‘Boardwalk Empire’ and 'Sunday Night Football' - The bad boys are back

Nucky, the Prohibition bootlegger, is back on HBO but NBC's “Sunday Night Football” might boast a larger criminal element in its cast. Photo: Boardwalk Empire/HBO

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2013 —The return of “Boardwalk Empire” and “Sunday Night Football” to tonight’s TV schedule confirms that our love affair with anti-heroes is far from over. That notorious “Nucky,” the Prohibition bootlegger, is back on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” But “Sunday Night Football” on NBC may actually boast the largest criminal element in its own cast of players.

Since the Super Bowl on February 3, there have been a total of 30 arrests of current or former NFL players on charges ranging from DUI to murder. Remember back in the day when everyone told us we should look up to major sports figures as role models? Perhaps they should change the name of today’s football empire to the National Felon League. This just goes to show you that a fat paycheck doesn’t mean you have the brains or the morals to go along with it. Ask Alec Baldwin.


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At any rate, the bad boys of football will join a Sunday night TV lineup that already includes a meth dealer (“Breaking Bad”), a serial killer (“Dexter”), a scandal fixer (“Ray Donovan”) and a bootlegger (“Boardwalk Empire”). Keeping them company are the cast of “Big Brother,” one of many reality shows that revel in capturing bad behavior for the TV audience. About the only moral beacon remaining on the tube these days radiates from the bearded ones down in “Duck Dynasty’s” dismal Louisiana swamps. Having real alligators for neighbors is looking like a better alternative than the alligators that prowl our oh-so-sophisticated urban swamps, umm, wetlands.

Yes, sports fans, the Golden Age of TV is long gone, and along with it the larger than life knights in shining armor that prevailed back in those thrilling days of yesteryear. We have traded those durable heroes in for some very flawed but furtively interesting characters who continue to blur the lines of morality, or at least whatever morality we have left or that the Government hasn’t banned.

The trend has resulted in some very entertaining TV in some ways. But would a little more Andy Griffith and a little less of those attractive but brain-dead Kardashians be that awful? When Bart Simpon has become the least harmful role model on Sunday night TV, maybe it is time to have a closer look at the current direction of TV programming. 

Pass the chips and salsa.


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Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Shark Tank: (Repeat) The sharks question the morality of a potential investment; two business partners have professional surfer Lakey Peterson demonstrate how their exercise equipment works; a man presents a personal style system.

CBS: Big Brother: (New) The Head of Household competition is held and nominations for eviction are revealed.

FOX: The Simpsons: (Repeat) Homer’s behavior once again lands him in hot water with Marge and he needs to fathom a way to save his marriage, while a dose of “A Streetcar Named Desire” drives Milhouse to affect a Marlon Brando-esque bad-boy demeanor in an effort to impress Lisa.

NBC: Sunday Night Football: (Live) Giants at Cowboys

8:30 p.m.

FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (Repeat) Bob slices a finger and Linda rushes him to the hospital, leaving the children to run the restaurant, so they take the opportunity to turn the basement into a casino.

9 p.m.

ABC: Secret Millionaire: (New) George Rapier, the founder of a successful medical management company, and his wife travel to Oakridge, Ore., in search of people and organizations in need.

CBS: Unforgettable: (New) The second season ends with Carrie and Al investigating the murder of an urban explorer who was hunting for treasure beneath the streets of New York City.

FOX: Family Guy: (Repeat) Unable to foot the bill for new sneakers, Chris lifts some cash from Lois’ purse, but is caught red-handed by Meg, who then blackmails him into doing all her chores in exchange for not turning him in. Chris is soon fed up with the arrangement and takes off to live with Herbert.

HBO: Boardwalk Empire: (New) The fourth season begins in February 1924, as Nucky tries to make peace with Joe Masseria and helps Chalky clean up after an incident at a seedy hotel.

Showtime: Dexter: (New) With help from Dr. Vogel, Dexter tries to lure the Brain Surgeon to his table.

9:30 p.m. 

FOX: Family Guy: (Repeat) Valentine’s Day proves promising for the residents of Quahog as Meg hits it off with a guy she met on the Internet, Stewie’s time machine transports him to the 1960s, where he falls for a young lady, and Peter and Lois spend the day in bed.

10 p.m.

ABC: Castle: (Repeat) When Beckett is tasked with protecting a charming billionaire whose life is in danger, she reflects on her relationship with Castle; consumed with jealousy, Castle tries to solve the case as quickly as possible.

CBS: The Mentalist: (Repeat) A secret container goes missing from J.J. LaRoche’s home, and he wants Jane’s assistance in finding it.

Showtime: Ray Donovan: (New) Ray and the family go to Fite Nite, and Ray’s plan with Sully is put into action.

HBO: The Newsroom: (New) Part 1 of 2. Election-night coverage proceeds—in the wake of Leona’s refusal to accept the resignations of three staff members—with Will in charge of morale.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

The Real Housewives of New Jersey at 8 p.m. on BRAVO

Breaking Bad at 9 p.m. on AMC

Love it or List it, Too at 9 p.m. on HGTV

Sister Wives at 9 p.m. on TLC

Mountain Men at 9 p.m. on History Channel

Call of the Wildman at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Call of the Wildman: More Live Action at 9:30 p.m. on Animal Planet

Alaskan Steel Men at 9 and 10 p.m. on DSC

Low Winter Sun at 10 p.m. on AMC

Copper at 10 p.m. on BBC

Devious Maids at 10 p.m. on LIFE

House Hunters International at 10 p.m. on HGTV

Breaking Amish: LA at 10 p.m. on TLC

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Thunderball on ENC

Twins on FLIX

The Last Ride on FXM

Columbiana on FX

The Double on SHO

Wedding Crashers on TBS

Foreign Correspondent on TCM

Brake on TMC

Sherlock Holmes on TNT

9 p.m.

Life of Pi on HBO

Anna Karenina on HBO

Taken 2 on MOMAX

House of 1000 Corpses on IFC

Later tonight:

Hurricane Season at 9:30 p.m. on BET

The Ninth Gate at 9:35 p.m. on TMC

Die Another Day at 9:45 p.m. on SHO

The Sitter at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

Man on the Moon at 10 p.m. on FLIX

The Last Ride at 10 p.m. on FXM

Bridge on the River Kwai at 10 p.m. on SUND

North by Northwest at 10:15 p.m. on TCM


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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

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