Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Please make sense of this madness for us, Last Week Tonight

John Oliver (Image: HBO)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, February 12. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11 p.m.): In 2016, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver was a shining beacon in the eternal shriek that was our daily existence. The former Daily Show correspondent became the voice of reason, the one who tried to separate the bullshit from the science, who pushed for “Donald Drumpf” to become a thing, who vivisected the proposed border wall and the inanity of third-party presidential candidates, who looked for the rays of light in the dark horror of the Orlando shooting, and eventually just blew the whole thing up in catharsis. Now that 2017 is proving to be just as bad, between the Muslim ban and more beloved celebrities lost, we need Oliver’s confusion and outrage to guide us more than ever, even if he may be as tired of our garbage president as we all are. Here’s to season four still fighting the good fight and shining a light on things we’d never know about otherwise.


The 59th Annual Grammy Awards (CBS, 9 p.m.): On the topic of fighting the good fight, tonight’s Grammys are shaping up to be a major battle between Beyoncé and Adele, as the two are the frontrunners in the headline categories of album of the year, song of the year, and record of the year awards. James Corden will host the clash between the Instagram queen and she who was too good for the Super Bowl.

Girls (HBO, 10 p.m.): It’s the final season of Lena Dunham’s sitcom, meaning there’s one more chance for Hannah, Jess, Marnie, and Shoshanna to get their lives right, and one more opportunity for people to get up in arms about Dunham being a woman who dares to say things that make people uncomfortable (like that whole “abortion cred” statement or using the word “penis” on the Today show) and write characters you’re not supposed to like. No word if this final season will approach the tone poem heights Dunham originally pitched, but if he’s being totally honest, reviewer Joshua Alston would be into that.

Premieres and finales

The EE British Academy Film Awards (BBC America, 8 p.m.): The Oscars are still a couple of weeks away, but the parade of award shows continues with BAFTA’s look at the best films of the year. Everyone’s favorite British uncle Stephen Fry returns to host, and Prince William will make an appearance to present Mel Brooks with the BAFTA Fellowship. No word if George and Charlotte are big Young Frankenstein fans.


The Missing (Starz, 8 p.m.): Starz’s anthology series returns for its second season with new characters and a new cast, as a woman appears in a German town claiming to be someone who disappeared more than a decade ago. Her mother has doubts, but her father is willing to accept it—and given her father is played by the governor himself, David Morrissey, you know he’s willing to accept a lot when it comes to a daughter thought lost.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Speaking of The Walking Dead, hope seemed to dawn once more in the midseason finale, as Rick was reunited with friends and family and seemed to get back some of his mojo to take down Negan. That move can’t come fast enough for reviewer Zack Handlen, along with whenever Carol gets to drop the mask and show she could kill every damn person in the world if she put her mind to it.


The Weapon Hunter (Smithsonian, 9 p.m.): “Paul Shull returns on his quest to get his hands on some of the world’s rarest and most remarkable pieces of military history. To do so, Paul calls on his network of military artifact collectors who have amassed collections that rival those found in the world’s great military history museums.” If this guy knows where to get us a Howitzer, please have him hit us up on Twitter, as we just moved into a new apartment and it would look great in the foyer.

Long Lost Family (TLC, 9 p.m.): For an interesting bit of cognitive dissonance, pair the uncertainty of The Missing with this program all about the joys and uncertainties of real reunions, and try to imagine how hosts Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner would deal with that distressing scenario.


Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): Chris Hardwick once again breaks down the bleakest of events in the most chipper of tones, and for the midseason premiere he’s joined by Khary Payton, Executive Producer Greg Nicotero, and Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams. Side note, we’d pay big money to see how long a football team could last if you kept filling the stadium with zombies.

How The World Ends (American Heroes Channel, 10 p.m.): Perhaps picking up on the fact that there’s a lot of people who are either actively trying to end the world or terrified that’s what’s going to happen, AHC delves into the theories and science of those who predict our mass extinction. The premiere focuses on Nostradamus, and his puzzling mention of a melted marshmallow topped with pumpkin innards as the harbinger of destruction.


Cake Wars (Food Network, 10 p.m.): Tonight’s premiere is titled “Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!” so it’s a safe assumption that only green eggs will be permitted in the cooking process. Bonus points if you figure out how to incorporate ham.

Regular coverage

The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.)

Son Of Zorn (Fox, 8:30 p.m.)

The Young Pope (HBO, 9 p.m.)

Victoria (PBS, 9 p.m.)

Homeland (Showtime, 9 p.m.)

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 9:30 p.m.)

Streaming pick

Rick And Morty, “Anatomy Park” (Hulu): Last Week Tonight is back, but another show keenly missed that has no return date in sight is Rick And Morty, partially due to the fact that Dan Harmon is (gasp) a difficult person to work with. To salve the pain, check out John Oliver’s stint in this season one episode as the John Hammond of a gigantic hobo amusement park. And if the old adage is true, one can only wonder what’s goin’ down in the Rocky Mountains.


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