Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, April 12. All times are Eastern.
Eagleheart (Cartoon Network, midnight): Another season of Justified has come and gone, meaning it’s time for Raylan Givens to pass the torch (read: Robert Quarles’ severed arm) to TV’s second-favorite U.S. Marshal: Chris Monsanto. Chris Elliott’s giddily gory riff on Walker, Texas Ranger returns to the Adult Swim bloc tonight, and Kevin McFarland brings a mop and a bucket to soak up all the blood, guts, and beard hair from Brett Gelman.
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): Seven become six on the 11th season of American Idol. If we were one-time Muppet Show floor director/current Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, we’d make this year’s finalists duel on the Spice Girls’ “2 Become 1”—because we’re cruel like that. Sure, that’s not what the song’s about, but Claire Zulkey (a.k.a. Zulkey Spice) approves.
Community (NBC, 8 p.m.): After last week’s stellar, Ken Burns-style stunt episode, Community settles back… wait, no this week’s episode has “vampire” in the title. Adjust your expectations and hyperbolic reactions to Todd VanDerWerff’s episode grade accordingly.
30 Rock (NBC, 8:30): Oh, 30 Rock—you can self-relfex yourself into oblivion, but please don’t kill off Elaine Stritch’s queen bitch/Donaghy matriarch Colleen. If not for us, do it for lil’ Nathan Rabin!
The Office (NBC, 9 p.m.): Following some time off that was inconveniently timed with all that “The Office is dead, long live The Farm” doomsaying, the show resumes with an official welcome party for Catherine Tate’s Nellie. Myles McNutt baked her a cake in the shape of a TARDIS!
Up All Night (NBC, 9:30 p.m.): As a nation prepares to hop on the Stoogewagon this weekend, ersatz Moe Howard Chris Diamantopoulos turns hero as his Up All Night lothario Julian helps Kevin win back Ava. After that, Margaret Eby will hire Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, and Sean Hayes to redecorate her house—and boy is she in for a surprise.
Awake (NBC, 10 p.m.): The key to unlocking Britten’s dual realities might be hidden in a warehouse—but the mystery we’re most interested in this week is the “Ricky’s Tacos” of the episode’s title. Does Ricky deliver? How much cilantro does he put in his tacos al pastor? Zack Handlen prefers flour tortillas to corn—is that okay?
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (11 a.m.): Zach Handlen comes to the thrilling conclusion of the second season’s three-part opener. Coincidentally, that conclusion shares a common plot with the episode that follows, “Invasive Procedures”: Everybody wants to rule Deep Space Nine.
Seinfeld (1 p.m.): We’re one week away from the end of Seinfeld’s TV Club Classic run, and George Costanza has only one thing to say to David Sims: “That’s gotta hurt!” Sims responds by shining a laser pointer in George’s eyes.
Cheers (3 p.m.): Sam and Diane’s love is on the rocks… get it? Because the show is set in a bar? And because of the multiple songs by that title recorded by Neil Diamond, Sara Bareilles, and Poison? (Not to mention The Darkness’ “Love On The Rocks With No Ice.”) Our Cheers reviewers promise that both of this week’s episodes are better than that joke.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
The Decrypters (National Geographic, 8 p.m.): With Bones airing on Monday nights, National Geographic’s forensic-analysis reality show has more room to breathe. But unless that breathing can match the sexual tension between Doctor Bones and Agent Bones, we can’t guarantee big ratings.
Superfish: Bluefin Tuna (National Geographic, 9 p.m.): We’re recommending this nature documentary because it’s an incredibly slow Thursday night, and when you see something called Superfish on a slow night, you grab that tuna and hold on for as long as you can.
When The Drum Is Beating (PBS, 10 p.m.): Independent Lens presents a profile of 20-piece Haitian band Orchestre Septentrional, chronicling its six-plus decades of lifting the spirits of its troubled Caribbean homeland.
Impractical Jokers (TruTV, 10 p.m.): MTV may have brought Punk’d back to Thursday nights, but TruTV—which is to popular TV shows what The Asylum is to blockbuster films—wants you to know it was the first to lean on the ideas of mid-’00s Ashton Kutcher.
Arthur (TCM, 8 p.m.): The movie that convinced America’s dads that they can impersonate a drunken Englishman is also one of the most purely funny comedies of the 1980s. And just reading the title of the film got Christopher Cross’ “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” in your head, didn’t it?
I, Robot (FMC, 9:30 p.m.): Issac Asimov’s collection of short stories I, Robot introduced the concept of the Three Laws of Robotics, which inspired the big-budget Will Smith thriller I, Robot, which then brought about the inspiredly silly Late Night With Conan O’Brien segment I, Rowboat. It’s the circle of bionic life.
NBA Basketball: Heat at Bulls (TNT, 8 p.m.): TNT must have seen this game on the schedule during the lockout and thought “We’ll take one of those, please!” The top two teams in the Eastern Conference clash in primetime.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Don’t Trust The B—— In Apartment 23: But by all means, please watch the bitch in Apartment 23 and then talk about her with Emily Guendelsberger, who’s waited something like 15 years to review this surreal, promising sitcom.