Here’s what’s going on in the world of television Tuesday, September 2. All times are Eastern.
The Story Of Frozen: Making A Disney Animated Classic/The Fidel Castro Tapes (ABC, 8 p.m./PBS, 9 p.m.): By any sensible metric, the Tuesday after Labor Day is about as dead as it gets in the TV season. There are no shows for TV Club to cover—hell, even Erik Adams is taking a one-week break from his 30 Rock classic reviews—and FXX has actually, honestly run out of Simpsons episodes for its marathon. But all is not lost, especially if you love in-depth documentary specials about things that begin with “F”! Even if the tail-end of summer feels like an odd time to do this, ABC is reuniting the Frozen creative team for an hour-long special on the making of last year’s Oscar winner. Then, switch over to PBS for The Fidel Castro Tapes, which uses rarely seen archival footage from the Cuban archives to explore the life of Fidel Castro. We can’t imagine there will be any tonal whiplash switching between the two!
Alaska: The Last Frontier: Kilchers Revealed/Yukon Men/Ice Lake Rebels: Deep Freeze (Discovery, 9:00 pm.): Much like the Frozen special, Discovery is programming against the last of the summer heat with this trio of shows that love freezing locales almost as much as they love over-punctuated titles. Alaska: The Last Frontier is airing its second episode of the season, while Yukon Men and Ice Lake Rebels have their season premieres tonight, with the three shows together revealing the subtle differences between freezing your ass off in Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories, respectively.
Little People, Big World (TLC, 10:00 p.m.): This is the other major season premiere of the night, as the TLC reality series kicks off its eighth (eighth!) season. We were going to give TLC an iota of credit for picking an episode title—“The Proposal”—that isn’t some silly pun, but we then looked at the show’s title again, so… yeah, never mind.
The Shield (11 a.m.): Like we said, Erik Adams is taking this week off from this 30 Rock reviews. We imagine it’s because he’s sensible enough to be nowhere near the supernova of mayhem, destruction, and ownage that is a season finale of The Shield. Brandon Nowalk is made of sterner stuff.
King Of The Hill (Cartoon Network, 8 p.m.): With The Simpsons marathon complete, I’m going back to spotlighting random reruns of Fox’s other ridiculously long-running cartoon. Tonight’s entry is particularly good, as the two-parter “Turning Japanese” finds Hank Hill and his shinless, insufferable father heading overseas to find the latter’s lost love. David Carradine and the Emperor of Japan are prominently involved.
Below Deck (Bravo, 9 p.m.): “The crew fumes about tip-money distribution and Captain Lee must make a decision.” Wait, wasn’t I mocking this show for building conflict around tip money distribution in last week’s listing? Yes, yes I was. So this is apparently an issue so gargantuan that it needs at least two episodes to resolve. Also, that bit about Captain Lee having to make a decision makes me think I might have been onto something when I joked about the crew mutinying over tip money. As P.T. Barnum probably would have said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the ridiculousness of Bravo reality shows.
Brandi And Jarrod: Married To The Job (A&E, 10 p.m.): “Brandi tries to fool Jarrod so she can work on wedding plans.” But Brandi, why ever would you ever have to fool Jarrod to do that? You two are already married to the job!
4th And Loud (AMC, 10 p.m.): Kiss business executives and occasional rockers Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley still own an Arena Football League team, and it sounds like difficult times are ahead for Coach Bob McMillen, as his “induction into the AFL Hall of Fame is overshadowed by concerns about some players’ continuous poor performances.” We really hope that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley burst onto the stage at Bob McMillen’s induction ceremony to loudly berate him for his poor performance. We’re pretty sure George Steinbrenner did that to Dave Winfield.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home/Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Syfy, 10 a.m./12:30 p.m.): A weird time to watch these, I realize, but we’re talking about two very solid contenders for best Star Trek film, non-Wrath Of Khan division. Plus, The Undiscovered Country claimed that “Only Nixon can go to China” is an old Vulcan proverb, which remains one of my favorite things ever.
Pi/Requiem For A Dream (Flix, 8 p.m./9:30 p.m.): Whenever a black-and-white, fiercely cerebral Darren Aronofsky movie about higher mathematics and Jewish mysticism counts as the light and undemanding half of a movie double-header… it probably means that it’s followed by another Darren Aronofsky movie. And movies don’t get much more Darren Aronofsky than Requiem For A Dream. (Well, except maybe The Fountain, but that one is more gloriously insane than unremittingly bleak.)
U.S. Open Tennis: Men’s round of 16, women’s quarterfinals (11 a.m.): There’s a solid 12 hours of tennis action coming at you from Flushing, Queens. Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych are among the big names in action on the men’s side, while top-15 players Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani face off on the women’s side.
Under The Dome: Last night’s episode received a D-, and Scott Von Doviak teased his review with this simple assessment: “The show goes over a cliff… again.” Yeah, even if you’re not watching the show, you might want to check this one out.