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

Super Bowl Greatest Commercials looks rigged, but we’re voting anyway

Illustration for article titled Super Bowl Greatest Commercials looks rigged, but we’re voting anyway

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, January 31. All times are Eastern.


Top picks

Super Bowl Greatest Commercials 2017 (CBS, 9 p.m.): There have been so many iconic Super Bowl commercials over the years, it’s understandable that CBS can’t include them all in its latest special, where viewers get to vote on their personal favorite. But come on. The FedEx carrier pigeons over the Budweiser frogs? “Lost Dog” over the more realistic (we use that term loosely) “Brotherhood”? Perhaps this is CBS’ attempt to throw the animal kingdom into complete pandemonium by encouraging infighting among its various species. Anyone willing to choose a side in the equine-canine war can vote online for the best in two categories—“Bigger Is Better” and “Less Is More”—while pondering which one this year’s Coen Brothers-helmed ad will eventually fall into. Probably the latter if it had fewer bikers and more captive bolt pistols.

Frontline (PBS, 10 p.m.): Tonight’s sobering documentary is titled “Iraq After ISIS,” and we’re guessing we’ll soon get one called “Iraq After Trump’s Muslim Ban.” While Frontline feels more difficult to watch these days, it’s probably more important than ever to do so.

Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out (Netflix): The same goes for the standup of Bill Burr. His latest Netflix special was filmed at Nashville’s country-music paradise, the Ryman Auditorium. As our own Joe Blevins pointed out, “If that seems like an unlikely venue for a cranky Northerner like Burr, that’s probably the point. Comedy thrives on contrast.”

Premieres and finales

The Fosters (Freeform, 8 p.m.): The A.V. Club hasn’t dropped in on The Fosters in quite a while, and holy cow, it looks like they’re already on their fourth season. Tonight’s winter premiere finds Jesus being rushed to the hospital after getting knocked out during a fight. Could this be Freeform’s answer to The Sopranos“Join The Club”? Will Jesus spend the entire episode in a limbo state, seemingly reborn as an Arizona businessman named Kevin Finnerty?

Switched At Birth (Freeform, 9 p.m.): Speaking of shuffled identities, Switched At Birth kicks off its fifth season tonight. It’s a big night for Freeform, what with The Fosters and Daphne and Bay having to return to China after an emergency phone call. Could it be about Jesus’ injuries? Do they even know each other? Do all of Freeform’s shows take place in the same world? Is there a Freeform Cinematic Universe?


Teen Wolf (MTV, 9 p.m.): Aaaooo! Teen Wolf’s final season takes its midyear break before returning and getting euthanized by a silver bullet.

Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country (Esquire, 10 p.m.): Okay, let’s clear the air. Two weeks ago, the Tuesday edition of What’s On Tonight reported on Friday Night Tykes’ fourth-season premiere centering on a community in western Pennsylvania. We were wrong. It turns out the Pennsylvania show is an entirely separate branch of the Friday Night Tykes franchise called Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country, whose second season premieres tonight. The episode from January 17 was the fourth-season premiere of the flagship series. None of this changes the fact that we still think the show is just a Muppet Babies-type prequel to Friday Night Lights.


Babies Behind Bars (LMN, 10 p.m.): Which means we also think Babies Behind Bars is the Muppet Babies version of Oz or maybe Orange Is The New Black. In reality, it’s about “a radical program that allows pregnant inmates to give birth and raise their babies inside of a maximum security prison.”

Possible interruptions

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Announcement (8 p.m.): Kind of a clunky name for a sitcom, isn’t it? Unsurprisingly, our commander-in-chief has decided to announce his Supreme Court pick during primetime instead of during the day like a normal president, to draw a larger audience (although, to be fair, the move isn’t entirely unprecedented). At this point, we’d usually make a “Welcome to primetime, bitch!” joke, but seeing as Donald Trump is far less likable than supernatural child murderer Freddy Krueger, that seems cruel to Freddy. Anyway, the announcement airs at 8 p.m., meaning that it could preemptively scrap many of the shows we’ve already discussed, as well as a few we haven’t. For instance, consider the irony of Trump’s speech possibly resulting in a canceled episode of NBC’s The Wall. And although they already weren’t scheduled to air tonight, how fitting for an undoubtedly hate-stoking move to be broadcast during the usual time slots of more inclusionary programs such as Fresh Off The Boat and The Real O’Neals.

Regular coverage

Steven Universe (Cartoon Network, 7 p.m.)

The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.)

WWE SmackDown! Live (USA, 8 p.m.)

The Mick (Fox, 8:30 p.m.)

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (The CW, 9 p.m.)

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Taboo (FX, 10 p.m.)

Streaming pick

No Country For Old Men (Netflix): Just because we mentioned it earlier. Also, the ending’s more optimistic than one would think. Just listen to what Kelly Macdonald’s Carla Jean Moss manages to say in the face of pure evil. Then look at what happens to said evil immediately afterward.