What’s Worth Watching: Grease Live!, Galavant, Madam Secretary and more for Sunday, January 31
Grease Live! (7/6c, Fox): There are worse things you could do than settling in for TV’s latest live-musical event, a new twist on the ’50s pop-pastiche stage and screen hit. Dancing With the Stars’ Juliette Hough is Sandy to the Danny of Graceland‘s (and Broadway’s) Aaron Tveit. Unlike some past star-driven vehicles—and we’re not talking “Greased Lightning”—the show is really the main attraction here, with the special advantage that Grease will be performed before a live audience, which could add vital energy to the cascade of catchy sing-a-long-able tunes.
Galavant (8/7c, ABC): If you truly love musicals, you’ll also want to record the back-to-back second-season finale of this adorably silly medieval spoof-ical, with the most merrily meta lyrics you’ll find this side of a South Park song. As the armies of Valencia and Hortensia gird for battle, there’s the inevitable go-to-war anthem, but as they sing the refrain “It’s a good day to die,” you’ll hear such retorts as “We won’t, there’s one more episode,” or “Oh please, this isn’t Game of Thrones.” (Although there is a recurring dragon joke.) Will Sir Galavant (Joshua Sasse) find his happily-ever-after with Isabella (Karen David)? Will Richard (Timothy Omundson) realize his destiny as “The One True King To Unite Them All?” Will Galavant, as so many characters wonder (and fans hope), beat the odds and get another surprise renewal for a third season? Wish I had an answer to the last one.
Madam Secretary (8/7c, CBS): The focus is on domestic affairs this week, with Henry (Tim Daly) sorting through family skeletons after his father dies. Kate Burton (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, etc.) guests as his sister Maureen, and it’s all in the family as Daly’s daughter Emelyn Daly appears as his niece, Sarah.
Downton Abbey (9/8c, PBS; check local listings at pbs.org): Guess who’s coming to dinner: Neville Chamberlain (then-Minister of Health), a visit arranged by Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) as part of her efforts to keep control of the local hospital, a crusade she takes personally, but only up to a point. As she wisely acknowledges, “If I withdrew my friendship from everyone who had spoken ill of me, my address book would be empty.” How we’ll miss her.
Inside Sunday TV: While ESPN carries the so-called Pro Bowl (7/6c)—dubbed by some “the Replacement Bowl”—from Honolulu, another high-stakes competition gears up on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior: USA Vs. the World extravaganza (8/7c). This three-hour special pits Team USA (including Season 7 winner Isaac Caldiero and runner-up Geoff Britten) against Team Japan and Team Europe as they compete on the first three stages of the Las Vegas finals course. … A Vice Special Report on “Fighting Isis” (10/9c, HBO), airing five days before Vice‘s fourth-season premiere on Friday, follows journalist Ben Anderson on the front lines of Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State. … Adult Swim’s outrageous The Venture Bros. (11/10c) is back for a sixth season with the Ventures moving to a deluxe apartment in the sky: also known as the Gargantua-2 Space Station.