Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

All hope of a fresh start crushed by the return of Downton Abbey

Here’s what’s up in the world of television for Sunday, January 5. All times are Eastern.


Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): Ah, the promise of a new January, the glory of a calendar as unblemished as a freshly fallen snow. A whole 365 days of potential—aw, fuck, Downton Abbey’s back already? Goodbye boundless optimism, hello inevitably disappointing (though handsomely staged and photographed) period melodrama. Myles McNutt's ominous warnings aside, Sonia Saraiya looks on the bright side: At least the first four days of the year turned out okay.



The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): “Homer Vs. Lisa And The 8th Commandment” gets a contemporary update, replacing the now-quaint notion of stealing cable with a more nefarious media crime: online movie piracy. Dennis Perkins, Last Video-Store Clerk Standing, reminds you to be kind—don’t torrent this episode.

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Having already formed her first boy-band crush (basically against her will), Louise reluctantly undergoes another preteen rite of passage: A slumber party. Pilot Viruet can’t figure out what the big deal is—she wishes she could sleep over at the Belchers' every night.

Revenge (ABC, 9 p.m.): Obviously Emily’s not dead. Carrie Raisler will play along with the show’s charade, but she knows full well that no non-zombified, mummified, vampirified, or Frankensteined corpse has ever successfully taken REEEEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEEEEENGE!


Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): If you’re having “Peter Problems,” talk to a doctor to see if Family Guy is right for you. Contact an Eric Thurm for any “Peter Problems” that may last longer than 22 minutes.

The Good Wife (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): Alicia represents a band that’s seeking to correct a copyright violation. It’s not The Rolling Stones, is it? If it is, David Sims wants Alicia, Mick Jagger, et al. to know he’s really sorry about that Following review that was just the lyrics of “Beast Of Burden” presented verbatim.


American Dad (Fox, 9 p.m.): Roger takes the Christopher Walken role in a sendup of The Dead Zone. Which is convenient, because Kevin McFarland has some dire warnings about presidential candidate Martin Sheen.


The Bachelor (ABC, 8 p.m.): “Countdown To Juan Pablo”: The title of a Bachelor preview episode or a ’70s action-thriller in the vein of Three Days Of The Condor?


Blood, Sweat & Heels (Bravo, 9 p.m.): A docuseries following career-driven women in New York or an all-female tribute act with the best cover of “Spinning Wheel” you’ve every heard?

Best Of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC, 9 p.m.): A clip package anticipating Fallon’s ascent to the Tonight Show desk or a colorful colloquialism for YouTube?


The Curse Of Oak Island (History, 10 p.m.): More reality filler centering on outsized characters (two treasure-hunting brothers) in a vaguely exotic setting or the best new show on TV?

Dumb And Dumber (Comedy Central, 6:30 p.m.): Sure, the eventual souring of Downton Abbey’s fourth season may be here to put an end to your bright new 2014, but look at it this way: You could have no food, no job, and your pets heads could be falling off! Follow Lloyd and Harry’s example and seek reinvention in a place where the beer flows like wine, a little place called Aspen.


How To Marry A Millionaire (TCM, 8 p.m.): Option one: Be Marilyn Monroe. Option two: If option one is unavailable, pay close attention to eyewear. Glasses are okay, but eyepatches are a big red flag.

NHL Hockey: Sharks at Blackhawks (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.): Two of the Western Conference’s top teams face off in Chicago, a term that applies directly to this matchup because a face off is an actual hockey thing!



MythBusters (Saturday): If you felt a great disturbance in the force last night, as if a million TKs cried out at once (saying “Holy shit, you can actually do that!”), this is why.


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