TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Fargo” debut, 10 p.m., FX.
Don’t expect the same characters or plot of the 1996 movie masterpiece.
Still, we get the same setting (small-town Minnesota), attitude (unsuspecting)
and dialog style (brilliantly understated).
Lester (Martin Freeman) is ignored by most people and
bullied by some. Then Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) arrives, with mischief
and menace; brutal things happen, in a town not prepared for this. The result
is sometimes funny, sometimes tragic but always superbly crafted.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project,” 9
and 9:30 p.m., Fox.
Break-ups are difficult (and sometimes hilarious), these
shows tell us.
Jess and Nick pretend to their friends that they’re still
together … and pretend to each other that they’re not devastated; clumsy lies
make great comedy. Then Mindy tries macho-style dating after her break-up with
Danny; Max Greenfield (Schmidt on “New Girl”) has some good moments as her
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Inside Amy Schumer,” 8 and 10:30
p.m., Comedy Central.
What would it be like if writer Aaron Sorkin’s intense “West
Wing” style went from the White House to a fast-food restaurant? Tonight’s new
episode (the 10:30 one) has a superb take-off, with Josh Charles as the
high-pressure boss. It also opens with a great sketch, illustrating the danger
of surprise parties.
Last week’s episode (rerunning at 8) also has a gem, with
four friends whose consciences are only moved by calorie consumption. Still,
Schumer remains inconsistent. Each episode includes a four-guy sketch that
starts with a mildly funny notion, then stretches it endlessly and drearily.
Other choices today include:
“Agents of SHIELD,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC. Tying into plot
twists in the new “Captain America” movie, we get a rerun of last week’s
episode and then a new hour. First, the team is trapped, with a traitor in its
midst. Then it chooses an unlikely hiding place, soon discovering SHIELD
“Pioneers of Television,” 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
The jump from stand-up comedy to situation comedy is traced via Jerry Seinfeld,
Ray Romano, Roseanne Barr, Tim Allen and Bob Newhart.
“Glee,” 8 p.m., Fox. Artie
must tell past partners the results of his test for sexually transmitted
“NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. A Navy officer may have been killed in
a random bar fight … or may have been targeted because of what he knew about an
attack on a female officer.
“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. Returning to the field
after her ordeal, Kensi talks with Deeks about their relationship. Meanwhile,
an agent is suspected of helping the smuggler he was investigating.
“The Address,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Setting aside his usual style of rich storytelling, Ken Burns simply lets the
camera visit a school where boys with learning disabilities memorize the
Gettysburg Address. The result is OK by other standards, so-so compared to
Burns’ usual gems.
“Celebrity Wife Swap” season-opener, 10 p.m., ABC. Halima
Jackson lives in elegance with her husband Jermaine; Isabella Hoffman shares a
small home with her autistic son, 17, whose dad (Daniel Baldwin) is trying to
repair relationships after a decade of drug addiction. Now opposite lives are briefly
“Awkward” season-opener, 10:30 p.m., MTV. Jenna starts her
senior year, but some things remain the same: She’s humiliated at school and at