Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, July 10. All times are Eastern.
The Outpost (The CW, 9 p.m.): The ancient texts tell of a time before The Age Of Heroes or The Arrival Of The Outlander, when swords and sorcery on television were a much sillier affair: When there could be only one syndicated epic of such standing, but then maybe there was room for a couple of campy, Sam Raimi-produced riffs on Greek myth. Game Of Thrones changed all that, and if streaming services weren’t trying to work their own magic with the one fantasy franchise to rule them all, then networks and cable channels were basing their own songs of ice and fire on other chronicles and religious texts.
Until one night in the middle of the longest year, when a lone rider emerged from the broadcast wilds with ludicrous ear prosthetics and a taste for trouble. And lo, did The Outpost remind the audience that things weren’t always byzantine family histories and castle intrigue—dubious British accents and protracted blood feuds could be served up with a wink and dialogue like “You have to get them in the mouth to kill them.” All men must die, but loglines like “Years after her entire village is destroyed by a gang of brutal mercenaries, Talon travels to a lawless fortress on the edge of the civilized world, as she tracks the killers of her family” are eternal.
Paid Off With Michael Torpey (truTV, 10 p.m.): Perhaps fantasy and science fiction have become such attractive TV genres because we’re currently living through the most boring of dystopias, as evidenced by this game show, whose altruistic aims—comedian Michael Torpey seeks to solve the student loan crisis one quiz show champion at a time—are a pair of camel caps away from being something a George Saunders character watches after another demeaning shift of serving up casual cuisine and eye candy down at Joysticks.