Thursday, Feb. 9 (History)
Series Debut: Is the so-called History Channel’s new Mudcats nothing more than a clone of Animal Planet’s inexplicably popular Hillbilly Handfishin’? Let’s see: Hillbilly Handfishin’ is about toothless rednecks who catch catfish by hand in Oklahoma, whereas Mudcats is about toothless rednecks who catch catfish by hand in Oklahoma. Also, the lead hick of Hillbilly Handfishin’ is Skipper Bivins, while the lead hick of Mudcats is Scooter Bivins, brother of Skipper. The Only TV Column That Matters™ thinks the bigger questions here are, “How in the Christ is either one of these a television series?!” and, “Which network wants to buy my genius reality-show idea about Tennessee toilet-snakers/drug dealers, Plumber’s Crack? Did I mention that they also hunt ghosts?”
Friday, Feb. 10 (IFC)
Series Finale: Todd’s (David Cross) mission to sell Thunder Muscle energy drink to the British and win over his diner crush (Sharon Horgan) has gone even worse this season than it did in the first—they weren’t kidding about those increasingly poor decisions. Not only have we learned that the trial that’s been teased over the whole series is about Todd’s desecration of Princess Di’s grave (among many, many other crimes against the U.K.), but Season 2 guest star Jon Hamm has actually been playing Jon Hamm—and he’s been written out of Mad Men because he’s spent too much time away from the set playing Dave’s (Blake Harrison) celebrity servant. Even Portlandia hasn’t come up with anything that meta-funny.
Saturday, Feb. 11 (NBC/CW30)
Zooey Deschanel Alert: Last week on Fox’s New Girl, a straight-laced lawyer (played by Lizzy Caplan) took Jess (Deschanel) to task over her whole girly-girl, hipster-twee “Bluebirds help me dress in the morning thing” that’s so loved/hated by critics, bloggers and other inconsequential people. Jess, responding to the lawyer lady and, it should be assumed, Zooey haters, said firmly, “I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours … but that doesn’t mean I’m not smart and tough and strong.” Will Deschanel remain on the defensive for her first Saturday Night Live hosting gig? Could make for the first interesting SNL of the year, or the whole season.
Sunday, Feb. 12 (AMC)
Midseason Premiere: To those still whining about the 10-week break in the second season of The Walking Dead: Remember how Season 1 in 2010 was just six episodes long? And you had to wait a whole year for new episodes? Shut up. When last we left All My Zombies, the gang had shot up Hershel’s secret barn-full of walkers (including missing li’l Sophia), so it’s time for them to move on from the ranch (says Hershel, anyway, who’s now renounced God for booze—probably for the best). But not without some drama, of course, what with the pregnancies, suspicions and a couple of shady new characters rolling into town. Once again, you can roll into Brewvies (677 S. 200 West; 21 ) and watch The Walking Dead for free at 7 p.m., thanks to Big Shiny Robot, True TV, City Weekly and the fine folks at the Cinema Pub. Let’s just hope for more zombie-killin’ in this half.
Tuesday, Feb. 14 (ABC)
Season Premiere: Finally! Ill-conceived/received ABC sitcoms like Man Up and Work It have come and died in the nine months since Cougar Town has been off the air, displaced by the equally funny Happy Endings on Wednesdays, but it’s back! Now if it can just overcome the Last Man Standing lead-in …