Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Riverdale/The CW

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, January 26. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7:45 p.m.): Continuing its week of all-new episodes, Adventure Time gets into the equestrian spirit with an episode called “Horse And Ball.” When disaster strikes horse performer James Baxter, Finn and Jake offer to help him out. Reviewer Oliver Sava found James’ first appearance back in season five to be a lovely metacommentary on the show’s feel-good vibe. Here’s hoping James can get his groove back tonight, because we need his comedy now more than ever.


Scandal (ABC, 9 p.m.): That’s right, baby, Scandal is finally back! And it’s got an election to deal with. No, not the real one, but the one that pit Republican Mellie Grant against Democrat Francisco Vargas. Scandal promises a “surprising outcome” to its election storyline with a ton of intrigue in the first 10 minutes alone. Ashley Ray-Harris is donning her best white coat and pouring herself a giant glass of red wine to review the show this season. And she’s trying not to think about the fact that this episode was originally supposed to air last week before ABC decided to push it back to make room for a profile of Donald Trump instead.

Riverdale (The CW, 9 p.m.): It seems like only yesterday that the internet was aflutter with jokes about The CW’s decision to turn Archie Comics into a gritty, sexy teen drama, and here we are mere hours away from the show’s debut. The new series is set to have far more sex and murder than the squeaky-clean comic series it’s based on (though, mercifully, no time travel). What’s more, Riverdale’s promos even contained more than one reference to Twin Peaks. Of course, the series will likely be more Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars than David Lynch, but regardless, we’ve asked LaToya Ferguson to weigh in on whether Riverdale is a soapy hit, a hot mess, or a little bit of both.


Premieres and finales

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 8 p.m.): Before Scandal reveals its election results, Grey’s Anatomy takes a trip to prison. In the midseason premiere, Arizona, Bailey, and Jo visit a maximum-security women’s prison in order to treat a pregnant teenage inmate. Grey’s Anatomy has always loved a good gimmick episode, and Gwen Ihnat will be there with a discussion post about how well this one worked.


Supernatural (The CW, 8 p.m.): Also returning for its midseason premiere is another insanely long-running series. The episode’s description proves Supernatural is still as insane as ever in its old age: “After being arrested for the attempted assassination of the President Of The United States, Sam and Dean must find a way out of an underground, government-run, detention facility in the middle of nowhere.”

The New Edition Story (BET, 9 p.m.): BET’s three-part miniseries about ’80s boy bad New Edition sings its swan song tonight. In her positive pre-air review, Danette Chavez noted that the show “proves to be a rare retrospective, one that’s both unvarnished and hazily nostalgic, and is as good an entry point as any for those interested in an(other) East Coast fling.”


How To Get Away With Murder (ABC, 10 p.m.): How To Get Away With Murder’s midseason premiere rounds out ABC’s much-hyped Shonda Rhimes TGIT premiere night. The episode deals with the fallout of the genuinely shocking death in the show’s winter finale. In her review of that episode, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya praised the masterful execution that proved HTGAWM “still possesses the ability to genuinely, profoundly shock.” All that remains to be seen is whether the show can stick with that trend for the second half of season three.

Pure Genius (CBS, 10 p.m.): Turns out fancy doctors and high-tech hospitals can’t rope viewers in like they used to. This CBS medical procedural failed to make much of a splash this season, and no additional episodes were ordered beyond the show’s original 13-episode pickup. While CBS could still theoretically renew it for a second season, there’s a solid chance that tonight’s Pure Genius season finale will also be its series finale. So tune in to watch Dermot Mulroney heal the sick one last time in an episode that involves putting a patient in suspended animation.


Regular coverage

Top Chef (Bravo, 9 p.m.)
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.)
Baskets (FX, 10 p.m.)
Colony (USA, 10 p.m.)


Streaming pick

Skins, “Tony” (Netflix): When it comes to teenage sex and intrigue, few shows did it better than Skins. Without the gloss of American teen dramas (we’re looking at you, Riverdale), this British series from the early 2000s offers a comedic but grounded look at the lives of a group of disaffected, sex-craved teens. Plus, Nicholas Hoult turns in one of the all-time best sadistic teen bad boy performances. And Dev Patel is there, too.


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