This is a tricky time of the year to make suggestions: most of the big network shows are finished for the summer, but the cable channels’ original summer shows don’t start their new seasons for a few more weeks. Nonetheless, there must be something to watch, right?
Sunday, May 19
The Simpsons (8-9 pm, FOX)
Two episodes wrap up season 24, including a guest appearance by Seth MacFarlane as a man who bonds with Marge over their enthusiasm for a Downton Abbey-esque period drama. Hold on, The Simpsons has been on for 24 seasons? Is that some sort of record? Some of you have never known a world without the show, which makes me… old.
Monday, May 20
American Masters (9-10:30 pm, WGBH)
Mel Brooks has been a giant of comedy for more than half a century, both behind the camera (writer, producer, director) and in front of it, and at 86 he’s still going. Chances are, a comedian you like was influenced by Brooks. Mel Brooks: Make a Noise looks at his life and career.
Tuesday, May 21
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (8-10:15 pm, IFC)
It’s always risky when a beloved book is brought to the screen, especially a genre piece, and sci-fi fans tend to be the most ardent and vocal. I wasn’t as big a fan of Adams’s books as some, but I found this movie to be a very successful adaptation of the book, and thoroughly delightful even for those who aren’t familiar with the source material.
Wednesday, May 22
Modern Family (9-9:30, ABC)
Season four ends with the whole family heading to Florida to deal with the loss of Phil’s mother. I’ve enjoyed watching the Pritchetts and the Dunphys, but I have to admit that this show is feeling tired. There hasn’t been as much character development as I would have expected, and a lot of the jokes are showing signs of wear from overuse. But it still draws big ratings.
Thursday, May 23
Save Me (8-9 pm, NBC)
When a network premieres a new show the night after the official close of the television season, it does not suggest a high level of confidence. Anne Heche stars as a woman who has a brush with death and subsequently gains the ability to receive messages from God. I have no idea if this will be good, terrible, or (most likely) mediocre, but Heche is an appealing performer, so it might be worth a look.
Friday, May 24
I don’t know what you’d be doing in front of the TV on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, but if you insist… Rajon Rondo is scheduled to be a guest on Fashion Police (10-11 pm, E!).
Saturday, May 25
NHL Playoffs: NY Rangers vs. Boston Bruins (8 pm-?, NBC)
I’m going on a limb by listing this, suggesting that the Bruins won’t sweep the Rangers. But isn’t it always nicer for teams to win a playoff series in front of a home crowd?
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)