Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, April 17. All times are Eastern.
Raising Hope (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): In a television first, Phil Dyess-Nugent hopes (ha ha, get it?) that the conclusion of last week’s episode—which revealed Jimmy’s serial-killer baby mama was in fact not executed during the events of the show’s pilot—is simply waved away this week with some variation on “It was all a dream!” The ensuing custody battle in the second-season finale suggests that’s not the case—though, with Ed Begley Jr. set to appear as heavenly and hellish versions of himself, the door remains open for some sort of fantastical revision.
Glee (Fox, 8 p.m.): Are the reserves in Glee’s theme-show barrel so depleted that Ryan Murphy and crew are devoting an entire episode to a Saturday Night Fever tribute? Of course, there’s a seldom-acknowledged, ennui-laced edge to the epochal disco film that’ll jibe nicely with the usual Lima doldrums. Todd VanDerWerff can’t wait to see how Glee addresses that scene where Barry Miller climbs the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Ellie’s mother comes for a visit—and, surprise of surprises, Ellie thinks she’s a horrible human being. Of course, no one believes her, a feeling that’s all too familiar to Ryan McGee. He still has trouble convincing people he once saw a horrifying monster mucking about on the wing of an airliner.
Ringer (The CW, 9 p.m.): Either Carrie Raisler’s suffering from Stockholm syndrome, or Ringer perked up considerably as it worked toward tonight’s season finale. Ratings suggest the episode could be the series finale as well, so join Carrie as various, soapy twists build to a fallout we might not get to see.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): Jess in entrusted with the care of Russell’s daughter for a weekend, a plot which seems to cross an iron-clad line in the teacher-student relationship. As much as Erik Adams wants to see the True American drinking game make a comeback, he suspects it won’t happen in this episode.
The Voice (NBC, 9 p.m.): With America’s assistance, the live episodes of The Voice have done a superb job of ridding the singing competition of its most grating contestants. Nothing would make Emily Yoshida happier than to never write the name “RaeLynn” again, but odds are that’s one twangy gadfly she won’t soon be rid of.
Frontline (PBS, 10 p.m.): PBS’ pioneering public-affairs program takes an hour-long look at whether or not forensic evidence is as dependable as David Caruso and Ted Danson make it look over on CBS. Meredith Blake slowly removes her sunglasses, drops a quippy one-liner, and waits for the proper, Roger Daltrey-screamed punctuation.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Muppet Show (1 p.m.): If anyone was going to legitimize Jim Henson’s band of felt-and-fur misfits it would, of course, be… celebrated Russian ballet dancer (and Soviet defector) Rudolf Nureyev. Erik Adams takes a look at a crucial half-hour of The Muppet Show, followed by Elton John’s gig at The Muppet Theater, where all the characters get less refined and dress like “stolen cars.”
WHAT ELSE IS ON
The Woman Who Wasn’t There (Investigation Discovery, 8 p.m.): If you claimed to be a survivor of the September 11 terrorist attacks, yet weren’t—like the subject of this documentary—you definitely deserve to receive a 90-minute profile that is then quietly premièred on a lesser-known subsidiary of the Discovery Channel.
The Biggest Loser (NBC, 8 p.m.): NBC’s once-powerful reality franchise found itself back in the news in February when its final five contestants supposedly walked out on the show. This week’s episode captures that insurrection, which temporarily turns the weight-loss challenge into a cautionary tale about paying attention to fine print. And if our children can’t learn about the specifics of contract law, where can they turn?
Best Ink (Oxygen, 10 p.m.): The search for America’s next top tattoo artist gets some added star power (limited star power, but still) from Oxygen’s own Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott. Prediction: Whoever doesn’t read between the “D” and “McDermott” and accidentally creates an American Horror Story/The Practice hybrid design for McDermott is totally getting eliminated.
Off Limits (Travel, 10 p.m.): Fearless, expositorily named Travel Channel host Don Wildman goes to Alcatraz, where it can only be assumed he won’t run across Sam Neill, Jorge Garcia, or a second-season renewal for Fox’s Alcatraz.
Sophie’s Choice (Flix, 8 p.m.): Because our sense of humor knows some bounds, we’re not going to make the obvious, distasteful joke presented any time Sophie’s Choice winds up on a television schedule alongside several other viable viewing options. Instead, content yourself with some wisecrack about Meryl Streep hoarding Oscars, and go to bed with a clean conscience.
Gidget (TCM, 8 p.m.): With Memorial Day less than a month away, it’s high time to start waxing that imaginary surf board, catching up on outdated slang, and preparing for summer with a good beach movie or two. Why not start with this Sandra Dee vehicle, which our own Noel Murray would say is as good a place as any to begin a cinematic journey into the world of sun, sand, and teenagers who suspiciously appear to be in their mid- to late-20s.
Stanley Cup Playoff: Game 3: Coyotes at Blackhawks (CNBC, 9 p.m.): Chicago made it out of the second game of its series against Phoenix with an overtime win—but possibly lost rookie winger Andrew Shaw after a nasty hit on Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. The Hawks look to maintain that momentum—and overcome whatever ruling the NHL hands down to Shaw—as the series moves to the United Center.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Lost Girl: The latest addition to the TV Club rotation is a surprisingly addictive Canadian series about a succubus who runs a private-investigating firm specializing in supernatural cases. Kevin McFarland delves deep into the mysterious world of the Fae.