Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18. All times are Eastern.
The Knick (Cinemax, 10 p.m., Friday): The Knick is a hard show to love. Gory medical scenes, an unlikeable protagonist, and a nihilistic worldview don’t make for easy viewing. But those who have stuck with the show—like our own Brandon Nowalk—have found rich rewards, especially in director Steven Soderbergh’s cinematic style. So while it’s true that The Knick is another antihero drama about a white guy with a drug addiction that fuels his unmatched talent (here: Clive Owen’s Doctor John Thackery/cocaine/surgery), it’s worth checking back in on the show for its season finale. Having previously dissected Soderbergh’s lighting and composition, Brandon gets one last chance to discuss the acclaimed director’s foray into serialized television.
Freestyle Love Supreme (Pivot, 10:30 p.m., Friday): In addition to creating the Tony-winning musical In The Heights, the uber-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail host a live musical improv show where they turn audience suggestions into improvised hip hop numbers. Described as a combination of Whose Line Is It Anyway and the Wu-Tang Clang, Pivot is bringing this live showcase to TV. Come for guest Josh Groban, stay for the incredible improvised raps.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): “She’s got a booty like a Cadillac but Scott Aukerman can send you into overdrive.” At least that’s how David Kallison would rewrite the chart topping Jessie J/Ariana Grande/Nicki Minaj collaboration, “Bang Bang” in order to celebrate the return of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s third season. Ellie Kemper is the first guest to go “bang bang into the room” since the show’s hiatus.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9 p.m., Saturday): The Doctor is trapped in a shrinking TARDIS and his companion Clara steps up to save the day. Ever the Classic Who fan, Alasdair Wilkins would like to remind you that the TARDIS previously shrank in the Fourth Doctor adventure “Logopolis,” proving everything old really is new again (especially on Doctor Who).
The Legend of Korra (12 p.m., Friday)
Transparent (2 p.m., Friday): Michaela Watkins guest stars in a flashback in one of this week’s episodes. Eric Thurm will be filing his review in his “I Heart Trophy Wife” t-shirt while praying she gets a scene with her former TV ex-husband, Bradley Whitford. Would it be too much to ask for a Bert cameo too?
The A.V. Club staff reveal their loyalties in a new AVQ&A that asks, “Which pop culture creator will you always follow?”
Cristela (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): It’s an unwritten rule that all 21st century sitcoms must have at least one episode dealing with internet dating. Cristela crosses that requirement off the list tonight.
Dane Cook Troublemaker (Showtime, 10 p.m., Friday): Divisive comedian Dane Cook gets another chance to entertain and/or piss people off with this Showtime special.
The Birthday Boys (IFC, 11:30 p.m., Friday): Following Comedy Bang! Bang!, this male-driven sketch comedy series returns for a second season with an episode all about social classes.
America’s Cutest Pet (Animal Planet, 8 p.m., Saturday): We doubt the legitimacy of any authority claiming to name the cutest pets in America (how could they see them all?!?), but enjoy the adorable animals of this Disney Howl-o-ween special anyway.
Transporter (TNT, 9 p.m., Saturday): The Transporter franchise solidified Jason Statham as an action movie staple. Now a new French-Canadian series wants to do the same thing for Prison Break’s Chris Vance. Vance’s professional “transporter” gets his U.S. debut via TNT.
Black Dynamite (Adult Swim, 10:30 p.m., Saturday): “He’s super bad. He’s outta sight. He’s Black Dynamite.” Adult Swim’s animated Blaxploitation parody returns for a second season.
Why Did I Get Married (BET, 7 p.m., Friday): Tyler Perry offers preachy melodrama but no Medea in this 2007 relationship dramedy.
Freddy Vs. Jason (MTV, 10 p.m., Friday): Halloween is only two weeks away and we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight at least one seasonally appropriate movie. And it might as well be this one in which viewers get two villains for the price of one.
The Searchers (TCM, 10 p.m., Saturday): Cinephile Alert! John Ford’s 1956 classic is generally considered the greatest American western ever made. John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter star as two men pursuing a Comanche Indian tribe that abducted two white women. The film is particularly fascinating for its harsh examinations of racism.
MLS Soccer: Portland vs. Salt Lake (NBC Sports, 10 p.m., Friday): The Portland Timbers face off against the Real Salt Lake. We suggest both teams put a bird on it.
College Football: Notre Dame at Florida State (ABC, 8 p.m., Saturday): Considering the little your What’s On Tonight correspondent knows about sports comes from pop culture, she has to assume this game will be like Rudy but with better weather.
Battlestar Galactica: As Sonia Saraiya wraps up her tenure at The A.V. Club, she also reaches Battlestar Galactica’s first season finale. Wish her well in her future as Salon’s TV Critic with one last “So say we all!”