Here’s what up in the world of TV for Tuesday, February 17. All times are Eastern.
New Girl/The Mindy Project (Fox, 9/9:30 p.m.): Because Los Angeles and New York just aren’t hip and trendy enough, Fox’s Tuesday sitcoms are headed on road trips to the Pacific Northwest as New Girl heads to Portland and The Mindy Project decamps for San Francisco… wait, San Francisco isn’t part of the Pacific Northwest, is it? Well, is it too late for The Mindy Project to go to Seattle instead? We mean, it’s probably all going to be shot in Vancouver anyway, so does it even matter? But really, isn’t everything north of San Luis Obispo part of the Pacific Northwest, you know? It’s really more of an ethos than a strict fact of geography, and…
Erik Adams and Gwen Ihnat are advising us to quit while we’re far, far behind. Moving on.
Person Of Interest (CBS, 10 p.m.): “Reese tries to protect a software programmer who has a mysterious second life, but it’s unclear which side of her life the threat is coming from.” A “second life,” eh? Could this be the first primetime network episode to be told entirely in a game—wait, is it a game? What the hell even is the terminology here?—of Second Life? Whatever the case, Alexa Planje has an all-The Sims spec script for Elementary that she’s hoping to sell after tonight.
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8 p.m.): It’s the penultimate week for Parks And Recreation, and that would be plenty sad enough without an episode ominously titled “Two Funerals.” Alasdair Wilkins just hopes that this won’t mean that Lil’ Sebastian is going to die again… twice. He’s not sure Pawnee could take it. How many candles in the wind would you even need at that point?
The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.): We’re barely halfway through season one, and the show is already knee-deep in nuclear-powered supermen and time travel, the latter of which sets the stage for the one, the only cosmic treadmill. Scott Von Doviak fears this is all going to make Arrow’s salmon ladder feel inadequate, which is to say Scott Von Doviak doesn’t know the first damn thing about what the salmon ladder is all about.
Kroll Show (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Tonight is all about the Illuminati, as PubLIZity plans a party for them while the European joins a group devoted to bringing them down. Well, we say all about the Illuminati: Fabrice Fabrice is also heading up the hit new game show Crab Cab. Just for the record, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya sees absolutely no reason that that last one can’t also involve the Illuminati.
NCIS/NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, 8 p.m./9 p.m.): Hey, let’s check in on the NCISes and see which has the more ridiculous episode premise. To the synopses, starting with original flavor:
Gibbs’ arch-nemesis is suspected of being responsible for an explosion at a summit on global terror, but Gibbs chooses to sit out the investigation to help a grief-stricken Fornell, whose life is on the verge of imploding following his wife’s murder.
Hmm, that feels like a pretty ridiculous time for Gibbs to say, “Nah, my personal life needs me way more than this whole global terror bomb thing.” But let’s first fire up the gumbo! (We realize firing up the gumbo is almost certainly not a thing.)
A Petty Officer is murdered during Mardi Gras, and the team investigates which parades and parties may have led to his death. Meanwhile, Pride struggles to decide which aspects of his strained relationship with his father he is willing to share with his daughter.
Much as there’s sure to be ridiculousness aplenty with the NCIS: New Orleans depiction of Mardi Gras, that doesn’t really come across in the premiere. That said, the fact that a main character is called “Pride” is really fucking ridiculous. It’s not quite enough to knock original NCIS off its perch, but a very creditable effort nonetheless. Anyway, original flavor wins! Tune in the next time we randomly remember to do this!
Repeat After Me (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Wendi McLendon-Covey takes what may be an overly gradual next step toward total world domination, as she uses an earpiece to control celebrities’ interactions with the rest of the world. In the premiere, she’s ordering around Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland, erstwhile American Idol judge Randy Jackson, and Scott Foley, whom we like just fine but are a little surprised counts as a celebrity for these purposes.
The Italian Americans (PBS, 9 p.m.): We have no doubt this two-hour special will be an incisive, deeply considered look at the complex, often fractious relationship between Italian immigrants and the often unwelcoming society they hoped to join. That said, we probably aren’t helping when we say our first thought upon hearing this title was of that one Chief Wiggum line in “Mayored To The Mob.”
Countdown To The Oscars: 15 Movies That Changed American Cinema (ABC, 10 p.m.): This Robin Roberts-hosted special, in which Oscar winners and film experts count down the 15 most influential movies of all time, is playing coy with just what movies cracked the list: “Why does an ’80s teen comedy make the cut? Which movie killed the studio system? Which movie was so shocking in its day, it launched a wave of protests and eventually led to the film ratings system? Which movie tops the line-up?” We’d like to think the answer to all four questions is the same: O.C. And Stiggs, this your night to shine! (No, seriously, we want this to be a two-hour primetime network special solely devoted to that one Robert Altman movie with the teenagers and the Dennis Hopper. We would never complain about the Oscars ever again if that happened.)
The Godfather: Part III (MoreMax, 6:05 p.m.): Okay, so we realize this movie doesn’t belong in the same damn cosmos as its infinitely more illustrious predecessors. But, just for the sake of argument, how many things would you have to change for this to be considered a perfectly respectable movie on its own terms? Swap out Sofia Coppola as Michael’s daughter for the original choice, Winona Ryder? Get the studio to pay Robert Duvall more than a fifth of Al Pacino’s salary and bring back Tom Hagen? Keep it as an Al Pacino-starring movie about an aging mobster but remove the fact that he’s Michael Corleone, giving a chance for the movie to be its own thing? Because any movie that casually suggests John Paul I was murdered as, like, its fifth most important subplot is maybe a movie worth salvaging.
Zero Dark Thirty (FX, 6:30 p.m.): This movie is serving as FX’s lead-in to Justified, and we’re seeing all sorts of crossover potential here. We’d like to think America would be far more willing to grant this movie’s slippery handling of the efficacy of torture if it were Boyd Crowder and Wynn Duffy doing the torturing. Also, it’s hard to imagine what could give Tim a bigger marshal stiffy than shooting Osama bin Laden right in the apricot. (If any of that was unintelligible, please rectify said situation by watching Justified immediately. Thank you.)
College Basketball: Michigan State at Michigan: In the Wolverines’ two most recent overtime losses, they managed to score all of two points in 10 whole minutes of do-or-die basketball. As the Michigan fan portion of the great What’s On Tonight gestalt consciousness, we’re going to go ahead and say that’s pretty bad. (And can Jim Harbaugh come coach basketball, too? Jim Harbaugh solves everything!) Anyway, here comes Michigan State, the team that actually shut them out when they went to overtime earlier this season. Should be fun!
Gravity Falls: Once again, Gravity Falls has returned, seemingly at random, to tell another story of the supernatural in the Pacific Northwest featuring stuck-up rich girl Pacifica Northwest. Alasdair Wilkins would be impressed with our ability to bring this What’s On Tonight full circle, if we weren’t also Alasdair Wilkins. Eh, that hasn’t stopped us before.