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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

PBS explains present-day political craziness with the past

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Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, October 4. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

16 For ’16 (PBS, 8 p.m.): The first recommendation from your brand-new What’s On Tonight correspondent (the new kid in town, or to use the first of many Eagles analogies, the Don Felder to Alasdair Wilkins’ Bernie Leadon): PBS’ eight-part documentary series explores the campaigns of 16 memorable presidential and vice-presidential candidates. Each half-hour episode covers two political hopefuls, right up until Election Day. Tonight, explore the failed (yet still influential) campaigns of Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson, who ran against each other in both 1984 and 1988. Who knows? Maybe diving into the political craziness of the past will make you feel better about the political craziness of the present. But probably not.


The Vice Presidential Debate (ABC, 9 p.m.): Or, if today’s politics are your thing, you can always watch Tim Kaine and Mike Pence argue with each other, hopefully about their taste in music. Kaine most likely has Pence beat by being a Replacements fan.

But not so fast! Pence’s intro to his radio show from the ’90s sounds like a long-lost solo cut by Glenn Frey (at least the instrumentation, anyway). The heat is on!

Chopped Junior (Food Network, 8 p.m.): Or you could stay out of politics altogether and tune into Chopped Junior for a “Halloween Party!” Their exclamation point, not ours. Chopped has always been in the upper echelon of cooking shows, and its more youthful sister show gets bonus points for its lack of bitterness. Most of the chefs are too young to be concerned with anything except doing a good job, and the Halloween Party(!) will challenge them to make “spicy mummies” and a “spooky casserole.” We’re not sure if we want to know the meaning of that last one, but this is still likely a more wholesome alternative to the politics, politics, and more politics that we’re getting on the reg until November. And, let’s face it, probably after that, too.


Premieres and finales

The Mindy Project (Hulu): Mindy Kaling’s back for her second season on Hulu (suck it, Fox!), even though it barely feels like she’s been gone. The fourth-season finale wrapped up just three months ago. Regardless, we’re excited for her return and, in keeping with this WOT’s theme of passing the torch, Marah Eakin will be taking over coverage from Gwen Ihnat. That makes Marah Don Felder and Gwen Bernie Leadon. Actually, scratch that. It’s actually Gwen who’s Felder, with Marah falling into the Joe Walsh role. Check out those guitar solos!


The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.): Arguably the best of the Arrowverse shows, The Flash dashes back to The CW for its third season faster than a speeding bullet. Er, faster than a… hmmm. Barry Allen really needs his own superhero slogan. Maybe Scott Von Doviak can help us out as he returns for his regular reviews.

No Tomorrow (The CW, 9 p.m.): In one of The CW’s bolder moves, the network has adapted the Brazilian magical-realist series Como Aproveitar O Fim Do Mundo (or How To Enjoy The End Of The World) for American audiences. Tori Anderson and Joshua Sasse star as a couple trying to complete their “apocalyst,” a.k.a. a list of things to do before the world ends. We’ll be covering this regularly, or at least until the world ends in November, so stay tuned.


Regular coverage

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 8 p.m.)
WWE SmackDown! Live (USA, 8 p.m.)
New Girl (Fox, 8:30 p.m.)
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 10 p.m.)
Halt And Catch Fire (AMC, 10 p.m.)
Atlanta (FX, 10 p.m.)
Drunk History (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.)


Streaming pick

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco (Amazon Video): Some of the cringe-comedy moments in this doc—which chronicles the recording of Wilco’s masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrothave been rendered more tragic by the 2009 death of multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett. (Bennett left the band during the making of the album and film.) But with a fantastic new Wilco album out, this feels worth revisiting. To entice you, here’s a clip of the grainy yet gorgeous opening credits. It’s not an Eagles song, but it’ll have to do.