Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, February 2. All times are Eastern.
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX, 10 p.m.): Let’s make sure we’ve all got this straight. There’s an anthology series called American Crime on ABC. This is not that. There’s a Ryan Murphy-produced FX anthology series called American Horror Story. This is definitely not that, and indeed Murphy’s involvement here is almost entirely on the directing, not writing side, which is maybe for the best given his … oh, let’s say unique approach to writing drama. Anyway, confusing and/or misleading nomenclature aside, this is a dramatization of the O.J. Simpson trial—with Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, and honestly just go look up the cast list for this one, because the bench here is just ridiculously deep. Joshua Alston was positive about the show in his pre-air review, and Pilot Viruet kicks off our regular coverage tonight.
Fresh Off The Boat (ABC, 8 p.m.): ABC’s Tuesday sitcoms are back, and Fresh Off The Boat’s return finds the Huangs’ Chinese New Year plans falling through, leaving them stuck in Orlando looking for other Asians to celebrate with. And while being stuck in Orlando desperately seeking culture sounds like a pretty dire situation, it could be worse! They could be in, uh, Tampa. Or Jacksonville. Or Tallahassee. Or Gainesville. Or Tampa again. Or … look, point is, no matter how bad a situation might appear, there’s always a worse Floridian city out there. Shelby Fero does not endorse that sentiment, though she doesn’t necessarily not endorse that sentiment.
The Muppets (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Where are we up to with this show? We’ll admit that we’re pretty much content to just vaguely resent this show from a distance, but we suppose that’s not the best look for someone who is theoretically a TV critic. So then, take this as the occasional discussion prompt for people to discuss whether the show has improved any, which admittedly tends to oversample those who still actually watch the show and presumably like it more than not. Hmm … maybe this isn’t the best way to gather information. We’ve just been handed a card from management reminding us that reading Dan Caffrey’s excellent reviews is always an option!
iZombie (The CW, 9 p.m.): According to the description, “Liv and Clive investigate the murder of a young librarian who was secretly an erotic fiction writer.” Wait, it’s a secret that all librarians lead double lives as erotic fiction writers? Carrie Raisler thought everyone knew that.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 9 p.m.): Katey Sagal guest-stars as Peralta’s mom, adding Jake to a list of Sagal TV half-siblings that also includes Kelly and Bud Bundy on Married … With Children, Jax Teller on Sons Of Anarchy, Hyde on That ‘70s Show, Mordecai on Regular Show, whoever the kids were on 8 Simple Rules, and a son she was have sex with in this one Boston Legal arc we sort of remember. What a family reunion that would be! Of course, we mention all these just to be polite. Katey Sagal is Turanga Leela, now and forever. LaToya Ferguson knows.
The Grinder (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): The latest round of Dean and Stewart’s brotherly rivalry leads to them trying to determine who’s the better attorney by facing off in a mock trial. Hmm. Mock trial, you say? We realize it’s beyond clichéd for an AV Club writer—any writer on the internet, really—to namecheck that one Arrested Development thing at the mere mention of “mock trial,” but … eh, screw it.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to steer into the skid.
The Expanse (Syfy, 10 p.m.): We are now up to three consecutive weeks of remembering The Expanse. And since tonight is the two-hour finale, we are now in very good shape to run off dozens and dozens of weeks of remembering that The Expanse is not airing. Zack Handlen is pretty confident that if anyone is going to accidentally list this show after it’s stopped airing, it’s us knuckleheads.
Kyle Ryan has a Random Roles with Paul Reiser, which somehow doesn’t touch at all on the legendary, gone-too-soon classic The Paul Reiser Show, which maybe was a show NBC wanted to replace Community with? Was that a thing, maybe? Goodness, it all feels like a million years ago that NBC aired entire hours of comedies on Thursdays. Plus, Erik Adams talks with New Girl star Jake Johnson about his first time directing an episode.
Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials 2016 (CBS, 8 p.m.): Super Bowl-losing quarterback Boomer Esiason and former American Idol
winner runner-up Katharine McPhee—who we bet are just going to make absolutely the most natural small talk ever—cohost this countdown of the 50 best commercials in Super Bowl history, which would probably be more interesting if it didn’t feel like Super Bowl commercials have been kind of awful for the last several years. Maybe it’s just because there was no topping that one time a robot committed suicide to sell cars or something.
Murder Of A President: American Experience (PBS, 9 p.m.): The story of James Garfield’s assassination is understandably less well-known than those of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, but it might be the most fascinating of the bunch. (The estate of William McKinley has requested at this juncture that we point out that he, too, was assassinated. So, there you go.) Garfield’s assassin, Charles Guiteau, was the only presidential assassin to live to stand trial, in which he defended himself and demonstrated quite admirably he was a madman. [Edit: McKinley’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz, also stood trial. We’re idiots.] Also, Garfield survived 79 days after being shot and quite possibly would have lived if not for the unsanitary methods—including some devised by Alexander Graham Bell!—used in a failed attempt to locate the bullet. Point is, this ought to be pretty fascinating.
Rattled (TLC, 10 p.m.): The latest TLC reality series sounds relatively mundane, as four couples prepare to be first-time parents. One of the couples is expecting quadruplets, which is like halfway to something properly TLC-ish, but everything else sounds pretty standard, honestly.
10 Things (TruTV, 10:30 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is titled “10 Things Men Should Know About Women,” and the promised topics of discussion include “watching porn, balding men, and maintaining hygiene.” Yep, sounds like we’ve got a real inter-gender Rosetta Stone right here.
A Knight’s Tale (HBO2, 6:45 p.m.): When assembling the Heath Ledger canon, this classic rock-scored medieval adventure has to at least be solidly in the second tier. Beyond the anachronistic soundtrack and the presence of fun actors like Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk in supporting roles, we appreciate that the movie brings in Paul Bettany as Geoffrey Chaucer, takes its title from one of his Canterbury Tales … and then doesn’t really bother with any Chaucer connections beyond that.
The Fugitive (AMC, 8 p.m.): This is a great little action thriller, though we’re always going to be amused by the fact that the movie has Harrison Ford grow a beard for the opening segment, just so that when he changes his appearance to disguise himself he can shave his beard … thus looking exactly like Harrison Ford always looks. Plus, as a big-budget remake of a long-dormant TV series, The Fugitive was way ahead of its time.
Parenthood (Flix, 8 p.m.): And then, on the other side of the coin, we have a movie that inspired a TV adaptation two decades later. It’s the circle of life, or some shit. Pretty good movie, in any event.
Groundhog Day (Comedy Central, 8 p.m.): Yeah, Comedy Central probably isn’t the ideal habitat for this movie, what with how enough commercials are being crammed into this 100-minute movie to stretch it out to a three-hour timeslot. But hey, it’s actually Groundhog Day, and this movie is just endlessly delightful.
300/300: Rise Of An Empire (Cinemax, 8 p.m./10 p.m.): The 300 duology gives us what is maybe Zack Snyder’s best movie, if only by default (though Watchmen isn’t bad, we guess) and a late sequel featuring Eva Green and a something called Sullivan Stapleton.
The Sting/The Verdict (TCM, 8 p.m./10:15 p.m.): Oh, forget everything else. Let’s just watch a couple Paul Newman movies and call it a day.
NHL Hockey: Panthers at Capitals (NBC Sports, 7:30 p.m.): The season resumes after John Scott’s delightful takeover of All-Star weekend with a battle of the Eastern Conference’s division leaders. Ageless Czech demigod and Atlantic Division All-Star captain Jaromir Jagr is back in action for the Panthers, but Alex Ovechkin won’t be skating, as he’s been suspended a game for missing the All-Star festivities.
College Basketball: Duke at Georgia Tech (ESPNU, 9 p.m.): The defending champion Duke Blue Devils are unranked for the first time in more than eight years. Tune in just to laugh at this rare bit of relative misfortune for Coach K and company.
Supergirl: Tonight’s Monday Night Raw saw the WWE take a solemn moment’s break from all the mayhem to celebrate Black History Month, which was not as disastrous and tone-deaf as it could have been, all things considered. (And when it comes to the WWE and racism, yeah, there’s a lot to consider.) The piece took the form of a tribute to Mark Henry, the world’s strongest man. So yeah, let’s just watch Mark Henry destroy some dudes.