Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, February 9. All times are Eastern.
Powerless (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): In his review of the Powerless premiere, Dennis Perkins noted, “Powerless has to pack in literally an entire new world in this premiere, which makes the usual first-episode judgment even more difficult.” So the show’s second episode will hopefully offer a better sense of whether the series is more of a Batman Begins or a Green Lantern (in quality rather than tone). This week, Van tries to earn a spot in the Wayne Dream Team photo. Plus Emily struggles to motivate her team, who are too busy with their Fantasy Superhero League to do any work. Of course, Dennis Perkins always saves his Fantasy Superhero League business for when he’s off the clock, but he’s just a professional like that.
Scandal (ABC, 9 p.m.): Ashley Ray-Harris is the latest reviewer to take on the Scandal beat, which has cycled through reviewers faster than Olivia Pope cycles through gorgeous outerwear. This week, “Cyrus’ fate is sealed in the middle of crisis affecting the entire nation.” Plus Olivia and her team scramble “to uncover the truth.” Whatever happens on Scandal’s fictional road to the presidency, we can all but guarantee it will be less insane than what’s happening in our real world.
Baskets (FX, 10 p.m.): Baskets isn’t a particularly political show (unless you’re referring to the politics of clowning), but this week it gets downright presidential. According to the episode description, “Chip laments Ronald Reagan giving up his acting career for a desk job.” So he and his mom decide to pay a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Vikram Murthi can’t say that would be his first choice for a relaxing destination. He can, however, recommend the giant Jimmy Carter Peanut in Plains, Georgia.
MasterChef Junior (Fox, 8 p.m.): One of the most charming shows on TV returns for another season of adorableness. In the fifth season premiere, 16 kid chefs compete for eight of the Top 20 spots on the show. Though that means a lot of kids will be going home right off the bat, hopefully that’s just an excuse to get Gordon Ramsay to show off his soft side.
The History Of Comedy (CNN, 9 p.m.): You know what they say, tragedy plus time plus CNN equals comedy. Or something like that. In the premiere of this new comedy-centric docuseries, CNN traces the “evolution of inappropriate humor throughout history.” Sounds hilarious.
Alone (History Channel, 9 p.m.): History Channel crowns a champion survivalist in the Alone season finale. At 87 days, the three finalists have already bested Alone’s records by quite a bit (the previous two winners stayed out for 56 and 66 days, respectively). There are two women still left in the competition, which means there’s a real chance Alone could have its first ever female winner. Plus after the finale, there’s an hour-long reunion special breaking down the season.
Ghosts In The Hood (WE, 10 p.m.): WE’s goofy riff on the ghost-hunting format takes place in and around L.A. In the season finale, the O.P.O. (Official Paranormal Operations) crew investigates a nightclub and a dry cleaners.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Top Chef (Bravo, 9 p.m.)
Riverdale (The CW, 9 p.m.)
How To Get Away With Murder (ABC, 10 p.m.)
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.)
Colony (USA, 10 p.m.)
The West Wing, “The Stackhouse Filibuster” (Netflix): With Scandal’s presidential politics getting more and more tense (not to mention the current state of our real-world presidential climate), we could probably all use a dose of political escapism right now. And no one does political escapism better than The West Wing. Though perhaps not one of the show’s all-time great episodes, “The Stackhouse Filibuster” perfectly captures The West Wing’s idealistic spirit. And it delivers a lovely salute to grandfathers along the way.