Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, September 25. All times are Eastern.
Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m.): You remember how a few weeks ago your What’s On Tonight correspondent was bemoaning how there was nothing new to write about? Well, this is the point where he eats his words, because fall television is upon us in full force and once again Sunday is bursting at the seams. Starting off this ridiculously busy night, Bob’s Burgers returns for season seven as the normally indomitable Louise is laid low by the flu and succumbs to a fever dream phantasmagoria. It’s a mindset Alasdair Wilkins is no stranger to, given his recent bout with What’s On Tonight madness. We say it’s his own fault for watching too much wrestling.
Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Speaking of crazy fever dreams, Once Upon A Time is back. According to an ad we saw for the sixth season while watching the Emmys, this year will introduce Aladdin and Jasmine, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Count Of Monte Cristo. They’re really straining the definition of “fairy tale,” aren’t they? And they also cast a new actor to play Jafar after introducing the character in Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, which feels unfair to Naveen Andrews and his “seductive menace.” Gwen Ihnat will check in on the premiere and will be sure to let us know how Jafar 2.0 measures up. Try not to be intimated by Andrews’ dangerous past roles, Gwen.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, 8:30 p.m.): In the interest of sharing the wealth around the broadcast networks, NCIS: Los Angeles does the impossible and earns itself a top pick for its two-hour season eight premiere. Tonight the team is scrambling after a mole is identified in the department and a mission to Syria leaves one of its own badly injured. Maybe they’ll get lucky and it’ll turn out to be the mole who’s injured, solving two problems at once.
And now, because it must accompany any LL Cool J or shark-related reference in What’s On Tonight, here it is:
Premieres and finales
The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): It happens every fall. Leaves change colors, the temperature drops, and The Simpsons begins a new season—its freaking 28th season, no less. Tonight the town of Springfield burns down and Mr. Burns agrees to pay for the rebuilding on the condition he gets to put on a variety show. The title is “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus,” so Dennis Perkins is watching nervously for the giant foot to come and crush him. Well, better that than the goddamned jug band.
Poldark (PBS, 8 p.m.): Season two of the second adaptation of Winston Graham’s novels premieres with disastrous circumstances, as Capt. Ross Poldark is arrested for murder and wrecking in connection with the sinking of George Warleggan’s ship. His wife, Demelza—goddamn, this show has all the best names—attempts to influence the hanging judge. As Bob Dylan told us, the hanging judge must be wined and dined so as to be drunk when the leading actor hurries by in the costume of a monk. And while discussion of Blood On The Tracks didn’t come up in Marah Eakin’s interview with Poldark star Aidan Turner, it’s still a great read.
Son Of Zorn (Fox, 8:30 p.m.): Son Of Zorn settles into its full-time home this evening, but Zorn isn’t having any easier of a time settling into his new California existence. In his latest misstep, “Zorn embarrasses his son in front of his crush and tries to spy on her using the Stone Of Sight.” It seems like a sound strategy in theory: The last time Kevin Johnson used the Stone Of Sight, he was able to see that Son Of Zorn needed a weekly reviewer and stepped up to the plate.
Secrets And Lies (ABC, 9 p.m.): No, not that one. Once again, Detective Andrea Cornell is on the case in ABC’s mystery anthology series, this time investigating private equity heir Eric Warner (Michael Ealy) for the murder of his wife. Her investigation takes a twist when he submits to the DNA test, only for it to reveal that he’s secretly a robot! Maybe not, but Ealy returning to television just makes us regret that Almost Human didn’t last more than a season given that Fox could have built something out of it. Instead, they decided to try rebooting Minority Report for inexplicable reasons. Oh, well, such is TV.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN, 9 p.m.): According to The Washington Post, Anthony Bourdain is now “the most unexpected star” of CNN, winning his fourth Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series Or Special. Tonight he gets to prove his clout by dining with none other than President Barack Obama in Vietnam, enjoying beers and bun cha.
Family Guy (Fox, 9 p.m.): This is our obligatory reminder that Family Guy is a show that continues to air on television.
Power (Starz, 9 p.m.): The broadcast networks have all the premieres this Sunday, leaving finales to the world of cable. Power’s third season finale brings the season’s convoluted scheming to a head: “Ghost must slip away to retrieve evidence; Tasha’s attempt to save her family requires she enter an unlikely alliance, while Tommy contemplates a move that will impact everyone’s present and future.” That’s some heavy stuff, Power.
The Last Man On Earth (Fox, 9:30 p.m): Things got even heavier for Phil “Tandy” Miller and the rest of the Malibu crew last season, with the deaths of Phil 2.0, their cow, and Tandy’s brother, Mike. This year it’s not looking any better, with a trio of armed figures descending on Gordon’s house and Melissa pulling the group together. It’s tough, but as Vikram Murthi observed in last year’s finale, putting a rifle in January Jones’ hands means a grim fate for anything at the other end of said rifle.
Ballers (HBO, 10 p.m.): There’s one last opportunity for candy-ass declaring as Ballers crosses into season two’s end zone, and Spencer “takes a final stab at regaining what he’s lost.” Does that involve him leaving the agent’s life and entering Wrestlemania? We hope not. Apologies to the pro-wrestling What’s On Tonight faction of Alasdair and LaToya, we just don’t get the appeal.
Survivor’s Remorse (Starz, 10 p.m.): Moving from Ballers to a comedy set in the world of professional sports that you should be watching, it’s the third season finale of Survivor’s Remorse. Tonight Reggie’s father shows up, and we’re sure that’s going to send the normally composed manager into a frenzy. We didn’t see a trailer for this one, so we don’t know who’s playing the pater familias, but we hope it’s Billy Dee Williams. We need more Billy Dee Williams on our TV.
Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): We’re going from FBI to CIA in the second season of ABC’s nonsense intelligence drama (the ultimate contradiction in terms) as Priyanka Chopra’s Alex Parrish joins a new government agency in the wake of solving the mystery of last year’s terrorist attack. However, given that the offer came from Henry Czerny (formerly known as Conrad Grayson), it could be that Alex’s new career opportunity is in fact the perfect setup… for Revenge.
Motive (USA, 11 p.m.): The night’s final finale airs on USA, as Canadian import Motive ends its fourth and final season. “The whole team reunites when, three years after Judge Natalie Rodman’s killer escaped, evidence in a recent homicide reveals the murderer may have resurfaced.” So it’s like a high school reunion, but with murder and Kristin Lehman. Or just like a high school reunion with murder, if you happened to go to high school with Kristin Lehman.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11:15 p.m.): After a month-long hiatus, Last Week Tonight is coming back with the glow of victory since winning an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Talk Series last weekend. John Oliver, with less than six weeks left until the most agonizing election cycle in living memory, your brand of knowledgeable outrage is more necessary than ever.
Fear The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.)
Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Q Who?” (Netflix): You want to watch more TV after watching everything we just listed above? Oh, wait, you’re What’s On Tonight readers, so of course you do. In that case, since there’s plenty of fantasy, animation, and crime dramas represented above, let’s round out the night with some sci-fi. “Con permiso, capitán? The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged. It’s now time to see if you can dance.”