The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of April 11, 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.

 

Orphan Black: S4E1

Orphan Black
(Season Premiere)

Thursday at 10:00 p.m. on BBC America

Why: A recent convert to the Church of Maslany, I can now add my voice to the growing chorus of fans complaining about how underrated the Canadian star of this complicated show really is. Tatiana Maslany plays a horde of clones, all with distinct looks, mannerisms, and accents. She sometimes shares the screen with three other versions of herself. But wait, there's more! She even plays clones pretending to be other clones. But Maslany operates at such a consistently high level that viewers likely don't even think about the skill involved. That may be why she was overlooked by Emmy voters during the show's first two seasons (along with their sci-fi phobia). But a nomination finally came last year, and Orphan looks to build on its momentum this season, with a new look at the life of Beth Childs, more secrets about the Neolutionists, and a major new addition to the Clone Club.

Prepare to talk about: Maslany deserving all the awards; flashy flashbacks; the new show after the show.

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: S2E1

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season Premiere)

Friday at 3:01 a.m. on Netflix

Why: It's a high-class problem, for sure, but a problem nonetheless: how do you follow up a show as iconic as 30 Rock? In this case, by not straying too far from what worked. In Kimmy, the producing duo of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock delivered a worthy successor that immediately felt familiar (crazy pacing, over-the-top silliness, and that jaunty Jeff Richmond music) while exploring new thematic territory. While the first season was produced for NBC (which bizarrely released the show, allowing Netflix to pick up an obvious winner), this go-round should enjoy a little more freedom, both in language and episode timing. While there may be some subtle differences, Kimmy will continue to be the very weird, very smart, slightly dark comedy viewers binge-watched, GIFed, and memed.

Prepare to talk about: How strong females are (strong as hell, best believe); Kimmy in a Christmas elf costume; even more singing; Titus’ estranged wife!

 

Girls S5E10

Girls (Season Finale)

Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO

Why: Since the first season, Girls has been willing to break with the traditional model of TV storytelling to focus on just one of the lead characters or to take what seems like a major detour for the duration of an episode. It has always paid off (particularly in "One Man's Trash," featuring Patrick Wilson) and this year's attempt was no exception. Even though she is usually the absolute worst, Marnie's walkabout in "The Panic in Central Park" has been the season's high point, revisiting an almost-forgotten character while actually moving the story forward. That look back at Charlie was a reminder that this series is slowly nearing its conclusion. Sunday's two-parter will set up the sixth and final season, which is all sorts of depressing because Lena Dunham is about to turn 30 and that means we're all older too and why does this keep happening?

Prepare to talk about: Jenny Slate's return as Hannah's frenemy; the future of Jessa and Adam; the final season.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He is probably a Marnie, sadly. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

5 comments

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Apr 11, 2016 1:18PM EDT

Cannot wait for the Orphan awesomeness to continue! I hope Kimmy Schmidt maintains it's light hearted humor and stabilizes itself a little bit more. Season one was good, but it did have it's weak moments. Fantastic article T.J!

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Apr 12, 2016 12:02AM EDT

Orphan Black is must see TV. However, if you haven't had a great binge lately, let me recommend the Magicians. What a wonderful ride that is. I can't wait for it to come back for season 2.

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Apr 12, 2016 1:28PM EDT

Thanks, kaidenlaw!

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Apr 15, 2016 9:24PM EDT

Nah

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Apr 16, 2016 7:50AM EDT

Yeah, Clone Club is back! Orphan Black is sooo good.

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