Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, May 19. All times are Eastern.
The Simpsons/Family Guy (Fox, 8/9 p.m.): It’s only seemed like Seth MacFarlane has dominated Fox’s animation bloc for the last four years: Everyone’s least-favorite Oscar host since James Franco has had three shows in the Animation Domination rotation since 2009, but The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers have stood in the way of a complete MacTakeover. Until tonight, that is, when all three hour-long finales (including Cleveland’s last stand) have have been touched by MacFarlane. [Insert off-color Family Guy-style joke here—maybe something involving Tickle Me Elmo.] Season 11 of Family Guy wraps with the latest in Stewie and Brian’s Hope-Crosby homages; The Simpsons’ 24th year, meanwhile, concludes with the Family Guy/American Dad/Cleveland/Dads guy playing the newest charmer to get between Homer and Marge. MacFarlane will also animate and voice Robert David Sullivan and Kevin McFarland this evening.
Game Of Thrones (HBO, 9 p.m.): WESTEROS WEEEEEEEEEEEEEDIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING! Todd VanDerWerff is currently bribing the DJ to play the Hold Steady’s Westerosi drinking song, while David Sims keeps banging his knife against his wine glass in order to make the bride and groom kiss—because it’s a really weird coupling, and he’s genuinely curious about what a kiss between them would look like.
Mad Men (AMC, 10 p.m.): Well, all of those “On the next Mad Men” snippets of characters looking offscreen and expressing shock are about to pay off, as a “surprise visitor” for Don factors heavily into “The Crash.” Todd VanDerWerff bets it’s one of those free-lovin’ hippies Don ran off with during that business trip to California.
Family Tree (HBO, 10:30 p.m.): There are so many parts of tonight’s HBO slate that your What’s On Tonight? correspondent want to spoil. Not to be an asshole—just to have someone with whom he can talk about them. Luckily, your What’s On Tonight correspondent and Erik Adams are the same person, so they can have an internal conversation about the fantastic setpiece Tom pulls out of his great-grandfather’s past in “Treading The Boards.”
The Borgias (Showtime, 10 p.m.): Catherina’s latest bit of plotting involves “biological warfare”—which during the Renaissance, amounts to what? Sneezing on the enemy? All Les Chappells must wash their hands before writing this review.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
Farscape (11 a.m.): Season one ends, and we’re still no closer to figuring out how Farscape works. Fortunately, we have Alasdair Wilkins to lean on with regard to that information, and he still has several seasons of reviews with which he can alleviate our confusion.
WHAT ELSE IS ON?
America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC, 7 p.m.): 24 years of The Simpsons is a remarkable feat—until you consider that America’s Funniest Home Videos aired its first episode a few weeks prior to “Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire.” (Would anyone read a 100 Episodes column on AFHV? Because it qualifies for the feature, like, five times over.)
The Cleveland Show (Fox, 7 p.m.): TV’s catchiest theme song (and the less-memorable show that follows it) heads off into the great unknown. Let’s all pay our respects by singing a somber round of the theme; here, we’ll start: “My name is Cleveland Brown / and I am proud to be… ”
Billboard Music Awards (ABC, 8 p.m.): Say what you will about the necessity of the Billboard Awards, it usually hits the nail right on the head when it comes to naming an Artist of the Year. We mean, Ace Of Base clearly had it in the bag in 1994, because clearly no pop-music happening that year was more important than “All That She Wants.” (This is not to detract from the power of “The Sign,” which was and remains awesome.)
North America (Discovery, 9 p.m.): The flora and fauna of the North American continent are examined in this new nature series—and Rowan Kaiser is just the tiniest bit disappointed that the documentarians didn’t ask to film his cat. That feline’s destined to be a star, Rowan tells ya!
A Day For Thanks On Walton’s Mountain (Hallmark, 9 p.m.): At the tail-end of Hallmark’s day-long Waltons-thon, network, show, and subject reach a TV-wholesomeness singularity. It’s apparently too much for actor Robert Wightman, who would never again play John Boy Walton after this Thanksgiving special.
The Karate Kid (Nickelodeon, 9 p.m.): We saw that Nick At Nite is showing The Karate Kid, and we were like “Yeah, probably the crappy Jaden Smith remake”—but it’s not! Because Nick At Nite refuses to forget the past! Or how mean Billy Zabka could be!
MLB Baseball: Tigers at Rangers (ESPN, 8 p.m.): A primetime matchup between the last two teams to win the American League pennant. Maybe winning this series will be tantamount to a World Series win? (No. No it will not.)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Shark Tank (Friday): Is this the seasons when the sharks finally ate a competitor? We’re not being facetious—we know they’re not actual sharks—but with a panel like this, it seems like one act of vindictive, non-symbolic cannibalism will occur before Shark Tank wraps. Phil Dyess-Nugent has all the bloody (or disappointingly non-bloody) details.