Dancing With The Stars (ABC, 9 p.m.): The nineteeth(?!) season kicks off tonight with all the pomp and circumstance and gold lame miniskirts we’ve come to expect from Dancing With The Stars. We’ve never understood this show, which operates on a frantic energy that quite frankly scares us, but we will acknowledge that watching Lorraine McFly do the samba sounds pretty okay. At the end of the day, though, Dancing With The Stars really messed up this season, because the second the cast list came out we all knew who was going to dominate:
Under The Dome (CBS, 10 p.m.): We have yet to shine a light on these reviews outside of the boring “Regular Coverage” list section of this feature, but that all changes now! Tonight’s episode reportedly features the unclear fate of “the egg.” We don’t know what this means, but we’re confident Scott Von Doviak will have some thoughts. Maybe this episode will even complete the second triple “D” grade streak of the season. Watch this space.
MasterChef (FOX, 8 p.m.): The season finale invites judges from fifty states to declare the winner. This seems like a recipe (comedy!) for a disaster of casting stereotypes. We’ll be very surprised, for instance, if Texas isn’t some dude in a ten gallon hat and spurs, or if New Jersey isn’t just the The Situation. We’d forgive all of it, though, if the Alaskan judge is Willow “Knuckles” Palin.
Rejoice! The sparse summer television season is giving way to a jam-packed fall of premieres and returning shows, which also means TV Club is about to get a whole lot busier.
First up, Sonia Saraiya takes a look at Fox’s new hospital soap Red Band Society, which follows the stories of children bonding in a medical ward under the watchful eye of Octavia Spencer. Sonia contends that two parts The Fault In Our Stars divided by Glee plus the healing power of treacly voiceover (from a kid in a coma) makes for a confusing series.
Next, Molly Eichel takes a look at High Moon, a Bryan Fuller pilot that didn’t go to series, but SyFy is releasing it as a singular event (much like NBC did with Mockingbird Lane). Molly admires the ambition of a series set entirely on a colonized moon, but ultimately found it to be too complicated for its own good.
Finally, A.V. Club alum Todd VanDerWerff is back for a talk with John Mulaney of the upcoming multi-cam sitcom Mulaney. Fittingly enough, said talk covers Mulaney’s five favorite multi-cam sitcoms. Unsurprisingly, said talk is delightful. Come for the discussion of how much Mulaney actually draws from Seinfeld, stay for the discussion of, “which Cosby would you adopt?”
Terror at the Mall (HBO, 9 p.m.): This sounds like a Lifetime movie about a group of preteen mean girls taking over a Wet Seal, so we wanted to let you know that this is actually a documentary about last year’s brutal militant attack on a Nairobi shopping mall. So. Slightly different.
Eating America with Anthony Anderson: Ice Cream Festival (Food Network, 10:30 p.m.): Every other show we were going to put seemed pretty fluffy after Terror At The Mall, so we’re just going to put a season finale featuring an ice cream festival here. (You may have heard that Los Angeles is rather warm right now—like, “a giant has the city under a magnifying glass and is trying to set it on FIRE” kind of warm—so yeah, an ice cream festival sounds awesome right about now.)
Approval Matrix (Sundance, 11 p.m.): Just when we had just come around to the idea of a Vulture feature inspiring a television talk show, its first season is coming to an end. This finale invites comedians and journalists to debate the lowbrow vs highbrow, brilliant vs despicable virtues of children. (For what it’s worth, we’re in the lowbrow/brilliant camp.)
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.): Stephen Colbert/Colbort kicks off this week with special guest Mindy Kaling. We are looking forward to the interview, especially since we suspect Mindy Kaling and/or Lahiri has a crush on Colbert’s cocky brand of patriotism.
Sweet Home Alabama (FX, 8 p.m.): Behold, a movie made to be caught halfway through on cable television. We like to think of this as Reese Witherspoon’s spunky Southern warm-up act for Walk The Line, but really, we love this movie for its stubborn black and white vision of the North vs. the South. In the Northern corner you have Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Dempsey’s respectable suits, and Patrick Dempsey’s mother/Mayor of New York City, Candice Bergen. In the Southern corner you have Josh Lucas, Josh Lucas’ “aw shucks” grin, and Josh Lucas’ best friend Ethan Embry. It’s a tough call, but someone has to do it, so it might as well be Reese Witherspoon and/or you on a slow Monday night.
Monday Night Football: Eagles Vs. Colts (ESPN, 8:15 p.m.): Or you could just forget all that and watch football like the rest of America. But you’ll disappoint Reese “Sparkplug” Witherspoon, and who wants to do that, we ask you?!
Outlander: The Starz series continues to play with expectations and turns out its darkest episode yet. Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya appreciates that, as well as the opportunity to write the phrase, “gender-fucks assumptions about the romance and adventure genres.”