Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, February 17. All times are Eastern.


Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): In the event you didn’t torrent the episode immediately after it aired in the U.K., here’s your chance to see how the latest year at Downton wraps up. Viewers with a more ambiguous code of ethics already know all about the Crawleys’ sojourn to Scotland, but you, true American hero, chose to wait your turn and are being justly rewarded with the show’s 2012 Christmas special. Yes, your day is at hand, the day when you can stop plugging your ears around friends with loose lips and even looser morals, and you and Sonia Saraiya can both bask in the glow of developments that the rest of us have agreed to remain mum about for the time being.



The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): As a prelude to Maggie Simpson’s big night at the Oscars, The Simpsons splits its time between a new Milhouse adventure and the Academy Award-nominated short “The Longest Daycare.” Ayn Rand School for Tots survivor Robert David Sullivan isn’t keen on revisiting his alma mater.

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): The promo images for “Manhattan” make it look an awful lot like Mr. Gold will eat a baby this week. Oliver Sava always wondered what Rumpelstiltskin wanted with first-born children—and now he’s sorry he knows.

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Kicking off TV Club’s second-ever Second Opinions Week, Pilot Viruet taps in the wrassle with the Belchers. Let’s hope they fight cleanly, and without the use of condiments.


Revenge (ABC, 9 p.m.): Those smug Graysons, always throwing parties even when forces conspire to destroy them. Though Carrie Raisler might feel differently if she received an invite to the family’s Labor Day bash.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Concerned that he’s in another “sit around and argue” scenario, Rick lights out to find “a missing friend.” Phil Dyess-Nugent’s right over here, Rick!


The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.): Mock Trial With A. Florrick! (MOCK TRIAL!) / Mock Trial With A. Florrick! (MOCK TRIAL!) / Mock Trial With A. Florrick! (MOCK TRIAL!) / MOCK TRIAL! (And also Sonia Saraiya.)

Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m): Alasdair Wilkins comes to Quahog, just in time to see Chris pack up his things and move in with Herbert. Remember Alasdair: You request this assignment!


Girls (HBO, 9 p.m.): Hannah gets a book deal—well, an e-book deal—which will surely raise hackles among this show’s anti-fandom. Marah Eakin thinks you can just cut that shit out.

Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Molly Eichel shows up to do some digging around in the Gallaghers’ dirt, turning up some potentially incriminating remains. William H. Macy’s all like, “Oh no—those were there when we moved in!”


American Dad (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): We’d like to draw attention to the earth-shattering development of a plot where Roger gives up on disguising himself—and yet smack dab at the end of the episode synopsis, there’s this thing about Steve not liking “the shape of his butt,” so we have to feel like that’s what will get the most attention from Kevin McFarland.

Enlightened (HBO, 9:30 p.m.): Just as Levi saunters back into Amy’s life, here comes former Enlightened correspondent Erik Adams to weigh in on the show’s second season. And now the characters don’t have to hack into Erik’s emails to find out if he’s still enjoying the show!



Doctor Who (Classic) (11 a.m.): Before taking some time off to go on his own voyage into the unknown (a.k.a fatherhood), Christopher Bahn takes a look at the “lost,” Douglas Adams-penned Fourth Doctor serial “Shada.”


The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): A young Conan O’Brien was plucked from the obscurity of the Simpsons writers’ room to play himself as the host of “Bart Gets Famous” fictional talk show, Late Night With Conan O’Brien. At least Nathan Rabin assumes it’s fictional, as he’s having trouble finding evidence that O’Brien ever hosted this or any other late-night program on NBC.


The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): The first team to arrive at the 22nd season’s first pit stop (enough ordinal numbers for you?) gets to bypass any future challenge. Scott Von Doviak would make sure he stayed in first for the entire challenge and put this bonus toward kicking back for the entire season finale.


Chopped (Food Network, 8 p.m.): The competitors in this special episode failed to make the grade in past episodes. As such, titling the episode “Make No Mistake” seems like salting the wound, no?

Killing Lincoln (NatGeo, 8 p.m.): Naturally the Asylum-level “mockbuster” equivalent of Lincoln is based on a book by co-authored by Bill O’Reilly—who is himself the Asylum-level “mockbuster” equivalent of a real journalist.


Robot Chicken (Adult Swim, 11:59 p.m.): At the end of a season where all of the episodes are named for nutty causes of death—“Crushed By A Steamroller On My 53rd Birthday,” for instance—Robot Chicken declares itself “Immortal.” Eternal life is pretty much guaranteed when when you have pop-culture’s bottomless toy chest at your disposal and decades’ worth of pre-established characters to disembowel and/or drop into uncomfortably sexual scenarios.

The Patriot (BBC America, 8 p.m.): An exaggerated action-film take on the American Revolutionary War, presented by the American outpost of a British public broadcaster. Seems appropriate.


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Nickelodeon, 9 p.m.): Introducing a new generation of young viewers to the pleasures of playing hooky, playing “The Blue Danube” with body-function sound effects, and the word “ass” censored to sound like “fist.”

NBA All-Star Game (TNT, 8 p.m.): Though last year’s NBA All-Star Game was decided by three points, you’re forgiven for thinking all the action of All-Star Weekend takes place before the tipoff. After all, when was the last time someone dunked over a car during the game?



Gravity Falls (Friday): Emerging from the woods after a four-month absence, the cartoon goes back into hiding next week. why must you jerk Alasdair Wilkins around like that, Disney Channel?


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