Despite Sunday’s matchup between the Broncos and the Seahawks (kickoff is at 6:25 pm Eastern time), this is not the most exciting week for TV viewers. The burst of winter premieres is largely over, but the next ratings “sweeps” period begins Thursday, so expect plenty of fresh episodes. And of course the Olympics begin a week from Friday.
Monday, January 27
How I Met Your Mother (8-8:30 pm, CBS)
As this show approaches its overdue conclusion (March 31st, in case you hadn’t already heard) it reaches its 200th episode tonight, and shifts focus to see what the Mother has been up to in the years leading up to her eventual meeting with Ted.
Tuesday, January 28
Read a Book?
The State of the Union address takes up the bulk of prime time tonight, and most shows in the 8 pm hour are repeats. Even tonight’s movie choices are only so-so: The Bourne Identity is at 8 pm on AMC, so there will be commercial breaks every ten minutes or so; Independence Day is on Encore at 8; Christine is on Sundance at 9; X-Men: First Class is on FX at 8; and probably the best choice, the 1995 drama Clockers, is on Flix at 8.
Wednesday, January 29
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond (10-11 pm, BBC America)
The author of the James Bond novels gets the biopic treatment, though this one is stretched to four weekly one-hour installments (which may be a bit too long). Fleming lived a carefree, playboy life until he was recruited to British Naval Intelligence during World War II; viewers are supposed to believe that his life was just as exciting as that of his fictional creation. Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark in the Captain America movies) plays Fleming.
Thursday, January 30
Parks and Recreation (8:30-9 pm, NBC)
Pawnee says goodbye to Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger as Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe depart the show tonight. Both have been cast in lead roles in pilots (Jones for TBS, Lowe for NBC) so there’s a decent chance you’ll be seeing them again on your screen before too long.
Friday, January 31
The Time Machine (10 pm-12 am, Turner Classic Movies)
1960 version of the H.G. Wells science-fiction classic stars Rod Taylor as Wells, and was directed by George Pal.
Saturday, February 1
Saturday Night Live (11:30 pm-1 am, NBC)
Melissa McCarthy makes her third appearance as host, with musical guests Imagine Dragons. McCarthy has been one of the best guest hosts the show has had in recent years; I hope the writers continue to elevate their material to the level of her talent.
Also tonight: this week’s new episodes of Girls and Looking are on tonight at 10 and 10: 30 pm on HBO instead of Sunday, to avoid having to air opposite the Big Game.
Sunday, February 2
Super Bowl Alternatives
Not everyone is interested in the game, or the commercials, and other channels take various approaches to counter-programming against it. Your choices include Downton Abbey and Sherlock on PBS (9 and 10 pm); Puppy Bowl X on Animal Planet, which first airs at 4 pm and then repeats each hour until the early morning; the first Kitten Bowl on Hallmark Channel (noon-3 pm, repeating until midnight); marathons of The Walking Dead (AMC, all of seasons one and two starting at 10 am); Tosh.0 (Comedy Central, 4:30 pm-1 am); and Star Trek: The Next Generation (BBC America, 5 pm-midnight).
By the way, whether you watch the game or not, you should know that Fox has scheduled new episodes of New Girl at 10:30 pm and Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 11 pm (which of course are subject to change depending on how long the game runs). New Girl is of particular note because Prince is making a guest appearance as himself.
Drinking Buddies (2013)
Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are friends and coworkers at a brewery. Both are in relationships with others (Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick) and spend a lot of time flirting with each other to mask their real feelings.