Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Alcatraz debuts and takes with it your hopes that it will be better than it is

Illustration for article titled Alcatraz debuts and takes with it your hopes that it will be better than it is

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Monday, Jan. 16. All times are Eastern.

Alcatraz (Fox, 8 p.m.): When you hear there’s a TV show named Alcatraz, what do you think? Do you think maybe it’s a crazy historical drama about things that happened at the famous prison? Do you think maybe it’s a wacky sci-fi series about people doing crazy experiments on the Alcatraz population? Or do you think it’s a fairly generic police procedural about chasing down criminals from the past? Well, Alcatraz is one of those things, and we won’t spoil which one. Will Harris and Phil Nugent will have the review, and you should watch if you think you’re at all interested, just to see if you’re going to be one of the people who loves the shit out of this or one of the people who absolutely hates it.


How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8 p.m.): Tonight’s episode splits the gang in two, sending Marshall and Lily off on a suburban adventure, while everybody else checks out a strip club. Donna Bowman says this reminds her of the TV Club holiday party.

Misfits (Hulu, 8 p.m.): Rowan Kaiser always says if you give the kids body swappin’ powers, it’s just gonna be mayhem, right down the line. Next thing you know, everybody will be swapping with everybody else, and then what? Mass chaos? Sure.

2 Broke Girls (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): Oh for God’s sake. We’d like to pretend this show simply doesn’t exist, but here it is, still rubbing its status as TV’s number one new show in our faces. Todd VanDerWerff hopes it just goes away already. Please?

Being Human (SyFy, 9 p.m.): We’re not sure who will be covering this season of this remake of the British “supernatural roommates” show, but we promise we’ll have somebody on it by tonight. We’re flying by the seat of our pants here.

Castle (ABC, 10 p.m.): For some reason, Castle takes a dive into its own back-story tonight, as Castle’s partnership with the police is endangered by an untimely corpse found in the mayoral administration’s car pool. Phil Nugent will crack the case!


Scrubs (11 a.m.): Myles McNutt straps in for a guest star-palooza, as a huge variety of actors—including one John Ritter—drop by as the parents of our regular characters. Also featured are such luminaries as R. Lee Ermey and Markie Post.


Justice League (1 p.m.): There’s a superhero named Metamorpho? Oliver Sava really should have told us about that guy because he’s got a great name to shout in a heavy, stereotypical Italian accent. Go ahead. Try it. We’ll wait. See? Wasn’t it fun?

Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute To America’s Golden Girl/Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (NBC, 8 p.m.): NBC’s latest gambit in its attempt to come back from the dead: Two straight hours of Betty White. Hey. It’s had worse ideas, right?


Gossip Girl (The CW, 8 p.m.): We don’t know what’s going on here anymore, but we thought we’d note that it’s having its midseason premiere, in case any of you still cared. Now, we’ll say “Upper East Siders” and “XOXO” to seem cool in 2007.

Oprah And The Legendary Cast Of Roots 35 Years Later (OWN, 8 p.m.): With this and the Betty White thing, this appears to be the night of celebrating legendary television figures with specials that have unnecessarily long and unwieldy titles.


Lost Girl (SyFy, 10 p.m.): We don’t entirely know what to expect from this Canadian series about a succubus, but some people we respect say it’s great fun. So Todd VanDerWerff will drop in on the first couple of episodes to test that theory.

Blue Valentine (Showtime 2, 8 p.m.): Oh, hey, if you’re feeling masochistic this evening, you can watch this terrific, deeply sad movie about the splintering of a marriage, featuring tremendous work from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.


Rushmore (Fox Movie Channel, 9 p.m.): If you ask most people what their favorite Wes Anderson movie is, they’d probably say this one. Now, we wouldn’t agree, but we can’t argue that this movie and its many great performances are lots of fun.

NHL Hockey: Stars at Blues (NBC Sports 7:30 p.m.): The Stars took one of these two teams’ meetings this season, while the Blues took the other. That makes this one the rubber match! We just wanted to say rubber match, and we’re proud we did.


Californication (Sunday): We had basically no idea that RZA was hanging out on this show now until Kenny Herzog pointed it out to us, so we’re grateful for that. Meanwhile, the show continues its fifth season struggle to justify its existence.