Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17. All times are Eastern.
The Knick (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): In his excellent review of last season’s exquisitely disturbing finale, “Crutchfield,” Brandon Nowalk says the cliffhanger episode of this Emmy-winning Cinemax series made the leap to greatness, writing:
Even before this final act, “Crutchfield” was the most exquisite episode of The Knick, but after it, “Crutchfield” is evangelism material. Every new shot is diamond
As season two kicks off on Friday, Brandon’s back to see how all the various hanging plot threads from the finale get untangled, as the hospital moves to a new location, Andre Holland’s Dr. Algernon Edwards lobbies to be made chief surgeon, and Clive Owen’s Dr. Thackeray—last seen clutching a bottle of Bayer brand heroin—is nowhere to be found. Director Steven Soderbergh is back at the helm, too, upping the visual ante, and making this proto-E.R. one of the most singular hospital dramas you’ll ever see. And why not prep for watching the season by scrubbing in with The Lady Aye’s For Our Consideration about Dr. Stanley Burns, the medical expert behind The Knick’s period-appropriate gore.
Red Oaks (Amazon, Friday): Molly Eichel continues her reviews of this quite good coming-of-age Amazon series, as Craig Roberts’ David sees his new romance contrasting with the crumbling of his parents’ (Richard Kind and Jennifer Grey). Since the episode’s called “MDMA,” presumably everyone will be chemically inclined to love each other—for a little while, anyway. Luckily, the good feelings provided by our Molly last a lot longer than their molly.
Beasts Of No Nation (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., Friday): Idris Elba is typically magnetic in this soul-crushing child soldier film, according to our own Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who wishes the movie itself were as good as he is.
Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts And Prayers (Netflix, 3:01, Friday): The sharp, sharky Jeselnik’s new special, in which, no doubt, he will say things that make you wince, then grudgingly laugh. Check out Marah Eakin’s 11 Questions with the comic to see if he’s your cup o’ tea.
Reign (CW, 8 p.m., Friday): Writing, not without obvious glee, at the over-the-top scene that opened last week’s season three premiere, Genevieve Valentine said of Reign’s accelerating storytelling:
[A]t its best, Reign has brought home the gravity of 16th-century champagne problems by demonstrating the larger cycles of power young people get trapped in, part of a legacy of an older generation; for the millennials in its audience, it hits home to be cleaning up their parents’ messes. But sometimes the show seems so afraid of losing viewers to a quiet week that it would rather race past ten plots instead. “Three Queens, Two Tigers” has an added burden of being a season opener after a sea-change finale, so it’s scrambling to set up a new status quo. But apparently, a main lesson it learned from last season’s love-triangle mud pit was to move through everything so fast you can’t possibly be bored.
Truth Be Told (NBC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): There’s really nothing we could add to Erik Adams’ pre-air review (and tagline) of this sitcom starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tone Bell, so we’ll say just click the link and move on.
Please Like Me (Pivot, 10 p.m., Friday): Brandon Nowalk’s been telling anyone who will listen that this series about a group of lovelorn 20-something Aussies is one of the best shows no one knows about. Well, he’s back to tell you all about it as the third season begins.
Guardians Of The Galaxy (Disney XD, 9:30 p.m., Saturday): After a rocky, raccoon-y first few episodes Kevin Johnson says that this animated version of the Marvel space sort-of heroes finds its stride by focusing on everyone’s favorite tree guy, Groot.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): It’s all Vikings all the time over at BBC America, as the Doctor and Clara find themselves trapped between warring aliens… and Vikings!
Blunt Talk (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): Falklands War vet Walter decides to throw a huge bash to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the end of the war. Brandon Nowalk is certain that Patrick Stewart’s Walter will approach the occasion with his usual self-control and restraint. 75-80 per cent certain.
High expectations are the consequence of grand ambition. Survivor’s Remorse has so much going for it, it’s the kind of show that inspires mild resentment whenever it’s very good because it clearly has the capacity to be great. Even while “The Date” is one of Remorse’s strongest episodes to date, I don’t think it represents the absolute best the show has to offer. But “The Date” works so well that if it does turns out to represent Remorse at its peak, the show would still be three steps ahead of most comedies on the air.
That’s the sort of high praise that should be enough to get you to tune in tonight, as Cam and Allison’s romance heats up, and Missy finds out that tutoring top pro prospect Jupiter is a little trickier than she thought.
Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo (HBO, 10 p.m., Saturday): Considering Schumer’s history of making jokes that walk the line of racial insensitivity, her decision to film her newest special at the famed Apollo lends an added edge to her already pretty-edgy material. Jesse Hassenger is on reviewing duties.
The Last Kingdom (BBC America, 10 p.m., Saturday): Here are those other BBC America Vikings, as Uhtred and Brida, fleeing Uhtred’s very untrustworthy uncle, attempt to prove their allegiance to hairtrigger-tempered Norse leader Ubba. Kyle Fowle loved the premiere of this action-packed historical drama series, and says you should watch it, even though there are, to the best of his knowledge, no aliens coming up any time soon.
Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30, Saturday): Tracy Morgan is back! Apologies for the exclamation point, but the fact that SNL vet and possible Jedi Morgan is returning to host just a year after his horrific accident is the sort of thing that even a hard-nosed SNL purist like Dennis Perkins gets a little misty about. Oh, and former Barney & Friends and Disney Channel child star Demi Lovato is the musical guest. He’s—let’s check on that—nope, he is not misting up about that at all.
The Rocky Horror Show (BBC America, midnight, Saturday): A special live performance of The Rocky Horror Show from London’s Playhouse Theatre to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original production boasts guest stars like Buffy’s Anthony Stewart Head, The Young Ones’ Adrian Edmondson, Stephen Fry, and Rocky Horror creator Richard O’Brien. Allison Shoemaker is stocking up on toast, rice, squirt guns, and confetti for her review. It’s her house—Allison can be messy if she wants.
Elsewhere in TV Club
First up, Gwen Ihnat talks to former Dallas actress Linda Gray about pranks with Larry Hagman, playing the first transgender character on TV, and the appendage that ended up on one of the most famous movie posters of all time on a new Random Roles. Then, in this week’s AVQ&A, your favorite AV Clubbers tell which pop culture figures from history they’re most want to trade places with. And, over in Film, Mike D’Angelo continues our movie education in his Scenic Routes feature focusing on a pivotal scene from Kenneth Branagh’s still-stunning debut feature Henry V.
What else is on
Undateable (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): While last week’s live, one-hour episode featuring live music, TV’s Scott Foley, and lots of adorably fluffed lines (looking at you, Chris D’Elia) caught people’s attention, this week’s continuation of the “all live, all season” Undateable experiment sees whether the novelty factor is enough to keep them coming back. At least we’ll always have Ron Funches.
The Building (Lifetime Movie Network, 8 p.m., Friday): A new mom (or busybody, if you’re not feeling charitable) discovers that she can hear her neighbors’ phone calls through her baby monitor. Sure, they may turn out to be murderers (it is Lifetime), but she’s still being pretty rude.
The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m., Friday): The contestants travel to the majestic natural splendor of Victoria Falls (known to the people of Zimbabwe and Zambia as Mosi-oa-Tunya— “the smoke that thunders”) and run around trying to win their little game.
Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): Tim Allen thinks he should enroll his son in private school when he’s suspended from his public school. Also, there’s a raccoon loose. Presumably, these two events are unrelated, because releasing a wild animal in a school is always hilarious.
Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Dave Foley’s Pat makes everyone work on Saturdays, and Ken Jeong isn’t having it! Although, hanging out with Dave Foley sounds like a really pleasant little weekend, really.
Live From Lincoln Center: Kern & Hammerstein’s Show Boat (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): A semi-staged performance of the musical from the original 1927 score. You know what that means—rare Broadway tracks, people!
Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Danno and company discover a victim with a million bucks in counterfeit bills and a fatal wound which is, sadly, authentic. Plus, the Yakuza comes over to the islands to get some rays, maybe do a little light murder.
Shark Tank (ABC, 9 p.m., Friday): A dad has a toilet training invention. There are some reservations:
Z Nation (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): The episode is called “Zombie Baby Daddy,” which, one can only hope, means it’s a crossover sequel to the 2004 film My Baby’s Daddy (which our own Nathan Rabin once called “As depressing in its own way as 21 Grams, Mystic River, or The Magdalene Sisters”). That would finally bring some grim reality to this decidedly loopy Walking Dead knockoff.
Blue Bloods (CBS, 10 p.m., Friday): A mob boss is arrested for a decades-old case, and Tom Selleck’s Frank goes up against the NYC fire department commissioner, who, one can only assume, has an inferior mustache and is therefore doomed to failure.
Satisfaction (USA, 10 p.m., Friday): The season two premiere of this drama about a couple dealing with mutual infidelity and lack of—wait for it—satisfaction sees the lead couple trying to see the way forward. The AV Club TV Review of season one says it’s worth a look-see.
Black Jesus (Adult Swim, 11 p.m., Friday): One of Black Jesus’ apostles tries to scam free food for life, not doubt incurring the slightly stoned wrath—of Black Jesus.
Continuum (Syfy, 11 p.m., Friday): It’s the season finale of this Canadian time travel series, which can only mean one thing—at some future date, someone’s going to pick up on a passing reference therein as proof that that year—for sure—the Cubs are going to win the World Series.
TripTank (Adult Swim, 11:59 p.m., Friday): Swirling colors! Random, non-sequitur gags! Strange sounds! Wildly variably quality! Or, as Erik Adams once termed it, “an animated mixed bag of blood, piss, and occasional wit”!
Are You My Daughter? (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): When a woman’s abducted daughter turns up on her doorstep 17 years later, she’s naturally overjoyed. But should she be? Please remember, this is a Lifetime movie. Answers in the comments.
And this is never not going to be funny
October Kiss (Hallmark, 9 p.m., Saturday): When a lovely nanny moves in to care for the kids of a presentable workaholic dad, what are we pegging odds at that they fall in love in two hours minus commercials. Anyone? Remember—it is a season-specific Hallmark movie. Your answers in the comments.
They Found Hell (Syfy, 9 p.m., Saturday): In this Syfy original movie, some dumb college students dabble in the realm of advanced portal to Hell opening and open a portal to Hell. Who could have seen that coming?
ALCS Game 1: Blue Jays At Royals (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday)
ALCS Game 2: Blue Jays At Royals (Fox Sports 1, 4:07 p.m., Saturday)
NLCS Game 1: Cubs At Mets (TBS, 8 p.m., Saturday)
In case you missed it
The Vampire Diaries: Carrie Raisler has some praise for the show’s efforts to soldier on after Nina Dobrev’s departure, but says, so far, it “ends up feeling a lot more like an imitation of TVD past than an exciting step forward.”