Feed Your DVR: 1/25/15 to 1/31/15
Sunday, January 25th – If you’ve always been a fan of the American Revolution, but wished that the Founding Fathers were, well, sexier – then tonight is your night. Get your history with a shot of adrenaline with part one of the Sons of Liberty mini-series, a three-night event where stars like Dean Norris as a woozy, womanizing Ben Franklin and Ben Barnes as a hot and hotheaded Sam Adams give the bad-boy treatment to the men who kickstarted a revolution. In reality, it’s probably best if you forget history and just go along for the ride. (History Channel, 9pm. Part 2 airs Monday, 1/26 at 9pm and Part 3 airs Tuesday, 1/27 at 9pm.)
Monday, January 26th – The greatest annual television event swiftly approaches. We’re talking, of course, about the commercials which take up approximately 97.3% of the airtime of the Super Bowl. Revisit favorites of years past with the CBS special Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials, hosted by Boomer Esiason and Katherine McPhee, which promises both viewer-selected past gems and a preview of what we have to look forward to this year. (CBS, 8pm)
Tuesday, January 27th – USA recently scaled back its foray into comedy in order to focus on its more popular quirky yet sulty character dramas, but fortunately for us, we still have Sirens, returning tonight for a second season. While as crude and funny as you would expect a comedy developed by Dennis Leary to be, the show still manages to avoid simplistic stereotypes in its depiction of a diverse Chicago paramedic crew. (USA, 10pm)
Wednesday, January 28th – Last week, I suggested you catch up on the first two seasons of The Americans on Amazon Prime. Now, tune in for the season three premiere tonight, as the Jennings marriage comes under siege once again when they are pressured to introduce their daughter Paige to the truth and bring her into the Second Generation Illegals program. Come for the 80s costumes and culture, stay for one of the best scripted and acted show on TV. (FX, 10pm)
Thursday, January 29th – After six seasons, the Braverman clan says goodbye tonight in the Parenthood series finale. The episode promises a wedding, a time jump, and the return of absent family members as viewers get to see for the final time what their future holds. Will Joel and Julia stay together? How will Zeek deal with his declining health? Cast and crew members suggest you keep the tissue box nearby. (NBC, 10pm)
Friday, January 30th – Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville takes viewers inside A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the season two premiere of Shakespeare Uncovered on PBS. The play requires a deft blend of comedic and tragic tones, and Bonneville guides us through his history with the production – where he understudied Ralph Fiennes, also appearing, as Lysander – and a recent staging at the Globe. (PBS, 9pm)
Saturday, January 31st – Tonight, you can chose from two (or watch both) specials from veteran comic luminaries. First, on HBO at 9pm, you have Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen, where Brooks mixes singing, storytelling, and audience questions as he revisits his long and storied body of work. Then, at 10pm, switch over to OWN for a re-airing of Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious, Sykes’ all-female comic special from 2013.
Streaming Pick of the Week – With the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, we recommend that you get into the spirit by watching the best series about football ever to air: Friday Night Lights. The NBC drama was set in the small town of Dillon, Texas, the title refers to the intense focus on high school football in the Lone Star State, where quarterbacks are gods and booster clubs rule the schools. Coach Eric Taylor (the role of a lifetime for Kyle Chandler) and his wife Tami (a sublime Connie Britton) struggle to raise both their own family, mentor the students under their care, and navigate the vitriolic small-town politics. Football is central to the show, but not all-consuming, and the Taylor’s marriage is perhaps one of the most real to grace the airwaves in all the best and most heartbreaking ways. Watch it on Netflix, and check out the below supercut of inspiring Coach Taylor speeches. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
Premiering This Week: Strange Inheritance (1/26, Fox Business, 8pm); Top Gear (1/26, BBC America, 8:30pm); Black Ink Crew (1/26, VH1, 9pm); Mud, Swear, & Gears (1/26, BBC America, 10pm); Sirens (1/27, USA, 10pm); The Americans (1/28, FX, 10pm); Suits midseason return (1/28, USA, 10pm); Secrets of the Dead (1/28, PBS, 10pm); Mississippi Men (1/28, History, 10pm); Gray’s Anatomy midseason return (1/29, ABC, 8pm); Scandal midseason return (1/29, ABC, 9pm); How to Get Away With Murder midseason return (1/29, ABC, 10pm); Fortitude (1/29, Pivot, 10pm); Little People, Big World (1/29, DLIF, 8pm); Shakespeare Uncovered (1/30, PBS, 9pm)
Upcoming Finales: Galavant (1/25, ABC, 8pm); Sit Down, Shut Up (1/25, Cartoon Network, 8pm); Resurrection (1/25, ABC, 9pm); Snapped: Killer Couples (1/25, Oxygen, 10pm); Fat and Back (1/25, TLC, 10pm); Web Therapy (1/28, Showtime, 11pm); The Biggest Loser (1/29, NBC, 8pm); Parenthood (1/29, NBC, 10pm); Wake Up Call (1/30, TNT, 9pm)
New Specials & Events: Miss Universe Pageant (1/25, NBC, 8pm); Screen Actors Guild Awards (1/25, TBS/TNT, 8pm); Sons of Liberty miniseries (1/25, 26, & 27, History, 9pm); Super Bowl Greatest Commercials (1/26, CBS, 8pm); A Path Appears (1/26, PBS, 10pm); Edison: An American Experience (1/27, PBS, 9pm); Friars Club Roast of Terry Bradshaw (1/30, ESPN2, 8pm); Key & Peele Superbowl Special (1/30, Comedy Central, 10pm); Beautiful & Twisted (1/31, Lifetime, 8pm); Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen (1/31, HBO, 9pm)