Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, September 13. All times are Eastern.
Project Greenlight (HBO, 10 p.m.): It’s been a decade since Ben Affleck and Matt Damon teamed up to give first-time filmmakers the chance to direct a feature film, and chart every part of the contentious process that goes into putting that film together. Now the series returns to HBO, and Joshua Alston—in his review of the first two episodes—is of the opinion that it’s back in fine form and that the hiatus has done everyone some good:
The emphasis on instigating drama may cheapen the historically high-minded Greenlight for its fans, but it’s got the same sturdy bones. From its inception, Greenlight has married the conflict-hungry conventions of a reality competition with the narrative discipline and naturalistic look of a reputable documentary. Then as now, it’s the perfect approach to developing a reality format for HBO, the standard bearer of salacious drama lacquered with pay-cable prestige.
Hand Of God (Amazon, 1 p.m.): It seems like only yesterday that we began our coverage of Amazon’s latest offering, full of hope that Ron Perlman could carry this series through by weight of his personality and gravely voice alone. Oh, how wrong we were, as this has proven to be a slog and a half for poor Dennis Perkins (who knows a thing or two about slogs). He’s used terms like “ludicrous, overheated contrivance” and “scattered, rudderless mess” in his reviews, and a tepid B- is the best any episode can muster. Be strong Dennis! You’ve made it all the way to the finale! And maybe at the final hour, something will make this all worth your while.
Fear The Walking Dead (AMC, 8 p.m.): The fall of Los Angeles was on hold last weekend for Labor Day, but those zombies are back in force as society continues to get worse and worse with the spread of an epidemic no one can explain. Josh Modell’s sticking close to Tobias, because that kid has a knife and seems to be the only one who knows what’s up.
The Strain (FX, 9 p.m.): Last week’s episode saw The Strain finally picking up some momentum and head in the right direction, as well as introducing a brand new credit sequence that Kyle Fowle thought was “a pretty great balance of stupid, goofy, and fun.” That sounds like a descriptor all episodes of The Strain should strive to earn.
Masters Of Sex (Showtime, 10 p.m.): John Teti’s reviewing both Masters and Masters’s identified show-within-a-show, which he’s dubbed Betty And Helen Are The Dumbest People On Earth. We’re hoping Showtime sees the potential and tries to get a spinoff out of it.
Doll & Em (HBO, 10:40 p.m.): HBO’s other show about female friendship returns for its season two premiere, as Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells’s characters keep balancing their friendship in the cutthroat world of Hollywood. Brandon Nowalk’s taken a look at the show’s “dark, delicate dollhouse” in a For Your Consideration, and he’s got high praise for its construction:
There’s method to the madness. Jacobs’ disorganized layering and often soft, almost dainty textures serve the same three ends as his jittery camerawork. First, they drain Hollywood of its glamour. There’s none of The Comeback’s candy colors or Episodes’ polished sheen. Doll & Em is pure grunge. Second, they heighten the psychodrama. Watching Dolly squeeze herself between the vine-covered fence and the stucco walls trying to find an unlocked door into her new home via the nervy, nervous view of the camera is tense. The home-video quality casts us as a silent observer trained on Dolly and particularly Emily throughout their power struggle, and the disorder of the compositions contributes to the chaos.
Rick And Morty (Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.): “Rick joins in on some high jinks” is all the information that the description of tonight’s episode provides, which Zack Handlen thinks sounds a bit out of character for our favorite mad scientist. Rick’s not a joiner, he’s his own Rick! If any high jinks are going on, Rick’s gonna be the one to instigate them, then get drunk and leave the cleanup to someone else.
TV Club Classic
The Simpsons (3 p.m.): It’s a very unmerry Christmas for the Simpson family in “Miracle On Evergreen Terrace.” Kyle Ryan has some strong, bewildering words for the one responsible: “Uh, hello, jerk. We may never find you and we should probably all stop looking. But one thing’s for sure, you do exist.”
Tomorrow in TV Club
Are you already exhausted by the thought of how much television is coming up in a few weeks? Probably not, since you’re a regular What’s On Tonight reader, but there’s no question that this era of peak TV is taxing everyone’s free time and DVR space. Thankfully, the staff of TV Club is there for you, with the first part of our exhaustive list of the fall premieres and a handy priority scale of 1 to 5 to tell you what’s worth checking out.
What else is on
The 2016 Miss America Competition (ABC, 9 p.m.): The beauty pageant is celebrating its 95th year, and commemorating the occasion in an interesting way. Vanessa Williams, the first African-American to win the title of Miss America and the first to resign said title—due to a scandal involving nude photos in Penthouse—is returning to the pageant 32 years later as the head judge.
The Great British Baking Show (PBS, 7 p.m.): This week, contestants are baking “outrageous loaves of bread.” What makes a loaf of bread outrageous? We’re not sure, but better hold onto your monocles just in case.
I Am Cait (E!, 8 p.m.): This episode features the long-awaited meeting between Caitlyn Jenner and Kris Jenner. It should be awkward to say the least.
Attic Gold (DIY, 9 p.m.) and Garage Gold (DIY, 10 p.m.): There’s gold in them thar storage spaces!
Pacific Rim (FX, 7 p.m.): Giant robots fighting giant monsters, Charlie Day melding his brain with said monsters, Ron Perlman as a gangster with inimitable style, and Idris Elba being authoritative as all get out? This film delivers it all.
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (BBC America, 8 p.m.): Unlike some other Robin Hoods, Kevin Costner cannot speak with an English accent. And that’s only one of many problems with this film.
Sunday Night Football, Giants at Cowboys (NBC, 8:20 p.m.)
MLB Baseball, Royals at Orioles (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
NWSL Soccer Playoffs, Seattle vs. Washington (Fox Sports, 9 p.m.)
In case you missed it
Blunt Talk: Four episodes in, Brandon Nowalk continues to get a lot of enjoyment out of Patrick Stewart’s turn as a self-destructive talk show host.