Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

ABC tries to strike Oil and get top marks at Quantico

Don Johnson, Amber Valletta, Priyanka Chopra (ABC)
Don Johnson, Amber Valletta, Priyanka Chopra (ABC)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, September 27th. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

Blood And Oil (ABC, 9 p.m) and Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): The fall TV season has begun in earnest, meaning that Sunday nights are once again heating up to be the busiest of the week. Leading the charge of new programming is ABC, who has some gaps to fill now that Revenge is done revenging (one last time: REVENGE!!!) and Resurrection proved its power to cheat death was temporary at best.

First up is Blood And Oil, a Dallas for the 21st century (or at least the unofficial Dallas for the 21st century given the official one already happened) as everyone’s trying to get rich around a North Dakota oil boom. Don Johnson’s in the J.R. Ewing oil tycoon role, with various players around him including the aforementioned Revenge’s Amber Valletta, Greek’s Scott Michael Foster, and Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford. Joshua Alston weighed in on the premiere, and found that despite its sturdy sense of place it could stand to lean heavier on the first part of its title:

Were this a different television era—say, the one in which Nash Bridges made it to six seasons—Blood would have made a strong addition to any network’s roster. In its current form, Blood is a throwback to a quainter time in primetime soap history, when a simple, well-told story of family intrigue was enough. That simply isn’t enough to tread water in the same world where Empire and Scandal attract unprecedented audiences.

After that is Quantico, also known as How To Get Away With Terrorism or Grey’s Homeland, featuring a group of FBI trainees (headed by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra) who become entangled in the biggest act of domestic terrorism since September 11. Erik Adams, in his pre-air review, is calling bullshit on a lot of it, but that’s not necessarily the indictment you think it’d be:

A lot of it is utter nonsense—violent pasts, unspoken agendas, hidden family members—but it’s utter nonsense that piques curiosity. That nonsense is continually one-upped, and it’s hard to imagine the show maintaining such a pace week to week, especially with the added strain of its serialized mystery. Sketching out its characters, laying out the ground rules for their time at Quantico… and smoking some red herrings for down the line, Quantico sprints for one hour so it can jog later.


Joshua Alston’s bullshit detector, currently being pushed to its limits by the appearance of things like cannibal Chris Rock and Cookie in a gorilla suit in the Empire premiere, will be applied to Quantico on a weekly basis.

Also noted (premiere edition)

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m): The season six premiere finds Bob’s Burgers looking back to the past, as Linda reminisces about how it was Bob’s mustache that caused her to fall in love with him in the first place. This could be a rough one for Alasdair Wilkins, who still remembers the day that his inability to grow a mustache cost him the girl of his dreams.


The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m): As it will until the end of time, a new season of The Simpsons appears on our TV screens, thankfully escaping the uncertain future that Harry Shearer’s departure would have created. Dennis Perkins is relieved at his return and, as always, cautiously optimistic for the 27th season. All he asks for is no more goddamned jug bands.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Season three presents a new status quo at the 9-9, with Captain Ray “HOT DAMN!” Holt transferred to public relations, Bill Hader behind the captain’s desk in his place, and Jake and Amy dealing with the fallout of their kiss. But take heart that not everything’s changing, as LaToya Ferguson isn’t leaving this precinct anytime soon.


The Last Man On Earth (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Sadly, the same cannot be said of Caroline Framke, Last Man On Earth’s season one reviewer (and former Sunday What’s On Tonight correspondent), who has departed on a strange existential quest. Luckily for all of us Vikram Murthi is there to pick up season two coverage, and find out what Phil “Tandy” Miller and Carol Pilbasian are up to in the wake of their Tuscon exile.

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Gwen Ihnat checks in on the season five premiere, where Emma seeks help for her new Dark One status from Brave’s Meridia, King Arthur, and Merlin. This is normally when we’d break out the Monty Python And The Holy Grail joke about Camelot being a silly place, but frankly after four seasons of Once Upon A Time’s increasingly nonsensical fairy tale mash-ups, the version of Camelot where they have to push the pram a lot seems reasonable in comparison.


Okay, fine, we can’t help it. Here it is:

Also noted (finale edition)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 9 p.m.): The venerable forensic investigation procedural comes to a close tonight after 15 seasons, capping its run with a two-hour TV movie that also features the return of Gil Grissom (William Peterson) and Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger). The finale is titled Immortality, a fitting name for the end of a series that lasted a decade and a half, spawned three spinoffs, and was at one time the most-watched show in the world.


Ray Donovan (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Season three ends tonight, hopefully building to a showdown between Ray and Ian McShane’s Andrew Finney. (One that may be fatal to the latter, given the many other projects McShane’s committed to.) Please, just give Finney one reason to go off on a profane Shakespearean rant.

Masters Of Sex (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Also ending its third season tonight is Masters Of Sex, as Masters and Johnson realize their hard work is now in jeopardy. Similarly in jeopardy is John Teti’s engagement with the series, which has gone up and down all year yet still felt like it’s merely going through the motions. (Though at one point it did have a flaccid gorilla, something no other TV show on the air can claim.)


Vicious (PBS, 10:30 p.m.): Freddie and Stuart’s wedding day arrives in the season two finale, sure to contain affection despite a prevalence of people being awful to each other.

Regular coverage

Fear The Walking Dead (AMC, 8 p.m.)

The Strain (FX, 9 p.m.)

Project Greenlight (HBO, 10 p.m.)

Rick And Morty (Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.)

Classic coverage

The Simpsons (3 p.m.) We’re a little worried about letting Alasdair Wilkins review “The Joy Of Sect,” as it’s full of dangerous Movementarian dogma and we know he’s the highly suggestible type. How do we know this? Because we told him that and his response was “Yes, I am the highly suggestible type.”


Tomorrow in TV Club

Our TV Club Questionnaires continue, and for Monday’s installment we’ve snagged NewsRadio and The Affair’s Maura Tierney with her thoughts on spin-offs and her early TV role models. And we’ve collected the best of the “hey it’s that guy/girl” roles with an Inventory on some of the best character actors working today, many of whom you’re currently seeing or about to see on your TV.


What else is on?

Doll & Em (HBO, 10:40 p.m.): “Doll has a surprise encounter with Ewan McGregor at a bar.” Hopefully she can confirm he’s on board for the Trainspotting sequel.


The Great British Baking Show (PBS, 7 p.m.): Contestants are making phyllo pie this week, which sounds a lot like a prehistoric underwater creature.

Vice Special Report: Fixing The System (HBO, 9 p.m.): HBO’s documentary series looks at the American penal system, which notably features President Obama becoming the first sitting POTUS to tour a prison with a stop at FCI, El Reno in Oklahoma. Dan Jakes will be on hand to offer a review and confirm if he’ll also be the first sitting POTUS to give an At Folsom Prison-style show to the inmates.


Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): It’s the fourteenth season premiere of this engine of crass and politically incorrect humor. We have no jokes about this because we’re resigned to its unkillable nature at this point.

Indian Summers (PBS, 9 p.m.): The latest offering from PBS Masterpiece Theater, a nine-part miniseries looking at the decline of the British Raj and the call for Indian independence. It also features two-time Oscar nominee Julie Walters, a.ka. Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter film series.


The Great Food Truck Race (Food Network, 9 p.m.): It’s a “Showdown in Chi-Town” tonight! We’re hoping that Steak Me Home Tonight makes an appearance.

Ice Road Truckers (History, 9 p.m.): A driver apparently has a “unique way” to deal with a melted ice crossing. Our imaginations are running wild and we’re devising a Rube Goldberg-type device that uses olive oil, rubber, and more gears than ever thought humanly possible.


The Dark Knight (MTV, 7:45 p.m.) and The Dark Knight Rises (TNT, 8 p.m.): Two-thirds of the most operatic, ambitious superhero trilogy ever put to film are accessible within 15 minutes of each other tonight. Here’s a fun game you can play: switch between the two every time a commercial break comes up and see if the parts you watch construct one coherent narrative!

Dumb And Dumber (Comedy Central, 8 p.m.): Efforts to turn Dumb And Dumber into a franchise have definitively failed over the years, and the original hasn’t aged all that well. But it is still the only film where a man who will one day go on to win a Best Actor in a Drama Emmy Award winner has diarrhea on a tectonic scale.

Resident Evil: Extinction (Syfy, 9 p.m.): The third in the Resident Evil film series. It’s supposed to conclude in 2017 with a film called The Final Chapter, but at this point it feels like this series will just keep producing installments by way of inertia.


Fantastic Four (AMC, 11 p.m.): Did you hate this summer’s attempt to reboot this franchise? Well, it can at least count in its favor that it’s better than the 2005 version, one of the most stunningly cheap, asinine, and charmless superhero movies ever made. Some of you will defend Chris Evans’s performance in it. You cannot. He and everyone else in this movie may be good in other things, here they are terrible.


Sunday Night Football, Broncos at Lions (Fox, 8:20 p.m.)

MLB Baseball, Pirates at Cubs (ESPN, 8 p.m)

MLS Soccer, San Jose vs. Real Salt Lake (Fox Sports, 7 p.m.)

MLS Soccer, Los Angeles vs. FC Dallas (Fox Sports, 9:30 p.m.)

In case you missed it

Doctor Who: The Doctor is in! Take heart, dear readers: Doctors and companions may change, but the stellar coverage of Alasdair Wilkins will never leave you.