Today starts what might be the most captivating week of television since last April. Season premieres on cable and returning network favorites dot the week with a delightful assortment of scripted entertainment.
Tonight, Monday February 24
The Blacklist (NBC, 10 p.m.) – James Spader and his practical, bobbed, middle-aged handler are the only parts of this show worth watching, aside from a string of recognizable guest stars and pop songs. I know it’s no True Detective, or House of Cards, or Scandal, even, but I enjoy it every week. Because Spader.
Tuesday, February 25
Brooklyn 99 (Fox, 9:30 p.m.) – If an aversion to Andy Sandburg is keeping you from tuning in, get over it, because Terry Crews is the best thing to ever happen to network sitcoms.
In short. Arms. Arms arms arms; arms arms.
Wednesday, February 26
The Americans (FX, 10 p.m.) – This is the season two premiere. When we left our protagonist comrades, they were in serious trouble. We can assume that trend will continue, alongside the awesome Reagan-era ’80s sets and with a soundtrack the producers of The Blacklist should pay more attention to.
Thursday, February 27
Scandal (ABC, 10 p.m.) – Olivia Pope, Abby’s smokey kohl eyeliner, Huck’s boundary issues, and David Rosen’s cereal bowls are back. I’m hoping we see the return of Olivia Motherfucking Pope, Hellbent for Justice, Drunk on Wine Bowls and Power. Vulnerable, directionless Liv was a nice peek into her inner workings, but I’m ready to see her get back in the fight. Zahra will be covering the first recap, and Cate is working on an analysis of the show we’re not going to want to miss.
Friday, February 28
Hannibal (NBC, 10 p.m.)- It’s time to polish the good silver, because we’ve been invited to dinner at our favorite serial killer’s ridiculous apartment. Bryan Fuller has always been able to take me on any journey he wants to take, so I welcome the conflicted emotions I feel while watching this show like a warm spring breeze.
Whenever You Want
House of Cards (Netflix Instant) – Season two is a slick second act in what is shaping up to be a textbook Greek tragedy. Sure, the Shakespearean Richard III/Lady MacBeth comparisons are apt, but I think HoC is going to be resolved in three acts, rather than five. What’s most surprising about this show, within the structure of a Greek drama, is that Frank Underwood’s antagonist isn’t one of his powerful political adversaries, it’s his wife. Claire Underwood may be a debatable feminist icon, but she is by far one of the most fascinating female characters on the small screen. She’s as cold, driven, and ruthless as any male anti-hero, and could likely make a Don Draper or a Walter White beg for mercy. Like her husband, she’s driven by a pivotal moment in her distant past that set her course. Claire and Frank chose to clear their respective paths with fire, but if I were to bet on one of them remaining standing at the end, escaping the rapid, catastrophic demise required for the necessary catharsis in a Greek tragedy, it’s going to be Claire. Political junkies, theater majors, and those who appreciate really spectacular fashion can all find plenty to love about House of Cards.