(This is the TV column for Tuesday, Feb. 3; scroll down and you'll find Wednesday, Feb. 4.)
“New Girl,” 9 p.m., Fox.
For 15 years,
Schmidt and Nick have been a part-time business team, concocting bad
ideas. So far, Schnick Industries has made ... well, nothing. But now
it has a pitch session with Lori Grenier, of “Shark Tank” and
What follows is a
wondrous series of mis-steps and bumbles. We'll overlook a lame
sub-plot – Coach and Winston invest in Cece's education – and
savor some hilarious, Schnick-style moments.
“Forever,” 10 p.m., ABC.
In his 200-plus
years, Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) has faced the joy and despair
of immortality. He's seen the darkest edges of humanity, but this
hour goes deeper and darker than ever.
It starts with the
murder of a man who had made a fortune from art the Nazis stole from
the Jews. Now Henry flashes back to his family's own dark secret,
while solving the murder. It's a solemn, solid hour that also gives
Abe (Judd Hirsch) a peek at his own roots.
ALTERNATIVE: “American Experience,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local
Back in 1910, the
U.S. Forest Service was only five years old, with little experience
fighting fires. Then one swept across the Northern Rockies. In 36
hours, it devoured three million acres (the size of Connecticut),
destroyed towns and killed 78 firefighters, plus many more who had
“The Big Burn”
is based on a book by Timothy Egan, whose previous book led to PBS'
brilliant “The Dust Bowl.” Like that one, this has
socio-political context, dramatic storytelling and richly human
moments; we see Ed Pulaski, who saved lives while surviving (barely)
a searing ordeal.
Recreation,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC. Once profoundly unambitious,
April is now busy. In the first episode, she's managing the wedding
of Donna and Joe. In the second, she accompanies Leslie to Washington
and ponders her future; back home, Andy looks for the perfect job for
“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. After a slow stretch – two new episodes in nine weeks – this
ratings hit is back in business. Tonight, a murder victim was about
to be the first openly gay Medal of Honor winner.
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. A Naval officer has received a lethal dose
of radiation. Now the team races to solve the murder of someone who
has not yet died.
Throwdown,” 9 p.m., Oxygen. Considered vandalism by some and an
energetic art form by others, “street art” now gets a show of its
own. It's a lot like all the other shows – including the excellent
“Face Off,” at the same time on Syfy – but fun to watch. In the
opener, artists climb to a towering billboard, descend to a creepy
tunnel, and do good work in bad conditions.
“Being Mary Jane”
season-opener, 10 p.m., BET. Crushed by her break-up, Mary Jane
(Gabrielle Union) is dangerous to her friends, her family and her
goldfish. At an elegant dinner party, she implodes. What follows is
an hour of rage and regrets. It's difficult to like Mary Jane, but
easy to root for her. With the exception of her mother (poorly
written and acted), this is a sharp, well-played hour.
p.m., FX. Smart and sexy, alternately fierce and fragile, Ava Crowder
has gradually become one of TV's great characters. Formerly Boyd
Crowder's sister-in-law (before killing her abusive husband), she's
now his fiance ... except that Raylan (a U.S. marshal and her
ex-lover) is forcing her to inform on him. Tonight, Joelle Carter
does great work as Ava, trapped between forces.