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Celebrate a half-century of sport, spectacle, and soda commercials with Super Bowl 50

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Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, February 7. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Super Bowl 50, Broncos vs. Panthers (CBS, 6:30 p.m.): The only sporting event so important that it can declare Roman numerals not good enough to represent their golden anniversary. It’s time for the Super Bowl! From the NFC comes Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, looking to cap off their remarkable 17-1 season with the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy. And from the AFC comes Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, looking to erase the memory of their downright shameful performance in Super Bowl XLVIII. (Your What’s On Tonight correspondent isn’t expecting them to do that and is taking the Panthers to beat the spread by at least three points.) There’s also a national anthem performed by Lady Gaga, a halftime show headlined by Coldplay with expected appearances by previous headliners Beyonce and Bruno Mars, a bunch of commercials that will hopefully involve gratuitous testicular violence in the name of selling Budweiser, Doritos, and Pepsi, and probably at least one pointless Danica Patrick ad for GoDaddy.com. And, as always, should you decide to be one of the millions of people not watching as opposed to one of the millions of people watching, John Teti reminds you nobody cares about your decision.


Also noted

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (CBS, 10 p.m.): This year’s winner of the coveted post-Super Bowl slot is The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which could use some help in the ratings (though CBS will remind you they’re not at all worried about that). As a host Colbert always thrives in a special occasion setting, and he’s stocked tonight’s show with plenty of great talent: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Will Ferrell, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele. No word on whether Key and Peele will revive their beloved East West Bowl segment for a Super Bowl edition, but if they don’t bring the kitten from Keanu over for a visit there’ll be riots.


The Late Late Show With James Corden (CBS, 11:35 p.m.): Winning the post-post-Super Bowl slot is, appropriately for fans of parallel structure, The Late Late Show With James Corden. Corden’s announced lineup includes Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, and Adam Devine, and will also include Sir Elton John in an installment of Carpool Karaoke. We’ll have to see if he can trump Adele’s mastery of Nicki Minaj’s “Monster.”

Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): Last week’s episode had the residents of Downton seeing red as Lord Grantham’s ulcer burst, giving the phrase “bloody awful” a whole new set of connotations. The word “sanguine” has long been applied to the Crawleys for their optimism in the face of the changing world, how will they react now that its other definition applies to their dining room table? Emily L. Stephens just hopes the grand old abbey isn’t destined to meet the same fate as the house in Crimson Peak.

Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Another old house whose inhabitants were thrown into disarray last week is the Gallagher home, which was sold at auction and has left Fiona and her brood homeless in the wake of gentrification. What are they going to do? Maybe they can all move into the university that Lip’s attending, which would undoubtedly please Myles McNutt given University Verisimilitude Corner stray observations are turning into his favorite part of weekly reviews.


Billions (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Joshua Alston has created the perfect alternate title for this show, “Wendy Rhoades: Douche Whisperer,” given the way she has to juggle between the two awful people at the center of the show. We imagine she sits back during her conversations with Chuck or Axe and fantasizes about being a badass old lady of a California biker gang, who wouldn’t take any of this crap from rich jackoffs.

Regular coverage

The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim, 12 a.m.)

Tomorrow in TV Club

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so that means it’s time for Love Week at The A.V. Club once again, all the coverage of relationships old and new that you can stomach. This year, Love Week overlaps with TV Club’s latest turn at Watch This, and we’re using that opportunity to take a look at TV’s most memorable proposals. Joshua Alston said “I do” to starting off the week with a look at Cam and Mitchell on Modern Family. Elsewhere, Ben Philippe has a For Our Consideration on what Scandal’s recent abortion storyline means for the show, and our latest Inventory looks at those times in pop culture where characters got caught with their pants down.


What else is on?

Puppy Bowl XII (Animal Planet, 3 p.m.): The greatest example of counter-programming in the history of television returns for its 12th year, with a rematch between Team Ruff and Team Fluff. All together now, everyone: D’awwwwwwww.


Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m.): Normally repeats don’t garner a mention in What’s On Tonight, but there’s not a lot on tonight, the season six premiere was so damn good, and it’s been so damn long since new Bob’s Burgers that we’re calling it out anyway. Buggy robotic ding-dongs! Bob as world’s hairiest man! Hugo-centric darkest timeline!

Mercy Street (PBS, 10 p.m.): While it would break the laws of time and space, no doubt PBS wishes it could engineer a crossover between Downton Abbey and Mercy Street so Lord Grantham could get his ulcer operated on by the latter’s tireless doctors.


Chopped (Food Network, 9 p.m.): “Bacon is featured in each round.” Finally, Food Network is catering to that elusive Ron Swanson demographic.

The Wrong Roommate (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): “A newly-single college professor moves into her sister’s home [and] discovers a mysterious stranger living in the guest house who she soon learns has a troubled past with dangerous consequences.” Lifetime really does seem to only have a handful of adjectives to describe parts of their films, don’t they? And the great thing is that you can reshuffle them to your heart’s content. Maybe the next movie will have a dangerous stranger with a mysterious past and troubled consequences.


Pitch Perfect (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): We wouldn’t guess that you could get three movies out of a cappella music, the sardonic lip-curl of Anna Kendrick, and the boundless enthusiasm of Rebel Wilson. But Pitch Perfect 3 is in pre-production right now for release next year, so what do we know about franchise development?

Pineapple Express (Comedy Central, 8:25 p.m.): James Franco and Seth Rogen blaze up for a blaze of glory as they go on the run to avoid getting killed. We suspect this is based on a true story of those two just hanging out together one weekend, and that only makes this film’s shaggy joys all the more joyful.


O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Cinemax, 8:10 p.m): This weekend’s release of Hail, Caesar! places the Coen brothers back in a purely comedic vein after a few years of drama—and inspires plenty of discussions about where their newest film falls in the canon—which makes it a great time to revisit one of their funniest and most endearing films. The guaranteed best way to avoid being a man of constant sorrow.

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda, Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (SyFy, 7 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m.): With the launch of The Expanse and The Magicians, many thought that this was the year SyFy returned to its Battlestar Galactica hard sci-fi roots. Well, it’s going to be an uphill battle for them not to be seen as the kings of schlock any more given this trilogy of error, a glorious display of mad-lib monster movie production that approaches casting and special effects the same way a drunk person approaches the Taco Bell drive-in window on foot, trying to order everything before checking their pockets and having to settle with what they can afford.


Annabelle (HBO, 9 p.m.): And there’s a creepy doll/That always follows you/It’s got a ruined eye/That’s always open/And there’s a creepy doll/That always follows you/It’s got a pretty mouth/To swallow you whole

Saw, Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D (IFC, 3:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., 12 a.m., 2 a.m., and 4 a.m.): Speaking of creepy dolls, have you ever wanted to replicate the mood of the Saw films and feel like you’re trapped in a room for 12 hours with no company but that of an insane puppet and the threat of bodily mutilation? Well, IFC has you covered with all seven films in the series. You’ll have to bring your own shackles and circular saw.



NBA Basketball, Clippers at Heat (ABC, 2 p.m.)

Women’s Basketball, Notre Dame at Louisville (ESPN2, 2 p.m.)

College Basketball, Houston at Tulsa (ESPNU, 3 p.m.)

Women’s Basketball, Tennessee at Texas A&M (ESPN, 4 p.m.)

College Basketball, Utah at Oregon (ESPN2, 4 p.m.)

Curling, US Grand Prix (NBC Sports, 6 p.m.)

In case you missed it

Animals: The animal population of New York City has been brought to life thanks to the Duplass brothers and a legion of your favorite comedic actors. Molly Eichel is your Dr. Doolittle for a first look at these critters and their existential crises.