In this week's television, Fringe is back — and kicking its universe-spanning storylines into high gear. This week also sees the return of a few of our other favorite shows. Plus the premiere of two brand new shows (to Americans, anyway), including a brand new look at a classic Marvel character.
Meanwhile, Fringe's Kirk Acevedo is trying to save the world from a collision with Mercury. Robot Chicken celebrates its 100th episode in style. Portlandia deals with the perils of Battlestar Galactica addiction. The Simpsons does a Social Network parody. And watch a totally beautiful clip from the next Clone Wars — featuring Katee Sackhoff as a female Mandalorian!
Sadly, pretty much the only thing on television tonight is the midseason premiere of Castle on ABC, which is worth noting for two reasons: the always redoubtable Nathan Fillion, and the frequency with which this show includes genre shoutouts.
Syfy is having a Stargate Atlantis marathon during the day, until 4 PM.
At 7 PM, Nickelodeon has more episodes of House of Anubis, its show about teenagers in a mysterious boarding school full of weird mysteries and mystical secrets. In "House of Spirits"/"House of Blackmail":
Jerome is being blackmailed. Alfie makes cupcakes to impress Amber. Nina has a dream that is inspired by Victor's riddle. Alfie gives the dollhouse to Amber. Victor believes he will find the Book of Isis in a traveling exhibition.
At 10 PM, CBS has another episode of Unforgettable, "Brotherhood". In which it looked like the human supercomputer is getting roofied.
A routine investigation into a college student's death takes a disturbing turn for Carrie when a suspect makes a dangerous move to outwit her memory.
Nickelodeon has two more new episodes of House of Anubis at 7 PM.
At 7:30, Cartoon Network has a new Johnny Test in its new time slot, "Roller Johnny." That's followed at 8 PM by the premiere of Ninjago, which is some kind of Lego ninja thing.
At 9 PM in most markets, PBS has a new episode of Nova, "Bombing Hitler's Dams."
Syfy is having a marathon of the Highlander TV series all day, so set your DVR for some Peter Wingfield excellence.
Nickelodeon has another two new episodes of House of Anubis at 7 PM.
There's another new episode of The Vampire Diaries on The CW at 8 PM, "Our Town." Yes, there's going to be a folksy narrator wandering around telling you about everybody in Mystic Falls, and then maybe some sad ghosts. Or maybe this is what will happen:
Although Caroline (Candice Accola) is in no mood to celebrate her 18th birthday, Elena (Nina Dobrev), Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Matt (Zach Roerig) surprise her with a small party in an unusual location. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) disagree on the best way to handle Klaus (Joseph Morgan), and a reckless Stefan decides to test his theory by taking things to dangerous extremes. Bonnie is concerned when Elena tells her about Jeremy's (Steven R. McQueen) new plans. At a Founder's meeting, Alaric once again runs into Dr. Fell (guest star Torrey Devitto), who is in the middle of an argument with her ex-boyfriend, the medical examiner (guest star David Colin Smith). Tyler (Michael Trevino) refuses to go along with Klaus' latest demand, and is surprised when Klaus seems to accept his decision.
Check out a clip above.
Also at 8 PM, there's the return of The Big Bang Theory on CBS, with "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver."
At 9 PM, CBS has the midseason premiere of Person of Interest, "Super":
Reese works the computer while Finch does the legwork with their latest POI, a building super who keeps too close an eye on his tenants. Meanwhile, Detective Carter may finally get her long-awaited glimpse into a case.
Also at 9 PM, The CW has a new episode of The Secret Circle, "Fire/Ice."
Cassie (Britt Robertson) asks Adam (Thomas Dekker) for help when she wants to look into her father's past, and their search leads them to an eerily familiar place. It also rekindles an old flame when Adam, thrilled to be spending time with Cassie again, asks her to the Fire and Ice dance. But because of her friendship with Diana (Shelley Hennig) Cassie is forced to give a surprising response. In an effort to be a better father, Ethan (Adam Harrington) offers to chaperone the dance, much to Adam's dismay. Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) asks Lee (guest star Grey Damon) to help her with a spell that would grant her individual magic. Unfortunately, the spell has some terrifying side effects that nearly destroy the Circle.
Cartoon Network is showing another new Secret Mountain Fort Awesome at 4:30 PM.
Once again, Nickelodeon has two new episodes of House of Anubis at 7 PM.
And at 7:45 PM, Disney has a new Phineas and Ferb, "Tri-Stone Area."
At 8 PM, there's another episode of Chuck, on NBC, "Chuck Vs. Bo."
As Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) try to realize a new, safer future, Morgan's (Joshua Gomez) past as the Intersect sends them to Vail on one last mission, where they enlist the help of an unlikely source — the legendary Bo Derek (as herself). Elsewhere, Jeff (Scott Krinsky) and Lester (Vik Sahay) continue their own spy mission.
But that's not all! Also at 8 PM, there's a new episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network, "A Friend in Need." This one's directed by show creator Dave Filoni, so expect big things. Here's the synopsis:
Ahsoka is ensnared in Lux Bonteri's dangerous crusade to find justice for his mother's death.
And Battlestar Galactica's Katie Sackhoff plays a female Mandalorian, Bo-Katan. Check out a beautiful clip at left.
Also at 8, The CW has another new Nikita, "Sanctuary."
And a fourth option at 8 PM: a new episode of CBS' probably doomed show A Gifted Man, "In Case of (Re)Birth".
Michael and E-Mo disagree about how to treat a patient with a brain tumor. Meanwhile, a teenage girl gives birth at the clinic and immediately runs out, leaving the baby behind.
Did you know that Eriq LaSalle had joined the cast of this show? He's playing E-Mo.
And then at 8:30 PM Cartoon Network has a new Generator Rex, "Black and White."
At 9 PM, Fox has the midseason premiere of Fringe, "Back to Where You've Never Been."
In an effort to find a way home, Peter journeys to the Other Side to confront Walternate. His venture proves more dangerous than expected. Meanwhile, Olivia receives a dire premonition from an Observer.
Meanwhile, at 9 PM, NBC has the midseason premiere of Grimm, "Game Ogre."
An escapee returns to Portland seeking revenge against those who put him behind bars. His unusual strength and high tolerance for pain makes Nick (David Giuntoli) take notice. As the case escalates Nick and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) are put in danger, and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) is called into action to help put an end to the convict's deadly rampage.
Here's a short clip.
Also at 9 PM, there's a special time-traveling episode of Supernatural, on The CW, "Time After Time After Time."
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) tangle with the God of Time (guest star Jason Dohring), who sends Dean back to 1944, where he is immediately arrested by none other than the one and only Eliot Ness (guest star Nicholas Lea). While trying to figure out how to retrieve his brother, Sam is surprised by the reappearance of an old friend.
At 10 PM, Syfy has a new episode of Merlin, "The Darkest Hour, Part 2."
With the kingdom on the verge of collapse and Morgana ready to attack, Arthur must carry on his mission to vanquish the Dorocha short-handed as Lancelot is racing back to Camelot taking a dying Merlin with him.
Also at 10 PM, IFC has that episode of Portlandia we previewed a while ago, "One Moore Episode." Yes, the one where the couple gets hooked on Battlestar Galactica, with life-altering results. If you want to find out what happens after they decide to go to Ron Moore's house, tune in at 10 on Friday.
But then keep your television on at 11 PM, because G4 has the series premiere of Blade Anime. Yes, the Daywalker is now a Japanese animation icon. And it looks pretty sweet.
At 5 PM, The Hub has a new episode of R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series.
And at 7:45 PM, Disney has yet another new Phineas & Ferb.
At 9 PM, BBC America has the series premiere of a new supernatural show, The Fades, in which ghosts walk among us — and it could mean the end of everything. We've seen the first few episodes, and it's pretty intense and awesome. We'll be covering it more later in the week — but for now, here's the first episode's blurb:
Paul struggles with home and sixth-form life as apocalyptic visions haunt his dreams and a supernatural creature stalks his home town. When he crosses paths with an outcast loner called Neil who can explain what Paul is seeing, his life is transformed.
And that's followed by a special episode of The Nerdist focusing on The Fades.
Also, because Syfy loves you and wants you to have a beautiful Saturday night, they're showing a brand new original movie at 9 PM, Collision Earth. Starring Fringe's Kirk Acevedo!
In Collision Earth, premiering Saturday, January 14 at 9PM (ET/PT), a solar flare knocks Mercury out of its orbit and onto a collision course with Earth. With global devastation quickly approaching, the secret military initiative, "Project 7," must be activated to save the world from disaster.
At 11:30 on NBC, Harry Potter himself — Daniel Radcliffe — guest stars on Saturday Night Live.
Disney has yet another new Phineas & Ferb at 7:30 PM.
Fox brings back its Sunday night animation bloc, starting at 8 PM with a new Simpsons, followed by Napoleon Dynamite, Family Guy and another Napoleon Dynamite. Oh, and the Simpsons' parody of The Social Network, "The D'Oh-cial Network," might actually be... funny?
As the mastermind and creator of the online social networking phenomenon SpringFace, Lisa is called to trial when Springfield's obsession with the site becomes chaotic and dysfunctional. Lisa recounts her story and explains that she created the site after realizing she had no real friends. But as SpringFace expands and Springfield's fixation with the site causes mass hysteria, Lisa begins to realize that adding thousands of friends online did not compare to having real friendships. Later, Patty and Selma compete against the Winklevoss Twins (guest star Armie Hammer) in the rowing event at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Also at 8 PM: a new Once Upon a Time on ABC, "True North." In which:
Feeling their pain from having lived through the same experience, Emma desperately tries to help two homeless children find their birth father before they're separated and put into the foster care system. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, the Evil Queen coerces Hansel and Gretel into stealing an important artifact from a blind witch (Emma Caulfield, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer").
At 9 PM on TNT, there's the season finale of Leverage.
At 10 PM, there's a brand new Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. Maybe they'll actually find him this week.
And finally, at 11:30 PM on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, there's the 100th episode of Robot Chicken, which is also the season finale. So expect an extra dose of insanity in "Fight Club Paradise." When we interviewed co-creator Matt Senreich ages ago, he promised this episode would explore the show's robot chicken and scientist characters — and the photo at left, tweeted by Seth Green, seems to back that up.