Here’s what up in the world of TV for Tuesday, February 10. All times are Eastern.
Fresh Off The Boat (ABC, 8 p.m.): Better Off Saul’s multi-day domination of the airwaves is over until next Monday, but that just leaves the door open for another well-received new show with an unconventional premiere schedule. In this case, that’s Fresh Off The Boat, which aired a pair of special “preview” episodes on either side of last Wednesday’s Modern Family—a move that does show a certain clear-eyed appreciation of the one thing ABC comedy can rely on when it comes to bringing in the viewers—and now takes up its regular residence on Tuesday nights. And, just to keep everyone on their toes, this week is a one-hour “timeslot premiere” to follow on from last week’s one-hour “special preview”; it’s not until next week that the show finally settles into its regular schedule. Dan Caffrey is pretty sure this will all work out—after all, who knows how to nurture new comedies in the public eye better than ABC? (Quiet, Selfie. And Don’t Trust The B—— In Apartment 23. And Better Off Ted…)
The people’s top pick, now and forever
Person Of Interest (CBS, 10 p.m.): So, apparently Finch is pulling jury duty, and he’s concerned that “a fellow juror is trying to rig the proceedings in a murder trial.” You know, Person Of Interest turned into a shot-for-shot remake of Runaway Jury so slowly that we didn’t even notice. Alexa Planje is kind of quietly stunned that we went with that over a 12 Angry Men reference. We just miss Gene Hackman, is all!
Parks And Recreation (NBC, 8 p.m.): After only airing one episode last week—though, in fairness, last week’s entry crammed in at least two episodes’ worth of awesome—Parks And Recreations resumes its hour-long airing schedule, and April’s quest for the perfect job is heating up, what with her traveling to Washington DC to ponder her future and going on a scavenger hunt with Ron. Alasdair Wilkins is pretty sure the scavenger hunt is going to lead to far more meaningful employment prospects, but that may have something to do with how he got this gig.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): We imagine Erik Adams will have some thoughts on the latest complications in Jess and Ryan’s love life, but we draw your attention to the other roommates’ subplots (uh, sorry Winston): “With the addition of a new neighborhood watering hole, Nick feels that his epic Valentine’s Day pub crawl is now complete“; “Coach repeatedly keeps meeting up with the same new woman”; and “Schmidt makes a move into politics.” Please say the tagline for this episode is “It’s Valentine’s Day meets Groundhog Day meets President’s Day on New Girl,” please say the tagline for this episode is “It’s Valentine’s Day meets Groundhog Day meets President’s Day on New Girl”…
Ground Floor (TBS, 10 p.m.): The second season wraps up tonight with a whole bunch of wedding-related stuff, as we believe is mandated of all modern sitcoms by the Constitution. (Probably the third amendment. That’s the real meaning of that whole palaver about quartering soldiers in peacetime.) And don’t forget that Cougar Town is hurtling toward its own series finale in just over a month.
Justified (FX, 10 p.m.): For those who haven’t yet checked in on the last season of this terrific show, just know this: This season’s facial hair game is fierce. Guest villain Garret Dillahunt is rocking one seriously free-range beard, while the most mustachioed man in history, Sam Elliott, is clean-shaven, and it’s terrifying. Alasdair Wilkins is pretty sure Elliott is also turning in a memorably scary performance, but that lack of mustache could honestly be doing all the work on its lonesome.
Elsewhere in TV Club
Gwen Ihnat keeps love week rolling with a look at shipping:
The romantic relationship is one of drama’s most reliable tropes (one pities those early Oedipus/Jocasta ’shippers, and yet, Bates Motel). But the particular frisson of the slow-burn relationship is particularly well suited to serial storytelling; it was a fixture in radio dramas, and has been a television hallmark since its earliest days. Soap operas live and die on them, and famously don’t give a damn about breaking everyone up and smashing them together in different permutations like a particle accelerator with stage directions. Genre shows often use them as a viscerally relatable element amid the jargon and effects, and sitcoms look to relationships to propel stories or add some piquancy to the punch lines. And procedurals—particularly as women became more expected in the rosters of the main cast—are perfectly positioned to make relationship tension an entry point for the weekly crimes and courtrooms to hit closer to home.
What else is on?
Amish Mafia (Discovery, 9 p.m.): The show that purports to be a real look at the legend of the Amish mafia but is probably just a made-up pile of bullshit is back for its fourth season. Hey, didn’t there use to be a thing, before the advent of reality television, in which you could shamelessly advertise your outlandish premise was a made-up pile of bullshit, and people would even praise you for it? “Fiction,” maybe? Whatever happened to that?
What On Earth? (Science, 9 p.m.): Speaking of things that may well be made-up piles of bullshit, the Science channel takes an hour-long break from alien-themed programming to explore “a gigantic tsunami hundreds of feet high that never hits land; a secret underground base in China; the location of the Garden of Eden.” We actually think that could all turn out to be way more scientific than it sounds like at first read, but maybe we’re just incorrigible optimists that way. The fact that the episode is called “Lake Of Blood” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Marry Me…Today (FYI, 10 p.m.): In which “today” is defined as “the first damn day we’ve even met.” Because apparently the only thing holding back this channel’s other instant-marriage show, Married At First Sight, was an insufficiently in-your-face title.
Obsession: Dark Desires (ID, 10 p.m.): Is there even the slightest chance that a lurid true-crime episode in which “A single mother begins dating a Vietnam veteran who quickly turns violent” is not called “Apocalypse Now”? The answer, of course, is no, no there is not.
Boogie Nights (IFC, 8 p.m.): It almost feels like cheating to call this the best Paul Thomas Anderson movie, not because Anderson has somehow grown more ambitious since making this complex epic about pornographers in the San Fernando Valley, and not because this is easily his most approachable, accessible work. Nah, it feels like cheating to say that because, at this point, Boogie Nights kind of belongs to us all. It’s that damn fundamental.
Edge Of Tomorrow (HBO, 8:30 p.m.): Sure, this movie has a title so blandly non-descriptive that its own DVD feels the need to hide it, but the real appeal of this movie is pretty straightforward: “Come for Tom Cruise dying a series of hilariously gruesome deaths, stay for all the crazy sci-fi awesomeness that follows.”
College Basketball: Kentucky At LSU (ESPN, 7 p.m.): Honestly, we’re past the point where it’s likely that any specific team will take down the Kentucky juggernaut, but the odds are still good that some team is going to end their undefeated run at some point. And the LSU Tigers are about as good a candidate as any, considering they are a solid 17-6 on the season and get the Wildcats at home. Still wouldn’t count on the upset, though.
In case you missed it
Gotham: Oh sweet, stupid Gotham, what the hell are you even doing at this point? Kyle Fowle is still here to puzzle it all out, but that’s only because the show’s going to reveal he’s the Riddler in, like, five seasons.