Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, May 21. All times are Eastern.
Red Nose Day (NBC, 8 p.m.): British imports can be hit or miss on American TV; for every Office there’s a Gracepoint. But NBC is hoping the annual British charity event Red Nose Day can find an audience across the pond too. Essentially it’s a three-hour charity drive aimed at raising money for children in need. But rather than just feature celebrities mournfully making pleas for donations, the special offers up comedy and music to promote “fun-raising.” The likes of Jennifer Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, Jack Black, Martin Short, John Legend, and Will Ferrell are slated to appear, while plenty more famous faces have already lent their support in pre-filmed sketches—like Peter Dinklage singing abut Game Of Thrones or Anna Kendrick rebooting Indiana Jones. America’s sweethearts Seth Meyers, David Duchovny and Jane Krakowski are each set to host an hour.
Grace And Frankie (Netflix, 6 p.m.): First up: a massive round of applause for Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, who has plowed through the first season of Grace And Frankie at a truly remarkable clip. She finally reaches the end of the journey as Robert and Sol get ready to walk down the aisle and Grace and Frankie hopefully get ready to be okay with that.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.): The guys head to the water park to celebrate Finn’s rescue of Princess Orangutan. Oliver Sava prefers to unwind from his heroism with a cold brewski, but hey, that’s just him.
Louie (FX, 10:30 p.m.): Louie heads out of town in the first half of this two-part finale. But while the episode is called “The Road,” the preview suggests Louie will actually be traveling by airplane. Brandon Nowalk is determined to get to the bottom of this semantic mystery.
Wayward Pines (Fox, 9 p.m.)
Futurama (10 a.m.): Bender became a Pharaoh last week so naturally he goes full-on deity in “Godfellas.” Then Futurama explores corporate takeovers in “Future Stock.” Zack Handlen recommends buying low, selling high, and never trusting That Guy.
Comedian Jen Kirkman chats with us about her Netflix comedy special I’m Going To Die Alone. Then at 9 a.m., Alex McCown takes a look at the 2009 CBS horror series Harper’s Island in a brand new One-Season Wonders, Weirdos, And Wannabes. Before The Walking Dead made it cool, this series made a habit of regularly killing its characters:
Unlike most television efforts at horror, which employ supernatural elements, Harper’s Island played it straight: Set firmly within the real world, the show attempted to make a season-long TV series out of what’s basically a slasher movie. Closer in spirit to Masterpiece Mystery! than The X-Files, the show did its level best to scare viewers with a weekly murder, rather than a supernatural creature. Most fascinating of all, Harper’s Island was brought down not by the slipshod nature of its scares, but rather by the weakness of just about everything but the horror.
500 Questions (ABC, 8 p.m.): ABC continues its effort to create appointment TV out of thin air with this seven-night game show special. Tonight is round two and the contestants have to keep on answering trivia questions without getting three wrong in a row.
Lip Synch Battle (Spike, 10 p.m.): While some have doubted the necessity of a TV show where celebrities lip-synch to pop songs, tonight’s match-up pretty much justifies the series’ entire existence. Salt (aka Cheryl James) faces off against Peppa (aka Sandra Denton) in this ’90s hip-hop dream battle.
The Comedians (FX, 10 p.m.): It’s Billy Crystal’s birthday on this episode of The Comedians. Josh Gad takes him out to celebrate. We assume shenanigans occur.
Between (Netflix, 11:30 p.m.): Binge-watchers be damned! Netflix is releasing this YA sci-fi drama one episode at a time. The show centers on a small town plagued by a virus that kills anyone over the age of 21. In his pre-air review, Joshua Alston writes, “Without a tantalizing hook to lure its viewers, nor the illusion of momentum that binge-watching creates, Between will be a tough sell.”
Friends With Benefits (FX, 7:30 p.m.): This rom com explores the heart-wrenching question: Will two rich, attractive people enter a loving relationship or merely continue having mind-blowingly good sex?
The Poseidon Adventure (TCM, 8 p.m.): Before disaster movies featured the Rock battling earthquakes, they centered on Gene Hackman battling the ocean. When the SS Poseidon capsizes, a group of survivors have to figure out how to escape before the ship sinks.
Stanley Cup Playoff: Ducks at Blackhawks (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.): It’s a battle of the birds as the Anaheim aquatic fowl take on the Chicago birds of prey. (Also, yes, we know the Chicago team is named for a Native American tribe and not a literal hawk, but just go with it okay?)
Black-ish: The Black-ish season finale was, of all things, an homage to 1920s Harlem. Joshua Altson weighs in on the costumes, the dancing, and the cameos from Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mary J. Blige.