Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 30, and Saturday, January 31. All times are Eastern.
Key & Peele Super Bowl Special (Comedy Central, 10 p.m., Friday): Great news for laugh-deprived Key & Peele fans, with the funniest sketch comedy series since Mr. Show returning for this hour-long football-centric special episode. Dennis Perkins will be on hand to see how many laughs the guys can wring from a bloated, self-serious sports event where the biggest story this year revolves around the word “balls.” He’s guessing a lot. And because Key & Peele are kind and just, they’ve already given us a taste of what to expect with the return of an old favorite (and some new pals):
Constantine (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): When a group of college students accidentally bring a serial killer from another dimension to town, Constantine has to stop it, because of these kids today. And hey—the students go to Ivy University, the home of Professor Ray Palmer in the comics who is secretly shrinky superhero The Atom! Rights issues probably mean no crossover, but Brandon Nowalk’s just going to pretend he’s in every scene—just really, really tiny.
Glee (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): In “The Hurt Locker: Part 2,” Jane Lynch’s sometimes evil Sue tries to clean up the mess she made last week, while the gang tries to recruit a football player to the glee club. Brandon Nowalk hopes this sequel to last week’s dopey episode can pull up in time, but his summation of Glee’s fortunes from last week are not optimistic: “Glee turned into that eastern European variety show from The State so suddenly my little fan heart stopped pumping to the beat of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
12 Monkeys (Syfy, 9 p.m., Friday): Cole’s still hunting all through time for the deadly virus that’s going to wipe us all out, leading him to discover a terrible secret from Dr. Railly’s life in the past. Her past, not his past. Well, his past, too, but sort of his extra…past? Luckily Emily L. Stephens has a better grasp on this timey-wimey stuff.
Banshee (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): Les Chappell would officially like to tell everyone that it’s time to make Banshee appointment viewing, if this pronouncement from last week’s episode is any indication:
The show’s memory for its sins is long, as its its tendency to save the resolution of those sins for the right moment—all of which makes “A Fixer Of Sorts” land with devastating effect. If if was only the episode where Hood’s secret finally leaks out into Banshee, it would be a landmark. But that reveal happens only in the last 30 seconds, and comes after a sequence of visceral and emotional events so powerful they make a strong case for “A Fixer Of Sorts” being the craziest, if not the best, episode of Banshee to date. There are things that happen in this episode that another cable drama would pace out over an entire season, and not only do the writers deploy them all they deploy them three episodes in.
Get watchin’, people.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): That pesky Super Bowl continues to bleed into every show on TV, with former NFL running back Eddie George plowing into the eccentric comedy clubhouse of Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts. Emily L. Stephens is prepared to put all of her vast football knowledge on the line reviewing this one.
Mel Brooks Live At The Geffen (HBO, 9 p.m., Saturday): An evening of no-doubt delightful storytelling from the beloved, formerly-scandalous director. Caroline Framke calls the special “comfort food for fans.” You know, like a plate of beans around the ol’ campfire.
Saturday Night Live (NBC 11:30 p.m., Saturday): Noted character actor, 2015 Oscar nominee, and all-’round formidable presence J.K. Simmons is the surprising host, alongside musical guest D’Angelo. Dennis Perkins likes to think Simmons pulled some Whiplash-style tough love on the SNL writers room and whipped the place into shape.
In this week’s AVQ&A, everyone here at the A.V. Club lets you all peek into our soul of souls as we reveal what our ideal fictional pop culture pets would be. Also, check out Libby Hill’s 100 Episodes look back at everyone’s favorite Daniel Stern-narrated coming-of-age series The Wonder Years.
Friar’s Club Roast Of Terry Bradshaw (ESPN2, 8 p.m., Friday): The Super Bowl hysteria continues with noted funnymen like, um, former Oakland Raider and Firestorm star Howie Long cracking wise at the expense of noted former quarterback and loud person Terry Bradshaw.
Cristela (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): This episode’s entitled “Hypertension,” so it’s probably safe to assume Cristela’s life hasn’t gotten any better.
Grimm (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday): A dead body in an abandoned house means killer ghosts! It is Grimm, after all.
Shakespeare Uncovered (PBS, 9 p.m. & 10 p.m., Friday): Before he was the Earl of Grantham on Downton Abbey, Hugh Bonneville trod the boards—a lot—in some of Shakespeare’s greatest roles. He walks us through some of his triumphs in the second season premiere of this documentary series for the Slings & Arrows crowd. Then stay tuned for a second episode of Shakespeare fun with Christopher Plummer recounting his legendary run in/as King Lear.
Helix (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): The CDC team ventures outside the dubious safety of the monastery to find more specimens in their quest to save the world. Never get out of the monastery, guys.
Saturday Night Live Presents An NFL Sports Spectacular (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday): Sure, it’s no Key & Peele, but the venerable sketch comedy show can still make jokes about “deflated balls” with the best of ‘em. Returning alum and presumed Patriots fan Seth Meyers hosts.
College basketball: Everyone at Everyone State (All the ESPNs, all day, Saturday): There is a lot of college basketball on today.
The Musketeers (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): A Spanish general has a super-secret new gunpowder. The Musketeers think, “That will go really well with our muskets.”
Black Sails (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): In the second episode of the second season of this pirate series Flint and Silver scheme, possibly about rum. Okay, it’s probably not about rum—possibly parrots.
Red Band Society (Fox, 9 p.m., Saturday): Octavia Spencer continues to liven up this dramedy about dying kids. Tonight—some kids are dying.
Big Giant Swords: Legend Of The Blademaker (Discovery, 10 p.m., Saturday): It’s a reality show about guys making big giant swords. The second part of the title really seems unnecessary.
Archer: We’re with Caroline Framke that “Pam and Archer’s chemistry is one of the show’s biggest and most rewarding surprises.” So we’re also with Caroline when she gets all excited when Pam and Archer head to the wedding of Pam’s nasty sister (played by the great Allison Tolman from Fargo).