Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, November 29. All times are Eastern.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): It’s been a bumpy season of The Walking Dead, as the usual zombie mayhem and people making bad decisions around said zombie mayhem has been hurt by a couple of factors. There’s been a decompressed timeline that’s offset some of the show’s usual pacing, and of course the whole mess about whether or not [REDACTED] was alive or dead this whole time. Those two things haven’t bothered Zack Handlen terribly much as he’s been enjoying this season for the most part, especially the Morgan spotlight midway through. However, after six-plus years of watching the survivors continue to survive, another sort of apathy is starting to set in:
Cliffhangers aren’t new to the show, but at its worst, season six has felt like a lot of empty space between shocking moments. Time that could’ve been spent to make the Alexandrians worth caring about is spent instead repeating the same themes we’ve heard time and again: the world has changed, everything’s awful, you have to keep moving, life goes on, etc. It’s not dire (given how many positive grades I’ve given out, I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t enjoying a lot of this), but over time, it becomes less and less satisfying to watch. … This is, at its worst, less a cohesive narrative than a series of inelegantly choreographed distractions; a shelf full of bookends without anything held between them.
Well, it’s the midseason finale tonight, so we’ll have to see if the creative team’s ability to give us a reason to come back after a few months is intact. Maybe last week’s church collapse will upend things in the right way? Or maybe it’s batter up for a certain antagonist of the comics?
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): “We witness a charged confrontation between the forces of light and dark that sends our heroes on a collision course with destiny.” That sounds pretty exciting to Gwen Ihnat! Especially because evidently now Hook is the Dark One, and the Captain Swan shipping levels are off the charts.
Flesh And Bone (Starz, 8 p.m.): Claire’s troubled world continues to get more troubled as she tries to push her brother Bryan out, and at the same time gets drawn further into the world of strip clubs. With any luck, those things will start to add up and make Molly Eichel finally believe that Claire’s the most interesting part of the stories she’s nominally at the center of.
The Leftovers (HBO, 9 p.m.): In this age of peak TV, where every show is clamoring for your attention, what a treat it is to have a show like The Leftovers that doesn’t give a damn whether or not you like it. And as it heads toward the finish line, it’s embracing its Lost heritage in a way that Joshua Alston respects the hell out of, even if he’s not sure whether or not it’s all working:
This is a show expressly designed to provoke, and it does that so successfully that not even all of the people who don’t fucking hate it will get the same satisfaction from every episode. … [“International Assassin”] is an incredibly thoughtful and generous hour of television, packed with enough nuances and easter eggs to keep superfans freeze-framing for years to come. But it’s ultimately a scenic detour, however breathtaking, and like the final season of Lost, the argument against it comes down whether it’s a detour worth taking.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): “Eli and Ruth worry about the nature of Alicia’s relationship with Jason and how it could impact Peter’s presidential campaign.” That’s not something Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is worrying about, given her conclusion last week that Jason’s only purpose on the show seems to be the deployment of “flirty smiles.” Then again, maybe Eli and Ruth know about Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s upcoming gig on the aforementioned Walking Dead and are terrified he’s about to start swinging a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire around during a press conference.
Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): FBI Training 101 continues as the recruits meet their newest teacher, “a former agent and profiler who tasks them with studying serial killer cases.” Joshua Alston is hoping and praying this isn’t going to wind up being some sort of stealth crossover with The Following, but given that the FBI on Quantico is turning out to be as terminally bad at their jobs as the FBI on The Following, the possibility feels very real.
Homeland (Showtime, 9 p.m.)
Into The Badlands (AMC, 10 p.m.)
The Affair (Showtime, 10 p.m.)
With Thanksgiving behind us in a sea of bones and food comas (and TV binges if you took our advice), Christmas now advances without any obstacles to the decking of halls, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and dashing through the snow. Netflix is doing its part to get subscribers in the spirit with A Very Murray Christmas, with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola combining forces yet again for a variety special, featuring an all-star cast: George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Michael Cera, Maya Rudolph, Alex McCown… wait, Alex McCown? Stop crashing the party and get back to writing your review!
Additionally, NBC’s got one more sitcom that it apparently forgot it ordered and is now trying to rush out before the end of the year: Superstore, starring Ben Feldman of A To Z and America Ferrara of Ugly Betty. Will this be on the same surprisingly high level as Bent or The Carmichael Show, or in the subterranean squalor of One Big Happy or Mr. Robinson? Erik Adams will let us know.
The Librarians (TNT, 8 p.m.): An old friend of Baird’s calls her and the rest of the Librarians in to help deal with “a missing intern and a supremely evil contract.” Now that’s an instance of burying the lead if ever there was one.
Madam Secretary (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is called “Russian Roulette,” though we’re guessing the game of the same name isn’t going to be played tonight. A shame, because a remake of The Deer Hunter starring Téa Leoni, David Carradine, Bebe Newirth, and Željko Ivanek sounds like it’d be fun to watch.
Blood And Oil (ABC, 9 p.m.): “Ugh, we still have episodes of this we haven’t aired?” ABC executives sigh as they realize there are no more Once Upon A Time double-headers or American Music Awards to delay the inevitable, and resign themselves to running out the string with the last three.
Agent X (TNT, 9 p.m.): “John, Natalie and Malcolm [are] on a frantic race to thwart a domestic terrorist group’s plans to deploy a virus on a greater scale.” Man, wouldn’t be a twist if this show turned out to be a prequel to The Walking Dead or The Last Man On Earth?
CSI: Cyber (CBS, 10 p.m.): Tonight’s episode is called “iWitness,” which is more clever than we normally expect from this show, but the trend of putting “i” in front of things if you’re not Apple is getting old. iZombie is lucky it’s so good that we’ll forgive it for that.
Getting On (HBO, 10 p.m.): “Dr. James faces unexpected obstacles on the day of her “Sympoosium’.” Hee hee hee, “sym-poo-sium.” Poo! (Your What’s On Tonight correspondent is 12.)
The Royals (E!, 10 p.m.): “Prince Liam and Princess Eleanor both take trips that don’t end as they expected.” Since tonight’s episode is called “Is Not This Something More Than Fantasy?” we’re hoping that said trips are drug trips and events spiral into the most high-gloss hallucination possible. Order some golf shoes, otherwise we’ll never get out of this place alive.
Angel Of Christmas (Hallmark, 8 p.m.): These just get better and better (i.e. worse and worse) the closer we get to the holiday, as now there’s a magic wooden Christmas angel that “supposedly has magical properties to bring true lovers together,” and a reporter who’s a confirmed “holiday Grinch” is assigned to cover it.
The Christmas Gift (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): And now Lifetime’s getting on the bandwagon of Christmas movies about journalists, as Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn from Buffy) sets off on a search for the perfect Christmas story by uncovering just who gave her a Secret Santa gift when she was ten. Better be careful there, your track record around gifts leans towards the tragic.
A Salute To Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): With the Christmas special series finale airing next month and the final season premiering in America in January (in the eternally weird schedule of foreign imports), PBS wants to remind you that Downton Abbey continues to exist and does so with this special hosted by Lord Grantham himself, Hugh Bonneville. We want to remind you of the time that The Colbert Report mashed up Downton Abbey with Breaking Bad and it was the best thing ever put on television. “Soon Downton will be kicking it with mad bitches and benjamins!”
Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): The last episode of the year sees The Walking Dead’s creator Robert Kirkman stop by to talk about the finale with Chris Hardwick, Jason Alexander, and a mystery guest. Kirkman hasn’t weighed in on how well the show dealt with the [REDACTED] mess, but given that he was the first one to kill off [REDACTED], it’ll be interesting to see what if anything he has to say on the controversy.
The Curse Of Oak Island (History, 10 p.m.): “Heavy digging equipment is brought in to excavate where a researcher claims treasures of the Knights Templar are buried.” Clearly none of these researchers have played Assassin’s Creed, or they’d know that every time anyone goes after treasures of the Knights Templar, somebody’s gonna get a blade jammed in their throat.
Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network, 10 p.m.): “One chef has to bake a spice cake in a spice grinder.” Either this means that the grinder itself is being used for the cake, or they’ve deployed the biggest spice grinder the world has ever and are forcing the chef to run around inside it, baking before he’s crushed. The former seems like the safe assumption, but this is Alton Brown, who built the world’s largest Easy-Bake Oven. Nothing can be ruled out.
Ghostbusters (BBC America, 7 p.m.): Get ready for Bill Murray’s Netflix Christmas special by watching this all-time comedy classic, where Murray’s feats include asking a librarian if she’s menstruating, abusing his authority as a professor to flirt with co-eds, get coated in green slime, and confirm that a member of the EPA has no dick. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!
Spider-Man 3 (FXX, 7 p.m.): The film that killed the franchise for the first time, where somebody thought that we needed an extended run of Peter Parker being the biggest asshole on the planet who also dances. (Though this is a good opportunity to remind you that Kirsten Dunst is killing it on this season of Fargo.)
A Million Ways To Die In The West (Cinemax, 8 p.m.): Also known as “A Million Ways To Die In Theatrical Release.”
King Kong (Syfy, 9 p.m.): There’s so much to like in this film, though its overlong running time makes it clear Peter Jackson is frustratingly too much in love with the King Kong mythos to give his version the editing it so desperately needs.
But still: KONG FIGHT T-REX!
Sunday Night Football, Patriots at Broncos (NBC, 8:20 p.m.)
MLS Soccer Playoff, Game 2, FC Dallas vs. Portland (Fox Sports, 7:30 p.m.)
Grey Cup, Ottawa vs. Edmonton (ESPN2, 6:30 p.m.)
The Returned: Erik Adams keeps getting creeped out and keeps being denied answers at the moments he expects them in this second season, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.