Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, March 5. All times are Eastern.
Dig (USA, 10 p.m.): Once known for quirky procedurals, USA is now branching out into the world of action thrillers with Dig. This show has everything: religious prophecies, international politics, and Jason Isaacs. While stationed in Jerusalem, Isaac’s FBI agent investigates the murder of an American teen and accidentally uncovers a 2000-year-old conspiracy that could “change the course of human history.” Co-created by Homeland’s Gideon Raff and Heroes’ Tim Kring, Dig looks to balance the former show’s political thrills with the latter’s supernatural plotting while topping the whole thing off with healthy dose of religious iconography for good measure. (According to one trailer, the High Priest’s Breastplate can be used to communicate directly with God!) We put Emily L. Stephens on the case to figure out whether this 10-episode limited series is a secret success or a trainwreck of—wait for it—Biblical proportions.
Scandal (ABC, 9 p.m.): Previews have already billed this week’s Scandal as, “The most powerful episode of the season.” At the very least, it’s one of the most topical. A white cop kills a black kid, and Olivia becomes involved in a tense standoff when the boy’s shotgun-wielding father seeks revenge. Joshua Alston weighs in on whether this plotline is an interesting exploration of a national issue or a cheap ploy for ratings.
Fortitude (Pivot, 10 p.m.): It’s a What’s On Tonight exclusive! The folks at Pivot were kind enough to share a never-before-seen clip from tonight’s new episode of Fortitude. It’s a good intro to the moody mystery series, in which Stanley Tucci’s American detective, DCI Morton, helps investigate a murder in the small Arctic town of Fortitude. But more importantly, the clip features Sherriff Anderssen (Richard Dormer) saying the word “Pettigrew” to a man who once played Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Libby Hill is thrilled on multiple levels.
American Crime (ABC, 10 p.m.): ABC steps into the prestige game with this 11-episode limited series about prejudice in the U.S. judicial system. Created by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley, the show’s all-star cast includes the likes of Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, and Regina King. American Crime centers on a brutal home invasion that sparks a wide-reaching investigation, which in turn touches on issues of race, class, drugs, and violence. On paper it sounds a bit like a TV version of Crash, but while Joshua Alston did find the show’s racial politics a bit too on the nose in his pre-air review, he also thinks American Crime could be the exception to the rule that prestige drama has no place on network TV. (Libby Hill, meanwhile, has a place as your weekly American Crime correspondent.)
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.)
Vikings (History, 10 p.m.)
Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.)
Elementary (CBS, 10 p.m.)
Archer (FX, 10 p.m.)
TV Club Classic
Futurama (10 a.m.): A corporate owner tries to become supreme overlord of the Earth in “Mother’s Day,” while the gang discover a delicious new animal life form in “The Problem With Popplers.” Only one of those episodes is a Star Trek parody, but Zack Handlen isn’t say which one.
Elsewhere in TV Club
In addition to Joshua Alston’s pre-air review of American Crime, Gwen Ihnat has a brand new One Season Wonders, Weirdos, and Wannabes on the flop series Man From Atlantis, which exemplified with 1970s’ weird obsession with the sea. Though it aimed to be a kind of ocean-set Star Trek, Ihnat writes, “Man From Atlantis was set up as if Spock led every mission, with no one to react against.” It did have a walking seahorse, however, which is definitely a plus.
What else is on?
Steven Universe/Regular Show (Cartoon Network, 6:30/7:30 p.m.): There’s a space droid on Steven Universe and an addictive video game on Regular Show. (Also fans of this particular section of What’s On Tonight should be sure to check back next week for a big announcement!)
The Gal… Who Was In The Thing: That Guy 2 (Showtime, 7 p.m.): As a follow up to its popular documentary about character actors, Showtime details the lives of eight character actresses including Catherine Hicks, Alicia Coppola, Cristine Rose, and Roma Maffia. In talking heads and group interviews the women discuss typical lady stuff, like sexist industry double standards.
The Odd Couple (CBS, 8:30)/Backstrom (Fox, 9 p.m.)/Mom (CBS, 9:30): It’s a triple bill of beloved TV personas in new, less-beloved comedies. Join Matthew Perry, Rainn Wilson, and Allison Janney as they try to escape the characters you will forever associate them with.
The Real Housewives Of Melbourne (Bravo, 9 p.m.): G’day! Vegemite! Crocodile Dundee! The Australian housewives return for a second season of ridiculous reality TV drama with really good accents.
Duff Till Dawn (Food Network, 10:30 p.m.): The first season of Duff Till Dawn—the reality competition from Baltimore baker and Ace Of Cakes star Duff Goldman—comes to a close tonight. The “Fairies vs. Goblins” challenge asks competitors to create whimsical cakes and, as always, they have to do so over night.
Planet Of The Apes (TCM, 6 p.m.): Travel back two whole reboots ago to this 1968 sci-fi film that somehow launched a franchise that’s thrived for almost 50 years.
The Breakfast Club (ABC Family, 7 p.m.): The Breakfast Club taught us the only way to truly resolve cultural differences is with an epic dance party. (Are you listening, Middle East?)
NBA Basketball: Thunder at Bulls (TNT, 8 p.m.): Since we’re a Chicago-based publication, we’re always slightly biased towards games that happen in Chicago. Strangely, however, we’re pretty neutral about deep dish pizza.
In case you missed it
Broadchurch: Detectives Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy are back on the case in the second season premiere of Broadchurch. Gwen Ihnat, meanwhile, is still trying to get David Tennant’s Gracepoint American accent out of her mind.