Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

SNL courts the dark side, inviting Adam Driver into its heart

Kate McKinnon, Adam Driver (who actually seems quite nice) (NBC)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 15, and Saturday, January 16. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m., Saturday): There are lots of reasons to get excited about an upcoming SNL—a legendary actor, a beloved former cast member, a great standup—but sometimes it’s the announcement of a host who is the last person you imagine would ever host SNL. On that note—Girls and Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Adam Driver is hosting, and Dennis Perkins genuinely has no idea what is going to happen. (He’s pretty excited, though.) Country-bluegrass musician Chris Stapleton is the musical guest.


Also noted

Reign (CW, 8 p.m., Friday): Elizabeth makes a shocking discovery, Mary has some serious suspicions, and there’s yet another unwanted marriage on this period drama about how reigning is not a barrel of monkeys. Genevieve Valentine suggests that there are some monkeys, but, no, probably not a barrel-full.

Elsewhere in TV club

Will Harris scores another great character actor for this week’s Random Roles, asking Fred Melamed about playing mellifluously improbable philanderers in things like A Serious Man and Casual (and a lot of other stuff on his expansive IMDb page). Then, in this week’s AVQ&A, your favorite AV Clubbers reveal the pop culture that inspired them to actually get up off their butts and try to make a difference in the world other than write reviews of it. Pilot Viruet heads north next as, in her TV Club 10 feature, she examines Degrassi’s top ten “very special episodes,” which means they are the most special special episodes of all time. (Just in time for the new season of Degrassi: Next Class to premiere on Friday! We cannot, however, confirm that any of these episodes will be in any way special.) Erik Adams chimes in with his pre-air TV Review of the new Rashida Jones cop comedy Angie Tribeca. Finally, Danette Chavez kicks off a week of extreme weather-themed, television-only Watch This series, checking out the time the Golden Girls got stuck dealing with a hurricane for two whole episodes.


What else is on

Degrassi: Next Class (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Season 15 begins. And let’s just get this out of the way—if you’re going to make lame Canadian accent jokes, it’s not “aboot.” The actual sound is more akin to “aboat.” If we’re gonna make fun of our neighbors, at least let’s do it right, eh? (Dammit!)


Undateable (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): “It’s live! That makes it good!”—NBC’s marketing strategy for this season of Undateable.

MasterChef Junior (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): The kid chefs are brought to Gordon Ramsey’s house to make their latest dishes, once again raising their suspicions that this whole show is just a way for Ramsay to assemble an army of child chef servants on Fox’s dime.


Undercover Boss (CBS, 8 p.m., Friday): A CEO has to change a light bulb—high over Chicago. Which, you know, his employees will have to continue to do every day of their lives once he goes back to his CEO-type office. Where someone will change his lightbulbs for him.

Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): Tim Allen attempts to make his daughter feel better about her choices in life by doing shtick about how men are like this, but women are like that. Tune in to see how that goes.


Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Dr. Ken’s wife insists Dr. Ken get his first physical in years, presumably by yelling, ”Jesus-fucking-Christ, you’re a middle-aged doctor! You know people need physicals! This is just goddamned nonsense—Jesus!”

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): Season 15 of this cooking show for adult chefs returns, allowing Gordon Ramsey the relief of wiping that forced smile off his face and shouting himself glowing red at some cooks whose tears of shame won’t make the audience hate him too much.


Willie Nelson: Gershwin Prize (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Willie gets the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, with fans like Neil Young, Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, Rosanne Cash, Lukas Nelson, Promise of the Real, Alison Krauss, Raul Malo, Jamey Johnson, Leon Bridges, Ana Gabriel and Buckwheat Zydeco performing in tribute.

Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): A Twitter exec sits in with the hosts, presumably advising all inventors to fiddle unnecessarily with products that everyone already likes for no reason whatsoever.


Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Some unexploded WWII Japanese bombs cause worry, but forget about that—McGarrett’s kooky aunt comes to the islands, and she’s played by Carol Burnett!

Blue Bloods (CBS, 10 p.m., Friday): Tom Selleck’s copper evaluates the request of a rookie cop to take her late cop father’s badge number. It’s a whole cop thing—perhaps her dad was like the Jackie Robinson of cops, and his number is retired in all of cop-dom? Anyway, it’s a whole cop thing.


Unforgettable (A&E, 10 p.m., Friday): Poppy Montgomery’s detective who never forgets investigates the murder of an aerospace engineer, annoys everyone by reciting pi to a million places.

The People’s Couch (Bravo, 10 p.m., Friday): Viewers’ reactions are observed as they watch various television programs. Not pictured: the perplexed looks of The People’s Couch viewers as they ask themselves how this is a television program.

They tried making animals watch AHS:Hotel first, but PETA stepped in (Photo credit: Samuel James)

Smartest Guy In The Room (History, 10 & 10:30 p.m., Friday): The contestants in this brain-based game show are tasked with making paper airplanes and self-propelling boats. Alternate title: MacGyver Squad.


The Rap Game (Lifetime, 10 p.m., Friday): Host Jermaine Dupri enlists his stylist to help this reality show’s aspiring rappers. All that pesky songwriting and performing comes later, presumably.

Evil Dead II (Syfy, 11 p.m., Friday): Now that Ash Vs. Evil Dead has battled evil to a standstill for the season, why not go back and see how the younger Bruce Campbell blundered his way to gory, chainsaw-handed glory.


Mythbusters (Discovery, 8 p.m., Saturday): The guys try to create a vacuum and crush the bejeezus out of a train car in the show that will make your kids all excited about science if anything will.

Red 2 (TNT, 8 p.m., Saturday): An inferior sequel to a middling action movie with an absurdly overqualified cast. So they’re even more overqualified this time.


The Wrong Car (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Lifetime affixes wheels to its “television for women” model in this movie about a woman who makes the mistake of going outside her home and taking a (legally distinct from but clearly meant to be) Uber, where she’s assaulted. Springing into action, Lifetime-style, she gets a job at the same not-Uber company, seeking Lifetime-style justice. Remember, ladies—don’t go outside! Or stay inside. Just, don’t be a woman, okay—we’re Lifetime!

Love On The Sidelines (Hallmark, 9 p.m., Saturday): A personal assistant—a lady!—to a professional football player begins to fall in love with her new boss, even though she knows nothing about football. Because she’s a lady!


Or just watch Just Wright instead—at least it’s got Queen Latifah

Spotless (Esquire, 10 p.m., Saturday): In the first season finale, the meticulous crime-scene cleaners attempt a frame job on one of the criminals forcing them to clean up their crime scenes. A tidy, tidy frame job.


Austin City Limits (PBS, 11 p.m., Saturday): Ryan Adams and Shakey Graves perform. No offense to Adams, but the phrases “Austin city limits” and “shakey graves” just seem to go together perfectly.

And now… sport

Men’s College Basketball: North Carolina State At North Carolina (ESPN, noon, Saturday)


Men’s College Basketball: Ohio State At Maryland (ESPN2, noon, Saturday)

Barclays Premier League Soccer: Aston Villa Vs. Leicester City (NBC, 12:30 p.m., Saturday)


Men’s College Basketball: Villanova At Georgetown (CBS, 1 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Notre Dame At Duke (ESPN2, 2 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: TCU At Kansas (ESPN, 2 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Kentucky At Auburn (ESPN, 4 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma (ESPN2, 4 p.m., Saturday)

AFC Divisional Playoffs: Chiefs At Patriots (CBS, 4:30 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas (ESPN2, 6 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Hockey: Wisconsin at Penn State (ESPNU, 6 p.m., Saturday)

NFC Divisional Playoffs: Packers At Cardinals (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Florida At Mississippi (ESPN2, 8 p.m., Saturday)

In case you missed it

Idiotsitter/Workaholics: Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is on weekly reviewing duties for the new Comedy Central series starring Charlotte Newhouse and former Workaholics co-star Jillian Bell. Kayla thought the blend of sisterhood and boisterous nonsense recalled Broad City—not a bad start. Dennis Perkins reviewed the season premiere of the Jillian-less Workaholics which, sadly… did not go as well.


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