Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, September 23. All times are Eastern.
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 9 p.m.): After meandering through most of its first season, TV’s most acronymed show got a new lease on life by its Marvel-mandated tie-in with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which more or less blew up the entire original premise of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. The second season now has to figure out what the show looks like when it’s not deriving its narrative momentum from an outside source, and that all starts with Agent Phil Coulson settling in to his new gig as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Having proven to everyone’s—well, most everyone’s—satisfaction that he’s not a member of Hydra, Oliver Sava is back to guide you through the season.
American Masters: The Boomer List (PBS, 9 p.m.): The premise of this 90-minute special is that the entire Baby Boomer generation—1946 to 1964—will be told through the stories of “19 iconic boomers (one from each year).” And who, pray tell, will be representing each year? Here’s the list in chronological order, according to TV Guide. I think we might be stretching the definition of “iconic” in one or two of these cases: “Tim O’Brien, Deepak Chopra, Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Joel, Steve Wozniak, Tommy Hilfiger, Amy Tan, Eve Ensler, Julieanna Richardson, Maria Shriver, Kim Cattrall, Virginia Rometty, Ellen Ochoa, Ronnie Lott, Erin Brockovich, Peter Staley, Rosie O’Donnell, David LaChapelle, and John Leguizamo.” First of all, there’s a hell of a Sporcle quiz to be made out of this gloriously random list. (You know what? Here you go. Now no peeking!) Second, while some of these don’t seem all that iconic in their Boomer-ness, I will admit that the inclusion of Billy Joel more than compensates. After all, the man behind this is equal to at least 19 Baby Boomers. At least.
Person Of Interest (CBS, 10 p.m.): Television’s other big techno-espionage thriller series—and, let’s be honest, probably the better one—also returns tonight, as Person Of Interest finds Finch, Reese, Shaw, and Root all on the run from the Samaritan. With Philip Dyess-Nugent exiting the Person Of Interest beat, the Machine has considered all possible eventualities and, in its infinite wisdom, provided us with the Social Security number that led us to his successor: Alexa Planje. Welcome, Alexa! Also, um, we’ll be sure to, like, forget your Social Security number any … day … now.
Sons Of Anarchy (FX, 10 p.m.): Not much to say about the episode itself—I’m not even going to pretend to be able to speculate based off of a description that just reads “An important alliance is secured for the club”—but a note to any DVR-ers out there: This episode is running long, to the tune of an hour and 17 minutes. Zack Handlen doesn’t want you to miss a single crucial minute (or the additional five or so minutes that probably aren’t absolutely crucial) of the action.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.)
The Mindy Project (Fox, 9:30 p.m.)
Elsewhere in TV Club
After yesterday’s deluge, it’s relatively quiet on the TV Review front, but we’ve got a couple coming out today for your perusal, as LaToya Ferguson has some high praise for ABC’s Black-ish and Myles McNutt has some distinctly less high praise for the latest NCIS spin-off, the Scott Bakula-starring NCIS: New Orleans. And speaking of Scott Bakula, Will Harris will check in later today with a Random Roles with the actor, touching on Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise, and presumably other things I haven’t happened to write ludicrously long features about. (That said, I think we should all just start preparing for my inevitable TV Club 10 on NCIS: New Orleans in, like, 2017. I’m not the A.V. Club’s self-appointed Bakulologist for nothing!)
TV Club Classic
The Shield (11 a.m.): In a TV Club programming decision that we’re sure is never going to prove confusing, reviews of both Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Shield are now running on the same day. We’ll just have to rely on a simple reminder to tell them apart: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the one with all the periods, and The Shield is the one where impossibly corrupt cops alternatively cut deals and start wars with LA’s worst criminal elements; also, this week’s episodes feature both “an awkward predicament” and “an influential businessman.” So yeah, Brandon Nowalk thinks that’s all pretty straightforward.
30 Rock (3 p.m.): It’s Rural Juror this week on TV Club; I’d run some of the choicest indecipherable lines from the episode, but those gags really work better spoken aloud than written down. (I mean, I could work out the phonetic spellings, but what do you want from me, people? I already made you all a Sporcle quiz.) Anyway, Erik Adams is on hand to see Liz be—for the first time, but oh so definitely not the last—kind of a completely terrible person, then turn to the week’s second episode to the answer that most crucial question: In this life, are we the head, or the hair?
Other premieres of note
Awkward (MTV, 10 p.m.): Midseason premiere.
NCIS (CBS, 8 p.m.)
NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, 9 p.m.): Series premiere.
Chicago Fire (NBC, 10 p.m.)
What else is on?
Below Deck (Bravo, 9 p.m.): “Adrienne rocks the boat as a guest and stirs up tension between Kat and Amy. Meanwhile, friction swells between Kelley and Jennice, Kat and Kate turn against Amy.” You guys, can you even imagine what would happen if Kat and Kate turned on each other? But surely that would never happen, not when they’re united by such nearly identical names in hatred of all those whose names are not also some shortening of Katherine!
Drug Kingpin Hippos (Animal Planet, 10 p.m.): Okay, you all know damn well what I think this show should be about, and how disappointed I’m going to be when I read the description: “A look at the wild hippos Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar left behind when he died in 1993. The aggressive animals are endangering the lives of local residents.” Huh, that actually still sounds pretty fascinating. But I’m still going to go ahead and hope the hippos are described as aggressive because they’ve been so aggressive in building up their empire as drug kingpins.
4th And Loud (AMC, 10 p.m.): “The team faces division-rival Portland in a must-win game, as Paul and Gene depart for a tour with KISS.” But however will this arena football team win its big game without the undivided attention of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons? Also, if this isn’t the perfect opportunity for Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to launch their coup d’état and seize control of the team and/or the band—preferably the team, if we’re being completely honest—I don’t know what is.
Brickleberry (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Hey everyone, how about we check back in on Brickleberry and see if this show can’t win us over with its latest episode? “Woody gets angry when a fancy country club turns him down but welcomes Denzel as a member.” Hmm, sounds a little tired as comedic setups go. Probably going to involve trafficking in a lot of fairly hackneyed racial humor, with the apparent role reversal only being used to reinforce lazy stereotypes in the name of shock value. But sure, that could maybe surprise us. Let’s see what the rest of the episode has in store. “Meanwhile, Malloy balks at having his anal glands expressed.” Oh, for goodness’ sake… Yeah, just fuck this show.
Today You Die (Reelz, 8 p.m.): For those looking for a little counterprogramming from the fun of fall premieres week, how about this airing of a direct-to-video Steven Seagal movie? This 2005 shoot-em-up is the fourth Seagal movie to feature some grammatical permutation of the word “death.” And sure, it’s not Marked For Death or Half Past Dead, and it sure as hell is no On Deadly Ground, but then… what is? Also the director of this film is named Don E. FauntLeRoy, which is just legitimately wonderful.
Jaws/Jaws 2/Jaws 3 (IFC, 8 p.m./10:45 p.m./1:30 a.m.): Anyone who’s looking to become completely terrified by great white sharks in just a few hours—and then find those same sharks increasingly risible over subsequent hours—is invited to check out this marathon of the first three Jaws movies. Sadly, Jaws: The Revenge isn’t part of the fun, which means I can’t use this opportunity to point out that Michael Caine’s famous explanation of why he did the film was my high school yearbook quote. Eh, some other time, maybe.
CONCACAF Champions League Soccer: Kansas City vs. Real Estelí (FS1, 8 p.m.): MLS Champion Sporting Kansas City takes on the Nicaraguan juggernaut that has won its league title every year since 2007. I’m not going to pretend there’s any particular reason to watch this match for all but the most diehard of soccer fans, though I will point out this could provide an amusing opportunity to trip up those fans who like to get huffy about the superiority of European soccer by telling them that you’re really into Champions League this year… and then specifying which continent’s Champions League you’re talking about.
In case you missed it
Sleepy Hollow: Insanity rides again as TV’s most seat-of-your-pants thriller boldly leaps with gusto from ridiculous contrivance to ridiculous contrivance, and somehow it all works brilliantly. Zack Handlen is on hand to marvel at the madness.