Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, Feb. 14. All times are Eastern.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Aw yeah, that’s right. It’s time to dim the lights, pour a huge glass of wine, and settle in for a steamy, laugh-filled half hour of Cougar Town. Sure, you may have already watched that 10-minute “highlight reel,” but the real fun of hanging out with Courtney Cox and her Sunshine State gang is seeing those jokes in their proper context, right baby? By the way: You don’t mind if Ryan McGee watches, do you?
Switched At Birth (ABC Family, 8 p.m.): If this and Parenthood were pulling bigger ratings, Tuesday nights could become the refuge of low-stakes, down-to-Earth family dramas. Until that day, Carrie Raisler will be here to break down, say, the implications of Emmett’s latest photography assignment.
Glee (Fox, 8 p.m.): Rachel’s oft-alluded-to, never-before-seen fathers appear in the form of Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Here’s hoping the episode’s “greatest love songs of all time” playlist has enough room for Goldblum’s signature number, “Love (Uh) Finds A Way.”
The River (ABC, 9 p.m.): The third episode of The River threatens to turn into The Happening when the crew of Magus are terrorized by jungle spores. Scott Von Doviak senses a twist—though that might just be the sound of M. Night Shyamalan’s trained scrunt sneaking up from behind.
Ringer (The CW, 9 p.m.): The search for the missing Sarah Michelle Gellar who turns up Siobahn’s “secret office.” Carrie Raisler keeps one of those herself, though not even her estranged, identical twin will ever find it.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): We’re sure Jess put together some really cute handmade cards for us, but New Girl’s true Valentine’s Day gift is the return of Lizzy Caplan. Erik Adams spent all night putting together a construction-paper-and-macaroni valentine for the actress.
Raising Hope (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): One-time Disney Channel star Ashley Tisdale has had a rough go outside of the protective Mouse House bubble, but her broad stylings are a winning match for the frequently cartoonish Raising Hope. Too bad she’s only around to facilitate Jimmy and Sabrina’s ultimate hook-up; No. 1 Hellcats fan Phil Dyess-Nugent would’ve liked to see her stick around.
Key & Peele (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): Jordan Peele co-stars in the forthcoming David Wain comedy Wanderlust, and we’re hoping it was out of a gamble to capitalize on Key & Peele’s potential success—and not out of embarrassment—that Universal moved the movie’s debut to late February. Steve Heisler remains cautiously optimistic.
Justified (FX, 10 p.m.): Organ-harvesting factors into tonight’s caper, appropriate given that Valentine’s Day has left its heart-shaped stamp on everything. Of course, Justified long ago stole our hearts—and it might also have one of Scott Tobias’ kidneys.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): Max Braverman mounts a campaign to skip gym class, an objective all too familiar to The A.V. Club. Might we suggest the old “forgot my gym clothes and don’t want to use clothes from the lost-and-found due to fear of bed bugs” gambit?
Southland (TNT, 10 p.m.): As most TV cops—including the ones on Southland—can attest, drug addicts don’t make the most reliable informants. One such attempt “comes back to haunt” Sammy in this episode—hopefully as a g-g-g-g-g-g-ghost! When there’s something weird in your L.A. ’hood, who you gonna call? KEVIN MCFARLAND!
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Avatar: The Last Airbender (11 a.m.): Hayden Childs begins flipping through the third “book” of Nickelodeon’s beloved animated series. It’s final such book, because like any fantasy series worth its salt—for instance, our newly imagined sword-and-sandals epic A Dance With Worths And Salts—Avatar is a trilogy.
The Larry Sanders Show (3 p.m.): “Off Camera” marks Ken Kwapis’ final directorial effort of The Larry Sanders Show. In Kwapis’ wide-ranging filmography, it falls somewhere above Big Miracle but between The Office’s “Booze Cruise” and Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Ring Leader (Bravo, 7 p.m.): Because people from all walks of life must eventually answer to Andy Cohen’s call, The Ring Leader gives the “Bravo treatment” to the world of wedding planners. As television usually ignores the stresses and heightened egos brought on by big, expensive nuptials (SARCASM!), Cohen is likely already drafting the wedding license between his network and The Ring Leader.
136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (USA, 8 p.m.): Night two of the big dog show is preempting White Collar, giving us an excuse to link to Fred Willard’s best bits from Best In Show. Please enjoy Willard’s bright-eyed ignorance of world history and medical degrees while you wait for the return of Matt Bomer and company. Or just watch the dogs again.
Frontline (PBS, 9 p.m.): An expanded Frontline provides a nationally televised showcase for Steve James’ well-received 2011 documentary The Interrupters, the Hoop Dreams director’s profile of the anti-violence organization CeaseFire.
Top Shot (History, 10 p.m.): The fourth season of reality television’s most engrossing (“Most engrossing” or “only?”) trick-shot competition begins in an appropriately ludicrous fashion: a shoot-off staged from the sidecar of a speeding motorcycle.
Star Trek (FX, 7 p.m.): J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot re-energized a moribund film franchise with a twisty time-travel subplot, plentiful wit, and lens flares galore! Its energy may wane when bloated to a three-hour running time (with commercials), but FX has to fill the hours before Justified with something, right?
Top Hat (TCM, 8 p.m.): Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers hoof it to the tunes of Irving Berlin in the pinnacle of the Astaire-Rogers oeuvre. Some might argue that that title actually belongs to Swing Time, but those people are forgetting the unimpeachable joy of “Cheek To Cheek.”
College Basketball: Ohio State at Minnesota (ESPN, 9 p.m.): This weekend saw a big jumble among the top 10 of the USA Today/ESPN college-basketball rankings, part of which stemmed from OSU’s Saturday-night humbling at the hands of Michigan State. The unranked Golden Gophers should prove a less formidable Big Ten opponent for the Buckeyes
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Smash: Conveniently enough, on the night America decided whether or not it wants to stick by Smash, the show itself decided who gets the lead role in Marilyn. Noel Murray has the tale of the tape.