Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Tuesday, March 20. All times are Eastern.
Key & Peele (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.): Spring must be upon us, because one of TV’s best nights will be less busy come next week. At least two of the four shows ending their current seasons tonight will make it much easier to watch the three remaining episodes of Justified’s third season—in the meantime, hold out for FX’s 11 p.m. Raylan rerun and check out the final half-hour of Key & Peele’s first season. The sketch program’s initial batch of episodes had its ups and downs, but it’s finishing season one strong, coming off a string of superb episodes and trotting out Jordan Peele’s unimpeachable President Obama for a season-finale victory lap. Steve Heisler suggests you tune in, at least so you know what show your friends are quoting during TV’s summer vacation.
Raising Hope (Fox, 8 p.m.): With the end of MTV’s Teen Mom on the horizon, here’s an episode that’ll only have a topical angle (yeah, right) through the summer of 2012, as Virginia takes some time to help a client’s troubled daughter. When Teen Mom’s off the air, you can just enjoy Virginia’s nutty advice—as Phil Dyess-Nugent would want you to.
Switched At Birth (ABC Family, 8 p.m.): Switched At Birth wraps its first season with a prom. Anything can happen at prom! Or against the backdrop of prom! Like complications for the adult characters! But first, Carrie Raisler will meet you for a 7:30 reservation at Benihana.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): Grayson’s wild bachelor years are sneaking up on him, throwing a wrench—and a previously unknown daughter—into the buildup to his and Jules’ nuptials. Ryan McGee is having second thoughts about buying Grayson and Jules that nice decanter from Crate & Barrel.
Ringer (The CW, 9 p.m.): “An attempt is made on Bridget’s life”—which is funny, because this whole mess started with Siobahn’s life being threatened. Is it possible there’s another Kelly sister waiting to take her place, who’ll also be played by Sarah Michelle Gellar? If she’s too busy, Carrie Raisler will accept the role—especially if she gets to kill off most of the show’s characters.
New Girl (Fox, 9 p.m.): It’s the first episode of a New Girl two-parter, where a romantic prospect for Jess leads Nick to… get a new phone? The cliffhanger’s going to hinge on his decision on a data plan, isn’t it? Erik Adams is worried Nick’s going to sign a contract on which he can’t renege.
The River (ABC, 9 p.m.): In the second of tonight’s season finales involving a character named Emmett (spooky!), the Magus is plunged into whatever horrifying wreck the footage that makes up The River was recovered from. Scott Von Doviak bets it all comes down to someone forgetting to unplug a hairdryer.
Justified (FX, 10 p.m.): Raylan has enemies threatening him from the inside and the outside, with Dickie Bennett potentially facing a release from prison while Quarles’ continues his bid to get a slice of the criminal pie in Harlan. It’s a good thing Boyd’s still busy with the sheriff’s election, or this episode might push Scott Tobias into a state of antagonist overload.
Southland (TNT, 10 p.m.): Everything went to shit last week, and everyone’s picking up the pieces for this fourth-season capper: Tang’s moving to another precinct, Lydia’s actively dealing with her pregnancy, and Sammy is recovering from that brutal car accident. Kevin McFarland, meanwhile, is unsure what he’ll do without the Southland cops in his life.
TV CLUB CLASSIC
The Muppet Show (noon): Things are more chaotic around The Muppet Theater than usual, as one of this week’s episodes finds the grand old playhouse threatened with demolition, while the other finds Kermit taking a sick day, leaving the show in the “capable” hands of Fozzie Bear. “The more Muppet-related chaos, the better,” declares Erik Adams.
WHAT ELSE IS ON
Lucky Muckers (National Geographic, 8 p.m.): National Geographic introduces viewers to the fascinating world of mudlarks, treasure seekers trawling the mucky banks of the River Thames for artifacts of old London town. Patiently dig through enough filthy water, and you too might turn up a new reality-show concept.
The Wiener’s Circle (TruTV, 10 p.m.): Obviously someone at TruTV has heard and seen This American Life’s radio and television profiles of infamous, customer-insulting Chicago hot-dog stand The Wiener’s Circle. This series features the game show-style challenges Ira Glass and company’s stories sorely lacked, however.
Top Gear (History, 9 p.m.): The Top Gearheads turn out a custom limo to bear a star to the Emmy Awards. Coincidentally, the chassis of said automobile is made of melted-down CableACE statuettes.
Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (HBO, 10 p.m.): Among the athletes interviewed in this month’s installment of the long-running sports-journalism series: Multi-generational acrobatics act The Flying Wallendas. Here’s hoping the Wallendas apply the same grace and precision to answering Gumbel’s question that they display on the highwire.
Step Up 3 (Encore, 8 p.m.): The second sequel to Step Up compensated for its lack of compelling dialogue and Channing “The Big Brisket” Tatum with surprisingly effective 3-D effects. Will those faults be more pronounced in this non-3-D, premium-cable presentation? Not if you watch it in The A.V. Club’s new Big-Brisket-O-Vision, a technology which superimposes Tatum’s face and underutilized comedic range over every in actor in a film.
Gold Diggers Of 1933 (TCM, 8 p.m.): Of course, director and choreographer Busby Berkeley didn’t need cheap effects and Big Briskets to sell his dazzling production numbers—just massive sound stages and armies of chorus girls. (On an unrelated note: Not enough modern films include their year of release in the title. Expect that to change thanks to the forthcoming Changing Tatums 2012—Presented In The A.V. Club’s Big-Brisket-O-Vision.)
NHL Hockey: Coyotes at Stars (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.): The way rankings are currently handled in the NHL, Dallas will fall from third to sixth place in the Western Conference if the Stars lose this game to their Pacific Division rivals from Phoenix. Next season’s conference realignment should address this, along with the geographic discrepancy of teams from landlocked cities (neither of which is even in the Pacific Time Zone!) playing in a division named for an ocean.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Smash: The good news, according to Noel Murray, about “The Workshop”: The titular trial run through of Marilyn is one of Smash’s finest segments yet. The bad news: It’s still surrounded by an episode of Smash.