Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kenneth Branagh stars as Wallander, the most popular Swedish investigator without a dragon tattoo

Illustration for article titled Kenneth Branagh stars as Wallander, the most popular Swedish investigator without a dragon tattoo

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, September 9. All times are Eastern.


Wallander (PBS, 9 p.m.): Before there was Lisbeth Salander, there was Kurt Wallander, the brooding Swedish police detective who first appeared in print in 1997 and whom Kenneth Branagh has brought to sulky, searching, occasionally televised life since 2008. Tonight marks the Stateside debut of Wallander’s third series of feature-length, shrouded-in-Scandinavian-duskiness mysteries, and Dennis Perkins is on the case—provided he can break through Branagh’s perpetual “I’ve seen too much” scowl.



Hell On Wheels (AMC, 9 p.m.): Hard to believe it, but Hell On Wheels just might deliver two consecutive episodes about building a railroad. The news makes Alasdair Wilkins so happy, he couldn’t give a hoot who’s in the kitchen with Dinah, and whether or not they’re strumming on a banjo of any vintage!

Copper (BBC America, 10 p.m.): The backstory of Detective Corcoran is a-deepenin’, as clues about a past trauma that spurred him to become Batman turn up. The sepia-toned plot thickens all around Farihah Zaman.

Weeds (Showtime, 10 p.m.): One week prior to its big series finale, Weeds reaches the 100-episode milestone, and everybody’s back to celebrate: We can’t tell you who shows up, but we can say Myles McNutt’s long-dormant enthusiasm for the show makes a cameo!


Web Therapy (Showtime, 10:30 p.m.): You probably didn’t notice that Web Therapy was about to wrap up its second season, that it recently changed timeslots, or that the show has gotten crazy good—but before it disappears (possibly for good), Brandon Nowalk thinks you ought to give the show a shot. If not for him, do it for Lisa Kudrow, huh?


Doctor Who (Classic) (11 a.m.): Even for early Doctor Who, the Quarks of “The Dominators” are hilariously chintzy adversaries. Nonetheless, because of the Quarks, Christopher Bahn regards all old-school combination safes and vending machines with skepticism, lest they sprout arms, legs, spherical heads, and start blowing shit up.


South Park (Classic) (1 p.m.): Phil Dyess-Nugent shakes things up by applying the famous “Chewbacca defense” to this week’s South Park double-header. A town that holds a festival devoted to cows? That does not make sense! Elton John, Joe Strummer, Devo, and Meatloaf all lending their voices to a basic-cable cartoon? That does not make sense!

The Simpsons (Classic) (3 p.m.): So it’s come to this: Nathan Rabin reviews “So It’s Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show,” the first-ever Simpsons “greatest hits” episode—but certainly not its last.



Great Barrier Reef (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.): Like polar bears and bees, scientific evidence suggests that coral reefs could one day be a thing of the past. When that sad day comes, cross your fingers that you’ll have enough Energy Ration Credits to download this two-hour documentary to your iBrain.


Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): The reincarnation dramedy ends its latest season as all shows must, at some point, with a wedding episode. If My Mother The Car would’ve lasted four seasons, the same thing would’ve happened to it—and it would’ve been weird.

Breaking Amish (TLC, 10 p.m.): We’re going to hand this one over to our own Emily Guendelsberger, though it’ll be her fellow Philadelphian Molly Eichel filing the review of the latest addition to the “Amish fish out of Amish water” genre: “That sounds like any number of amazing shows: The Amish cook meth, the Amish go on Rumspringa, the young, struggling Amish meet up with two breakdancers and become the sensation of the street crowds.” We’d watch any of those series.


Robot Chicken DC Comics Special (Cartoon Network, 11:59 p.m.): The DC action figures in Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s foul-mouthed toy chest team up to make every Aquaman joke they’ve never made before. Kevin McFarland wonders they’ve tried riffing on the fact that Aquaman’s only apparent superpower is the ability to speak with fish. Hmmmmmmm?

Gran Torino (TNT, 6:30 p.m.): Someone was either fired or promoted for programming Clint Eastwood’s two-hour “get off my lawn” rant so close to his argument with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. Funny thing, though: You don’t see any sass-mouthed chairs loitering on Eastwood’s lawn in this movie, do you?


Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Showtime 2, 8 p.m.): Since love is officially dead, why don’t we all work toward developing the technology Tom Wilkinson uses in this movie to wipe Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet from one another’s mind. Then, when we inevitably find ourselves in the same “love is dead” quandary a few years down the line, we can do it all over again!

Sunday Night Football: Steelers at Broncos (NBC, 8:15 p.m.): Just when it started to feel used by the Olympics (the games only come around every two years, crash at the network’s apartment for two-and-a-half weeks and eat up all of the money and onscreen talent in the refrigerator; things get hot and heavy ratings-wise, but then the Olympics split without so much as leaving a note), football returns to make NBC feel like a pretty peacock who deserves to be loved. With Peyton Manning’s first start since the 2010 AFC wild-card game? Oh, football—you shouldn’t have!



Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Phil Dyess-Nugent couldn’t decide how to put it, so he’ll leave it to you: Is this Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood spin-off grrrrrrrrrrreat, a roaring good time for the kids, or a pale imitator that doesn’t earn its stripes?


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