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

The Carmichael Show is ready to have a nice long chat about Bill Cosby

Lil Rel Howery, Jerrod Carmichael, Loretta Devine, Amber Stevens West (NBC)
Lil Rel Howery, Jerrod Carmichael, Loretta Devine, Amber Stevens West (NBC)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, March 13. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Carmichael Show (NBC, 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.): Normally we hate repeating either ourselves or our fellow What’s On Tonight correspondents by elevating the same show to top pick status twice in the same week. However, we’re making an exception as after a Wednesday special preview The Carmichael Show moves to its regular home on Sunday nights, and this show is good enough that all of you need to be aware of when it’s on the air. It had a more conventional start to the season, but tonight it lives up to its reputation as a sitcom willing to get into serious topics and still joke about them with a discussion of the Bill Cosby controversy. Joshua Alston called it “the most prematurely talked-about episode” of season two, and he’s excited to see the Carmichaels have this conversation and then jump into a conversation about that conversation with his review. (He also said that he needs some more Nekeisha in this episode, so hopefully the show can do him a solid in that regard.)


Also noted

30 For 30 (ESPN, 9 p.m.): If a discussion of Cosby’s crimes isn’t enough harsh truth for you, ESPN has you covered with their latest 30 For 30 documentary. Ten years after the Duke lacrosse rape allegations, director Marina Zenovich takes a look at the wounds caused by the incident and how things have either healed or failed to do so in the intervening decade. Noel Murray is there to offer his own diagnosis.

The Simpsons (Fox, 8 p.m.): Following in her father’s footsteps, Lisa signs up to go to space with a one-way ticket on a Martian expedition. Will she answer the question if there’s life on Mars? Will she ever know if she’s in a best-selling show? Dennis Perkins just hopes the episode isn’t a saddening bore, because he’s written that ten times or more.

Vinyl (HBO, 9 p.m.): We’d like to think that Richie knows what’s best for American Century, but his plan to have dinner with one of the label’s most important artists seems risky. Why? That artist’s name is Hannibal, and there’s a long track record of dinners with Hannibals being as dangerous as they are delicious. If the menu includes any combination of oysters, acorns, and marsala, Dan Caffrey is calling for the check immediately.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 p.m.): Zack Handlen said on Twitter last week that tonight’s episode is for “anyone concerned that there’s been a shortage of the word ‘bitch’ on The Walking Dead.” Did the producers pull the wool over our eyes and find a way to bring Aaron Paul back into the AMC fold? Or are the writers just having a little bit too much fun writing for hatefully misogynistic characters? Probably the latter, though that’s a reminder that Paul’s new Hulu show looks pretty interesting.

The Family (ABC, 9 p.m.): We’re giving weekly coverage of this one a shot at The A.V. Club, and have assigned Gwen Ihnat to the case because she’s not busy enough on Sunday nights between juggling fairy tales and troubled adult friendships. Tonight, “An FBI agent joins the investigation.” Is there a Quantico crossover going on that ABC has failed to promote?


The Last Man On Earth (Fox, 9:30 p.m.): Last week saw Matt Miller back on Earth and heading for Tuscon to hunt for survivors (and somehow inexplicably not needing to adjust after three years of living without gravity). Is it possible the entire back half of this season could be him road-tripping across the country, every week finding a new survivor played by a Sons Of Anarchy regular and a new hallucination of a sibling played by a most recent Academy Award nominee? Wait, come back Vikram Murthi! We’ve got a treatment for a Ron Perlman/Eddie Redmayne episode you just have to read!

Billions (Showtime, 10 p.m.): “A tip throws the case into jeopardy.” Just the tip, Joshua Alston? (We’re asking a lot of questions in this installment of What’s On Tonight, aren’t we? See, there we go again.)


Regular coverage

Bob’s Burgers (Fox, 7:30 p.m.)

Once Upon A Time (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Shameless (Showtime, 9 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

Do svidaniya, everything else on TV: The Americans returns this week. It was our No. 3 best show of 2014 and our No. 2 best show of 2015 (plus an honorable mention for best use of pop music in 2013), and our trusted comrade Vikram Murthi has a TV Review of the first few episodes. No spoilers, but it looks like season four is making an active case to claim the top spot in 2016.


While The Americans takes place in a world that seems on the brink of total annihilation, our latest Inventory looks at worlds on the other end of that spectrum and their inhabitants who built a better self through post-apocalyptic living.

In the world of more cheerful content, Alasdair Wilkins brings us a For Your Consideration about The Grinder and his realization that it’s the second coming of Lookwell, a legendary 1991 busted pilot from Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel.


What else is on?

NCAA Basketball Championship Selection Show (CBS, 5:30 p.m): It’s time to load up your brackets for another round of March Madness, as they name the 68 teams going head to head for a shot at the title and weeks of dooming your productivity at the office. Normally our own bracket is shot to hell by our stubborn insistence that this could be Wisconsin’s year, but last year the Badgers made it all the way to the championship so there’s no chance we put any other team ahead of them by the end.


CSI: Cyber (CBS, 10 p.m.): Season two comes to a close tonight, and given the show’s poor-by-CBS-standards ratings, we could be seeing the last gasp of the once-omnipresent CSI franchise. Fittingly, the team is on their biggest case yet, hunting a hacker who triggered “the largest breach of highly classified data in history.” Given how much we’ve made fun of this show since taking over this beat, we’re going to be magnanimous and hope they’re able to end on a good note.

And no, we’re not just doing that because the episode’s title “Legacy” doesn’t let us make one last bad joke about their normally silly titles. Shut up.


Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO, 11:00 p.m.): Do you know what special districts are? No? We didn’t think so. Let John Oliver fill you in.

Bordertown (Fox, 7 p.m.): Tonight’s episode didn’t wind up airing last week, so audiences have been forced to wait and see just what sort of kerfuffle Bud and an ostrich get up to. Maybe it’s the newest incarnation of Peter vs. the chicken.


Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life (Fox, 8:30 p.m): “An old friend from college crashes at Cooper’s apartment, and everyone is glad to see him, until he overstays his welcome and the gang pulls out all stops to get him to leave.” In this scenario, Fox is Cooper and Cooper Barrett’s Guide is the old friend from college.

Quantico (ABC, 10 p.m.): Apparently our crossover theory was the wrong theory, given that tonight’s episode makes no mention of kidnapping or Maine politics. But how surprising would it be if it turned out that the terrorist mastermind is also the pock-marked man suspected of kidnapping Adam?


Talking Dead (AMC, 10 p.m.): Melissa McBride and director Paul Feig are tonight’s guests. It’s not too late for you to cast Melissa McBride in the new Ghostbusters, Paul Feig! We don’t care if filming wrapped in September, you can do anything in post-production if you work hard enough and truly believe.

Comic Book Men (AMC, 12 a.m.): Jim Lee, renowned comic book artist and co-publisher of DC Comics, appears on the show tonight. We defer you to Oliver Sava for all questions about what Jim Lee’s credentials are, as we don’t keep up on the genre.


Little Big Shots (NBC, 8 p.m.): Steve Harvey hosts NBC’s latest effort to make a variety show succeed in the ratings, with child performers including “a 4-year-old piano prodigy, a salsa dancing duo, a young choir conductor, a viral storyteller, and an animal hypnotist.”

Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge (CMT, 8 p.m.): Given that we haven’t watched any of this and we’re asking an absurd number of questions we’re asking this week, here’s another one: is this a contest to see whose skull is the toughest, or who breaks their skull first? If the latter we expect that there’s a lot of drooling at the award ceremony.


The Real Housewives Of Atlanta (Bravo, 8 p.m.): “Porsha tries to preserve her fertility.” Might we recommend amber or lucite?

Intervention: Codependent (A&E, 9 p.m.): The latest installment of the Intervention series, this one focusing on toxic couples made all the more toxic by drug use. Because nothing spells network success like saying that one person destroying their lives isn’t enough, we need two.


Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network, 8 p.m.): “A weird ingredient must be incorporated into classic American burgers.” Well, that opens all the floodgates. Just remember the Ron Swanson edict that turkey can never beat cow and you’ve got the edge.

Hook (BBC America, 8 p.m.): We’ve never warmed to this film, but we know it has its fans. We just think Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook should be more compelling than it winds up being.


The Internship (FX, 8 p.m): “Hey, remember how everyone loved Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson together in Wedding Crashers? Let’s do that and make it a commercial for Google at the same time, take out the charm, and we’ll make millions!”

Independence Day (Cinemax, 10 p.m.): Nothing the upcoming Independence Day: Resurgence can do will ever top Will Smith’s utterance of “Welcome to Earth” or Bill Pullman’s speech that’s more presidential than any word uttered by any candidate in the 2016 election. We hope it’s made its peace with that.


The Chronicles Of Riddick (IFC, 10 p.m.): The chronic—what?—les of Riddick! We love that chronic—what?—les Of Riddick! Pass that chronic —what?—les Of Riddick!


MLS Soccer, New York City FC vs. Toronto FC (ESPN2, 5 p.m.)

College Lacrosse, Denver at Notre Dame (ESPNU, 5:30 p.m.)

MLS Soccer, San Jose vs. Portland (Fox Sports, 7 p.m.)

NHL Hockey, Maple Leafs at Red Wings (NBC Sports, 7:30 p.m.)

In case you missed it

The Characters: “Netflix might call it ‘outlaw comedy,’ but it runs like a well-oiled machine … weird without trying too hard to be weird.” If a personage as smart as Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya thinks this highly of a new show, why wouldn’t you watch it?