The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of July 25, 2016

Which TV series will your friends (and the entire internet) be talking about this week? Stay informed — or at least be able to fake it — with SideReel's weekly guide to The Most Important Shows on TV.

 

MADtv: S1E1

MADtv
(Series Premiere)

Tuesday at 9 p.m. on The CW

Why: It's the reboot nobody asked for, but here it is. All joking aside, MADtv occupies a strange place in the history of TV variety shows. It ran for 14 seasons, lasting until 2009 and launching the careers of several major comedy stars, from Season 1 staff writer Patton Oswalt to later-era stars Keegan-Michael Key and Ike Barinholtz. Yet it never seemed to get the support it deserved from its original network (FOX), let alone the wider comedy world. That's partly why it was a bit of a surprise when The CW aired a reunion special last year, and even more of a shock when the network announced this summer's eight-episode revival. While this series will feature new actors (including Lyric Lewis and Adam Ray), returning cast members also will make appearances. Look out for Nicole Sullivan and Will Sasso in Episode 1.

Prepare to talk about: How great Sullivan looks and how much older Sasso seems, because that's usually the way this stuff works; your favorite classic MADtv characters (I loved the wacky billionaire politician who had five kids with three wives and positioned himself as a traditional values champion).

 

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: DNC

The Daily Show

Thursday at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central

Why: While former colleague Samantha Bee has enjoyed nearly universal praise for her new late-night show (deranged Emmy voters notwithstanding), the man left behind to steer The Daily Show into the dark and stormy post-Stewart waters has had a tougher time winning over viewers and critics. But the two major parties' conventions are here, and this is a huge opportunity for Noah to right his ship. A week after his live broadcast from the GOP's gathering, Noah and his team will provide the first late-night commentary after Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech. In a nod to the show's focus on younger viewers, the first segment will be simul-streamed via Facebook Live. Despite the criticism throughout this first year on the job, Noah has had moments of greatness. We should expect good things in Philly.

Prepare to talk about: How refreshingly chill American politics has become; the differences in tone and management of the two conventions.

 

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens!

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens!

Sunday at 8 p.m. on Syfy

Why: It's that time of year: the annual reminder that Tara Reid continues to walk among us. While their D-list peers were jockeying for position on the Republican National Convention's list of speakers, Reid and co-stars Ian Ziering, Gary Busey, and David Hasselhoff were mastering their chainsaw-swinging skills and learning Star Wars puns. Also appearing is a veritable who's that of reality personalities, including Cynthia Bailey, Duane Chapman, and Patti Stanger. Is this "important" television? Perhaps not. But is it fun? Well, maybe not exactly fun. Is it TV? It sure is. And best of all, it's a prime opportunity for hate-tweeting. Here's the "plot" synopsis: Five years into a blissfully sharknado-free existence, Fin (Ziering) and his family face a familiar menace. It's more sharknados, guys.

Prepare to talk about: Which new reality "stars" will join the impossibly long cast list for Sharknado 5; how you actually pronounce Ian Ziering.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He hopes reality TV's brightest star, Milania Giudice, makes the cut next year. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Jul 25, 2016 3:41PM EDT

Even with an all new cast, MadTV with Nicole Sullivan AND Will Sasso is must see tv.
Trevor Noah is nowhere near as shaky as Jimmy Fallon was when he started the Tonight Show. He's been bombarded with critiques, but the show has finally started to find its groove.

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Jul 26, 2016 6:14PM EDT

As for the Daily Show being an important show, I refuse to get my news from a no name So. African "comedian" or take his opinion seriously about my country. Bad choice to replace Jon Stewart. So, in sum, not an important show. :(

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zazerhContributor
Jul 27, 2016 9:51AM EDT

It's worth remembering that the incredible staff and team that partially makes the Daily Show what it is is still in place. Not to say the host isn't critical, but the truth is that both Trevor and Jon mostly do/did the delivery, but not all of the writing or research. Personally, I don't see how his fame or origin is particularly relevant to his performance. It's not as if Jon Stewart was well-known when he took over. That said, he clearly has some big shoes to fill!

I'll watch Jordan Klepper do pretty much anything, especially wander around conventions -- that guy is hilarious.

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Jul 27, 2016 11:22AM EDT

@Zazerh, I hear what you're saying, but Jon Stewart was on Larry Sanders' Show and did a lot of TV work prior to taking over TDS. He was also a very big stand up comedian back then. I remember. I think Trevor's delivery stinks. He laughs at his jokes and steps on almost every punch line. It's also my opinion that he has no depth of knowledge of American history, nor does he possess an understanding of American common knowledge, because he hasn't been raised on this continent and in this society. It's completely relevant because neither I nor you would be able to understand common references to popular culture or historical facts in South African culture. That's my point.

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zazerhContributor
Jul 27, 2016 12:13PM EDT

I actually find his outsider perspective a little refreshing. It is pretty interesting to get a little window into how the rest of the world perceives the USA. I agree he has some work to do on his performance, but he does seem to have improved since he started, based on the episodes I've seen.

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Jul 27, 2016 5:36PM EDT

@Zazerh It's an intense political campaign season. I'll have to give him another try in the near future. By the way, I love your reviews and writing style. You rock!

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zazerhContributor
Jul 28, 2016 8:42PM EDT

Awww shucks, that's inspiring!

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