Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, February 28. All times are Eastern.
American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): Undaunted by American Idol’s slipping numbers and The Voice’s usurping of the singing-competition throne, Fox is taking advantage of an extra-long February sweeps period this year by airing back-to-back live episodes tonight and tomorrow night. If you were hoping to hear New Directions and Zooey Deschanel sing tonight (and perhaps hum along to that insanely catchy Raising Hope theme song), too bad—Fox could use big ratings for its biggest show when they matter the most. (Besides, Glee isn’t coming back until Quinn recovers from that ridiculous texting-while-driving PSA.) Instead, you get the voices of the male semifinalists for two hours—while Claire Zulkey tries not to go quietly insane.
Switched At Birth (ABC Family, 8 p.m.): Emmet doesn’t like that Bay is still in contact with Ty—which is kind of bullshit, because Ty’s a soldier in Afghanistan—and also, he might be injured. Carrie Raisler reminds you to support the troops—even the one who’s your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Look what happened because you aren’t watching Cougar Town: Travis got into an accident. Do you want this on your conscience? Ryan McGee certainly doesn’t, especially American Idol is due to plow straight through the cul-de-sac tonight.
Ringer (The CW, 9 p.m.): Because the titles of Ringer episodes are almost invariably more entertaining than the episodes themselves, let’s imagine this one, “P.S. You’re An Idiot,” as a sarcastic rejoinder to the early Beatles cut “P.S. I Love You.” As she writes this review, Carrie Raisler sends her love to you.
The River (ABC, 9 p.m.): The wackiest ship in the Amazon, the good ol’ Magus, encounters a boat manned by a crew with potentially hostile attentions. Scott Von Doviak has his fingers crossed that it’s a g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-ghost ship, and that Joe Anderson jumps into Leslie Hope’s arms, Scooby-and-Shaggy-style, at least once.
Justified (FX, 10 p.m.): Raylan Givens has his own way of conducting an investigation, which rubs the FBI the wrong way. And while they don’t agree with his methods, they do agree he gets results—and it’s not like they can make a U.S. Marshal turn in his gun and badge over Raylan’s handling of the Quarles case. Scott Tobias will never be too old for this shit.
Parenthood (NBC, 10 p.m.): At the end of the show’s third season, Todd VanDerWerff watched over the Bravermans, smiles, and decides that while they can be incredibly annoying, they’re also a good example of why good TV shows deserve patience. Join us ’round the family table for the third-season finale, won’t you?
Frontline (PBS, 10 p.m.): Following January’s “Nuclear Aftershocks,” Frontline goes in for a second look at the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. As this is a serious matter, we’re straining against our every instinct to not make a Mr. Burns joke. What does Meredith Blake think of our efforts? She says they’re “Excellent.” (Damn it.)
Southland (TNT, 10 p.m.): Is there a character on TV right now more hapless than Lucy Liu’s Southland character, Officer Jessica Tang? After learning in the season premiere that she was the recipient of a perp beatdown (video footage of which went viral), tonight Tang gets served with legal papers and caught in a gunfight. Kevin McFarland always said there’d be days that.
White Collar (USA, 10 p.m.): Beau Bridges’ Agent Kramer almost has Neal in his clutches, right before the latter’s commutation hearing. That kind of makes us wonder how this show would work in a buttoned-down, rural setting, where Kramer is a Boss Hogg type and Neal a crafty ne’er-do-well with a custom Dodge Charger. It certainly wouldn’t have enough sharp suits to keep Kenny Herzog’s attention.
Key & Peele (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): After a few weeks of diminishing returns, at least one sketch on tonight’s Key & Peele promises a can’t miss premise: Jaden Smith and his agent going over potential movie projects. What childhood memories will Smith ruin next? Steve Heisler would like him to leave all Nintendo properties alone, please.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Larry Sanders Show (3 p.m.): On a day where we say “See you next season” to Neal Caffrey and the Bravermans (if there’s a “next season” for the Bravermans), we also wrap the second season of The Larry Sanders Show. Larry faces a big decision that will affect the show-within-the-show—Kyle Ryan just hopes that doesn’t involve Larry promising to hand the reins over to Conan O’Brien in five years. Hasn’t that guy suffered enough?
WHAT ELSE IS ON
American Experience: The Amish (PBS, 8 p.m.): Circumventing that whole “you can’t photograph the Amish” thing (and if that’s the case, how did “Weird Al” Yankovic make the “Amish Paradise” video, huh? Are you saying Florence Henderson isn’t a Mennonite?), this American Experience documentary provides insight on life in an Amish community through audio recordings. Margaret Eby returns from rumspringa to file her review.
Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder (TLC, 10 p.m.): This is like an Asylum “mockbuster” equivalent of Hoarders, isn’t it? One man’s obsession threatens the reputation of an idyllic British village in a TLC special that is most definitely not Hoarders, though it’d be totally okay with the network if you thought it was.
Teen Mom 2 (MTV, 10 p.m.): Dr. Drew Pinsky is called in
to profit from analyze the second-season experiences of the Teen Moms. That guy is an exploitative tool American hero. Who here wishes MTV would make Dr. Drew go away forever start showing Loveline reruns?
Drug Kingpin Hippos (Animal Planet, 10 p.m.): Awesome title, more awesome premise: Wild hippos previously owned by Pablo Escobar follow their late owner’s example and make life hell for the residents of a Colombian village. If history repeats itself, they’ll probably be taken out with the assistance of some Navy seals.
The Man Who Would Be King (TCM, 8 p.m.): The sun never set on the British empire—and neither does TCM’s attention, for one evening only. Before T.E. Lawrence can go tramping around the Middle East, John Huston drops Sean Connery and Michael Caine (and recent Oscar winner Christopher Plummer as Rudyard Kipling) into this imperial epic based on Kipling’s novella of the same name.
Bitter Feast (TMC, 9:30 p.m.): In what we hope isn’t part of a burgeoning cinematic trend—though given reports of the next Charlie Kaufman movie, it might be—director Joe Maggio pits celebrity chef James LeGros agains the blogger (Joshua Leonard) who destroyed his career. LeGros and Leonard are joined onscreen by Mario Batali who is, of course… a very nice person and wonderful Italian chef
and probably a better person than Dr. Drew, we suppose.
College Basketball: Michigan State at Indiana: While Michigan votes on a Republican presidential candidate, the No. 5 Spartans venture south to Bloomington for a matchup with the No. 18 Hoosiers that will impact the NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings more than the Michigan primary will impact the GOP nomination.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
RuPaul’s Drag Race: If you’re not watching this show or reading Oliver Sava’s reviews of it, you’re not getting your recommended weekly amount of fierce puns and giddy innuendo. Last night featured an impression-filled episode of “The Snatch Game” which, well, already upped your dosage on both fronts.