A year with multiple changes in late night begins tonight, with Larry Wilmore taking the helm of the replacement for The Colbert Report; also this week: a new series with an overly familiar type of main character, two season premieres, and another History Channel miniseries.
Monday, January 19
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (11:31 pm-12:01 am, Comedy Central)
When Comedy Central announced that the post-Daily Show slot would go to Wilmore I was pleased and excited. He’s been a TDS correspondent since 2006 with a distinct point of view that I believe will translate well to a show that he’s the host of. Wilmore said in an interview that the format will be kind of a mix of TDS and Real Time, with the second half being a panel discussion with guests.
Tuesday, January 20
Justified (10-11:30 pm, FX)
The series begins its sixth and final season with Raylan using Ava to try to take down Boyd, the sort of endgame the show always seemed to be moving toward.
Also tonight: the State of the Union address airs on the broadcast channels from 9-10:30 pm.
Wednesday, January 21
Ed Wood (7:45-10 pm, Flix)
Wonderfully weird movie about a wonderfully weird man who made some wonderfully terrible movies, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Patricia Arquette.
Thursday, January 22
Backstrom (9-10 pm, Fox)
Rainn Wilson stars as a very House-esque detective in Portland, OR in this new crime procedural from the creator of Bones. The show was in development earlier at CBS before getting put on hold for a while and finding its way to Fox. I’m not sure it’s going to work; we know from The Office that Wilson is up to the challenge of playing a jerk, but I just question the wisdom of going back to this overused trope of the brilliant-but-obnoxious character again.
Friday, January 23
American Masters (9-10 pm, PBS)
Profile of magician and actor Ricky Jay. You know, that husky, fast-talking bearded guy who was in that movie. No, not that one, the other one. You know, the David Mamet one. No, not Glengarry Glen Ross, he wasn’t in that one. House of Games, and also Boogie Nights, and lots of others.
Saturday, January 24
Black Sails (9-10 pm, Starz)
Starz has found success with several historical dramas going back to the various iterations of Spartacus. They’ve found a niche that works for them with Da Vinci’s Demons, Outlander, and this pirate yarn which starts season two tonight.
Sunday, January 25
Sons of Liberty (9-11 pm, History)
This six-hour, three night miniseries is a fictional depiction of the origins of the American Revolution, centered on patriots John Adams, Samuel Adams (they were cousins), John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Dr. Joseph Warren (a name I have to admit I am unfamiliar with). Parts two and three air Monday and Tuesday, also from 9-11 pm.
The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66)
Time to raid Netflix’s “Classic TV” section again. Anyone interested in writing for television, especially comedy, should consider this the video equivalent of a required textbook. Creator Carl Reiner drew upon his experience as a writer for Sid Caesar in the 1950’s to form a sitcom with some of the funniest, sharpest writing on any series, ever. (Five seasons, 158 episodes total.)
(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.)