What to Watch Tonight: Californication S.4 Premiere and Series Premieres of Episodes & Shameless

News & Notes

Get Californication Season 3 on DVD at AmazonTonight, FOX has the series premiere of Bob’s Burgers, NBC has the series premiere of The Cape, and PBS has the 41st season premiere of Masterpiece! with the series premiere of Downton Abbey.

Over on cable, Animal Planet has some Infested! specials, Disney Channel has the second season premiere of Sonny With a Chance, Food Network has the 12th season premiere of Food Network Challenge, National Geographic has the second season premiere of Alaska State Troopers, Showtime has the fourth season premiere of Californication and series premieres of Episodes and Shameless, TLC has the first season finale of Sarah Palin’s Alaska and a William, Kate & 8 Royal Weddings, and Travel Channel has the series premiere of The Wild Within.

In late night, Adult Swim has the fifth season premiere of Robot Chicken.

Showtime is offering free access through Monday night, which means non-subscribers can watch the premieres of their new Sunday night lineup tonight.

Prime Picks

The Simpsons (FOX): New. Marge reconnects with a group of moms that she used to hang out with. Bart attempts to put an end to this group once the playdates stop being fun.
Bob’s Burgers (FOX): Series Premiere. I want to make it abundantly clear that the only reason I am mentioning this here is because it plays after right after The Simpsons and to tell you that it sucks. This is one of those shows that I have no idea how it even makes it on the air. This is an animated comedy that is animated, but is the opposite of funny. And, I don’t mean drama when I say opposite of funny, maybe it’s anti-funny or something. I don’t know. If you think that things like eating human flesh and child molestation are topics that are used too little in comedies today, then this may just be the comedy for you. In case you are unsure by my little rant here, I hated this show and this more than likely the last time it ever gets mentioned. Now, on to better things, which are actually worth watching.

Californication (Showtime): Season Premiere. The season picks up right after the revelations of last season’s finale. Hank gets bailed out of jail to find that his sex scandal and book are the talk of the town. This includes wanting to make it into a movie. But, he also finds that Karen and Becca don’t want him around and he is being sued. Plays again later. I like what this episode sets up for the fourth season storyline. While using a court case isn’t the most original idea, I think given how Hank lives his life and the situation he is in, it is the perfect way to tell this story. I’ve only seen tonight’s episode so far, but am looking forward to watching more.
Episodes (Showtime): Series Premiere. A married British couple that is also the writing and producing team on a hit British TV show get approached by an American TV executive with an offer to adapt their series for the US market. Once they get to Hollywood, things start going less than optimally, as many changes start being made. Plays again later. Read my full Episodes review.

Shameless (Showtime): Series Premiere. This is a remake of a British TV series of the same name. In this version William H. Macy stars as the father of a large family that spends most of his time getting wasted and looking for easy ways to make or scam money. His family is mostly left to fend for themselves, which is mostly left to his eldest daughter that somehow keeps the Chicago family together. Plays twice. Read my full Shameless review.

Solid Selections

Food Network Challenge (Food Network): Season Premiere. Four cake designers compete to build the best “Monster Bug” cake. Plays again later.

Desperate Housewives (ABC): New. Susan’s mother and aunt come for a visit. Gaby is becoming obsessed. Lynette is taking revenge on Tom. Runs 61 minutes.

Brothers & Sisters (ABC): New. Nora and Holly come across something shocking regarding Nora’s past. Justin is dealing with some jealousy. Starts a minute after the hour and runs 59 minutes.

Other Options

  • The Cape (NBC): Series Premiere. A former police officer teams up with a group of carnival types to fight crime in his city. He becomes The Cape and seeks to stop the dastardly Chess from overtaking Palm City Runs two hours. Plays again tomorrow night and again on Syfy late night Wednesday and early morning next Sunday on USA Network. Then will play on Monday nights following Chuck starting on Jaunary 17th. I have not had a chance to see this, but have heard mostly bad things. Read @HitFixDaniel’s review over at HitFix.com for more on the series.
  • Downton Abbey (PBS): Series Premiere. The first of this four part series that has been slightly reworked from it original eight episodes to play over four longer episodes. It begins with the sinking of the Titanic, which messes things up for Lord Grantham. His now has no immediate heirs and after his wife pushes him, they find a distant relative that is not used to the trappings of upper crust living. Runs 90 minutes. I have heard good things about this series and for more read @Televisionary’s review over at TelevisionaryBlog.com.
  • Iron Chef America (Food Network): New. Host Chuck Hughes from the Cooking Channel takes on Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Plays again later.

Sports Notes

  • CBS has AFC Wild Card Game action with the Baltimore Ravens at the Kansas City Chiefs followed by a college basketball game.
  • ESPN has the Fight Hunger Bowl with Boston College vs. Nevada.
  • ESPN2 has doubleheader women’s college basketball action.
  • FOX has NFC Wild Card Game action with the Green Bay Packers at the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • NBA TV has the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Phoenix Suns.

TV Marathons

A&E has six episode of The Sopranos followed by 14 episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter.
BBC America has all six episodes of Luther, which is very well worth checking out.
Bravo has nine episodes of The Real Housewives of …
Oxygen has 17 episodes of Snapped.
Spike TV has 11 episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Syfy is playing six different Star Trek movies.
TLC has nine episodes of Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
TNT has seven episodes of Law & Order early.
WE has seven episodes of Bridezillas followed by five episodes of My Fair Wedding With David Tutera.

There are a lot of choices tonight. What will you be watching?

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Jason the TVaholic
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