more 30 Rock left. Well, it’s technically two 30 Rocks, but they’re airing together as one big… You know what? Forget about it. There’s just the one left. Fortunately, this episode leaves things in such a good place that Pilot Viruet is sure the finale won’t disappoint.