Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, June 19. All times are Eastern.
Bristol Palin: Life’s A Tripp (Lifetime, 10 p.m.): So it’s come to this: A timeslot that, only four short months ago, housed Justified, Southland, and Parenthood welcomes a series you’d be justified for considering the absolute southern tip (or bottom of the barrel, whatever) of summer-TV territory—one that revolves around parenthood. Political scion Bristol Palin took her toddler to Los Angeles, Lifetime assigned camera crews to be there, and now we’re assigning Marcus Gilmer to review the most dubious recipient of Top Pick honors in What’s On Tonight’s storied history. Surely, the comments section for Marcus’ review will be a haven for polite conversation and nonpartisan discourse.
MasterChef (9 p.m.): Having fed the troops on last night’s installment, the MasterChef hopefuls turn their attentions to wowing the judges with weird cuts of meat. Phil Dyess-Nugent pities the chef that gets stuck with the pieces of Hell’s Kitchen contestants—pre-chewed by Gordon Ramsay, of course.
Workaholics (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): The episode title promises a glimpse at the legendary chupacabra, but the episode synopsis mentions small-claims court. Kevin McFarland would settle for a guest appearance by Nick Kroll, in the guise of his motormouthed Spanish-language DJ, El Chupacabra. “Koo-Koo-Ri-Koo!”
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Dawson’s Creek (11 a.m.): Having missed its chance at participating in NBC’s Hurricane Saturday by a good six years, Dawson’s Creek throws its own tropical storm, as characters take shelter and secrets are revealed. Brandon Nowalk genuinely regrets being robbed of the chance to see the sparks fly as Pacey and Blanche Devereaux wait out the storm in the same beach house.
Six Feet Under (1 p.m.): ROAD TRIP! Nate and Claire head to Seattle, where a body and a yearning-for-Nate Lili Taylor await them. John Teti wrote 63 songs this year. They’re all about Nate, and John’s going to sing each and every one of them tonight.
Police Squad! (3 p.m.): In line with the show’s completely deadpan approach to its subject matter, Wikipedia synopses for Police Squad! treat the events of an episode as if they were the plot points of a straightforward cop show, with no mention of the rapid-fire gags occurring around those plot points. In turn, Erik Adams will soon begin filing comedic capsule reviews of The Wire. (“‘A man got to have a code,’ Omar says. ‘Gesundheit,’ Bunk replies.”)
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Discovering Lennon (BBC America, 9 p.m.): If thousands of new music fans discover The Beatles every year, then it stands to reason that we’ll continue to receive five or so new Beatles documentaries and biographies annually, until the heat death of the universe. The Beeb’s latest look at John Lennon features contributions from Mark Ronson, Damien Hirst, John Simm, and other exceedingly British types sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.
Mysteries At The Museum (Travel, 9 p.m.): TV doesn’t have much new material to offer you tonight, so why not plumb the depths of the world’s museums? Travel Channel has all the reenactment footage you never knew you needed to go along with exhibit items like a cigar box tied to the James Bond mythos and the alleged footprint of the Honey Island Swamp Monster.
American Colony: Meet The Hutterites (National Geographic, 10 p.m.): If there’s a community living on the fringes of American culture, you’d better believe National Geographic Channel wants to document it—especially if it has a distrustful relationship with modern technology. American Colony turns its cameras on members of the Hutterite community of the Great Plains—not that everyone featured in the series would be allowed to watch themselves on TV.
Hollywood Treasure (Syfy, 10 p.m.): Star Trek’s George Takei visits to authenticate a collector’s phaser. He will then translate the experience into a clever image macro that you can share on Facebook and attempt to pass of its cleverness as your own.
Spartacus (TCM, 8 p.m.): “I am Spartacus!” cries the Stanley Kubrick film airing on TCM tonight. But before it can reach its feet, Starz’s bloody, sexy, bloody-and-sexy Roman epic yells out, “I am Spartacus!” Pretty soon, every two-bit sword-and-sandal film is claiming to be Spartacus, but the real deal can be identified by its subtle commentary on civil rights and the Red Scare.
Big Trouble In Little China (Encore, 10:10 p.m.): Between the family-friendly sci-fi adventure of Starman and the second chapter in his “Apocalypse Trilogy,” Prince Of Darkness, John Carpenter made this, a decidedly cartoonish vehicle for frequent Carpenter collaborator Kurt Russell that splits the difference between the filmmaker’s comedic fare and the more grotesque corners of his R-rated work.
NBA Finals: Thunder at Heat (ABC, 9 p.m.): The Heat are up 2-1 in the series, the same position the team was in before the Dallas Mavericks managed to take last year’s NBA championship in six games. Of course, that would require a more thorough shutdown of LeBron James, who’s netted 91 points in the series’ first three games.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Glass House: Margaret Eby hopped into ABC’s lawsuit-attracting WABAC Machine to look into the network’s latest reality-show fishbowl. She didn’t like what she saw in there.