Here’s what’s going on in the world of television Tuesday, August 26th. All times are Eastern.
Tyrant (FX, 10 p.m.): Just five episodes into this freshman series about a Middle Eastern dictatorship, Dennis Perkins exercised his democratic right to stop watching what had turned out to be a fairly dull and plodding affair. But such freedom of expression ends now! Tyrant has seized control of TV Club in a bloodless coup, and its first edict is that Dennis review tonight’s season finale and decide whether the series has improved over its first season. Dennis has been promised that he can write whatever he wants about the show, though he can’t help notice that his new “bodyguards” keep ominously brandishing weapons.
The Simpsons (FXX, 1:30 p.m.): The great Simpsons marathon starts to subsist on some mighty thin gruel as it reaches seasons 11 and 12. Still, there are a few bright spots, relatively speaking: “Behind The Laughter” airs at 1:30 in the afternoon, and then there’s a decent little run of season 12 episodes starting at 4:30, with the Prisoner parody of “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes,” the grifting obsession of “The Great Money Caper,” the blizzard revolt of “Skinner’s Sense Of Snow,” the crayon revelation of “HOMR,” and “Pokey Mom,” which at least has a guest voice from national treasure Michael Keaton. Oh, and fans of infamous trainwrecks may want to start watching a half-hour earlier, as that’s when the notorious “Homer Vs. Dignity” airs. Plus, N’Sync show up at 8:30 p.m., and they’ve never been more relevant!
Tosh.0 (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): Your Tuesday What’s On Tonight correspondent must admit that he’s pretty much the exact opposite of a Daniel Tosh fan, but it’s still worth pointing out that the show is stepping into Nathan For You’s vacated slot to kick off its latest season. Tonight’s episode features a Web Redemption for the family behind whatever the hell this is.
Drunk History (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): This sports-themed episode looks at two legendary all-around athletes in Jim Thorpe and Babe Didrikson Zaharias, though the real highlight could be the remarkable story of Jim Abbott, who carved out a solid pitching career in Major League Baseball—including hurling a no-hitter—despite being born without a right hand. Plus, perhaps even more amazingly, during Abbott’s brief stint in the National League, he actually recorded not one but two RBI singles.
TV Club Classic
The Shield (11 a.m.): The end of the fifth season fast approaches, as the Strike Team is forced to resort to increasingly desperate and extreme measures to protect Lem. Brandon Nowalk is pretty sure that about 95 percent of all Shield plots can be summed up with some variation of “the Strike Team is forced to resort to increasingly desperate and extreme measures,” but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.
30 Rock (3 p.m.): Jack Donaghy is the undisputed king of this week’s 30 Rock double feature, as Erik Adams considers both “Jack The Writer” and the extra-long “Jack-Tor.” But will Jack Donaghy’s galaxy-sized charisma be enough to overwhelm the glory that is “Muffin Top”?
What else is on?
Half-Ton Killer: Transformed/Losing One Of My Giant Legs/World’s Oldest Conjoined Twins Move Home (Discovery Fit & Health, 8 p.m./9 p.m./10 p.m.): I have absolutely no idea, but I wanted to share that lineup with you all, because each title is its own perfectly pitched bit of sensationalist lunacy.
Below Deck (Bravo, 9 p.m.): The title of tonight’s episode about the crew of a luxury mega-yacht is called “Mojitos Mo’ Problems,” which really doesn’t feel like it’s been optimally punctuated to bring out the wordplay. (We’d probably go with “Mo’ Jitos, Mo’ Problems,” just to leave no question how the pun is supposed to work, even if it does create a typo.) Anyway, this episode promises that “tension builds over a decision about tip distribution,” which is a perfectly reasonable justification for mutiny if ever I heard one.
Planet Earth: Human Planet (BBC America, 10 p.m.): For those who are interested in life at sea but feel there may be issues to explore beyond proper tip allocation on charter mega-yachts, we direct you to the first episode of this Planet Earth spin-off, which focuses on “humans who live an aquatic life, and tales of ingenuity and bravery at sea.”
Restaurant Startup (CNBC, 10 p.m.): This show pits two teams of would-be entrepreneurs in the battle to come up with the best concept for a restaurant for a single-ingredient. One of tonight’s entrants is “a rock-and-roll theme anchovy establishment,” which feels like a bold choice for a single ingredient, given that anchovies are kind of notorious as a love-it or hate-it foodstuff. (For the record, we love a good anchovy pizza.) Also, if this restaurant doesn’t feature a seriously of increasingly strained and convoluted fish-based rocker puns—our first thought was Jon Bon Anchovi, but there are probably far dumber ones out there—we will be sorely disappointed.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Starz, 7:05 p.m.): In case any high schoolers out there have a report due about The Odyssey and totally forgot to read it, just go watch this instead. They’re pretty much the same thing, especially the bit where Odysseus gets thrown out of the Woolsworth.
Groundhog Day (Sundance, 10 p.m.): Man, this is just an excellent night for alternately caustic and uplifting comedies with dramatic and fantastical elements, huh?
MLB Baseball: Twins at Royals (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m.): The Detroit Tigers’ recent mini-swoon has allowed the Kansas City Royals to move into first place in the AL Central, positioning them for their first playoff berth since the middle of the Reagan administration. Check out one of baseball’s major feel-good teams as the Royals kick off a three-game series against the division rivals from Minnesota.
In case you missed it
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards: An all-star lineup of TV Clubbers joined forces to live-chat the awards show described by many as “an awards show” and “something that was on last night.” Also, apparently Allison Janney won all the awards, including possibly Outstanding Miniseries? Yeah, we have no problem with that.