TV on Tap: Spartacus’ Final Stand, Patrick Duffy Wants a “Step By Step” Reunion and “Copper” Gets Alfre Woodard

Da Vinci’s Demons spreads its wings tonight.


Patrick Duffy says he’d like to participate in a Step by Step reunion movie and that it would be interesting to see how the Lambert family grew up. I just hope such a series spawns a serious topical drama that desperately adds a laugh track when ratings tank, giving the TGIF generation a The Bradys of their own.

You’ve seen me complain that the dark side of a golden age of television is a too-full DVR that make it challenging to keep up with all the good shows (as well as the guilty pleasures and hate watching) available. It also means that shows like Southland and Switched at Birth don’t quite get the attention they deserve. I’m still looking for time to get caught up on Game of Thrones, much less time to get to that third episode of Top of the Lake. Hitfix critic Alan Sepinwall is feeling similarly overwhelmed, noting that average viewers are also becoming a lot more wary about starting a series.

Similarly, Maureen Ryan uses Happy Endings to ponder the state ot the TV comedy, asking why the latest batch of critically loved comedies have struggled to find an audience. Perhaps it’s time TV networks gave up on the urban hangout sitcom to include characters who come in a wider range of ages (yes) maybe it’s an issue with networks seeking “big” concepts that creators plan to ditch (see Cougar Town) or maybe networks need to give a good show a chance for the audience to find it.

TVLine reports that Revenge is promising to kill of a “core cast member” in its season finale. I was intrigued for a moment but then I started to realize how many series regulars who could go away and I’d barely notice.

Can you really have a list of five worst TV spinoffs that never made it past the pilot without including the various backdoor pilots The Facts of Life gave us in its final season? One of them had David Spade (as a med student who hid his sensitive nature with sarcasm) and Richard Grieco as Natalie and Tootie’s roommates.

The amah-zing Alfre Woodard will appear in the second season of Copper in a recurring role as a former slave looking to start a new life. I was initially excited but then I thought about Betty Applewhite and started to worry a little. Let’s hope this is the TV role that makes good use of her talent.

I think Buzzfeed’s list of 25 actors who started on Undressed makes a good argument for why we’re due for the soapy anthology to get the kind of nostalgic treatment Clarissa Explains It All got.

Friday’s Listings

Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook (PBS) Check local listings
Fred Astaire is the entry point to a look at the complimentary relationship of music and dance. That includes a look at rare home movies and a look at memorabilia.

Anderson Live (syndicated) Check local listings
Anderson’s chatting with the Johnston family, who call themselves “The Real Life Seven Dwarfs” and have a reality TV special airing this weekend.

Days of Our Lives (NBC) Check local listings
It’s another day of secrets and scheming in Salem as Nick runs into Vargas while he’s with Gabi. Meanwhile, EJ, Sami and Will conduct a meeting of the Anti-Nick League. Be sure to join us for a liveblog of the action starting at 1PM Eastern.

Nikita (CW) 8:00 PM ET
Amanda starts to realize she’s got more she can use against The Division than her connections — she knows some of its agents’ secrets. Thus, now she’s trying to turn Owen with promises of the memories of the memories she took away in the first place.

Happy Endings (ABC) 8:00 PM ET
Tonight’s double feature begins with couples’ game night. Sadly, Wilson’s (Wax forever!) not attending but Max is bringing his obsessive-American friend Scotty as his better half. Then, it gets really gay as Penny writes a play that gets produced by Derrick’s theatre group while Max gets recruited by a guerrilla marketing firm.

Friday Night Spotlight (TCM) 8:00 PM ET
This week, Cher (who is still alive) presents movies focused on how women handled the war while maintaining the homefront. It starts with So Proudly We Hail 8PM, Since You Went Away at 10:15, The White Cliffs of Dover at 1:15 AM, Three Came Home at 3:30 AM and ending with The Best Years of Our Lives at 5:30 AM.

Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz) 10:00 PM ET
It’s the end of the road for Spartacus and his rebel slaves and unless the producers have decided to rewrite history (we wouldn’t object to that in case the producers still could change things), we know this isn’t going to end well, but will they at least take a good number of Romans with them?

Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz) 11:00 PM ET
We’ve spent the last several months asking if Starz’s new historical drama will do a good job of portraying Leonardo da Vinci’s bisexuality honestly or if that part of the historical figure would get ignored. Tonight we begin to find out. At the very least, Tom Riley’s good looks will keep us pleasantly occupied.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
There’s a double-feature of faboo musicians with Cyndi Lauper and Adam Levine.

Rebel Wilson hosts this year’s MTV Movie Awards.

Saturday’s Listings

Up with Steve Kornacki (MSNBC) 8:00 AM ET
Chris Hayes already made Saturday (and Sunday) mornings incredibly nerdilicous by carving space for nuanced discussions of public policy and the real-life implications. Now, gay nerdboy pin-up Steve Kornacki steps up to Hayes desk. Let’s hope Kornacki can handle a discussion as well as he can recite obscure New England politics.

Doors Open (Ovation) 8:00 PM ET
Stephen Fry stars in this movie about a self-made, multi-talented man who decides his next conquest will be a daring art heist, however things get turned upside down when he runs into the woman he loves (Being Human’s Lenora Crichlow, so that “things get turned upside down” thing makes total sense).

Smash (NBC) 8:00 PM ET
It’s almost time to preview “Bombshell” but between Tom’s ego and an onstage accident, are Tom and Julia about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? We are talking about Tom and Julia…

Doctor Who (BBC America) 9:00 PM ET
Clara and The Doctor jump on the current cold war drama trend as they land in a Soviet submarine in 1983 (which puts it closer to The Carrie Diaries than The Americans). Let’s hope this is the rare Doctor Who with a period-appropriate score.

Supah Ninjas (Nick) 9:00 PM ET
A steady debate in superhero universes says that superheroes only attract supervillains instead of helping reduce small crime. Along those lines, what does it say about ninjas when it turns out that one of Mike’s classmates is not just a credit card counterfeiter but also kidnapped Flint and Amanda?

Orphan Black (BBC America) 10:00 PM ET
As if it weren’t awkward enough to find out you’re one of several clones, Sarah’s (as police officer Beth) first assignment back on the force is a murder investigation — for one of the bodies she’s buried recently. Cue the sad trombone of awkwardness!

The Nerdist (BBC America) 10:00 PM ET
After last week’s zombie special, this week is about critically loved AMC dramas, with guests Jon Hamm and Betsy Brandt along with comedy from Rory Scovel.

Louis C.K.: Oh My God (HBO) 10:00 PM ET
If you’re going to be missing Louie this summer when it takes an extra-long hiatus, at least there’s a new HBO comedy special to enjoy.

Life with La Toya (OWN) 10:30 PM ET
The latest musician to open their life to reality TV cameras is longtime LGBT-ally La Toya Jackson, which I probably wouldn’t find too exciting if this weren’t coming from the great World of Wonder team.

Saturday Night Live (NBC) 11:30 PM ET
Vince Vaughn is this week’s guest host, so be prepared to say goodbye to any good feeling from Justin Timberlake and Melissa McCarthy’s appearances.

Sunday’s Listings

The Simpsons (Fox) 8:00 PM ET
When you’re a long-lived, iconic TV show like The Simpsons, you’re bound to run into your history every now and then. This week sees Millhouse decide that a bad boy persona is the way to win Lisa’s heart after watching A Streetcar Named Desire — but will he prove it by singing “Stella!” from Oh, Streetcar!, the musical based on that movie? This episode also has the voices of Wanda Sykes and George Takei, so it’s one reprise of “You Can Always Depend on the Kindness of Strangers” away from being a jackpot for me.

The Amazing Race CBS) 8:00 PM ET
It’s time to return to Switzerland and, thankfully, TAR isn’t passing the chance to do a challenge involving giant wheels of cheese.

The ’80s: The Decade that Made Us (National Geographic) 8:00 PM ET
First the Doctor goes 80s, now the National Geographic channel spends three nights discussing why it loves the 80s… no, wait, that’s another channel. This special promises to an “unprecedented” look at the decade and the cultural changes that affected the world for the next few decades.

The MTV Movie Awards (MTV) 8:30 PM ET
It’s time for a celebration of the year in movies that doesn’t ask the audience to know the difference between sound direction and sound editing but to just know what made a great movie moment. This year has Rebel Wilson hosting with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuting their new single.

The Good Wife (CBS) 9:00 PM ET
Alicia has a run in with hacktivism when she takes on a rape case that gets the attention of Anonymous. Oh. Dear. What happens when Anonymous antagonizes Kalinda?

Chopped (Food Network) 9:00 PM ET
The newest All-Star competition continues with Mega Chefs, as Chuck Hughes, Elizabeth Falkner, Gavin Kaysen and Richard Blais face the mystery baskets.

Game of Thrones (HBO) 9:00 PM ET
Daenerys tries to get herself an army with Raznys’ help. Good thing things don’t go wrong when you deal with a slaver in Westoros.

Nurse Jackie (Showtime) 9:00 PM ET
After one promising season and two frustrating ones, the fourth season of Nurse Jackie finally saw Edie Falco’s substance-abusing nurse finally faced the consequences of her actions. Hopefully, that will continue in Jackie’s fifth season which starts with two new doctors showing up at All Saints.

American Dad (Fox) 9;30 PM ET
Haley decides its time to get back into the dating scene. We’re talking about Haley, though, so things go so badly that she ends up agreeing to a date with Snot.

Vikings (History) 10:00 PM ET
Now that Ragnar is jarl, it’s time to go and invade England! Oh… wait, I think we’ve found the one thing that can get between Ragnar and Athelstan.

Mad Men (AMC) 10:00 PM ET
I’ve always felt mixed emotions about Betty. Unlike Skyler White I understand why people hate her, she does awful things, even if I can see the complex factors that push her to be that kind of person. However, last week’s premiere has me feeling hopeful we’ll get a chance to see a Betty who might have a purpose beyond finding targets for her barely-repressed rage.

Veep (HBO) 10:00 PM ET
Back when Armando Iannucci’s political Britcom The Thick of It debuted, I could see why critics loved it, even if it was a show I struggled to watch a full episode. I find it easier to laugh at Iannucci’s new series Veep, which is funnier than The Thick of It (possibly due to the lack of a screaming bully) because of its parade of people too self-centered to get .

What will you be watching this weekend? Please share in the comments!

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.