We’ve been breaking down the Spring 2012 TV schedule all week this week, picking out what you should be watching live, DVRing, streaming, and ignoring on TV each night. We’ve already attacked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Now it’s Thursday. Get comfortable – there’s a lot going down, including the surprise return of NBC’s “Must-See TV” Thursday night programming block.
WHAT TO WATCH LIVE:
30 Rock Hallelujah Liz Lemon is back. Tina Fey’s masterful comedy took the Fall 2011 season off so Fey could pop out a baby. But now the TGS crew is back – and assumingly, more ridiculous than ever. There’s no telling exactly what we’ll get this season (although I’m sure we’ll see some take on Tracy Morgan’s headline-making homophobic rant last summer). But with one of the best casts on TV (Fey, Morgan, Alec Baldwin, and Jane Krakowski, all at the top of their games), it’s safe to say they’ll be plenty of laughs.
Parks and Recreation Things in Pawnee just keep getting better and better. Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Retta, and Jim O’Heir are putting out the most consistently funny and poignant comedy on television. Great writing, loveable characters, and a whole lotta heart. TREAT YO SELF and watch live!
The Office Dunder Mifflin is suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. In the wake of Steve Carell’s absence, the show is struggling to find their pacing again. Ed Helms’ dimwitted Andy Bernard is taking the reins as Regional Manager, with James Spader’s creepy Robert California popping in all the time as CEO of Dunder Mifflin’s parent company, Sabre. Unfortunately, this odd couple just isn’t compelling to watch. The Office would do better to go back to focus on their outstanding supporting cast. Give Jim (John Krasinski) something better to do than play pranks on Dwight (Rainn Wilson). Pam (Jenna Fischer) can be way more than just a frustrated mom. And please guys – GIVE US MORE MINDY KALING! With changes like this, The Office can get its stride back. But eight seasons in, it may be time to say goodbye. I’ll still watch through the end (I’ve put in this much time!), though I guess I can see why you might want to take a break.
Up All Night NBC’s Up All Night was a big hit on Wednesday nights, so its no surprise that the network would quickly move it to anchor their Thursday-night comedy block. It’s a great fit too – Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Mya Rudolph have produced a silly, sweet look at balancing a life of work, family, and friends. I think Up All Night will finally hit its stride on Thursday nights. Hey – at least it’s not Whitney.
The Firm Movies don’t always transfer very well to TV (and vice versa), but when they do, the results are pretty spectacular (see: Friday Night Lights). It’s too soon to tell whether The Firm will be one of those good cases. But with strong performances and strong source material, I’m hoping for the best. The actions starts 10 years after the events of the original John Grisham novel/Tom Cruise film, with Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise in the movie, Josh Lucas in the TV show), taking himself, his wife Abby (Molly Parker), and their 10-year-old daughter out of witness protection and opening a law firm. Procedurals ensue. The story is compelling, but Lucas is the real star here. He’s an underrated actors, and he delivers a powerful performance here. Plus, he’s super handsome. Have you seen those blue eyes? Hubba hubba!
WHAT TO DVR:
Wipeout I will never grow tired of seeing people fall down. And boy, is there a lot of that in ABC’s Wipeout. The premise really never gets old. A bunch of people go through an obstacle course filled with trap doors, swinging structures, and unstable platforms. Then they fall down. A lot. The fastest ones that make it through the four rounds of challenges, wins. But the real winner is you, sitting on your couch, laughing your ass off at these poor schmucks. DVR it and save for a hungover Sunday morning
Missing When Wipeout ends, ABC’s launching Missing – which won’t have nearly as many falls or laughs, but may be just as DVR-worthy. Ashely Judd stars as Becca Winstone, who travels to Europe to track down her 18-year-old son who has gone missing while studying abroad. Of course, it’s not that easy as just asking a few questions of his roommate and teachers. Winstone’s husband, a CIA agent, was murdered 10 years ago, and she fears there’s some connection here. Whether the rest of the series will deliver as many twists and turns as the pilot did remains to be unseen. But Judd is reason enough for me to tune in.
Project Runway All Stars There aren’t many all stars in Project Runway All Stars. Sure, Mondo and Austin Scarlett and Rami and Kara Janx are here, delivering some of the best work of their careers. But Michael? Jerell? Gordana? Mila? Give me a break. And as much as I love Anthony and Kenley and April and Sweet P for their personalities, I wouldn’t call them all stars. Alas, Lifetime is hoping you care enough about the franchise to give it a spin, and despite the fact that all the host, mentor, and judges are all new this cycle around, I’m giving it a shot. What can I say – I have a hard time letting go.
Jersey Shore Snooki and the gang return from Italy for a summer of debauchery back in Seaside Heights. Drinking, fighting, and all sorts of nasty hooking up ensues. And you watch every second of it because you love to hate them so hard.
WHAT TO WATCH ONLINE:
The Big Bang Theory Any show that puts Mayim Bialik on TV is completely okay with me.
Grey’s Anatomy The other night, I tuned in and watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy for the first time in years. And guess what? I still hated it. But I know that Grey’s has die-hard fans, and I fear their wrath without putting it on the list.
Archer I’m not a huge fan of adult animated comedies. I’ll admit that I’ve never seen an episode of The Simpsons and Family Guy that I didn’t laugh at throughout the whole show. But they’re not really for me. Well, that’s what I thought until I saw FX’s Archer. Inappropriate. Offensive. Hysterical. Well worth seeking out.
WHAT TO READ ABOUT ONLINE THE NEXT DAY:
If you’re keeping up with American Idol, you’re going to want to find out who got voted off. You might also want to check-in on what drama went down on The Vampire Diariesor The Secret Circle – though be prepared to be sucked in to more of the same there.
WHAT TO IGNORE:
Person of Interest was a huge disappointment in the fall. I really hoped it would be a compelling drama. Instead, it turned into a show with more plot holes than I’ve seen since Nip/Tuck. What a letdown. Luckily, I’d never be letdown by CBS’ Rob! because, well, it’s a ROB SCHNEIDER SITCOM. Kill yourself.