Film and TV

The Week In TV: Finished With Some Football?

I spent the weekend hiding from the cold weather and reminding everyone that there will be no human or feline ashes in either one of the time capsules. This was the week in TV Land:

• Texas forever: NBC has finally set a premiere date for the final season of Friday Night Lights, which has already been airing on DirecTV. The fifth season of the show will hit NBC airwaves on April 15 and air on Fridays. However, in an interesting scheduling twist owing to the dual airings, the season will hit DVD on April 5, so it's hard to see putting up with 12-ish weeks of hour-long episodes with commercials when you can score the DVD set for modest purchase or even cheaper rental and satisfy all your Riggins-based desires instantly. The only season of the series I've purchased is the near-perfect first one, but I could definitely see myself renting the fifth one just to learn what happens. Come April, expect to find me quietly weeping in a corner listening to earnest prog-balladry and thinking about the transitory nature of youth. Clear eyes, full hearts, etc.

• Speaking of football: The Super Bowl was this weekend, and I couldn't believe it when [exciting play] happened, or when [star player] wound up [doing something amazing or pitiful, depending on the situation]. What did you think?

• I was born nine years after the end of Lidsville, yet I totally understand the nostalgic mix of wonder and terror that affects children of the 1970s when viewing clips of Sid and Marty Kroft's infinitely fucked-up show about giant puppet hats. Kids' pop culture in the 1980s was plenty weird, don't get me wrong, but the stuff from the previous decade is laced with genuine insanity. Forty years after the show taught a young generation how to cry, DreamWorks is poised to bring the show to the big screen, and in 3-D, because why not crank the horror up to 11 if you've got the chance. So if you're looking to have some soul-scarring flashbacks to a childhood you'd rather forget, or if you've got your own kids now and just want them to share your pain, you'll eventually be able to take them to a movie that looks like this.

• It was a weird week for 1990s pop culture, as well. MTV recently put an end to months of speculation by confirming that Beavis and Butt-Head will indeed be returning this summer with their first new episodes since 1997. Now, it's possible that Beavis and Butt-Head can still fit in to a degree with MTV, but with the network now not even pretending to give a shit about music videos -- they've even eliminated the words "Music Television" from their logo -- the presence of two animated slackers from the Yaga era riffing on music videos might be a tough sell. MTV might have to start actually playing videos again.

Another pair of 1990s slackers also made a brief reappearance last week when Dana Carvey hosted Saturday Night Live and appeared with special guest Mike Myers in a revival of "Wayne's World." They did a sketch about their Oscar picks that felt a little flat; there's something about guys in their 40s and 50s pretending to be teenagers giggling at "bone" references that's a little dispiriting. It's one thing for SNL to revive slightly more recent sketches when the host is a former cast member: When Amy Poehler hosted in the fall of 2010, she brought back "Bronx Beat" with guest Maya Rudolph. But Poehler only left the show in 2008. Carvey left in 1993, and Myers exited in 1995, so it's a little jarring to see them doing characters that no longer gel with the vibe of the show, which has transitioned away from more frat-based humor into a slightly more absurdist tone under Seth Meyers and influences like Tina Fey. Witness the awkwardness for yourself:

• A year after they up and vanished from the service, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report are returning to Hulu after the site finally reached an amenable deal with Viacom. Hulu will offer recent episodes and clips for free, with more available to Hulu Plus subscribers. This is good news for people who want to catch up with the shows a day or two after they air but are tired (as I am) of dealing with Comedy Central's buggy site, crawling video, and generally ugly interface. Hallelujah:

• For fans of NBC's The Chase and The Cape -- all seven of you -- I've got some bad news. Chase has been pulled from the schedule and will be replaced by extended episodes of Minute to Win It, a stupid-human-tricks competition show that makes me wonder about the justice of bringing another child into this world, while Cape has had its episode order chopped from 13 to 10. Chase was a boilerplate procedural, and Cape wasn't even ironically likable, but still, they have to be better than the noxious reality shows NBC is peddling.

• This looks interesting: On Monday night (the 7th), HBO is airing Reagan, a documentary from Eugene Jarecki about the life and times of President Reagan, specifically the way his legacy tends to get applied today to pretty much everything. Jarecki's proven himself to be a skilled filmmaker with docs like the riveting Why We Fight, so I've got moderately high hopes for this one.

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson