Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, November 17. All times are Eastern.
The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.): Look, all this business with Reverse Flashes and Zooms and rival speedsters of all stripes is fine, but make no mistake: The Flash has one true arch-enemy, and it’s the telepathic, super-intelligent gorilla. Accept no substitutes, damn it! So yes, Gorilla Grodd is back tonight, as is apparently Barry’s dad Henry Allen, who will be looking to come up with an even more absurdly pointless reason to skip town again than he did last time. (“Barry, as you know, I did a semester abroad in Prague when I was a junior in college. I may have left the bathroom light on. I just have to know for sure.”) Anyway, let’s all get ready for the most primal of all battles: a guy who can run really fast against a mind-reading gorilla. Scott Von Doviak is pretty sure that’s what The Epic Of Gilgamesh was about.
The Muppets (ABC, 8 p.m.): In this episode, we learn that Scooter’s crush is Chelsea Handler, and her appearance on Miss Piggy’s show leads to some complications. Which, huh … nothing against Chelsea Handler, and nothing against Scooter—nothing even against The Muppets, for all our previously documented reservations about it—but the synopsis “Scooter books his crush, Chelsea Handler, who spices up Up Late and his personal life” is maybe the most random bag of words we’ve ever seen. Dan Caffrey is out to make sense of all this.
Fresh Off The Boat (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): It’s Thanksgiving at the Huang household, which feels crushingly late, honestly. Bob’s Burgers already aired its Christmas episode! There are entire channels that are airing nothing but shitty low-budget yuletide movies! But fine, we guess it still makes a bit of sense to do a Thanksgiving episode, maybe. Shelby Fero thinks ABC should just go ahead and air a Valentine’s Day episode, before it’s too late.
iZombie (The CW, 9 p.m.): It’s been awhile since we’ve highlighted an iZombie plot synopsis and earnestly admired the sheer ridiculousness of it all. So then: “Liv consumes the brains of a death-obsessed illusionist who was murdered in cold blood during a magicians’ convention in Seattle.” That’s so silly, it’s amazing. We do hope Carrie Raisler and everyone else realize that, when we give this show crap, it’s precisely the equivalent of pulling the pigtails of one’s schoolyard crush.
The Mindy Project (Hulu)
Grandfathered (Fox, 8 p.m.)
The Grinder (Fox, 8:30 p.m.)
Scream Queens (Fox, 9 p.m.)
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 9 p.m.)
Manhattan (WGN, 9 p.m.)
Drunk History (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.)
The Bastard Executioner (FX, 10 p.m.): The Bastard Executioner isn’t the only misfiring show about a person of uncertain parentage that’s going long tonight, as MTV’s Finding Carter is taking an extra four minutes to contain all the extra melodrama, compared with The Bastard Executioner’s restrained extra three minutes … uh, on top of the now standard extra half-hour it’s also taking. Kyle Fowle is here to review one of these shows—probably The Bastard Executioner, we think there’s something to be said for just randomly dropping in a Finding Carter review, just to keep all of us on our toes.
Check back in later this morning for a 100 Episodes from Matt Crowley on Malcolm In The Middle. Let’s all see how long we can go appreciating Malcolm In The Middle without bringing up the darker, dramatic, career-defining work one of its stars would go on to do. Like, we all realize Jane Kaczmarek was incredible as Judge Trudy Kessler on Raising The Bar, but let’s not let it overshadow the Malcolm appreciation, you know?
Chicago Med (NBC, 9 p.m.): The end of original-flavor Law And Order appeared to signal the fall of the Dick Wolf television empire, but much as the Roman Empire moved to Constantinople and endured for another millennium, so too has Wolf reconstituted his New York dominions in Chicago. All of which is to say: Hey, another Chicago Fire spin-off starts tonight. And this one even has Anita Van Buren herself, S. Epatha Merkerson, in a starring role as a hospital administrator, despite the fact that the Law And Order and Chicago Fire franchises share the same universe. But how will they explain the resemblance when the SVU team visits Chicago Med?, asks somebody, presumably. Maybe even Carrie Raisler, who has the pre-air review.
Moonshiners (Discovery, 9 p.m.): This reality series kicks off its fifth season as “moonshine is in demand and the law is on the hunt,” with people looking to legitimize their business, double their profits, and generally skirt the edges of the law. We did check to see that this show isn’t set in Kentucky, but even so: We’re glad to know some tiny ember of the Justified spirit endures on television, and we would like to officially advocate Dewey Crowe join this show’s cast. (And yes, we realize that’s impossible for at least a couple of reasons. Let us have this dream.)
American Comandante: American Experience (PBS, 9 p.m.): This documentary looks at the life of William Morgan, El Yanqui Comandante, an American who joined Fidel Castro’s revolution against Fulgencio Batista in 1957 but ultimately became disillusioned when it became clear Castro wasn’t going to return the country to democracy.
Frontline (PBS, 10 p.m.): Tonight’s episode looks at ISIS activity in Afghanistan, an issue that’s even more grimly current in the past week than it was before. Of course, that just makes any opportunity to learn and understand all the more important, and Frontline is always good for that.
The Cabin In The Woods/Zombieland (Syfy, 8 p.m./10 p.m.): We’re probably a little past the ideal point in the year for scary (or meta-scary, whatever) movies like this, but this is still a million times better than whatever crappy Christmas movies are already being trotted out, for some reason.
The Invasion (9 p.m., MovieMax): Huh, so apparently Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig starred in a remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers? (Or, if we’re being technical, a new adaptation of the original novel The Body Snatchers?) We were not previously aware of this. The fact that it’s apparently terrible probably goes a long ways toward explaining that.
College Basketball: Duke vs. Kentucky (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.): We came this close to referring to this as a rematch of last season’s championship game, both because we still can’t quite believe that Kentucky juggernaut lost in the semis (but is always a possibility in a purposely insane single-elimination tournament, and isn’t actually proof that loaded super-teams somehow can’t win), and because we just disrespect Wisconsin that much. Shots fired, Madison!
Flash Gordon is on Encore tonight, so here’s an impromptu Brian Blessed appreciation because … we don’t need to explain this, do we?
Flash Gordon (Encore, 8 p.m.): “GORDON’S ALIVE!!!”
Master Of None: We already spent all that space above honoring Brian Blessed—A THING WE DON’T REGRET IN THE SLIGHTEST!!!—so we’ll keep our wrestling commentary short this week. Instead, let’s hand the mic over to a solid contender for the greatest talker—certainly the greatest shit-talker—in WWE history, as Rowdy Roddy Piper welcomes Stone Cold into Piper’s Pit, then proceeds to be maybe the only rival superstar to ever successfully defuse the crowd’s “What!” chants. And honestly, if we had to explain our latter-day fascination with wrestling, it’s probably a combination of watching unfold the feud between Jon Stewart and Seth Rollins and reading all that was written about Piper in the wake of his death earlier this year. This segment is as fine a tribute as any from after his prime period.