TV Junkie: Premieres of 'Portlandia' & 'Todd Margaret' Tonight; Showtime on Sunday

Weekend Edition

A big weekend of TV starts tonight with another great episode of "The Life & Times of Tim" (HBO @ 9pm) then the season premieres of "Portlandia" and "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" (IFC @ 10pm & 10:30pm). "Saturday Night Live" is Saturday's centerpiece and Sunday Primetime is owned by Showtime's premieres of "Shameless" (see the season trailer vid above), "House of Lies," and "Californication." All three are excellent - I'll provide further analysis next week so I don't spoil the premieres for you. "After Lately" (E! @ 11pm) on Sunday closes out our weekend with another very funny episode in which Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl makes a guest appearance.

The entire cast of "Saturday Night Live" was at the "Portlandia" premiere party last night and they're pumped about the their first new episode of the year, this Saturday, with host Charles Barkley, someone who, according to Fred Armisen, "literally says something funny every time he opens his mouth." Cast member Bill Hader said it's been a busy week of rehearsals and that it was nice to blow off some steam at the premiere party, and he confirmed that he will be playing Andy Warhol in the next installment of the Men In Black franchise, "and I really do end up looking like him!" he said.

"SNL" writer John Mulaney is excited about the premiere of his one hour special on Comedy Central, "John Mulaney: New In Town" (Saturday, January 28 @ 10pm), and he confirmed that the taping I went to at the Skirball Center last fall was the better one of the two he did - I have to tell you that this was one of the funniest stand-up theatre shows I've ever been to, I hope to talk to John again before the special airs. Funnyman Todd Barry, whom you've seen every season on "Louie" and he notoriously played the 3rd Conchord on "Flight of the Conchords," told me at the party that he recently taped an hour long Comedy Central special that will air in May - "Block out the whole month of May," he intoned solemnly.

A very happy and friendly Reggie Watts was also in attendance last night (when is this man going to get his own series Comedy Central/FX/Showtime/etc.???) and that he hoped to go back to Just For Laughs in Montréal this Summer where I saw him do a spectacular show. Kristen Schaal was also there, can't wait to hear her in the new season of "Bob's Burgers," as was David Cross - please please please watch "Todd Margaret" tonight at 10:30pm on IFC, it's super funny this season, to a potentially surreal level.
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I'll be reporting from the Television Critics Association Winter Sessions in Pasadena next week. Follow my tweets from the sessions at @TheTVJunkie and of course, follow @LAist for all things LA.
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The TV Junkie Must-Watch Plan: Tonight - "Chuck," "The Life & Times of Tim," "Portlandia," "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret," "Late Show With David Letterman." Saturday - Modern Times, The Kid, "Saturday Night Live." Sunday - "Shameless," "House of Lies," "Californication," "After Lately."

Tonight

8:00pm Chuck (New) Comedy, Drama, Action, Chuck Versus the Kept Man Chuck and Sarah think about the next move for Carmichael Industries; Gertrude approaches Casey with a mission

8:30pm SoCal Connected KCET - Testing the Limits-Animal Rights; Legendary newsman Bill Moyers is interviewed.

9:00pm The Life & Times of Tim HBO - Super Gay Eduardo; The Pros and Cons of Killing Tim Tim tries to help an immigrant worker; former Omnicorp employees file a class action lawsuit with Tim as a key witness.

9:00pm Great Performances PBS SoCal/KOCE - Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin The LA Phil's opening night gala features an all-Gershwin repertoire with special guests

10:00pm Portlandia IFC - Season Premiere. Mixology Fred and Carrie learn about the art of love as they venture outside of Portland.

10:30pm The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret IFC - Season Premiere. Todd makes things worse when he tries talking his way out of trouble.

10:30pm Fashion Police E! - Joan Rivers & Co. tear up more than fabric as they look at celeb fashion.

11:35pm Late Show With David Letterman CBS - Actress Kristen Bell; comic Dan Naturman; Blind Pilot performs.

11:35pm The Tonight Show With Jay Leno NBC - Actress Glenn Close; comic Trevor Noah; Van Hunt performs.

12:05am Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC - Actor Don Cheadle; actor David Cross; Boyz II Men performs.

12:35am The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson CBS - Actor Michael Clarke Duncan; actress Laura Prepon.

12:35am Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC - Actor David Duchovny; actor Judah Friedlander; Wild Flag performs; David Murray performs with the Roots

Saturday

6:45pm Modern Times TCM - (1936) In Chaplin's classic comedy of the Machine Age, a bolt tightener (Charlie Chaplin) fails at everything but falling in love.

10:15pm The Kid TCM - (1921) The Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) raises the abandoned child (Jackie Coogan) of an unwed mother (Edna Purviance). Silent.

11:25pm Saturday Night Live NBC - Host Charles Barkley; Kelly Clarkson performs.

Sunday

9:00pm Shameless Showtime - Season Premiere. Summertime Fiona enjoys her youth by bartending and hanging out with a young exec; Debbie runs a daycare.

9:00pm The Firm NBC - Series Premiere. Chapter Two Ten years after Mitchell McDeere exposed his law firm as a mob front and landed his family in witness protection, the McDeeres begin the difficult task of rebuilding their lives.

9:00pm Masterpiece Classic PBS SoCal/.KOCE - Season Premiere. Downton Abbey Matthew and others go off to war, while some try to avoid it.

10:00pm House of Lies Showtime - Series Premiere. Gods of Dangerous Financial Instruments Marty and The Pod travel to a New York bank looking for a plan to justify their year-end bonuses.

10:00pm Hell on Wheels AMC - Timshel Cullen and Lily work to meet the railroad's deadline; Elam and Joseph deal with the consequences of their violent mission.

10:00pm Tom Papa: Live in New York City Comedy Central - Tom Papa discusses his life and kids; worst roommates.

10:00pm Pan Am ABC - Secrets and Lies Dean and Colette's budding romance suffers a blow; Maggie falls for the congressman she wrote a story about.

10:00pm Absolutely Fabulous BBC America - US Premiere. Identity Saffy invites a friend to move in; Patsy learns that, on paper, she has no identity.

10:30pm Californication Showtime - Season Premiere. JFK to LAX Hank is living in New York but looking for a way to leave after his latest breakup.

11:00pm After Lately E! - Heather's Hickey Heather wakes up with a mystery hickey; Jen's new best friend, Dave Grohl; Sarah has a mystery package.