Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Reign returns to rule over a still sleeping weekend television kingdom

Megan Follows, Craig Parker (Photo: Sven Frenzel/The CW)
Megan Follows, Craig Parker (Photo: Sven Frenzel/The CW)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 8, and Saturday, January 9. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

Reign (CW, 8 p.m., Friday): Reign sweeps majestically back onto your television screens after its winter hiatus, and, even more than ever, there’s velvety, brocaded trouble a-brewin’. Mary’s got to marry some dude in order to save Scotland (again), Catherine’s accused of poisoning another dude. Man. Genevieve Valentine would like to stress, once again, that reigning ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Also noted

Regular coverage

Transparent (Amazon, noon, Friday)

Elsewhere in TV Club

TV’s still waking up from its short winter’s nap, but the gang over at Film stride ably into the breach this weekend. First up, Katie Rife brings us a Watch This review of Kim Jee-woon’s improbably entertaining “kimchee Western” The Good, The Bad, And The Weird. Then, in his Oscar This feature, Adam Nayman makes the case that the underrated horror flick Unfriended should be considered for an Academy Award. (Not for Best Picture—it’s not that underrated.) Follow that up with another of Mike D’Angelo’s free film study Scenic Routes classes, as he looks closely at a deceptively meaningful scene in the equally underrated Magic Mike XXL, featuring Donald Glover. Your weekly AVQ&A is the annual ritual of AV Clubbers sharing their 2016 pop culture resolutions. Finally, since TV’s still scarce this weekend, Will Harris talked Criminal Minds and Alvin And The Chipmunks star Matthew Gray Gubler (he’s the voice of Simon!) into programming a whole day’s worth of spooky children’s programming for another installment of 24 Hours Of.

What else is on

Undateable (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): After a holiday break to rest up, Chris D’Elia, Ron Funches, and the rest of this cast dragooned into doing an entire season of live TV pull the covers back over their heads and try to recapture their sweet winter dreams of a world with retakes in it.

Cinderella (Starz, 8 p.m., Friday): Our own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky called this opulent live-action fairy tale film from director Kenneth Branagh “pretty empty.” Oh, wait, he called it “pretty but empty.” Sort of a lateral move there, Ken, sorry.

MasterChef Junior (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): The kid cooks are tasked with making as many deviled eggs as possible. In the second hour of this special episode, the kids start to suspect that they’re just child labor in service of Gordon Ramsay’s catering business.


Undercover Boss (CBS, 8 p.m., Friday): Capitalism is nice! See!?

Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): Tim Allen’s Mike heads back to college for alumni races, and is confused that none of his female former classmates find his “men are like this, but women are like this” material funny any more.


Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Dr. Ken runs into Dr. Oz, so the noted weight-loss industry shill Oz had better be ready for some exaggerated finger-wags and head bobs from responsible—if oddly excitable—real-life physician Ken. (Also, with Dr. Phil showing up on Grandfathered last week, can we all band together to reject the current incursion of Oprah’s ethically suspect doctor pals onto the nation’s sitcoms?)

In Performance At The White House: A Celebration Of American Creativity (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Despite having to deal with the GOP on a daily basis, President Obama’s gig isn’t all bad, as he and the First Lady host this evening of performances from the likes of: Buddy Guy, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Audra McDonald, Keb’ Mo’, Smokey Robinson, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Taylor and Usher. Carol Burnett’s hanging around there, too, for some reason.

Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): A would-be entrepreneur pitches a subscription service where people can purchase ugly vegetables. Sarah McLachlan’s sad song commercials featuring spotted tomatoes and crooked carrots help nail the presentation.


Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): McGarrett and Danny head to a couple’s retreat to work out their relationship issues and—spoiler!—a murder discovered in a picturesque location gets in the way.

Blue Bloods (CBS, 10 p.m., Friday): “A tell-all book is planned by Frank’s first partner, and it causes Frank concern.” Tom Selleck’s Frank is really sweating out that whole Lassiter chapter.

Not that his mustache game wasn’t on-point
Not that his mustache game wasn’t on-point

Unforgettable (A&E, 10 p.m., Friday): Please remember—or don’t forget, if you will—that Poppy Montgomery’s detective can not, under any circumstances, forget anything. A prominent scientist is probably guardedly optimistic about that, when Montgomery’s assigned to investigate his son’s kidnapping.


Smartest Guy In The Room (History, 10 & 10:30 p.m., Friday): Back-to-back episodes of this braniac game show sees contestants building a bridge, solving puzzles, and never, ever pronouncing the word as “nucular.”

The Nasty Show Hosted By Artie Lange (Showtime, 10 p.m., Friday): Standup and former Howard Stern sidekick Lange invites the likes of Mike Wilmot, Mike Ward, Gina Yashere, Luenell, Jimmy Carr, and Gilbert Gottfried to perform in this standup special. Everyone involved is described in the promo materials as “deranged,” so, you know, watch out for that. (And, hey, check out Will Harris’ typically outstanding Random Roles with Gottfried while you’re at it.)


Ex Isle (We tv, 10 p.m., Friday): Carmen Electra hosts a reality show about ex lovers trying to put their often tumultuous relationships behind them in front of cameras at an isolated island resort. What could possib-lie go wrong?

The Rap Game (Lifetime, 10 p.m., Friday): The aspiring rappers in this reality competition get out their rhyming dictionaries when they’re tasked with writing a song about Atalanta. Suggestions: Fanta, Santa, Mylanta—they probably don’t need our help.


V Marathon! (El Rey, 10 a.m., Saturday): Robert Rodriguez’s blessedly loopy network decides you need an all-day marathon of this decidedly 80s alien invasion miniseries (and its sequel, V: The Final Battle) starring The Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer, and a pretty lady who eats guinea pigs.

Sandra Bullock Marathon!—Two Weeks Notice, Miss Congeniality, The Proposal (USA, 4 p.m., Saturday): Smile, Sandy, smile! Smile, dammit! Smile winsomely!


Mythbusters (Discovery, 8 p.m., Saturday): Adam and Jamie ruminate on this, their last season of Mythbusters, reflecting ruefully on the fragile, tenuous mayfly existence of the things we love. Then they blow a couple of things up real good.

My Sweet Audrina (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Lifetime reaches back into literary history for new tales of female endangerment in this thriller based on the V.C. Andrews novel about a selectively amnesiac young woman haunted by the disappearance of her sister years ago.


Shark Night (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): A bunch of college types are menaced at a remote island cabin—by sharks! It’s called Shark Night—what do you need, a roadmap?

Love’s Complicated (Hallmark, 9 p.m., Saturday): “A woman avoids conflict in her life and her happiness suffers as a result, so her boyfriend enrolls her in a conflict-resolution class, where she learns about finding inner strength and true love.” So Hallmark synopses are now essentially just the dictionary definition of their titles.


J. Cole—Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming (HBO, 10 p.m., Saturday): New concert film from rapper J. Cole, wherein he plays every song from his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

Spotless (Esquire, 10 p.m., Saturday): Those British brothers continue to scrub and scrub their crime scenes—but it’s their consciences that will never come clean. [Pull quote available for DVD boxes and promotional tie-ins.]


Austin City Limits (PBS, 11 p.m., Saturday): An evening of Kendrick Lamar performing selections from “To Pimp A Butterfly”? According to his original review, Evan Rytlewski suggests that tuning in might not be a bad idea.

Point Break (Pop, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): The original one, with the silliness and the campiness, and the shooting in the air and going “AAAAAAAHHHHRRRGGG!!!” Not the new one, with the humorlessness, and the dourness, and the grimness.

And now… sport

NBA Basketball: Cavaliers At Timberwolves (ESPN, 8 p.m., Friday)

Women’s College Basketball: Connecticut At Houston (ESPN2, 9 p.m., Friday)

Men’s College Basketball: Illinois (Chicago) At Detroit (ESPNU, 9 p.m., Friday)

NBA Basketball: Thunder At Lakers (ESPN, 10:30 p.m., Friday)

NCAA Division I Football Championship: Jacksonville State vs. North Dakota State (ESPN2, noon, Saturday)


High-School Football All-Star Game: U.S. Army All-American Bowl (NBC, 1 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Maryland At Wisconsin (ESPN, 1 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: College Basketball: Oklahoma State At West Virginia (ESPNU, 1 p.m., Saturday)


Men’s College Basketball: LSU At Florida (CBS, 1:30 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Baylor At Iowa State (ESPNU, 3 p.m., Saturday)

NFL Playoffs: Chiefs At Texans (ABC, 4:20 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Florida State At Miami (ESPN2, 5 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Nebraska At Rutgers (ESPNU, 5 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Memphis At Connecticut (ESPN2, 7 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: North Carolina At Syracuse (ESPN, 8 p.m., Saturday)

NFL Playoffs: Steelers At Bengals (CBS, 8:15 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Auburn At Missouri (ESPN2, 9 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Kansas At Texas Tech (ESPNU, 9 p.m., Saturday)

In case you missed it

The Middle/The Goldbergs: Will Harris gave both episodes of these family sitcoms a grade in the ‘A’ range. That never happens, people.