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

One last Christmas for Downton Abbey

#DowntonSoWhite (BBC)
#DowntonSoWhite (BBC)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, March 6. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Downton Abbey (PBS, 9 p.m.): It seems like only yesterday that we first took that long and winding road up to the grand estate of the Granthams, a family whose silver spoons were about to be rudely yanked out of their mouths by events that would include the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, the Roaring Twenties, various economic crises, and all manner of infighting, backstabbing, and class conflict between those who lived and worked at Downton. So much happened that Caroline Siede had to take a moment and a For Our Consideration to reflect, and came to the conclusion that for show about constant change Downton Abbey sidestepped actual change with almost procedural adeptness.

Now, after six seasons spanning 14 years of history, the series finally reaches its end. Will the future of Downton remain secure for generations to come? Will Edith find happiness after years of being everyone’s punching bag? Will Bates, on the eve of his child’s birth, finally disclose just how many people he’s murdered and buried on the estate’s grounds? Will Matthew Crawley rise from the dead to traumatize those (like Gwen Ihnat) who couldn’t keep watching after he died, and lead a zombie invasion on Downton driven by his mad compulsion for entails and entrails? (Probably not this last one, given that Pride And Prejudice And Zombies has barely made half its operating budget at the box office.) So many things are possible, given that Emily L. Stephens has at various points described this season as bananas, manipulative, meta, explosive, facile, and fun. She’s sad the end is in sight, but she’s ready to clink glasses and exchange offhanded burns with the Dowager Countess one final time.

Also noted (midseason premiere edition)

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.): Tonight marks the 100th episode of Once Upon A Time, an honor that few shows manage to reach in this day and age. (Our own Marah Eakin attended the show’s centennial party to present their golden keycard to the 100 Episodes club, and has a For Our Consideration on the show’s longevity.) And just when you think it would have exhausted every aspect of its fairly tale canon, Once Upon A Time finds someplace new to tread. That new territory is the world of Hercules (no, not the good loud movie with plenty of loud yelling Hercules) with a descent into the Underworld to rescue Captain Hook, a journey with lots of potential to bring back the show’s dearly departed. Gwen Ihnat’s tagging along for the trip and brought three big steaks to distract Cerberus.


Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): This unstuck-in-time terrorism thriller with a healthy dose of soap opera returns to ABC tonight, though not to The A.V. Club as it’s been dropped from weekly coverage and will be exiled to the “What else is on” listings after this week. It was a decision made largely for Joshua Alston’s sanity, as the midseason finale inspired reactions that ranged across “goofy,” “baffling,” “blunt,” and “confusing as hell.” And the show’s been off the air for close to three months now, all but guaranteeing that everyone watching tonight will spend the entire hour trying to remember exactly who these people are and what motivates their craziness. We just remember that there were secret twins, so you can start there.

The Last Man On Earth (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Yay! We’ve missed you, The Last Man On Earth. You left us with two very stressful cliffhangers, and it looks like we’ll get an answer to at least one of them as Mike touches down on Earth. Based on Vikram Murthi’s reviews and frequent appreciation of Jason Sudekis’s past appearances, you’ve really made the grade, Mike. Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare.

Also noted

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m.): It’s time for that most honored of family rituals—the Belcher family needs to buy a new couch, and we’re betting every single one of them wants something different out of it. All Alasdair Wilkins wants to know if it can replicate his ass-groove! It took him years to forge that groove.


The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): “Lisa wants to be a veterinarian after she performs CPR on a raccoon, but learns a tough lesson when the neglected class hamster dies.” This will no doubt bring back lots of feelings for both Lisa and Dennis Perkins as it evokes memories of the late lamented Snuffy, eulogized in the poem “Meditations On Turning Eight.”

Illustration for article titled One last Christmas for iDownton Abbey/i

Shameless (Showtime, 9 p.m.): Fiona’s efforts to bond with her boyfriend’s son Will take a turn for the worse when he gets a hold of one of Carl’s guns. How does someone who basically raised her siblings keep screwing things up with small children, between this and the time Liam got his tiny hands on her cocaine stash? Do better, Fiona, for the sake of Myles McNutt and all the other people who care about you. (And for Myles’s sake, Shameless should do better too, as he’s not buying last week’s reset button for an instant.)

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): New people are coming into the story on The Walking Dead, and so far Zack Handlen’s a fan, saying of recent addition Jesus that “he continues to make a good impression… Jesus continues to be a stand-up dude.” You said it, Zack. Nobody fucks with the Jesus. You pull any of your crazy shit with him, Walking Dead, you flash a piece out on the lanes, he’ll take it away from you, stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger ‘til it goes “click.”


Regular coverage

Vinyl (HBO, 9 p.m.)

The Good Wife (CBS, 9 p.m.)

Billions (Showtime, 10 p.m.)

Girls (HBO, 10 p.m.)

Togetherness (HBO, 10:30 p.m.)

The Venture Bros. (Adult Swim, 12 a.m.)

Tomorrow in TV Club

Speaking of shows that have crossed the 100 episode threshold, RuPaul’s Drag Race will be joining the club as well with Monday’s episode, and Oliver Sava has a 100 Episodes made up and decked out to pay tribute to all its outrageous, high-energy glamour. We’ve also got yet another For Our Consideration, this one from Nico Lang about The Good Wife and its refreshingly post-queer approach to its characters, and TV Reviews of WGN’s Underground from Joshua Alston and A&E’s Damien from Brandon Nowalk. And Will Harris counts down from 100 to 24 in a Random Roles with Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland. We hope Sutherland talks about Dark City a lot, because that’s an amazing film and he’s so good and creepy in it.


What else is on?

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11:10 p.m.): #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain

Bordertown (Fox, 7 p.m.): Bordertown’s been relocated to the 7 p.m. slot going forward, which looks like yet another nail in the show’s coffin. How can no one be watching a show that has such plots as “An ostrich stalks Bud”? Never mind, we just answered our own question.


Madam Secretary (CBS, 8 p.m.): Elizabeth is given a chance to interrogate someone who might be able to give her the location of a top terrorist. Maybe she’ll find the bastards who perpetuated the events of London Has Fallen! (We’re talking about the filmmakers, not the terrorists in the film itself. Have you read the review?)

Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life (Fox, 8:30 p.m): Tonight’s episode is called “How to Survive Your Horrible Landlord.” More like “How To Survive Your Horrible Ratings,” are we right?! We may have made this joke already. This show is so forgettable we even forget what we’ve said about it.


The Family (ABC, 9 p.m.): ABC’s newest drama moves to its regular home tonight, and the hunt is on for the “pock-marked man” who held Adam captive for a decade. We thought this was a political thriller/family drama, but maybe it’s a stealth crime procedural and will turn out to be our generation’s The Fugitive.

CSI: Cyber (CBS, 10 p.m.): Based on the title, tonight’s episode of CSI: Cyber can only afford five of the seven deadly sins.


Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): Alanna Masterson (Tara), Ross Marquand (Aaron) and J.B. Smoove are tonight’s guests. Why hasn’t J.B. Smoove been on The Walking Dead? He seems like he’d be a ton of fun for the three or four episodes it would take for him to inevitably get eaten.

Comic Book Men (AMC, 12 a.m.): We’re not usually up watching TV at midnight, so we missed that Comic Book Men came back for its latest season. Our apologies to Kevin Smith and company. Tonight, “An old pal inspires the gang to don their cowboy hats and journey back to the old Wild West.” Do they have a holodeck now?


CNN Democratic Debate (CNN, 8 p.m.): The death march with polls continues in the umpteenth debate, this one between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Flint, Michigan. Given where this one’s taking place and the increasingly competitive air of the race, expect tonight’s discussion to be an impassioned one.

I Am Cait (E!, 9 p.m.): Season two of Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show premieres tonight, as she and her friends embark on a cross-country road trip. Given Jenner’s recent endorsement of Ted Cruz and offer to be his ambassador on transgender relations, we have a bad feeling this is going to be an even more politicized season.


Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge (CMT, 8 p.m.): The competitions this week are Drag Race, Pile Up, and Splinter. We’ve been too busy this week to look up what those mean, but by all means we invite you to make up your own in the comments.

Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network, 8 p.m.): Tonight’s episode puts teams of strangers together, which leads to the title of “Perfect Strangers.” That calls for a dance of joy!

Hoarders (A&E, 9 p.m.): “A man has lost customers in his camera shop, which has become a storage space for his hoarding.” Ironically, cameras are the one thing that he doesn’t hoard.


About Last Night (FXX, 7 p.m.): “It’s better than the one from 1986!” was about all the praise A.A. Dowd could muster for this second film adaptation of a David Mamet play that once again missed the mark with the homogenized trappings of romcoms.

Despicable Me 2 (FX, 8 p.m.): The franchise that dangles minions in front of you like a parent with keys trying to distract a toddler has a sequel that can’t live up to the original.


The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (TNT, 8:30 p.m.): The one where the dragon shows up.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Comedy Central, 9:15 p.m.): It’s been a couple weeks since Love premiered on Netflix (and only a couple days since we wrapped up our regular coverage), so you might be hurting for Judd Apatow-related content. Comedy Central has you covered with this Apatow-produced film that gives Jason Segel his chance in the spotlight.


Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, and Rocky V (IFC, 2 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 8 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and 12:30 a.m.): Sylvester Stallone not winning the Academy Award was a big upset on our Oscar ballot, but he can console himself that his character will live on in Sunday movie marathons for all eternity.


College Basketball, Maryland at Indiana (CBS, 4:30 p.m.)

MLS Soccer, Portland vs. Columbus (ESPN, 4:30 p.m.)

Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Semifinal (Fox Sports, 5 p.m.)

Rugby Sevens, Sevens World Series (NBC Sports, 6 p.m.)

American Athletic Women’s Basketball Tournament (ESPNU, 6:30 p.m.)

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Championship (ESPN, 7 p.m.)

Atlantic Sun Basketball Championship, Stetson at Florida Gulf Coast (ESPN2, 7 p.m.)


MLS Soccer, Seattle vs. Sporting KC (Fox Sports, 7 p.m.)

NHL Hockey, Blues at Wild (NBC Sports, 8 p.m.)

Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Championship (ESPN, 9 p.m.)

In case you missed it

Adventure Time: Finn went on one of his most complex and distressing adventures yet in “The Hall Of Egress,” and left it not wanting to talk about what he experienced. Thankfully for us, Oliver Sava filled in the blanks.


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