The second half of the jam-packed month of April. If you’re going to melt your eyes in front of the TV, these are the shows to do it to.
The Last Panthers (Sundance) New – From Jack Thorne, a veteran from several UK hits like the This is England series, The Fades and Skins, comes this big international action-tinged crime thriller about an insurance recovery specialist who gets sucked into a deep dark thriller involving a dusty band of criminals. The cast here is insane, but who exactly is watching Sundance Channel? This one deserves eyeballs. Stars Tahar Rahim, Samantha Morton and John Hurt.
Orphan Black (BBC America) Season 4 – Everyone I know who watches this show swears by it. Like to an extreme extent. I still have yet to get started on it, but the first few seasons are available on Netflix, and there’s not much better time to get on board this Brit import sci-fi drama about… I want to say clones and stuff, but I’m just guessing. Stars Tatiana Maslany, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Jordan Gavaris.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix) Season 2 – I absolutely loved the first season of this show which at least gives former 30 Rock addicts a fix of that good Tina Fey stuff. I’m happy it performed well and I’m excited about season two. No caveats here; this one should be great. I am intrigued to see how they’ll handle the plastic surgeon whom they made fun of and who then killed himself. True and really sad story. Your move, Schmidt. Stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess and Jane Krakowski.
12 Monkeys (Syfy) Season 2 – I have no clue how this show got a first season, let alone a second. If you’re a fan of this adaptation of the brilliant Terry Gilliam film, which is itself an adaptation, I would get while the getting’s good. Season three of this show about a time traveler trying to prevent an epidemic, seems like a long shot. Stars Aaron Stanford, Demore Barnes, Amanda Schull and Noah Bean.
The Night Manager (AMC) Mini-Series – Thank god AMC is bringing this lavish BBC One production stateside because it’s fantastic and will undoubtedly top many people’s best-of lists at the end of the year. Tom Hiddleston, who is becoming a superstar, stars in this adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel of the same name as Jonathan Pine, a quiet night porter at a luxury hotel in Cairo who unwittingly gets involved in a major weapons selling scheme. Pure magic on the screen from a flawless cast. This will be a smash on US TVs. Stars Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman, Hugh Laurie and Tom Hollander.
Containment (CW) New – No thanks. An epidemic is afoot in the sleepy town of Atlanta. Shows and movies like this make me queasy. Because they always have fake happy endings. The only part of Outbreak that wasn’t totally realistic, other than Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo’s “chemistry,” was the end where they cure the Motaba outbreak. In real life we’d all be melty puddles on the sidewalk. Enjoy! Stars David Gyasi, Kristen Gutoskie and Trevor St. John
Deadbeat (Hulu) Season 3 – How the hell does this show manage to stay alive (no pun intended)? I don’t know anyone who watches it. It’s not very funny, has an extremely watered down concept and despite a likable and talented cast, is just the worst. And yet Hulu is bringing it back for another season of Pac talking to dead people. By the way, what’s with the extremely casual Asian racism? Am I nuts here? Or is it still definitely not okay for white dudes to answer the phone “herro” for absolutely no reason? You’re going to have to take up that odd question with the team behind Deadbeat, who seems to think this is the stuff of fresh comedy. Stars Tyler Labine, Lucy DeVito and Brandon T. Jackson.
Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central) Season 4 – This powerhouse sketch show is one of Comedy Central’s hottest and most controversial shows. Schumer is hilarious, but the show has also taken some flak for stealing jokes. It’s still one of the funnier sketch shows on TV and with the deaths of Kroll Show and Key & Peele, it now stands alone atop the pyramid. All hail. Stars Amy Schumer.
Game of Thrones (HBO) Season 6 – The best night of TV all year gets its momentum from one of the most purely fun shows ever made. Hate on it all you want; it’s this, it’s that, it’s never perfect, blah blah blah. It still turns some pretty trashy and soapy source material (the excruciating novels) into some of the most compelling drama on the small screen. Every story line is pumping right now, and the ever present feeling of “sh*t’s about to get real” has never been more palpable. Stars Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington and Maisie Williams.
Silicon Valley (HBO) Season 3 – And of course after the raw gnarliness of GoT, you clearly need to wash it down with the best hour of comedy on TV, spearheaded by the third season of Mike Judge’s hit, Silicon Valley. The Pied Piper gang are poised to explode, in every possible sense of that word. One of the funniest ensembles on any channel powers this little wonder which makes some of HBO’s more recent offerings (The Brink, Ballers) seem like a cruel joke in comparison. Stars Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr, Zach Woods and Kumail Nanjiani.
Veep (HBO) Season 5 – The pièce de résistance in HBO’s lineup, the best human acted sitcom on TV, Veep. This show has gotten better in each season and is now standing at its first big precipice, after a monster season four cliffhanger and the addition of Hugh Laurie in the cast; Armando Iannucci, the brains and engine behind Veep steps aside, and Curb Your Enthusiasm veteran David Mandel takes over as showrunner. That is way more than a mere administrative change. Can the show survive? Stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Hugh Laurie, Reid Scott and Matt Walsh.
Mike & Molly (CBS) – Season 6 – I only included this god-awful clunker because the sixth season will be the merciful last for Mike & Molly. All I can say is don’t judge Melissa McCarthy, Katie Mixon or Swoosie Kurtz by this atrocity. Those are three talented professionals who don’t belong anywhere near this thing. Stars Melissa McCarthy, Billy Gardell, Katie Mixon, Reno Wilson and Swoosie Kurtz.
Turn (AMC) – Season 3 – This is another one that I utterly can’t believe has made it to a third season. Unlike with Deadbeat, I actually really like this show and I’m glad it’s hanging on. Jamie Bell is a strong and quiet lead who fits the role of a terrified but loyal spy perfectly. The supporting cast is also quite good. One would simply think that production costs alone would prevent this show from continuing, but like label-mate, Hell on Wheels, this thick and enjoyable period drama lives on. Stars Jamie Bell, Angus McFadyen, Heather Lind and Seth Numrich.
By Ygal Kaufman