Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, September 8. All times are Eastern.
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (CBS, 11:35 p.m.): After several months away from our TV screens, Stephen Colbert returns, ready to leave behind his gleefully satirical, Bush-skewering late night persona for a more earnest, network-friendly persona that … that’s actually still pretty damn good at being gleefully satirical and skewering the Bush family, if that last promotional video about opening night guest Jeb (Jeb!) Bush is anything to go by. Also, George Clooney is going to be there, being all handsome and stuff, as is his wont, and new Late Show bandleader John Batiste is going to perform. It all figures to be a revelation for late night television … or, you know, just kind of more of the same, albeit presided over by the format’s reigning master in Colbert. Either way, Erik Adams will be checking in to report on what he finds.
Playing House (USA, 10 p.m.): It feels like USA has a particular gift for burning through seasons at lightning speed, as this show’s eight-episode second season wraps up tonight with a two-part finale. Anyway, there’s a policeman’s ball, a lake trip, and a Kenny Loggins guest spot, so Molly Eichel certainly can’t rule out that this is going to represent the apex of Western literature.
Drunk History (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Hey, did you know Christopher Columbus had a son named Diego who was also an explorer, and he was kind of a dick to Ponce de Leon? Drunk History knows this—at least to the extent that a show so delightfully inebriated can be said to know anything—and soon Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya will know it too.
Hey, you want to hear Kel Mitchell talk to Marah Eakin about All That and Kanye West? Then go read this without delay.
King Of The Hill (adult swim, 8 p.m.): If we’re being honest, we probably do know that late-period King Of The Hill is a cut or so below the show in its prime, but tonight’s first syndicated rerun is the ninth season finale, in which a despondent Bill joins a predatory show choir, and it’s pretty much perfect if only for the absolute horror on Hank, Dale, and Boomhauer’s faces. Follow that up with the 10th season premiere, in which Hank confronts the sobering possibility that he’s no fun to be around, and you’ve got a pair of late-period Arlen highlights. (This has been your weekly round of unpaid King Of The Hill propaganda, for reasons that escape even us. Other than, you know, it was a damn fine show.)
Cake Boss (TLC, 8 p.m.): Is this one of the “good” reality shows? Like, is this one of the ones that people point to as a well-executed version of the genre, because it’s as much a competition show as anything else? We’re so hopelessly lost (and, frankly, uninterested in) reality television that we’re willing to use this space of What’s On Tonight to just start throwing out half-assed questions.
Zoo (CBS, 9 p.m.): The show doesn’t air its finale until next week, but the need to finish off the show before the start of the fall season means tonight is an inexplicable two-parter. We could tell you anything about the episodes in question, or we could just tell you one of tonight’s episode is actually titled “Eats, Shoots And Leaves,” which we really hope means we’re going to finally see the opening hypothetical from that grammar book realized as a panda nonchalantly wanders into a bar, shoots up the place, and wanders off. Please, please let that happen, CBS. What better way to welcome Stephen Colbert back to late night than by resurrecting his well-documented fear of those godless killing machines?
Evil Kin (ID, 9 p.m.): “The case of Gary Tison, a convicted murder who was busted out of an Arizona prison in 1978 by his sons.” Yep, plenty of evil kin all over the place there. It all checks out!
Hack My Brain (Science, 10 p.m.): Honestly, the “brain-hacking” part of this sounds like a lot of weird, pseudoscientific hooey, but! A man is going to try to attempt to walk a tightrope between buildings, which ought to be pretty dang cool.
The Lego Movie (HBO2, 7:45 p.m.): Aw, The Lego Movie is great. You probably don’t need us to tell you that at this point, but, yeah, go watch it.
Con Air (AMC, 8 p.m.): Goodness, this movie. The kind of movie that casts Steve Buscemi as a child-murdering serial killer … and makes him the likable comic relief and de facto secondary rooting interest. More or less cinematic perfection, is what we’re saying.
U.S. Open Tennis: Quarterfinals (ESPN, 12 p.m.): Plenty of great tennis action coming up, with one big highlight being the latest face-off between the Williams sister, as the older Venus looks to stop Serena’s history-making Grand Slam streak.
Hand Of God: Ron Perlman and Garret Dillahunt are out there, doing things, and Dennis Perkins is on the scene.