Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, July 15. All times are Eastern.
Breaking Bad (AMC, 10 p.m.): There’s no good way to set up the events of Breaking Bad’s fifth-season première without spoiling what happens in the show’s previous four seasons, so just know this: Walter White has dug his deepest hole yet, and it’s up to the unlikely trio of White, Pinkman, and Ehrmantraut to find their way out of that hole (or at least slow the digging process). Donna Bowman has Saul Goodman on speed dial.
Ultimate Spider-Man (Disney XD, 11 a.m.): Reflecting a meeting of costumed characters that’s probably happening right now at the San Diego Convention Center, Spidey faces off with the Juggernaut. David Sims eagerly awaits your allusions to a seven-year-old meme.
Leverage (TNT, 8 p.m.): Look who else is celebrating five seasons today! Good ol’ reliably charming (but never Breaking Bad-level amazing) Leverage! Enjoy a piece of cake from Phil Dyess-Nugent, Timothy Hutton—you’ve earned it!
True Blood (HBO, 9 p.m.): The Authority goes after Bon Temps’ dreamiest blood-suckers, kicking off what’s either Bill And Eric’s Excellent Adventure or Bill And Eric’s Bogus Journey. Either way, Caroline Framke will be this expedition’s Rufus.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9 p.m.): “Pay no attention to the pile of de-harnessed bodies over there,” this episode telepathically suggests. “There’s nothing to see here.” Les Chappell is less certain about that.
Longmire (A&E, 10 p.m.): “Beer distributor battered” reads the horrifyingly insensitive tabloid headline summarizing tonight’s episode. If Longmire needs help, Zack Handlen’s got a hot scoop on the likely suspect.
The Newsroom (HBO, 10 p.m.): The return of Breaking Bad means viewers and critics have less energy to put toward scrutinizing The Newsroom—but if it insists on giving episodes titles like “I’ll Try To Fix You,” the show still deserves some grief about the portrayal of its female characters. Scott Tobias still has some scrutinizing energy left in him.
Weeds (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Remember how Walter White once seemed like little more than a male variation on Nancy Botwin, with cancer and meth in place of a dead husband and pot? Oh, how the tides have turned. Enjoy tonight’s roller-derby subplot, Myles McNutt!
Political Animals (USA, 10 p.m.): From former Everwood showrunner Greg Berlanti comes a limited-run political soap that imagines the totally awesome world where Ripley/Dana Barrett is U.S. Secretary of State. We’ll have a review at 4 p.m., where there is no Dana—there is only Molly Eichel.
Episodes (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.): Setting aside the showbiz satire for a half-hour, Sean, Beverly, and Matt consider the proper way to say “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Now that’s the type of basic sitcom premise David Sims can get behind.
Metalocalypse (Cartoon Network, 12:15 a.m.): Dr. Rockzo has a dire warning for Toki, but Toki doesn’t want take the good doctor’s prescription—probably because the good doctor is a coke-addicted, hair-metal clown. Phil Dyess-Nugent can see disaster over the Rock & Roll Clown’s mountains of cocaine.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
South Park (Classic) (1 p.m.): Threatened by a giant, robotic Barbra Streisand, South Park’s only hope is—who else—Leonard Maltin, Sidney Poitier, and The Cure’s Robert Smith. How did Trey Parker and Matt Stone know all three attendees of Phil Dyess-Nugent’s fantasy dinner party?
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
3 Days To Open With Bobby Flay (Food Network, 10 p.m.): The celebrity chef swoops in to save a chicken-finger joint from shutting down before it can even open its doors. To bad he couldn’t have intervened before the restauranteurs decided they wanted to sell chicken fingers.
Strange Sex (TLC, 10 p.m.): Realizing its facing some stiff competition in the 10 o’clock slot, TLC turns to old-fashioned gimmickry to woo viewers away from Breaking Bad. Namely: The breast-milk fetishist featured in Strange Sex’s third-season première. Very shrewed, TLC—very shrewd, indeed.
Small Town Security (AMC, 11 p.m.): In its continuing bid to discredit everyone who deemed AMC “the new HBO” in those heady, pre-Walking Dead/The Killing/Hell On Wheels days, the network wades into “colorful rural characters” territory with Small Town Security. Hey, if it makes the network enough money to pay for the final seasons of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, so be it.
Black Dynamite (Cartoon Network, 11:30 p.m.): A brilliant blaxploitation parody and proud selection in the New Cult Canon, the already cartoonish Black Dynamite gets extra-super-bad and animated. He’s pistol-packin’ brother with a cartoon that’s a mother—[Shut yo’ mouth.] Hey we’re just talking about Black Dynamite. [We can dig it.]
Jurassic Park (BBC America, 8 p.m.): If the pipeline supplying BBC America with fresh content from its sister network across the pond breaks down, the Doctor Who reruns don’t eat the tourists—instead, Jurassic Park stands in, giving The A.V. Club the excuse to torture pieces of Jeff Goldblum dialogue into What’s On Tonight? entries.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (Syfy, 8 p.m.): Of course, if the Pirates Of The Caribbean film franchise breaks down, the pirates eat logic, battle a squid-faced Davy Jones, and argue that you’ll find a less-manufactured sense of fantasy in TCM’s primetime broadcast of The Thief Of Bagdad. (Really, we should’ve listed that instead—but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to double the Goldblum!)
MLB Baseball: Cardinals at Reds (ESPN, 8 p.m.): Redbirds take on Redlegs in Cincinnati, a scrum in the middle of the National League Central standings that could put either team closer to challenging the Pirates of Pittsburgh (who, if they break down, don’t eat the spectators) for first place.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Animaniacs/The X-Files/Millennium: Recent Random Roles subject Ed Asner pulls double TV Club Classic duty, voicing a money-grubbing bear on Animaniacs before diving into the spirit world of The X-Files. Genevieve Koski and Zack Handlen were happy to host the old coot.
JEFF GOLDBLUM QUOTES FROM JURASSIC PARK
I’m Simply Saying That Life (Uh): Finds a way.