Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Monday, September 29. All times are Eastern.
Sleepy Hollow (Fox, 9 p.m.): Zack Handlen raved about last week’s season premiere of network TV’s nuttiest drama, and we can think of no better way to illustrate this show’s iconoclastic charms than sharing with you the first sentence of the description for tonight’s episode. Here we go: “Ichabod and Abbie hatch a desperate plan to rescue Katrina from the Headless Horseman that involves a Frankenstein-type monster created by Benjamin Franklin.” It’s okay, take a moment, catch your breath after all that. That’s the kind of sentence that starts at one level of crazy and then just goes about building to the most incredible crescendo of crazy we’ve ever seen. Seriously, tonight’s episode has a plan that “involves a Frankenstein-type monster created by Benjamin Franklin.” That implies that the Frankenstein-type monster created by Benjamin Franklin is but one aspect of a far grander design! Yeah, I think we all need to go watch this show.
Transparent (2 p.m.): We were pretty big fans of this Jeffrey Tambor-starring Amazon series when we saw the pilot back in February, and we’re pleased to say that we’re adding it to our regular coverage rotation. Eric Thurm will look at two episodes per review, with our coverage kicking off this afternoon and then moving to Fridays thereafter.
Gotham (Fox, 8 p.m.): This episode features the Penguin as he “blazes a bloody trail back to Gotham.” Under most circumstances, I’d assume that would be the episode’s grittiest plotline, but there’s also some business about a child-trafficking ring, in which future Catwoman Selina Kyle is revealed as one of the victims, so now I don’t know what to think. What I do think—because Doctor Who is the lens through which I view literally everything on this planet—is that this show’s Alfred is totally the 3rd Doctor’s kid. Oliver Sava is getting really, really tired of me pointing this out.
Phineas And Ferb (Disney XD, 7:30 p.m.): “We have to go back,” Lost reviewer emeritus Noel Murray told What’s On Tonight, and for a second we worried that Noel had slipped into a parallel universe in which the premier mystery show of the New Golden Age was still airing new episodes. Turns out we were sort of right: Animated staple Phineas And Ferb debuts a 10th-anniversary homage to Lost tonight (an homage plotted by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof), and Noel’s digging out his dusty “Clues, Coincidences & Crazy-Ass Theories” notebook to decode the episode for TV Club.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8 p.m.): We know we said last week that we would end our coverage of this show with the season premiere, but the overlords of TV Club are capricious, fickle creatures. Also, new TV Clubber Kyle Fowle said he could totally take the job on, so here we are. The Big Bang Theory is back, baby! Note that there are two episodes tonight, because CBS.
We’ve got a packed slate of reviews and features for you this fine Monday. First up, Genevieve Valentine reveals that Dylan McDermott was just getting warmed up with last year’s Hostages, as somehow his new show Stalker is even worse. Myles McNutt, on the other hand, just sort of wonders why Gracepoint exists, even leaving aside the fact that it’s a pale imitation of the acclaimed British show Broadchurch. Elsewhere, a new feature debuts as the TV Club staff recommends 5 To Watch—that is, five episodes of a classic show making its streaming debut, and we kick things off right with Gilmore Girls. Our latest inventory looks at siblings who seem to get way closer than siblings really ought to, and there are plenty of television favorites on that list, including more or less the entire Game Of Thrones ensemble. Finally, Will Harris’ latest Random Roles interview features television legend Judd Hirsch, as he talks about everything from Taxi and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip to his new gig on Forever.
East Meets West (Smithsonian Channel, 8 p.m.): Leave it to the Smithsonian Museum to bring a little culture back to TV, at least until they answer the same siren song that beguiled the History Channel and start churning out reality shows about pawn shop truckers or something. Anyway, this new documentary series debuts tonight, and it explores how recent discoveries in Turkey help explain how the Middle East influenced the development of the Western world.
Lab Rats (Disney XD, 9 p.m.): In case you’re wondering what Hal Sparks is up to in 2014—and I imagine Hal Sparks would like to be referred to as onetime Talk Soup host Hal Sparks, or perhaps Queer As Folk’s Hal Sparks, but he’s always going to be that one guy on I Love The 80s that wasn’t Michael Ian Black as far as I’m concerned—then the answer is “playing the token adult character on a Disney XD sitcom about teens with bionic powers and the nerd who befriends them.”
How It’s Made (Science, 10 p.m.): Tonight’s episode promises insight on the making of three wildly different things: saunas, wheelchair lifts, and dioramas. I imagine the promise of how to make a diorama means scores of 7th graders staring down a project deadline will be anxiously tuning in tonight. Then again, I’m like 95 percent sure that it’s all going to end with them trying to build their own homemade saunas.
The Hispanic Heritage Awards (PBS, 10 p.m.): There are some fascinating honorees in tonight’s broadcast, including Star Trek and Guardians Of The Galaxy star Zoe Saldana, New York Yankees great—well, great might be overdoing it, but his toes were just so damn classy—Bernie Williams, Puerto Rico’s highly decorated 65th Infantry Regiment, and the Hayden High School Robotics Team, which I may or may not have found out about from that one Colbert Report interview.
Jurassic Park/The Lost World: Jurassic Park (AMC, 7 p.m./10 p.m.): So, I’m pretty sure there’s no, like, objective argument that the second Jurassic Park is better than the first, but this really comes down to how you like your Jeff Goldblum. If you like your highly concentrated bursts of chaos theory-spouting, aggressively all-black-clad Jeff Goldblum, then you kind of have to go with the original. But for those who prefer who prefer a solid two hours of Jeff Goldblum doing his uniquely Jeff Goldblum spin on what it means to be a put-upon action movie lead, then I think it’s got to be The Lost World. Also, that movie reintroduces his character by cross-cutting a dinosaur’s roar with a shot of him yawning, and that’s kind of amazing.
Wild Wild West (BET, 7 p.m.): For a while there in my childhood, this was one of three movies that I quite confidently knew to be appallingly, irredeemably terrible; the other two were Superman III and Batman And Robin, which says something about my preteen viewing habits. Then again, I’m increasingly of the opinion that the best thing Kevin Smith has ever done is explain why Wild Wild West producer Jon Peters is a madman, so perhaps this movie does have that one redeeming feature.
Monday Night Football: Patriots at Chiefs (ESPN, 8:15 p.m.): This is the first time New England and Kansas City have played since 2011, meaning this is the first game since Kansas City officially ended former general manager Scott Pioli’s ill-fated attempt to build New England West, a strategy that involved hiring old Bill Belichick assistants as coach, trading for Tom Brady’s backup, and inexplicably running a football team like a police state. These days, new Chiefs coach Andy Reid just likes to dance.
Once Upon A Time/Revenge: Two ABC dramas return for new seasons, but sadly TV Club won’t be making the journey with them. Why not join Gwen Ihnat and Carrie Raisler as they bid—well, fond might be going a bit far—farewell to a pair of shows that aren’t exactly at their best right now, but were pretty damn fun when they were doing their thing.