TV: What to WATCH the week of Jan. 19-25


Thursday 9 pm| FX

Season premiere: When Baskets premiered last January, it appeared to be a loony lark, like someone dared Zach Galifianakis to create a comedy bizarre enough to make even FX flinch: Aspiring artiste Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) flunks out of a prestigious French clown academy and returns home to uncultured Bakersfield to become a crestfallen rodeo clown. Oh, and the black comedy also features Louie Anderson in drag as his mom—comedy gold, right? Actually, yes. Baskets’ weirdness was balanced with a certain sweetness, and Anderson’s hyper-quotable “Christine” became the unlikeliest breakout character of the year. At the outset of Season 2 premiering Thursday, Chip attempts to flee Bakersfield (hobo-clown-style riding the rails, of course), and Christine finds romance (and water aerobics). So, yeah, still bizarre.



Saturday 7 pm| Lifetime

The original 1988 Beaches, from a different time when Garry Marshall movies weren’t complete shit, is a cheesy-weepy classic that needs no “reimagining.” But since we’re in the post-imagination 2010s, here’s a new Beaches movie. While it’s tough to argue with the smart casting of Idina Menzel and Nia Long in the iconic Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey roles, is a note-for-note re-creation of this gal-pals tale really necessary? Nope, but Beaches will be an easy hit for Lifetime, which means we can probably look forward to an update of Pretty Woman, rewritten by and starring Lena Dunham, by fall.



Tuesday 8 pm | WGN America

Season premiere: In 2016, a record-setting number of WGN America viewers instantly latched onto Appalachian hill-folk drama Outsiders like it was Sons of Anarchy in overalls (coincidentally, SOA’s Ryan Hurst is one of the stars). Outsiders is rife with juicy hillbilly family drama and stick-it-to-the-man anti-authoritarianism, as well as the most mud-flinging ATV action you’ll see outside of the Outdoor Channel. The story: The isolationist, mountain-dwelling Farrell clan in lowland Kentucky wants nothing to do with modern society—then along comes Big Coal, aided by local police, to run them out of their centuries-long home. It’s a visceral, pulpy ride. Catch up on Season 1 on Hulu.

The Magicians


Wednesday 8 pm| Syfy

Season premiere: Essentially “sexy Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts College,” the first season of this series introduced a pretty, angsty cast with plenty of personal probs and supernatural challenges, if not much humor or personality (which would have made it more of a Freeform show than a Syfy series, but what-ever). Season 1 did, however, find some footing by its closing episodes, resulting in a relatively spectacular finale that could have launched a promising second season. Early signs for Season 2 point to more perpetually grey skies and hair-in-the-eyes moping, but with flashier effects and a slightly clearer dramatic path forward.

Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly.