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

Desegregating baseball is somehow the less fascinating half of Jackie Robinson’s story

Illustration for article titled Desegregating baseball is somehow the less fascinating half of Jackie Robinson’s story

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, April 12. All times are Eastern.


Top picks

Jackie Robinson (PBS, 9 p.m.): Yes, yes, this is the second half of a four-hour Ken Burns documentary on the man who broke baseball’s color line, so it might feel a bit odd to give coveted (yes, coveted, dammit! Don’t pretend for a moment it isn’t!) top pick status to a story that’s already half over. But! Last night’s opener dealt primarily with the part of the story everyone already knows, the inspiring tale of a man who rises from humble origins to attain baseball stardom and integrate the sport, enduring vile racism with saintly deference. Tonight, on the other hand, covers the side of Jackie Robinson that is often forgotten or, worse, strategically elided: the outspoken, iconoclastic fighter for civil rights and social justice who lost a lot of his former “supporters” when he actually started speaking his mind.


The Mindy Project (Hulu, 3:01 a.m.): Look alive, people, The Mindy Project is back to finish season four, and we’ve got Garret Dillahunt incoming! The actor so nice Deadwood cast him twice is continuing his run with Shulman and Associates as a character we’re going to assume is less psychotic than, well, pretty much all of Dillahunt’s non-Raising Hope characters. Gwen Ihnat is still a little worried about him, though, given his character Jody is described as “a sexist Southern rascal.” We don’t see a problem!

Gwen Ihnat weeps for the future of this country. That and reading comprehension.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine/The Grinder (Fox, 9 p.m./9:30 p.m.): The return of the 51-year-old—51 damn years old!—Garret Dillahunt to our Tuesday television means Rob Lowe’s status as the night’s sexiest 50-something is in serious jeopardy, which we’ll just assume is the only reason The Grinder is at last returning from its mini-hiatus. (Grandfathered is still off, presumably because John Stamos is man enough to know when he’s been out-handsomed.) Just to throw a little more good-looking on the pile, 24’s own Dennis Haysbert—who is 61! Ages literally mean nothing!—is on hand as Captain Holt’s old partner, a role Haysbert was born to play. LaToya Ferguson is not even sure she can handle this much badass deadpan, but if any reviewer could, it’s her.


Premieres and finales

iZombie (The CW, 8 p.m./9 p.m.): The season wraps up with a two-hour double feature, as Liv and Ravi form an unlikely alliance with Blaine and “Vaughn’s evil side reaches a whole new level of mean,” which could be the most or least serious thing ever, and we just have no way of finding out! (We know, we know, we could watch the show. But that would mess with the very special relationship of not watching iZombie that we’ve forged with iZombie over the years.) Anyway, the second half features the long-awaited Rob Thomas singularity, as Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas performs a concert on iZombie creator Rob Thomas’ show. Carrie Raisler imagines other things will happen too, but really, do they need to?


Game Of Silence (NBC, 10 p.m.): Just as with Lady Doctor Heart-Hands—sometimes called Heartbeat—it falls to us to introduce a new NBC series that is then immediately leaving Tuesday nights for its regular night, in this case Thursdays. The show involves “a lawyer whose tony lifestyle is threatened by childhood pals seeking his help righting a 25-year-old wrong,” which, fine, good stuff. The real headline here is that Terriers’ own Michael Raymond-James is one of the leads, and dammit, we all owe Michael Raymond-James a massive hit for dropping the ball on Terriers. Actually, you know what? Let’s all just go re-watch Terriers. But then we always say that.

Living With Funny (Oxygen, 9 p.m.): Because apparently every damn podcast in existence wasn’t sufficient exposure, here comes a reality series about aspiring stand-up comedians in Los Angeles. At least the plot synopsis for the series premiere veers wildly from story to story, as all good episode synopses for reality shows should: “Georgia finds a condom in the house, Brandon irritates Denise, and Deray and his two girlfriends host a house party.”


24 To Life (LMN, 10 p.m.): A show about people’s final day of freedom before reporting to prison could be some seriously compelling, gritty docudrama, shining a spotlight in equal measure—assuming these are even really two separate groups—on hardened convicts and vulnerable, underprivileged people whose lives are about to be forever altered by a mistake they were, if not destined to make, then at least made all the more likely by their harsh environments. Or, you know, we could just spend an hour with a couple of white-collar bozos: “An airline executive tries to repair his broken marriage and make amends with his teen daughter; and an executive assistant attempts to reconcile with her daughters.”

Not Safe With Nikki Glaser (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): The season wraps up with Patton Oswalt and Natasha Leggero joining Glaser for a game of Tinder Tapout, which is a fine name given that Tinder is basically the Sharpshooter of online dating apps—in that it’s often extraordinarily painful, involves way more contact with sweaty dudes than most would consider optimal, and for all that is still, given the alternatives, the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

Bret “The Hitman” Hart rates that analogy, the accompanying tribute video, and our attempt to integrate random wrestling videos into the actual article all 4/10.


Regular coverage

Marvel’s Daredevil (Netflix)
New Girl (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Fresh Off The Boat (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 9 p.m.)


Streaming pick

Justice League, “Hearts And Minds” (Netflix): You remember that time we said Dennis Haysbert was born to play Captain Holt’s old partner? Come on, surely you must, it was just a few hundred words ago, this is why we slimmed down What’s On Tonight in the first place! Anyway, we were wrong. Dennis Haysbert was actually born to voice Kilowog, the lovable, poozer-busting powerhouse of the Green Lantern Corps. Also, Keith David is in this one, and he was in The Cape!


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