Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, January 15. All times are Eastern.
The World Dog Awards (The CW, 8 p.m.): The Puppy Bowl has long given those who detest sports an alternative to the Super Bowl. And now The CW is trying to capitalize on a similar idea for those who like dogs but also like mocking awards shows. Hosted by George Lopez, the two-hour special reportedly combines, “the glamour of a Hollywood awards show with America’s affection for man’s best friend.” The special (which we must reiterate is a full two hours long and not just a funny sketch) features awards like “Best In Film,” “Top TV Dog,” and “Supporting Actor To A Dog.” There will also be appearances from “celebrities” including Paris Hilton, Ian Somerhalder, Lisa Vanderpump, and some kids from Glee. Personally, we’d like to see Dog With A Blog live chat the ceremony and the Gone Girl cat earn a special achievement award. And it’s probably best not to think about Uggie, that dog from The Artist, sitting at home while gnawing on an old bone and wondering why they didn’t offer these kinds of accolades when he was a young pup.
Amazon Pilot Season (Amazon Instant Video, 12 a.m.): With Transparent’s win at the Golden Globe awards last weekend, Amazon has officially established itself as a television powerhouse. Now the streaming service has unveiled 13 brand new pilots for original comedies, dramas, docuseries, and children’s shows. These pilots feature creative talent from Ridley Scott, Carlton Cruse, and Frank Spotnitz, and include settings as diverse as an island villa, an alternate version of the 1960s, and the Civil War. We’ve rounded up the best of what Amazon has to offer, and those in the U.S., U.K., and Germany can peruse the website’s various offerings on Amazon Instant Video.
Critics’ Choice Awards (A&E, 9 p.m.): For those who prefer their awards shows to be a little less ironic, the Broadcast Film Critics Association airs its 20th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards live on A&E. These awards have a fairly good history of predicating Oscar winners so pay close attention as Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Selma face off in major categories. And while The Golden Globes pulled in funny ladies Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host, the Critics’ Choice Awards have enlisted Super Bowl Champion/TV host Michael Strahan to bring some sports swagger to an evening of art.
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.): Last week, Myles McNutt praised the nuanced way Elementary handled Sherlock’s drug addiction in a plot that could easily have felt cheap. The writers apparently took that compliment to heart as this week’s episode also centers on addiction when Sherlock and Joan investigate a murder with ties to a drug cartel. (Don’t try to tell us this episode was written and filmed well before Myles filled his review. We learned long ago never to doubt the power of McNutt.)
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): Parenthood is only three episodes away from its series finale. After a 100th episode that encapsulated everything the show does best, Parenthood deals with the fallout from Zeek’s heart attack, Hank’s proposal, and the Luncheonette break-in. Carrie Raisler puts on a brave face as she prepares to say goodbye to the Bravermans.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7 p.m.)
A To Z (NBC, 9:30 p.m.)
Archer (FX, 10 p.m.)
Babylon (Sundance, 10 p.m.)
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.):
Futurama (10 a.m.): This week’s Futurama episodes deal with mutiny and political corruption, respectively. Zapp Brannigan stirs up trouble in “Brannigan, Begin Again” while the disembodied head of Richard Nixon stirs up trouble in “A Head In The Polls.” “Can’t we all just get along?!?!” Zack Handlen screams at his television.
Simpson’s Week continues here at The A.V. Club. First up, Will Harris discusses what it’s like to write for The Simpsons in an Expert Witness with Michael Price. Then Erik Adams breaks down the surprising nuances of the Michael-Jackson-penned song, “Happy Birthday Lisa” in a new Hear This. (Also, he wishes his readers better than their hearts desire and their first kiss from a boy.) Rounding out our daily Simpsons content, Katie Rife sings the praises of the cult classic Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion, which was directed by former Simpsons showrunner David Mirkin.
And then—drum roll please—we release our list of the 10 best sitcom episodes of the past 25 years. Plus, we share the orphans and outliers that couldn’t quite crack our list, but that we love nevertheless.
Regular Show (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.): Rival park manager Gene invites Benson to a Park Manager Luncheon. The gang thinks that sounds like a “textbook prank set-up,” so they decide to save Benson from certain doom.
The McCarthys (CBS, 9:30 p.m.): When one of her sports-loving sons earns a place in his High School Hall of Fame, Marjorie tells a little white lie to protect the feelings of her other sports-loving son. Because, in case you didn’t know, the McCarthys really love sports.
Chopped Canada (Food Network, 9 p.m.): In the third season premiere of Chopped Canada, the chefs are stumped by a Middle Eastern ingredient. Since they’re Canadian, however, they probably politely figure out a way to handle the situation with minimal drama.
Outrageous Births: Tales From The Crib (DLC, 9 p.m.): The ads for this new Discovery Life Channel show focus on an unconventional birth that takes place in—wait for it—a grocery store! While that’s not quite as outrageous as we hoped for, the show’s “Tales From The Crib” subtitle earns it a free pass and a slot in What’s On Tonight.
Miss Congeniality (ABC Family, 8:30 p.m.): Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine join forces with Oscar nominee Candice Bergen in a comedy that won no Oscars but did win the hearts of the American people.
The Great Train Robbery (TCM, 8 p.m.): Michael Crichton wrote and directed this 1979 film adaptation of his novel The Great Train Robbery. Sean Connery stars as a master thief posing as a member of the London elite who recruits Donald Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down to help him rob a train. Unfortunately, no dinosaur supervisors were used in the making of this film.
NBA Basketball: Thunder at Rockets (TNT, 8 p.m.):Written out this way, “Thunder at Rockets” sounds like the title of an abstract poem about living in a war zone. Thankfully, it’s just the title of a game played for entertainment by two teams of highly trained athletes.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: It’s Always Sunny returns, as do Dennis Perkins’ excellent reviews. After hearing the urban legend about baseball Wade Boggs drinking 50 beers on one transcontinental flight, the gang tries to beat his record. Comedy and mayhem ensue, but Dennis is mostly concerned about the plane’s lackluster flight attendants.