Even though the ratings “sweeps” period started last Thursday, this was a challenging week for me, with not a lot of particularly compelling programming to recommend. There are NBA and NHL playoff games throughout the week if that’s your thing, but the non-sports stuff is rather thin; even PBS is light on new shows this week. Still we press on, as always. (Next week has a lot more happening.)
Monday, April 28
National Lampoon’s Vacation (10 pm-12:15 am, IFC)
I was never much of a fan of Chevy Chase’s particular blend of goof and snark, and this movie isn’t nearly as good as the earlier Lampoon-branded classic Animal House, but it’s still fairly significant in the overall context of 1980s comedies. Rumors of a reboot persist, but so far nothing’s official.
Tuesday, April 29
Playing House (10-11:02 pm, USA)
Upright Citizens Brigade veterans Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair created and star in this new comedy about two best friends, one who’s pregnant but has just split with her husband, the other who long ago fled their small hometown but decides to give up her successful overseas business career to stick around and help raise the baby. (Two-episode premiere)
Wednesday, April 30
There Must Be Something On…
But if not, maybe call your mom? There is a Rays-Red Sox game on ESPN at 7 pm, and October Sky, a warmly told biopic about a boy growing up in West Virginia in the 1950s who dreams of being a rocket scientist (seriously), starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal (8-10 pm, Flix).
Thursday, May 1
No, I will not recommend you watch the iHeartRadio Music Awards, because they are basically a meaningless excuse for a three-hour award show. So tonight you can choose between gleefully absurd, mindless action (Machete, 7:45-10 pm on IFC); a depressing, overacted celebrity biopic from the early 1980s (Mommie Dearest, 8:15-11 pm, Sundance); and a depressing but well-acted melodrama from the late 1950s (Imitation of Life, 8-10:15 pm, TCM).
Friday, May 2
Shark Tank: Swimming with Sharks (8-9 pm, ABC)
The title may be a bit misleading; this is a follow-up episode that checks in with a number of the entrepreneurs who have appeared on the show for updates on the status of their ventures.
Saturday, May 3
White House Correspondents’ Dinner (8-11 pm, CNN)
The Soup host and Community star Joel McHale helms this year’s event.
Sunday, May 4
The Simpsons (8-8:30 pm, Fox
Springfield gets LEGOized in an episode (the show’s 550th, by the way) that reportedly took two years to make.
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 (2012-13)
Another show deserving of a better fate, this loopy comedy about a naive young woman from the Midwest who moves to New York and forges an unlikely friendship with her amoral, party-girl roommate managed to survive for two seasons on ABC but probably would have been a better fit on a cable channel in the first place. (26 episodes total, with a non-definitive ending that‘s fairly typical for this era of constant uncertainty about renewal.)
(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.)