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

Celebrate Palm Sunday with Tyler Perry’s House of Passion

Jencarlos Canela (Fox)
Jencarlos Canela (Fox)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, March 20. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Passion (Fox, 8 p.m.): Fox had reason to be pleased with its first foray into live musical programming in Grease: Live! It gave the network its best non-Empire ratings all season, and continued the live musical’s journey from hate-watch to legitimate entertainment: our own Caroline Siede called it “a 360 degree event that blended theatricality and filmmaking in ways never seen onscreen before.” Now they’re upping the ante with a modern-day retelling of the last days of Jesus Christ, and who better to tell that story than the creator of Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor? Yes, Tyler Perry will host and and narrate “a musical portrait of the last days of Jesus Christ, from the Last Supper to the Resurrection, which plays out on the streets of New Orleans through Bible passages and contemporary pop songs,” with Jencarlos Canela in the role of Jesus and a supporting cast including Tricia Yearwood and Seal. Well, you certainly can’t accuse Fox of playing it safe.


Also noted

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Hades demands that Hook select three friends to remain behind in the Underworld. This whole freeing people from the bonds of the afterlife is so complicated! Gwen Ihnat remembers the days when a basic system of pomegranate seeds was all you needed.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Alexandria dispatches two separate groups on supply runs, breaking the most important rule of not splitting the party. And Zack Handlen knows they’re just going to hoist the job of running messages between both groups on him, and probably not even pay for his Uber fare.

The Carmichael Show (NBC, 9 p.m.): A storm forces Maxine and Jerrod—already freaking out over a pregnancy scare—to hole up with Joe and Cynthia. Joshua Alston is waiting out the storm with them, and he brought Parcheesi!

Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): With The Good Wife and Person Of Interest both wrapping up after this season, Elementary could potentially be the only CBS procedural receiving regular coverage here at The A.V. Club. (We’ve tried out Limitless, but ironically that remains limited at the moment.) That coverage now moves to Sunday as Elementary finds its new home in the slot vacated by CSI: Cyber. Tonight’s case: “The murder of a man who secretly fought crime dressed as a comic book superhero.” Whether the victim was a Kick-Ass or a Crimson Bolt, Genevieve Valentine will be there in her own cape and cowl to solve the mystery as the Ravishing Reviewer. (Oops, we just gave away your secret identity. Sorry Genevieve. Damn it, we did it again.)

The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim, 12 a.m.): Season six ends tonight and The Venture Bros. returns to its hidden den, hibernating for an indeterminate period of time until it wakes again to lay waste to both the land and Zack Handlen’s sleep schedule. In tonight’s finale, “The Guild join forces with O.S.I. to go after a common threat and use Dr. Venture as bait.”


Regular coverage

Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.)

Vinyl (HBO, 9 p.m.)

The Family (ABC, 9 p.m.)

The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.)

Billions (Showtime, 10 p.m.)

Girls (HBO, 10 p.m.)

Togetherness (HBO, 10:30 p.m.)

Tomorrow in TV Club

The latest offering from the Shondaland empire is The Catch, a caper drama which pits Peter Krause’s charming confidence man against Mirelle Enos’s tenacious private investigator. Joshua Alston’s taken an early look at the pilot before its Thursday night premiere, and hopefully he’s keeping one hand on his wallet at all times. (Or is he the one pulling the scam in this scenario? Unclear as we haven’t had a chance to read his review yet.) Over in the Books section, those of you who are miffed about yet another Bob’s Burgers preemption can sink your teeth into Bill Jones’s review of The Bob’s Burger’s Burger Book, which goes the distance by including an actual taste test of the recipes.


What else is on?

Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade (Fox, 7:30 p.m.): In a staggering bit of tonal opposition, The Passion will be preceded by the latest of the Ice Age specials, this one seeing our furry heroes embark on “what becomes the world’s first Easter egg hunt.”


Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11:00 p.m.): The FBI and Apple have been sparring with each other over the last few weeks regarding building a back door to their encryption, and Apple has been responding with briefs that essentially use legalese to tell the government to fuck off. Even Edward Snowden’s impressed by it, but what does Snowden’s old interviewer John Oliver think?

Madam Secretary (CBS, 8 p.m.): Elizabeth just can’t go anywhere without causing a problem, as a college campus visit with her daughter gets the attention of people protesting Chilean mining operations. Turnabout is fair play, though. Her mouth says she’s willing to talk, but you know her eyes say “Cross me and I will bury you underground for 69 days.”


Crowded (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): “Stella and Shea set out to legitimately win at family game night after learning that their parents have always lost on purpose.” If only it was family drinking game night, they’d use their recent college graduate endurances and come out on top no problem. Though if Stacey Keach’s character participates, all bets are off.

Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): This week’s training exercise for the recruits are “defensive driving lessons.” Bonus points are awarded to those recruits who are capable of building a full suit of armor out of their vehicle.


Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): Josh McDermitt and Christian Serratos join Chris Hardwick this week, hopefully to only talk about Michael Cudlitz’s facial hair.

Comic Book Men (AMC, 12 a.m.): “Walt takes a look at bootleg toys of an ‘80s blockbuster.” Maybe it’s the long-rumored line of Over The Top action figures! Lincoln Hawk comes with authentic hat-turning and arm-pumping action.


Little Big Shots (NBC, 8 p.m.): The “try, try again” approach NBC’s taken with variety show programming paid off for them last week, as this Steve Harvey-helmed show gave NBC some numbers to brag about. And who wouldn’t want to watch it? Tonight features a three-year-old ninja practitioner! That could be either adorable or terrifying, and either way we want to see it!

Hoarders (A&E, 8 p.m.): A woman is in danger of being evicted due to her “an illegal hoard of dogs.” Are there legal hoards of dogs?


Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge (CMT, 8 p.m.): This week’s contestants battle it out in “the Crate.” We assume this is a space where combatants can only escape by breaking the walls down with their foreheads, leading to a lot of trial and error to locate the weak points.

Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network, 8 p.m.): Contestants will have to pinch pennies for the latest challenge, which depends on them creating artisan sandwiches with ingredients that cost less than four dollars. As long as one of those ingredients is bacon, they should be able to pass muster.


Jill & Jessa: Counting On (TLC, 8 p.m.): The Duggar family continues to defend its niche of television with this spinoff, where once again everyone cheerfully opts not to address the elephant in the room.

Intervention: Codependent (A&E, 9 p.m.): Tonight’s couple are “a man from a tight-knit Italian family and a woman who formerly aspired to be a hair stylist,” and tonight’s drug is heroin.


I Am Cait (E!, 9 p.m.): We wonder if Caitlyn Jenner has ever seen Guardians Of The Galaxy and one day just decided to go full Groot on everyone, and that birthed the title of this series.

Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 10 p.m.): There’s so much TV on Sundays it boggles the mind, but this still wins the best episode title of the night with “Duck L’Orange Is the New Black Coffee.”


Kindergarten Cop (Encore, 8 p.m.): Did you know that they’re making a sequel to this movie? And that the star of it is none other than PhD physicist and professional film tough guy Dolph Lundgen? Well, now you do. #TheMoreYouKnow

Gravity (FX, 8 pm.): A recent Cracked article discussed the idea that this film might be a sequel to Speed, and since then we can’t stop thinking about it.


The Matrix (IFC, 8 p.m.): Whoa.

Zoolander (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.): It entertained your What’s On Tonight correspondent to no end that in the In Memoriam reel of the Academy Awards, they elected to use the footage of David Bowie judging a walk-off. The humor was almost enough to undercut the sorrow of the moment and the rage that Abe Vigoda wound up being the night’s biggest omission.


NCAA Basketball Tournament, Second Round, Oklahoma vs. VCU (CBS, 5 p.m.)

NCAA Basketball Tournament, Second Round, Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee (TNT, 6 p.m.)


NCAA Basketball Tournament, Second Round, Maryland vs. Hawaii (TBS, 7 p.m.)

NCAA Basketball Tournament, Second Round, Texas A&M vs. Northern Oklahoma (truTV, 7:30 p.m.)


NCAA Basketball Tournament, Second Round, Wisconsin vs. Xavier (TNT, 8:30 p.m.)

NCAA Basketball Tournament, Second Round, Oregon vs. St. Joseph’s (TBS, 9:30 p.m.)


NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, Second Round (ESPN2, 9 p.m.)

MLS Soccer, DC United v. Colorado (ESPN2, 5 p.m.)

NHL Hockey, Capitals at Penguins (NBC Sports, 6 p.m.)

MLS Soccer, Sporting KC v. Toronto FC (Fox Sports, 7 p.m.)

NHL Hockey, Wild at Blackhawks (NBC Sports, 8:30 p.m.)

NIT Tournament, Georgia at St. Mary’s Cal (ESPNU, 7:30 p.m.)

In case you missed it

Marvel’s Daredevil: Matt Murdock may be The Man Without Fear, but no one can accuse The A.V. Club of being The Site Without Coverage. Between Dennis Perkins’s advance review, Caroline Siede’s weekend binge-watch, and Oliver Sava’s regular reviews, all bases are covered for season two.