Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, January 29 & Saturday, January 30. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

The Vampire Diaries (CW, 8 p.m., Friday): In her review of the fall finale, Carrie Raisler admirably summed up the almost-but-not-quite success of this veteran vampire series’ seventh season, explaining, “This finale was one of the best episodes of the season, and it was only almost good.” Lesson to TV shows: Don’t mess with Carrie—she’ll cut you. Still, the bloodsuckers have had the holidays to rest up and, presumably, suck a lot of blood, so she’s hoping they all pull it together in this one, where, it seems, everyone in town is messing with the Phoenix stone, and Damon is haunted by his time in the Civil War.

Also noted

Grimm (NBC, 9 p.m., Friday): Grimm is back! Les Chappell is too, assuring us that things in the Wesen world are about to get explosive, as Nick’s quest for some truth tips things into entertaining chaos. And, since Grimm’s returned from its hiatus, you know it’s time for the Grimm Monster Picture Of The Week!

She’s probably very monstrous on the inside (NBC)

Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim, 11 p.m., Friday): The doctors try to save their one-millionth patient. Meanwhile, LaToya Ferguson wonders how she’s been able to write approximately one million words over the years about a 12-minute TV show.


Elsewhere in TV Club

The best movie soundtracks are so tied to our enjoyment of their respective movies that they take on an independent life. In this week’s AVQ&A, your favorite AV Clubbers make their picks for the movie soundtracks they most wish they could see performed live. (Regardless of limitations of time, death, and bandmates vowing never to speak to each other again.) Then, our own Marah Eakin gives Childrens Hospital star and all-around funny guy Rob Huebel the 11 Questions treatment. Meanwhile, over in Film, Tom Breihan begins the new A History Of Violence feature, examining the most seminal action flick of each year—beginning this week with 1968, which, of course, means Steve McQueen and Bullitt, people! And then Will Harris pulls another great interview, this time with acting legend Richard Dreyfuss, who dishes on everything from Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead to the reason why he came out of semi-retirement to reprise his Jaws role in Piranha 3D.


What else is on

MasterChef Junior (Fox, 8 p.m., Friday): In the 4th season finale, the final two youthful cooks compete for a trophy, a hundred grand, and the ultimate reward of being freed from the orbit of their scowling, red-faced, cilantro-reeking taskmaster.


Undercover Boss (CBS, 8 p.m., Friday): The CEO of a pizza chain slaps on a comical pizza guy mustache and hat and makes a secret list of every employee who doesn’t say nice stuff about him.

Undateable (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): It’s the 3rd season finale of this kooky live sitcom experiment ends with a marathon one-hour episode, after which Chris D’Elia, Ron Funches and the rest will collapse gasping on the ground, dialing their agents.


Last Man Standing (ABC, 8 p.m., Friday): It’s the 100th episode of this Tim Allen sitcom. Will it get the vaunted AV Club 100 Episodes feature? Anyone? We’re genuinely asking.

Dr. Ken (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Ken’s dad comes to town and immediately begins doing chores around the house, which Ken has a problem with because it’s Ken. No doubt he’ll handle the issue with calm perspicacity and not immature shenanigans like, say, intentionally busting the new dishwasher his father buys for the hou—wait, he does that? Like, exactly that? Oh, Ken. Sweet, sweet, Ken.


Shark Tank (NBC, 8:30 p.m., Friday): Two women claim to have invented the perfect sports bra. So, be ready for Mark Cuban to go maximum Cuban on this one, kids.

The Originals (CW, 9 p.m., Friday): This spinoff from The Vampire Diaries never quite clicked around here as far as readership goes (although Rowan Kaiser was quite complimentary of the series in his season one reviews). So you’re on your own to interpret the vampire-werewolf hybrid goings-on in this, the third-season winter premiere, where the fallout from Klaus’ big gambit continues to affect the fanged and furry alike.

A crypt, sure (The CW)

Second Chance (Fox, 9 p.m., Friday): New time slot for this show about a crooked old cop who gets transformed into a super-powered young cop, who may or may not still be crooked, but is definitely hunky. This week, he sets out to capture an evil father-son duo while attempting to convince his own son that he’s still his dad, just with disturbingly toned abs.


American Masters: Mike Nichols (PBS, 9 p.m., Friday): Elaine May directs this tribute to the life and absurdly influential career of writer, comic, and director Nichols. Look for clips from his films like The Graduate, Carnal Knowledge, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Working Girl, and appearances from Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Bob Balaban, Tony Kushner, Neil Simon, Frank Langella and James L. Brooks.

Deadliest Job Interview (Discovery, 10 p.m., Friday): In this series premiere, greenhorns learn the ropes (sometimes literally) as they fill new positions in fields requiring climbing tall things or descending into deep things. Presumably at some point, they look at each other and wonder what happened to the people whose jobs they’re filling.


The Rap Game (Lifetime, 10 p.m., Friday): Rapper Silento drops by to coach the aspiring rappers through their appearance at a high school pep rally. If they get stuck, maybe go with that one about how they have spirit but they doubt whether another high school has a comparable amount thereof.

Smartest Guy In The Room (History, 11 & 11:30 p.m., Friday): Back-to-back episodes of this smarty-pants puzzle-solving game show sees people trying to stack 1000 baseballs in a pyramid and making a miniature catapult. Which may or may not fire baseballs.


Mythbusters (Discovery, 8 p.m., Saturday): The guys blow up two cars using just a vacuum cleaner and some explosives. Or maybe just the explosives. Stuff’s gonna blow up real good, is the point here.

Lila & Eve (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): When the mothers of two murdered children (perhaps this is a crossover from two separate Lifetime movies) find that the law will not bring them justice, they team up to go all vigilante. At press time, it is unknown whether they wear superhero costumes, but don’t you sort of hope so?


Dater’s Handbook (Hallmark, 9 p.m., Saturday): A nice lady tries to transform herself when she reads a book whose contents you can probably guess from the title. A nice fella comes along—but does he like the new her, or the her she was all along? Remember, it’s a Hallmark original movie. You have 30 seconds.

Screen Actors Guild Awards (TBS & TNT, 9 p.m., Saturday): The host-less awards show!


Black Sails (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): The intrepid, not-entirely-to-be-trusted pirate crew of the Walrus runs into some foul weather, which makes the usual pirate behavior that much more difficult. Have you ever tried walking a plank in a tsunami? Pirates!

Zombie House Flipping (FYI, 10 p.m., Saturday): You guys like zombies, right? Cool! This show about renovating and selling abandoned houses has nothing to do with zombies! Like, at all! You’re sure to be disappointed!


Beowulf (Esquire, 10 p.m., Saturday): This week in this entertaining adaptation of the ancient adventure poem, “Thanes from across the Shieldlands travel to a mass gathering when an inter-tribal election draws near.” Yeah, but monsters. We’re really here for the monsters.

Austin City Limits (PBS, 11p.m., Saturday): Sleater-Kinney continues their triumphant comeback with this typically rip-roaring performance in support of their first album in nine years, No Cities To Love. Heartless Bastards are also on the bill. (And, hey, read Carrie Brownstein’s memoir about her life in and out of Sleater-Kinney, if you haven’t yet—it’s great.)

And now… sport

X Games (ESPN, 7 p.m., Friday)

Men’s College Basketball: Kentucky At Kansas (ESPN, 7 p.m., Saturday)

UFC Fight Night 18 (Fox, 8 p.m., Saturday)

NBA Basketball: San Antonio At Cleveland (ABC, 8:30 p.m., Saturday)

Men’s College Basketball: Oklahoma State At Auburn (ESPN2, 8 p.m., Saturday)

In case you missed it

You, Me And The Apocalypse: Emily L. Stephens follows up Erik Adams’ pre-air review with her own praise for this end-of-the-world miniseries, writing of the premiere, “This comedy embraces the high drama and frank emotion of its premise, giving its humor and its characters depth. Though You, Me And The Apocalypse is about the death of an entire world, it’s the details of their lives that tie these people together, and that make them and their stories matter.”


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