Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, September 18 & Saturday, September 19. All times are Eastern.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): The Doctor is back! Oh, wait, he’s missing. Sort of a problem when, in this series premiere, aliens show up on Earth and freeze the sky. Still, he’ll show up sooner or later, no doubt, especially since seemingly all his old enemies show up as well, along with Michelle Gomez’s Missy, Jenna Coleman’s soon-to-depart Clara, and a suspiciously wise-for-her-age young woman, played by Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, who’d like to know what took him so long. Alasdair Wilkins is as absolutely confident that the Doctor will show up and set things aright as he is that Peter Capaldi knows how to snap Scots-accented insults at a Dalek.
Keith Richards: Under The Influence (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Sure, everyone makes the same “how is Keith Richards still alive?” jokes, but that’s only because he’s still alive, seemingly disproving all of medical science, God, and causality. Tonight, the longtime Rolling Stone gets the documentary treatment, and Scott Von Doviak has the front row seat.
Black Jesus (Adult Swim, 11 p.m., Friday): From Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder, this amiably blasphemous Adult Swim comedy about Gerald “Slink” Johnson’s stoner Savior is back. Last time out, our own Eric Thurm called it “basically a low-key, ideologically family-friendly sitcom with a bit more plot and a lot more cursing and weed.” (Or, right up our street.)
Blunt Talk (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): Patrick Stewart’s irascible newsman Walter Blunt gets even grumpier when a poker game mishap forces Jacki Weaver’s assistant Rosalie to book a guest he really, really hates. Brandon Nowalk’s been enjoying this season a great deal, even comparing it to the late, lamented-by-smart-people Enlightened last week, which is high praise indeed.
Survivor’s Remorse (Starz, 9:30 p.m., Saturday): Last week, Joshua Alston examined the way that this show, about professional basketball player Cam Calloway (Jessie Usher), engages so effectively with everyone but its star. Well, after a very good episode that looked at exactly what makes Cam tick, the show returns to the side-characters, with Reggie thinking of repping an NFL prospect and M-Chuck getting involved with a young pregnant woman.
Lampshading isn’t just what happens at the A.V. Club holiday party—we’re looking at you, Laura M. Browning—so this week’s AVQ&A sees your favorite A.V. Clubbers naming their favorite pop cultural instances of pointing out a reference to a previous thing. Then Will Harris scores another great Random Roles, this time asking former Major Dad and Simon (or is it Simon?) Gerald McRaney about the deepest, darkest recesses of his IMDb page. (Please let him ask about this one, if only to see him explain what “violent vision” is.) And, over in Film, Ryan Vlastelica takes on a Page To Screen comparison of Nicholas Pileggi’s book Wiseguy and the film Goodfellas on the 25th anniversary of the classic Scorcese film’s release.
American Masters: Pedro E. Guerrero—A Photographer’s Journey (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Documentary about famous photographer Guerrero, who was a favorite of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and quite an interesting fellow in his own right.
Atlanta Plastic (Lifetime, 10 p.m., Friday): The season finale of this reality show about plastic surgeons ends, just as they have transformed all of Georgia into their own, diabolical ideals of beauty. Everyone in Georgia looks exactly the same now. It is decreed… by Atlanta Plastic.
Strike Back (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): A cloned phone leads to…dammit—what rhymes with “mayhem?”
POV: Cutie And The Boxer (PBS, 10 p.m., Friday): Ignatiy Vishnevetsky says of this troubling, fascinating portrait of the tumultuous, 39-year marriage between alcoholic “boxing painter” (he applies paint with boxing gloves) Ushio Shinohara and his enabling, caretaker wife Noriko: “The overwhelming impression is one of extreme physical—and therefore psychological—intimacy with a profoundly broken couple who have endured out of stubbornness and emotional need.” It’s strangely heartbreaking.
Z Nation (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): Our heroes are reunited (that’s good). But they’re beset by both the usual zombies (that’s bad), and human bounty hunters trying to relieve them of the valuable Murphy (that’s also bad—and pretty dickish).
Continuum (Syfy, 11 p.m., Friday): Canadians travel back in time to prevent corporations from taking over the future, especially since everyone in the future is a citizen of the Glorious Dictatorship of Comcastistan.
Neanderthal Apocalypse (History, 4 p.m., Saturday): Sadly, this is not a Syfy original movie accidentally airing on History about a rag-tag team of neanderthal torch-bearers sent to melt an encroaching iceberg while simultaneously battling the dreaded Mastodontopus (although look for Syfy to get on that real soon). Nope, this just speculates why our Ron Perlman-jawed ancestors took the big powder some 39,000 years ago.
College Football: Cal At Texas (Fox, 7 p.m., Saturday): It’s a sad state of affairs when Cal has to head to Texas to stay hydrated, but here we are.
Cedar Cove (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Saturday): In the first half of the season finale, Andie MacDowell’s judge decides that hunky alcoholic fiancee Jack’s past is a problem, so she embarks on a bloody, Kill Bill-style roaring rampage of revenge. (You know that’s what she secretly dreams about.)
The Start Up (BET, 8 p.m., Saturday): “Hip-hop prince and media personality” Diggy Simmons (BET’s words) stars in this original movie about a young, rich, handsome guy who starts ”an entertainment and lifestyle blog.” (Again, their words.) You will look into your heart, read those words, and know if this is for you.
College Football: Stanford At USC (NBC, 8 p.m., Saturday): There will not be an “Angry Birds vs. condoms” joke here. Apologies. Enjoy football.
Ungodly Acts (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): A woman’s suicide is reexamined as murder just because her husband is the head of a cult and a member of the cult claims the husband told him to kill her. Back in the day, cults knew how to cover up a crime.
Review: Oh… this got dark. “Emily L. Stephens gives it an A” sort of dark.