Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, November 10. All times are Eastern.
Cheers (3 p.m.): We’ve often had trouble expanding our TV Club Classic coverage into shows that haven’t aired in the last 20 years or aren’t in the science fiction genre, so here’s our attempt to get you interested in an older sitcom. Instead of the usual essay format, we’ve gotten a bunch of our writers—including Erik Adams, Meredith Blake, Donna Bowman, Ryan McGee, Noel Murray, Phil Nugent, Keith Phipps, and Todd VanDerWerff—together to talk about two episodes per week, and we’ll have questions we’d like to hear your thoughts on, too. The whole things up and streaming on Netflix (and many episodes are also available on YouTube), so what’s keeping you from joining us? Only your own sense of haughty pride, and you know how we feel about that!
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): Like many breakout characters before him, Sheldon Cooper has often been the subject of temptation for those writing him. What was once an interesting, nuanced look at particular kinds of social awkwardness has skirted awfully close to a stereotype in some recent episodes. And tonight, he’s afraid of birds! Oliver Sava has high hopes.
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.): Sure, Annie’s moving in with Troy and Abed, but what’s getting Todd VanDerWerff really excited is the idea of Jeff and Dean Pelton hanging out at the mall together. Will it be an actual mall? Or will it be a sitcom mall, complete with stores called things like “Clothes” and “Toys” and “Cell Phones”? Only time will tell!
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8 p.m.): My Morning Jacket performs in tonight’s episode, which means that they bridge realities, between ours and one where vampires exist and are kind of awesome, surprisingly. But you’d think they’d offer up some hints of that in their songs. Carrie Raisler’s disappointed they haven’t recorded one called “The Vampire Universe Is Cooler Than This One.”
The X Factor (Fox, 8 p.m.): Fox’s description for this episode includes the charming description “Performers are eliminated in a results edition,” which just sounds like the description of this show that would be offered up in the old Soviet Union or in North Korea. Granted, in those shows, the prize is a giant sack full of wheat flour, but Emily Yoshida would like to remind the contestants they can’t be picky.
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): Leslie decides to schedule a Model U.N. competition, and we’re wondering just what it is that’s making Model U.N. competitions such hot comedic business this season. Clearly, it’s the chance to make jokes about Luxembourg, wackiest country of them all. Community passed on this chance; will Parks take it? Meredith Blake steps in for Steve Heisler to find out.
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): The enjoyable comedic actress Lindsey Broad turns up as the woman who will step into Pam’s role while the latter’s on maternity leave. Since Jenna Fischer is also going on maternity leave, we can only assume Broad will also soon be sharing irritatingly lovey-dovey glances with John Krasinski and getting backhanded compliments from Myles McNutt.
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9 p.m.): Katherine Miller keeps telling us that this show is getting better every week, but this week’s episode is called “Balcoin,” which sounds like one of them “made-up” words, which is just about the last thing any of us needs, right? If we split it up into “Balco In,” then we’v got a delightful movie about teaching sled dogs about prepositions.
Whitney (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): Whitney and Alex try out a little competitive sports action in an attempt to find something new to do with their times that doesn’t involve endless sniping at each other. We recommend that the two of them just start making fart noises and twisting back and forth while punching the sky. Kevin McFarland, stepping in for Erik Adams, just hopes for a good episode.
Beavis And Butt-Head (MTV, 10 p.m.): It’s been ages and ages since Beavis’ alter-ego, The Great Cornholio, has made an appearance on our television screens, but tonight’s episode brings him back, and we couldn’t be more excited than if it was the mid-90s again, and we were all saying we needed T.P. for our bungholes. Kenny Herzog celebrates this magical evening with all of us.
Burn Notice (USA, 10 p.m.): Michael’s childhood friend is killed in a gang dispute, so he teams up with his friend’s brother to exact revenge. Look, without Emily VanCamp on our TVs this week, we’re going to take our REVENGE where we can get it, and that means Jeffrey Donovan is going to have to be our pale VanCamp substitute. Scott Von Doviak could fill in, but he doesn’t look all that great in a sundress.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (FX, 10 p.m.): “The gang breaks into a residence to ‘extract’ an ‘artifact,’ only to discover someone is home,” reads the episode description for this one. Now, we’re pretty sure all of those extra quotes are in there because this is a reference to philately, right? No, really, right, guys? We don’t know. Hopefully, Emily Yoshida knows a little more than we do.
Prime Suspect (NBC, 10 p.m.): A kid dies at an upscale preschool, and Jane looks into it, like she does. Seriously, though, it seems like a death would mark your preschool down from “upscale.” Presumably, the episode will get into this, but this seems like one of those things preschools should be forced to disclose or at least admit to on Yelp. Hayden Childs agrees.
The League (FX, 10:30 p.m.): This one’s called “Yobogoya!” which appears to be the name of a fictional fast food chain. It reminds us of Southern California’s own “Jollibee,” which is our favorite inexplicably named chain (complete with weird bee-man mascot). Technically, it’s based in the Philippines, but we prefer to think the bee-man-chef just likes cooking happy things. Margaret Eby learns what Yobogoya is.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: The Next Generation (11 a.m.): Zack Handlen draws ever nearer to the promised land of “All Good Things” as he takes a look at two mediocre season seven episodes, one of which features a lot of Data doing wacky Egyptology type stuff, like he’s in that one kid’s book The Egypt Game, which our librarians always tried to push on us in the ‘80s.
Seinfeld (1 p.m.): David Sims has finally made his way to “The Bizarro Jerry,” and that means it’s time for all of you to figure out who the bizarro TV Club writers are. Clearly, Bizarro Todd writes all of his reviews in pithy haikus, while Bizarro TV Club’s favorite shows are The X Factor and The Big Bang Theory. What other things are different in the Bizarro Universe? We know you can tell us, TV Club faithful!
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Thespians (Showtime, 7:30 p.m.): Emily Yoshida, who’s apparently just writing everything for us now, takes a look at this Showtime documentary about kids competing at a high school drama contest. Will there be, ahem, drama? We can only hope! Look for her early thoughts in the afternoon.
Vietnam War Stories (PBS, 8 p.m.): We know how much you guys love your history stuff, and with History Channel debuting Vietnam In HD, here’s another chance to get a fresh look at one of the defining conflicts in the history of the U.S. (Well, and the history of Vietnam, but that sort of goes without saying, doesn’t it?)
Top Secret Recipe (CMT, 9 p.m.): In the latest episode of this show where the host tries to recreate the unique tastes of processed foods, so you can enjoy shopping mall cuisine in your own home, we learn how Dippin’ Dots are made, and everybody staggers a little closer toward the end times.
Chef Hunter (Food, 10 p.m.): It’s rare that TV tackles the unemployment crisis, but finally, we have a show about the problems that the common man is facing, the common man like… blue-ribbon chefs who have trouble finding work at gourmet restaurants and now much compete on a demeaning reality show just to get a job. See above about that end times stuff.
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (Flix, 8 p.m.): Julien Temple directs this enjoyable bio-doc about the co-founder of the clash and his career, as well as the sizable influence he had on the punk scene before and after his death. The talking heads include Mick Jones, Bono, and Martin Scorsese, for some reason. (We’re just kidding. We’ll watch that Marty in anything.)
Love Affair (TCM, 8 p.m.): A movie so nice they remade it twice—and yes, we hate ourselves now—but here’s a chance to catch up with the original, directed by the great Leo McCarey and starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Most people know the second version of the story—An Affair To Remember—but this one is also worth a look.
College Football: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (ESPN, 8 p.m.): In our defense, it’s not like this week, with certain… news items that have created national embarrassment for a prominent program and ended the career of a formerly irreproachable coach. But, hey, the games are still exciting, and you might remember last year’s thriller in this rivalry, which Virginia Tech won on a last-minute touchdown.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
American Horror Story (Wednesday): We don’t know what’s in Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s water, but they and their writers came up with an episode featuring, among other things, a pig-headed man (literally), a medium who did not want to see that dead Mexican in her bathroom, and Connie Britton feasting on brains. Todd VanDerWerff is both loving and hating it.