Don’t care to watch millionaire meatbags throw a Stewie-shaped sportball around between 500 pricey commercials during many over-analyzed hours on end this weekend? Or is that just The Only TV Column That Matters™?
If you’re looking for an alternative to Super Bowl 48 (it’s the 21st century—ditch the damned Roman numerals already), options are limited. Even HBO blinked, opting to pull the premium shows you pay extra to see instead of going up against America’s Favorite Timesuck, on Sunday, Feb. 2.
While you’re waiting for the much-hyped post-game new episodes of New Girl (with Prince!) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (with Fred Armisen … really?) on Fox, here are 16 other TV choices for Super Bowl Sunday:
Shameless, House of Lies, Episodes (Showtime): Unlike HBO, Showtime isn’t afraid of The Bowl—fresh episodes (and Episodes) all around!
Downton Abbey, Sherlock (PBS): The Brits don’t care about what ’Mericans refer to as “football,” as PBS is steadfastly presenting a new episode of Downton Abbey, and the Season 3 finale of Sherlock. Or maybe they just assume that you downloaded them months ago.
Puppy Bowl X (Animal Planet): Since the Lingerie Bowl is dead (or has gone legit—same diff), the Puppy Bowl is TV’s most-infamous counter-programming to the Super Bowl. It’s still just a pile of mutts playing in a toy stadium for hours, which has spawned knockoffs like …
The Kitten Bowl (Hallmark): Obviously. What the hell took so long? If you weren’t so preoccupied with wasting airtime on Bigfoots and tree houses, Animal Planet, you wouldn’t have gotten pwned by, of all channels, Hallmark.
The Fish Bowl (Nat Geo Wild): Literally, four hours of a fish bowl. This is the kind of programming that layoff-ridden daily newspapers actually pay to send reporters to cover at the Television Critics Association’s bi-annual press tour. Just sayin’.
The Walking Dead Marathon (AMC): It’s not so much a straight-up marathon as a “Zombie Bowl” (hey, that’s what AMC is calling it) featuring cherry-picked episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 that specifically include “every Humans vs. Walkers moment.” That sounds like the same way I fast-forward through the dull parts of entire TWD seasons.
Crazy Hearts: Nashville Marathon (A&E): Eight hours of A&E’s unofficial answer to “Think we can’t come up with an even more idiotic, contrived ‘reality’ show than Duck Dynasty? With worse music? Game on!”
Top of the Lake Marathon (Sundance): In this acclaimed seven-part mystery miniseries from 2013, Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) plays a troubled detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. Yes, another feel-good romp from the Sundance Channel!
Swamp People Marathon (History): In a word, swamptastic.
Wives With Knives Marathon (ID): In a word, stabtastic.
Snapped Marathon (Oxygen): Wait for it … snaptastic!
Twilight Marathon (FX): Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse—back-to-back-to-back! After six hours, you’ll have to answer honestly: Is it football you hate … or just yourself?
The Tudors Marathon (BBC America): The sweeping, sexy series tells the tale of King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and the many, many, many women who try to come between him and his reign. And his pantaloons. Minus most of the original Showtime nudity, but still historical-ish.
Cops Marathon (Spike): Don’t most episodes of Cops feature a Super Bowl Sunday domestic violence call? Sooo meta.
Smart Guy Marathon (MTV2): Smart Guy was a 1997-1999 WB network sitcom about a kid (Tahj Mowry) who skipped from fourth grade to 10th grade. Related, MTV2 used to be an edgy, music-centric channel that’s managed to become even more embarrassing than MTV.
Sex Sent Me to the ER Marathon (TLC): Broken boners, two-hour orgasms, headboard traumas, tree-related incidents and more true stories re-en(over)acted. Genius. If this could somehow be combined with the Kitten Bowl, the NFL would be out of business.
DVD ROUNDUP FOR FEB. 4
After a father (Bill Nighy) informs his son (Domhnall Gleeson) that he can time travel, the son, of course, uses the power to trick a woman (Rachel McAdams) into falling in love with him. And, yeah, enslave the planet, because why not? (Universal)
A future cop (Michael Jai White) and his android partner attempt to stop a mysterious disease from spreading in The Zone, a rundown city that’s nothing like the rundown cities in Robocop, Judge Dredd, Robocop 2, Robocop 3, etc. (Asylum)
An engineer (Sylvester Stallone) and a con (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must escape a secret, high-tech prison called “The Tomb” in time for Stallone to box Robert De Niro in Grudge Match, and for both of them to hobble through Expendables 3. (Summit/Lionsgate)
The Wedding Pact
BFFs Mitch (Chris Soldevilla) and Elizabeth (Haylie Duff) promise to marry each other if they’re both single 10 years after college. A decade later, he tracks her down and disappointedly learns that she is, in fact, not Hilary Duff. (Phase 4)
The White Queen
The BBC/Starz series that proved women lust for power as much as men; Belgium passes for England; and you can’t rip-off Game of Thrones or The Tudors without a budget. One historical accuracy: The Queen is very white. (AnchorBay)
More New DVD Releases (Feb. 4)
Baggage Claim, Banshee Chapter, A Case of You, Dallas Buyers Club, Dark Tourist, The Divorce, Family Matters: Season 4, Finding Normal, Free Birds, From Above, House of Versace, The Lady Vanishes, Nuit #1, Patterns of Attraction, Romeo and Juliet, Waterwalk, Wings.