Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, January 12. All times are Eastern.
State Of The Union Address (CBS/ABC/NBC/Fox/PBS/CNN/MSBNC/Fox New Channel, 9 p.m.): For the last time—and presumably the only time with new Speaker Paul Ryan doing some seated CrossFit exercises behind him—President Obama will give his annual address to a joint session of Congress. We can safely assume he’s going to describe the state of the union as “strong” or “stronger,” as you have to go back to Bill Clinton in 1995 for the last time a president didn’t declare the state of the union as some variant of strong. (Though George W. Bush did mix things up a little by calling it strong and confident in 2004 and 2005.) Anyway, considering how much saucy winking and general shit-talking President Obama got into last year’s State of the Union, it’s entirely possible he’s just going to straight-up roast all our asses tonight. Let’s not pretend we don’t all deserve it.
iZombie (The CW, 9 p.m.): The show returns from its holiday hiatus, but Liv’s favorite TV show, Zombie High, looks to be on indefinite break after its lead actor is murdered. Wait … couldn’t they just bring him back as a zombie? Surely the savings on the makeup budget would make that a win-win for all involved, give or take the murdered dude. Carrie Raisler fears we know nothing about this show’s zombie mechanics.
Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce (Bravo, 10 p.m.): At a certain point, we suspect the only reason people still bother making TV shows is to have as much fun as possible casting delightfully random pairings of older actors as the protagonist’s parents. Case in point: Abby’s parents come to visit tonight, and it turns out they are Barry Bostwick—The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Spin City’s Barry Bostwick!—and Lesley Ann Warren—Ms. Scarlet from Clue!—which Gwen Ihnat feels is just about perfect.
Elsewhere in TV Club
Alex McCown looks at the alien invasion drama The Colony, which debuts Thursday and reteams Lost co-creator Carlton Cuse with Sawyer actor Josh Holloway, which is probably all we need to say for you to guess that, yep, there are some shocking twists and big mysteries in this thing. Anyway, it looks fun. Elsewhere, Kevin Johnson offers a For Our Consideration on a British edit of a Steven Universe episode that cut out moments of same-sex attraction, and why this speaks to the larger problem of TV channels claiming to promote diversity and then actively refusing to actually show said diversity.
What else is on?
MadTV 20th Anniversary Reunion (The CW, 8 p.m.): So we guess we’ve reached a point where we’re all vaguely nostalgic for MadTV? Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael-Key’s recent work buys a heck of a lot of good will, admittedly, and we’re never going to object to more Mo Collins and Phil LaMarr on our TV screens, but still … huh. Anyway, those four and at least a dozen other cast members are reuniting and recreating some of their best-loved roles from the shows.
Days Of Our Lives/IMPACT Wrestling (Pop, 8 p.m./9 p.m.): Airing a soap opera and professional wrestling back to back is quite possibly the most delightfully on-the-nose programming decision in television right now. We can’t believe there’s much overlap in viewership, even though they’re essentially the same show. And we say that with the greatest respect for both genres.
Pretty Little Liars (Freeform, 8 p.m.): The show returns with a five-year timejump, which amusingly just accomplishes the task of making the characters the same ages as the actors who play them. You’ll all be glad to know that a half-decade’s time hasn’t changed the fact that all the characters’ lives still revolve around some unseen tormentor, as tonight’s episode sees the main cast returning to Rosewood for a hearing about the mysterious A.
Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (Freeform, 9 p.m.): “In the series premiere, a woman discovers on her 18th birthday that she comes from a long line of Shadowhunters, human-angel hybrids who hunt demons.” Her 18th birthday, eh? Human-angel hybrid puberty starts late, we guess, but it sounds like it’s a killer. Oh, and Lisa Weidenfeld has the pre-air review, and she reports the show isn’t so much terrible as it is just so, so bland. (Also, it’s pretty terrible.)
Predator (Sundance, 6:30 p.m.): There’s a whole bunch of awesome movies on tonight, so we’ll throw in a few extra listings for your viewing pleasure. First up, one of the most delightfully economical action films ever made, which spends half its running time establishing Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team as the biggest badasses on the planet just so that it’s all the more impressive when the predator picks them off like it’s nothing.
Calvary (HBOSGe, 7:10 p.m.): There’s a non-ridiculous argument to be made that Brendan Gleeson is our greatest living actor, and this film is as good a proof as any, as Gleeson plays an achingly moral Catholic priest struggling with what to do when an abuse victim promises to murder him. The film is also a useful compendium of pretty much every high-profile Irish actor working today, so if you struggle telling the difference between Irish and Scottish accents, this should be a useful guide.
Pulp Fiction (TMC, 8 p.m.): Between all the second-rate imitators the movie spawned and the fact that Quentin Tarantino has continued evolving as a filmmaker—speaking of which, damn is The Hateful Eight terrific—it’s easy to forget just how great, even downright mesmerizing this movie is. Definitely worth a rewatch.
Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol (FX, 8 p.m.): Say what you want about Tom Cruise—and there’s certainly plenty that reasonable people could say about him—but the dude did actually, honest-to-goodness rappel off the side of the world’s tallest building while performing his own stunts for this movie.
Enter The Dragon (Esquire TV, 8 p.m.):
Bruce Lee fights Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Bruce Lee fights Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nope. Wrong Bruce Lee movie. We’re an idiot. Still worth watching.
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (Flix, 8 p.m.): We remember being a bit underwhelmed by this particular Wes Anderson entry, but we’re pretty sure this is our brother’s favorite film of his, and what higher recommendation could there be than “Possibly the favorite of the brother of some dude on the internet, maybe”? Whatever the case, this film has truly excellent levels of Bill Murray.
Tooth Fairy/Tooth Fairy (FXM, 7 p.m./8:53 p.m.): If you miss the initial showing of everyone’s favorite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson/Julie Andrews vehicle, don’t worry: There’s always the encore!
Mad Max: Fury Road (HBO2, 8 p.m.): Wait, is this movie now a semi-serious Best Picture contender? At least one Oscar prognostication site we randomly visited the other day seems to think so. We have no idea if that’s true, and we honestly don’t care that much, but that’s absolutely amazing if true. We hope any Oscars the movie does win are accepted by flamethrower guitar dude. We just kind of assume that guy was the movie’s producer.
The Station Agent (Flix, 10 p.m.): For those interested in a pre-stardom Peter Dinklage, look no further. As slightly mannered indie dramas go, this one is pretty decent.
NHL Hockey: Lightning at Avalanche (NBC Sports, 9 p.m.): It’s hard to go too far wrong with hockey, so this ought to be pretty good, but this game, despite featuring last year’s Stanley Cup runner-up in Tampa Bay, doesn’t feature the hottest Floridian team in the NHL, as the Panthers have put together a pretty damn incredible 12-game winning streak. We realize this has very little to do with the game at hand, but … damn. For as long as we’ve been casually following hockey, the Florida Panthers have been consistently awful, so this felt worth remarking upon.
In case you missed it AKA the state of the wrestling union is strong
WWE Monday Night Raw: Some of you (including one of our own colleages!) have wondered why we always throw a wrestling clip into our Tuesday edition of the What’s On Tonight listings. Honestly, there’s no particular reason—there’s a decent argument that this is simply a goofy meta-joke that has long since gotten out of hand—beyond the simple fact that we have only just discovered the joys of wrestling in our late 20s, and we’re looking to make up for lost time. Plus, we’re suckers for ridiculously convoluted fictional universes that are driven more by a random assemblage of amorphously defined characters than by any coherent plotline. It’s why we love Greek mythology, comic books, and now wrestling. Anyway, enough blathering. Here’s the great C.M. Punk interrupting Vince McMahon’s State of the WWE Address.
Given all the general crazy lately, we can’t totally rule out that something like this will happen tonight, honestly. Donald Trump is a WWE alum, after all.