Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Weeknights, 12:35am, NBC
Captive audience: Insomniacs; hipsters; fans of inoffensive white boys.
Moment of truth: Now that the former SNLer will be taking over Jay Leno’s seat on The Tonight Show next year, let’s see what we’ll have to look forward to. Granted, Fallon’s Late Night is a quirky, inventive hour, complete with guests taking part in fun bits and stunts. And, yes, The Roots is the best talk-show house band since David Letterman’s Late Night-era crew. But Fallon’s pandering unctuousness makes it difficult for me to even get through an episode. Considering how Leno has turned Tonight into an ass-kissing fiesta over the years, it seems natural for Fallon to carry the torch of nocturnal mediocrity.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.
Sundays, 10pm, HBO
Captive audience: The Thick of It watchers; political satirists; lovers of foul-mouthed MILFs.
Moment of truth: Call me crazy, but the older and more vulgar Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets, the hotter she becomes. The Emmy winner continues to curse up a storm—and look sexy while doing it—as neurotic, trash-talking Vice President Selina Meyer in the second season of this savagely funny sitcom. Watch as Meyer, with help from her equally profane staff, tries to get some leverage in the White House without making any political gaffes. All I gotta say is you wouldn’t think one could be both amused and aroused by a lady calling somebody a “jolly green jizzface.” And, yet, Louis-Dreyfus pulls it off oh-so-well.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Tuesdays, 10pm, MTV
Captive audience: Teenagers; parents who want to understand teenagers; budding Tina Feys.
Moment of truth: Even though this high-school farce about a sardonic, blogging teen (Ashley Rickards) and her zany place of learning is basically a live-action version of that far-superior, classic MTV cartoon Daria, this sitcom is one of the few things on that once-great network that doesn’t warp your damn brain. Several surprises pop up in the third season, the most welcome of them being the addition of a rather bulky Anthony Michael Hall as a no-nonsense, creative writing teacher hellbent on getting vapid kids to discover who they really are. If only all MTV shows could do that for their audience.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Calendar: December 17-24
Calendar: Dec. 10-17
PW's Holiday Guide 2014