For a sweeps month, things are rather quiet this week as far as new shows and special programming. There’s a whole lot of The Voice (five hours of live playoffs); a dubious new movie awards show airing for the first time; and the broadcast networks are already announcing the scheduling of holiday hiatuses for their scripted primetime programming (for example, after this week The Blacklist won’t be back until its post-Super Bowl slot).
Monday, November 10
The Last Patrol (9-10:30 pm, HBO)
On the eve of Veterans’ Day, HBO airs a film by Sebastian Junger (author of The Perfect Storm) about a pair of soldiers adjusting to life away from war and back in regular society. The three are joined by a Spanish photojournalist on a soul-searching journey along the east coast and into Pennsylvania.
Tuesday, November 11
Car Matchmaker (9-9:30 pm, Esquire TV)
It’s unusual for me to be completely unaware of the existence of a new show, especially one on the subject of cars, but in my defense Esquire TV is still kind of a below-the-radar channel (I didn’t even know there was an HD feed of it until I went looking for this show in my TiVo’s listings). Turns out it’s been on for a month and five episodes have aired so far. Spike Feresten was a writer on Seinfeld and for David Letterman who also had a late-night Saturday talk show on Fox for a couple of seasons. Here he’s doing a riff on HGTV’s House Hunters, helping potential buyers make the right choice for them, only with cars instead of houses.
Wednesday, November 12
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (9-11 pm, IFC)
Excellent 1980s high-school movie that’s far more nuanced than it seems on first viewing, thanks mainly to the script by Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) and solid work by Amy Heckerling directing her first feature-length film.
Thursday, November 13
Flirting with Disaster (8-9:35 pm, Flix)
This early David O. Russell movie about a man in search of his birth parents is at times a bit frantic but also very funny; the cast includes Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Lily Tomlin, and Alan Alda.
Friday, November 14
Hollywood Film Awards (8-10 pm, CBS)
Just what the world needs: another movie awards show, at a point in the year when many of the best films haven’t been released yet. On the plus side, it’s only two hours, which is shorter than most awards shows. No idea what organization or entity is bestowing the awards; Queen Latifah hosts.
Saturday, November 15
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B (9-11 pm, Lifetime)
Lifetime continues its efforts to produce the cheesiest biopic of all time while also providing something for stay-at-homes to watch on Saturday nights.
Sunday, November 16
Schedule Shenanigans (a mini-rant)
Thanks to football doubleheaders, Bob’s Burgers has been absent from the Sunday schedule this fall more than it’s been on (only two new episodes have aired so far this season). But I find Fox’s approach to dealing with game overruns (they use their postgame show to fill whatever time remains until The Simpsons starts at 8) preferable to how CBS just pushes pushing everything back, plus now we know we’ll get a lot more weeks of new Bob’s Burgers episodes during the winter months.
Update 11/11: Fox announced today that starting this Sunday, Bob’s Burgers will take over the 9:30 time slot following Family Guy, while Mulaney continues its slow-motion walk to cancellation by moving into the 7:30 time slot starting next Sunday the 23rd. (I’m not suggesting my comments above had anything to do with this decision, but I’m also not saying they didn’t…)
A-list comedians still get to showcase their stuff in HBO specials, but lesser-known performers now have more options. Netflix has added standup to its ever-expanding original offerings; new and recent specials include Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me, Doug Benson’s Doug Dynasty (both available now), and Chelsea Peretti’s One of the Greats (premiering Friday 11/14).
(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.)