Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Glee returns. America asks, “Is Glee still a thing?”

Lea Michele, Chord Overstreet, Amber Riley, Mark Salling (Fox)

Top pick

Glee (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): In the two-hour premiere of Glee’s sixth and final season, returning alumni find that Jane Lynch’s Sue has finally shut down the glee club, everyone’s different, and the toilets all seem a lot smaller somehow. Brandon Nowalk is back to review the season, and to remind you that, as ever, Glee is the feeling you get when your brain finally lets your heart get in its pants.

Also noted

Banshee (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): Les Chappell, reviewing last season’s finale, had this to say:

Moreso than any show on television, even its testosterone-jacked sibling Strike Back, Banshee is pure unadulterated chaos in every episode.


So if that’s your bag, then tune in to the season three premiere and check back in with Les’ review to see if imposter sheriff Lucas Hood is still wreaking entertaining havoc all over rural Pennsylvania. (We’re betting he is.)

Regular coverage

Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): The fourth season premiere of this enduringly, endearingly insane faux talk show sees the review superteam of Emily L. Stephens, LaToya Ferguson, and David Kallison come up all Stephens. This week, Emily evaluates how well Modern Family’s Ty Burrell fits in Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts’ conceptual comedy clubhouse.


Elsewhere in TV Club

With Oscar noms on the horizon (they come out on January 15), our own Nick Schager makes his Oscar This pick for a dark horse nominee with his case for the striking black and white cinematography in the artsy vampire flick A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. Then Jesse Hassenger makes the case that the careers of directors Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez aren’t as dire as you may think in his For Our Consideration. And then see if Mike D’Angelo can successfully defend another seemingly untenable position when he uses his Scenic Routes to contend that a widely criticized (if not ridiculed) scene in indie horror film Proxy is actually sort of brilliant.


What else is on

Dark Angel marathon (El Rey, 8 p.m., Friday): Robert Rodriguez’s scrappy grindhouse channel continues to dig deep, resurrecting James Cameron’s early-century post-apocalyptic sci-fi series starring a young, be-catsuited Jessica Alba as a genetically enhanced action hero. All 43 episodes run through Sunday for maximum Alba.


Hart Of Dixie (The CW, 8 p.m., Friday): In this fourth season premiere, Rachel Bilson’s spunky doc continues to navigate all the soapy romantic and professional intrigue a town named Bluebell can throw at her.

Cristela (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): Cristela gets a tempting job offer from high-powered lawyer (and high-powered guest star) Roseanne Barr in this “first season winter premiere,” which is not a thing that means anything.


Blue Bloods (CBS, 10 p.m., Friday): In its 100th episode, cop family the Reagans deal with an army-vet robbery gang and a Banksy analogue who causes a bomb scare. Anything that keeps Tom Selleck off the streets for five years.

Great Performances: American Voices With Renée Fleming (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): All manner of singing is celebrated in this Kennedy Center performance documentary hosted by opera legend Fleming.


Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO, 10 p.m., Friday): A typically diverse gang of famous people (Chris Hardwick, Jay Leno, Paul Begala, Salman Rushdie) attempt to get a word in against everyone’s favorite person to get mad at Maher in this 13th season premiere.

NFL playoff football—Baltimore at New England (NBC, 4:35 p.m., Saturday): Remember when New England got off to that bad start and people were saying, “Tom Brady’s all washed up—obviously it’s Jimmy Garoppolo time!” Sports fans need to take a nice, cleansing breath once in a while.


NFL playoff football—Carolina at Seattle (Fox, 8 p.m., Saturday): The Panthers are still alive. Huh. Nothing makes sense. Good to know.

Sugar Daddies (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): A college student finds out older men are willing to trade sex for lots of money in another winner from Lifetime and the director of Home Invasion, Teenage Bank Heist, The Surrogate, Dirty Teacher, The Cheating Pact, Death Clique, and the epic tetralogy Accused At 17, Betrayed At 17, Stalked At 17, and Missing At 17.


A Novel Romance (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Saturday): It’s fun to pit each weekend’s Lifetime and Hallmark original movies against each other in the What’s On Tonight? thunderdome, but the fact that the luminous and talented Amy Acker (Angel, Much Ado About Nothing) is the star of this one means there’s no contest this week. In this TV movie, she plays a book reviewer who falls for a romance writer (Orphan Black’s Dylan Bruce) who’s lost the knack after a bad breakup.

This was not that long ago

The Missing (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): James Nesbit and Frances O’Connor’s search for their missing child comes to a close in the season finale of this taut BBC mystery. And while a second season has been greenlit, it’ll feature a whole different case, so this poor kid might get found after all.

Black Dynamite (Adult Swim, 10:30 p.m., Saturday): In this hour-long musical episode (“The Wizard of Watts” or “Oz Ain’t Got S&@# On The Wiz”), B.D. gets clonked on the head (possibly due to kung fu treachery) and dreams he’s kicking ass in a Watts-esque land of Oz.


In case you missed it

Modern Family: For those of you who think that the Modern Family ratings juggernaut has been coasting for—pretty much its whole run, Joshua Alston gives this week episode a big, fat ‘A,’ and says:

Opinions will vary about whether or not “The Day We Almost Died” is among Modern Family’s funniest episodes, but there’s no arguing that its the most ambitious episodes of season six, and among maybe the five most interesting episodes in the show’s history.


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