Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, September 21. All times are Eastern.
The Good Wife (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): The TV season begins in earnest this week, with plenty of new series in the offing and even more returning shows waiting in the wings—like this one, arguably TV Club’s favorite network drama (that doesn’t involve cannibalism) and a fitting entry point to the full 2014-15 season. Sonia Saraiya stops by the offices of Florrick/Agos just in time for Alicia to make some career-defining decisions, ushering in a new era of the show. Which means it’s a perfect time to introduce our new Good Wife spin-off…
What’s On Tonight Presents: Just Judges
When a perfect storm of financial crises converge at the local, state, and federal levels, all of the judges on the Good Wife bench are forced to move in with Judge Parks (David Fonteno). He is, characteristically, unamused:
Madam Secretary (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): Téa Leoni unexpectedly lands in the office of U.S. Secretary of State, in this cheery government fantasy that even noted West Wing booster Sonia Saraiya feels is to “wholesome.” But the pilot shows promise, so we’ll get behind it—just so long as Bebe Neuwirth’s commitment to the series doesn’t interfere with the occasional appearance on Just Judges.
American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): It’s the show’s farewell to Fox, which shows just how much it cares about losing American Dad by sticking this ersatz finale—in which Roger finds an extraterrestrial love to call his own—as far away from football as possible, at the end of 90 minutes of animated repeats.
Mr. Pickles (Adult Swim, 11:30 p.m.): Here’s a cartoon that never had a chance to be picked up and then abandoned by a broadcast network: A surreal small-town narrative that’s one part Lassie, one part Mr. Ed, one part Moral Orel, and 666 parts demonic puppy protagonist.
TV Club Classic
Clone High (3 p.m.): Jolly Snowflake Day, everyone! It’s the most non-offensive, all-inclusive time of the year! Caroline Framke feels like Snowflake Day is getting too commercial, but everyone at Clone High knows the truth: Snowflake Day is getting too dangerous.
Meanwhile, on What’s On Tonight Presents: Just Judges
Judge Charles Abernathy (Denis O’Hare) books two hearings on the same afternoon! Will the plaintiffs and the defendants of each case realize they being tried simultaneously? And what’s that box of ballots from season four of The Good Wife still doing there?
What else is on
Raising Hope (CMT, 3 p.m.): One of the most underrated sitcoms of the 2010s begins its syndicated run with an afternoon marathon on CMT. Skip the shaky pilot and proceed directly to “Say Cheese,” in which the Chances’ inability to take a good family portrait is explored to hilarious ends.
60 Minutes (CBS, 7:30 p.m.): The long-running newsmagazine begins its 47th season, still refuses to expand its roving band of onscreen personalities to include everyone in the video below. (Sure, Scott Pelley will probably file a decent report on current events in Iraq, but imagine what Tony Stark would dig up.)
Marple (PBS, 8 p.m.): New TV season, well-seasoned Agatha Christie character: Masterpiece presents the most recent TV exploits of the amateur sleuth who can’t stop stumbling across mysterious murders (and isn’t Jessica Fletcher).
Squidbillies (Adult Swim, 11:45 p.m.): Tonight, Squidbillies enters its ninth season, which puts the show in league with other nine-season series like Seinfeld, The X-Files, and, appropriately, The Beverly Hillbillies. Don’t ever say that drunken redneck cephalopods can’t achieve anything in this day and age.
Clueless (MTV, 7:55 p.m.): A most appropriate and well-timed cable broadcast brings Clueless to MTV, former home of Cher Horowitz favorites Beavis And Butt-head and Ren And Stimpy—the latter of whom we hear are way existential.
No Strings Attached (ABC Family, 10 p.m.): Before Elizabeth Meriwether created New Girl, she wrote a script called Friends With Benefits that didn’t turn out to be Friends With Benefits—instead, it was this fuck-buddy comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.
Sunday Night Baseball: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN, 8 p.m.): The Cardinals have the lead in a tight National League Central race—but that race isn’t with the Reds, who at this point in the season can really only play spoiler for first-place St. Louis.
And now back to What’s On Tonight Presents: Just Judges
Judge Claudia Friend (Bebe Neuwirth) returns from an extended stay in Washington D.C., only to find that Judge Patrice Lessner (Ana Gasteyer) wiped all her season passes from the DVR.
Tomorrow in TV Club
It’s more like “What isn’t in TV Club tomorrow?” Glad you asked, rhetorical question!
- For the first time since 2005, a TV season begins without a new How I Met Your Mother. Libby Hill marks the show’s absence (and stokes frustrations over the way HIMYM ended) with a For Our Consideration appreciation of the show’s true central couple: Lily and Marshall.
- As of this writing, no TV Club writer has stepped forward to claim weekly coverage of The Big Bang Theory, so a season-premiere review of America’s No. 1 broadcast comedy might not show up in these pages. In lieu of that review, please accept Kyle Fowle’s interview with Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki.
- Sorry, Honorary Lamberts: Step By Step is a tremendously low priority for TV Club Classic. However, Gwen Ihnat has a Random Roles with Lambert patriarch Patrick Duffy, who offers up all of the Step By Step dish you could ever want. (Actually, he has nothing but nice things to say about the TGIF staple, as well as both versions of Dallas, and The Man From Atlantis.)
- As for the pre-air reviews we’re running tomorrow, only one of the series reviewed—Gotham—will receive the week-to-week TV Club treatment. So get in all of your thoughts and comments on Forever and Scorpion while you still can!
Next time on What’s On Tonight Presents: Just Judges
Judge Parks learns an important lesson about knocking before entering the upstairs bathroom he now shares with every judge in Chicago.
In case you missed it
Beyoncé And Jay Z: On The Run: Joshua Alston woke up in the kitchen saying “How the hell did this shit happen?” Fortunately, he wrote a review of the Beyonceé/Jay Z concert special, so he has a record of exactly how that shit happened.