Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Doctor Who season finale says goodbye to The Doctor (and maybe the Earth)

Peter Capaldi is The Doctor (BBC America)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Doctor Who (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): Last week’s “Dark Water” may have suffered from some “first half of a two-parter” padding, but it sure ended with a killer reveal. Missy is the [Redacted]! And she’s got an army of [Redacteds]! London is doomed! Alasdair Wilkins particularly thought the look of terror on Peter Capaldi’s face sold the gravity of the situation, and he’s back to see if this extra-long season finale gives Capaldi’s Doctor a decent sendoff worthy of the big cliffhanger:

Gone is the aloof, circumspect wanderer, the detached scientist out to win at any costs. The man out to save as many lives as possible is back, and it’s about time. All he needed to do was meet a race obsessed with death, and an ancient enemy obsessed with killing. As the Doctor told us back in “Into The Dalek,” he’s always been defined by his villains. Well, he’s about to take on two of the big three at once. “Dark Water” is a bumpy, imperfect journey to that point, but there’s real potential for something special next week. Or, you know, an unmitigated catastrophe. This is a Master story, after all.


So, something special or unmitigated catastrophe—thanks a bunch, Alasdair.

Also noted

Constantine (NBC, 10 p.m., Friday): After being guardedly optimistic about the premiere of this dark DC Comics series, Brandon Nowalk dropped the second episode two full letter grades, calling Constantine’s battle against a Welsh/Pennsylvanian mining demon a “standard procedural mystery, all plot and not much else.” “Ordinary” has nothing to do with John Constantine’s comics adventures—words like “terrifying,” “profane,” and “stygian” are more like it. This week, Brandon sees if the appearance of Constantine nemesis Papa Midnight can evil things up a bit.

If anyone can find Constantine’s mojo, it’s Papa Midnight.

Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): Smirking, wildly divisive standup mega-bro Dane Cook continues his comedy rehabilitation tour (Louie, WTF With Marc Maron) as he sits on Sir Couchley and banters with Scott. Meanwhile Reggie shows that he’s just as outstandingly weird when he’s off camera. David Kallison tells us if that Cook magic can derail what’s been an outstanding season of CBB.


The Chair (Starz, 10 p.m., Saturday): The two aspiring directors competing for the big prize find out their fates in the season finale of this Project Greenlight spinoff, and Myles McNutt checks back in to let us know if this yearlong collision of art and reality TV was worthwhile after all.

Regular coverage

The Legend Of Korra (12 p.m., Friday): Oliver Sava says last week’s episode augured improvement in a shaky season so far, even promising us a “metalbending military action extravaganza” this time out. That’s something I think we can all get behind.


TV Club Classic

The Twilight Zone (12 p.m., Saturday) After a mysterious hiatus in a very musical dimension, Zack Handlen returns to finish off his reviews of the last ten episodes of The Twilight Zone. This week, a man loves big bangs in “Sounds And Silences,” and then Jackie Cooper deals with a goddamn evil ventriloquist dummy in “Caesar And Me.” Zack’s back to evaluate the spookiness of the twists. Or is he?? (He totally is.)


Elsewhere in TV Club

In this week’s Big Issues, Oliver Sava looks at Gabriel Hardman’s thrilling crime comic Kinski, where the most adorable puppy you’ve ever seen incites some serious trouble. They never expect the puppy. Then, Noel Murray reviews the second season of the still-excellent HBO series Getting On, which starts up again on Sunday. And Will Harris plays a round of Random Roles with Minnie Driver, who dishes on Big Night and playing airplane with John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank, among other things.


What else is on

Tanked: Unfiltered (Animal Planet, 8 p.m., Friday): Oh, it’s about fish tanks—I get it.


Cristela (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Billionaire Mark Cuban drops by this promising working class sitcom to show he’s a man of the people…

Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): …and then settles back in his comfy leather seat on this reality show where he decides if aspirational common people live or die. (Oh wait, he only decides if their dreams live or die. Apologies to Mr. Cuban.)


Lance Armstrong: Stop At Nothing (Showtime, 9 p.m., Friday): As this documentary interviewing Armstrong and the small army of people he’s wronged suggests, he really does.

Grimm (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday): Nick looks into a murder at a boxing gym—all without his still-absent Grimm powers. Which, one imagines, makes it much more difficult.


NBA basketball: Cleveland at Denver (ESPN, 10:30 p.m., Friday): The NBA is back! It’s the LeBrons vs.the Not-LeBrons! LeBron fever—LeBron it!

The Birthday Boys (IFC, 11:30 p.m., Friday): Jack Black guests as the washed-up star of a movie reboot franchise. (On the new episode of this sketch comedy show—Mr. Black’s career is going fine, and the Kung Fu Panda series is not a reboot.)


College Football: Ohio State at Michigan State (ABC, 8 p.m., Saturday): Out of the dozens of college football games you could watch today, this is almost certainly one of them! Proposed trash talk: ”We’re the Spartans—like in 300!” “Oh yeah? Well, we’re Buckeyes, like in—shut up, we’re really good at football, too.”

Mutant World (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): Sons Of Anarchy’s Kim Coates teams up with Ashanti for survival after an asteroid turns everyone into mutants and not—I cannot stress this enough—zombies. Either way, Ashanti’s got this:


Transporter: The Series (TNT, 9 & 10 p.m., Saturday): For those people who just can’t get enough of this understandably Jason Statham-less Transporter series, I’m genuinely happy that TNT gives them two episodes every Saturday. In both of these episodes, I understand Mr. Transporter delivers cargo that may not be on the up-and-up to similarly suspicious—possibly even violent—individuals.

In case you missed it

Gracepoint: Gwen Ihnat says this week’s episode is the best of an uneven season, with Nick Nolte breaking hearts all over the place on his way out of town.


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