Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, August 21. All times are Eastern.
2016 Summer Olympics (NBC, 7 p.m.): The sun sets on the Rio Olympics tonight with the closing ceremonies, as the Olympic cauldron is extinguished and the flag is passed to the mayor of Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics. It’s been a largely inspiring few weeks: the commentary of Leslie Jones, the dancing horses, Usain Bolt cementing his position as the fastest man alive (yep, even faster than this guy), and the United States winning many times the medals of any other country thanks to tremendous athletes like Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Aly Raisman, and Michael Phelps. (USA! USA! USA!) It’s almost enough to let you ignore the fact that these games have been riddled with controversy, from pool water turning into Ecto Cooler to athletes getting robbed at gunpoint (except not really) to—holy shit, there’s Matthew McConaughey! And free McDonalds! What were we talking about? Anyway, regardless of NBC failing to present it well, it’s been an Olympics to remember, and hopefully the closing ceremony will give us one last look at the glory of the Rio Olympic venue before it joins the ranks of the derelict.
Fear The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): With the end of a giant sporting event, the viewing population is once again free to turn its eyes to the zombie hordes it can never get enough of. Fear The Walking Dead (or as we like to call it, The Walking Dead’s non-union Mexican equivalent) returns for the back half of season two with a fractured central cast all off on their own adventures. We’re skeptical about this move given none of these people—except, arguably, Mr. Strand—are particularly interesting when they’re in a group, let alone separated, but this fragmented approach did wonders for The Walking Dead in the post-prison back half of season four. Danette Chavez has already tagged each of the main cast with GPS trackers to locate them when the creative team remember they exist.
The Tunnel (PBS, 10:30 p.m.): Tonight we see the light at the end of The Tunnel, as the first series draws to a close. Will Karl and Elise apprehend James Frain’s Truth Terrorist before he kills again? And should they apprehend him, will he also be put on trial for his crimes as Chess and Azrael?
Premieres and finales
Inspector Lewis (PBS, 9 p.m.): Kevin Whatley has played the role of Detective Inspector Robbie Lewis in some form or another since 1987, and tonight he hangs up the badge with the series finale of the Inspector Morse spinoff. We honor your service and hope for a comfortable retirement, at least until the powers that be decide that Lewis needs his own Endeavor-style prequel series.
Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): As the zombies go, so goes Talking Dead, the remora to the ratings-devouring shark that is the Walking Dead franchise. Chris Hardwick and his company of actors, producers, writers, comedians, and big fans gather to discuss the night’s episode and almost certainly be kinder to the show than your What’s On Tonight correspondent is.
The Jim Gaffigan Show (TV Land, 10:30 p.m.): Season two of Jim Gaffigan’s delightful TV Land sitcom wraps up tonight with “The Mike Gaffigan Show.” No word on whether or not this means that Gaffigan has fused with co-star Michael Ian Black, Steven Universe-style, to produce some sort of uber-comedian/father figure.
Hell Below (Smithsonian, 9 p.m.): The submarine series surfaces for its finale tonight, with a look at the final voyage of the U.S.S. Tang. Smithsonian has yet order a second series, which we assume would look at Cold War-era submarines and the exploits of the Red October.
The Voice (NBC, 10:30 p.m.): Fall TV is steadily approaching on the horizon, and despite being bloated on Olympics ratings NBC remains a gluttonous beast demanding the latest tithe from its musical competition franchise. The next season kicks off tonight with the “blind auditions” round, where judges Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton select the vocalists for their teams. In an effort to juice up this aging franchise, this season the blindness will become literal as the judge deemed to have the weakest team will sacrifice their eyes.
Geeking Out (AMC, 11:59 p.m.): Your What’s On Tonight correspondent bemoaned the inconsistent scheduling of Geeking Out in the long dark tea-time of the soul that was last Sunday’s What’s On Tonight—don’t worry, he’s talking about it in therapy. That’s probably fine with Kevin Smith though, who regardless of what you think of his body of work remains endearing in how willing he always appears to sit down and just talk with people about nerdy pursuits. Tonight, the show settles into its regular time as Smith and co-host Greg Grunberg welcome comic writer Jeph Loeb and Daredevil’s Charlie Cox. If Smith and Grunberg are looking for topics of conversation, we would like to know Cox’s thoughts on why the last third of Daredevil season two was a garbage bag full of nonsense.
The Night Of (HBO, 9 p.m.)
Power (Starz, 9 p.m.)
Vice Principals (HBO, 10:30 p.m.)
Gravity Falls, “Tourist Trapped/The Legend Of The Gobblewonker” (Hulu Plus): The summer is winding to a close, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of time to go on a summer vacation! After its patchy release schedule that split two seasons across four years, all of Gravity Falls is now in one place, and you’re free to visit the weirdest little town in central Oregon and go on adventures with Dipper, Mabel, and Grunkle Stan. Stop by the first two episodes for such sights as “Rock That Looks Like a Face Rock,” the rock that looks like a face! (For the fifth time, it’s not an actual face!)