The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of May 16, 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.


Lady Dynamite: S1E1

Lady Dynamite
(Series Premiere)

Friday at 3:01 a.m. on Netflix

Why: The g-word gets thrown around pretty loosely, but Maria Bamford is a genius. Mainstream fame has eluded her, however, in part because her sense of humor is not exactly CBS primetime, but also because of the personal struggles that are the basis of this semi-autobiographical Netflix series. Developed with Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz, the show depicts Bamford's life and career before and after a hospital stay (which is also shown, to great comedic effect). The entire first episode is excellent, with clever narrative devices and top-notch supporting turns by a worried Patton Oswalt, a devastatingly foul-mouthed Ana Gasteyer, and the fabulous duo of Bridget Everett and Lennon Parham (whom Bamford describes as "my best friend Dagmar and her worst friend Larissa"). This is the kind of show you need to actually watch; don't keep one eye on Twitter, etc. It's the kind of loose and free show that's actually incredibly complicated. And it's a delight. Just like Bamford.

Prepare to talk about: The surrealist shampoo commercial that opens the show ("Sassafras Lady!"); the meet-the-neighbors music: "ba da bah bah hiyeee" and "bah bah dah byeee"; Gasteyer's creative use of the c-word.


Billboard Music Awards 2016

Billboard Music Awards

Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC

Why: Because of Britney, bitch. When Britney Spears deigns to appear on live TV, I make a point of tuning in. Not because of any intense fandom — those days were very real, thankyouverymuch, but they're over. I watch because anything could happen. Will she be loose, fun, charismatic Britney or terrified, awkward, introverted Britney? This year, Billboard is awarding Ms. Spears what it refers to as the "prestigious" Millennium Award. In exchange for this honor, Britney's going to "perform" her greatest hits. Again, big questions about what that actually means. A glorious return to legitimacy with live vocals and sharp choreography or lackluster miming coupled with lots of hairography? Either way, it will be entertaining. As will appearances by Celine Dion, who's set to pick up the ICON Award and beat her chest while belting, and Madonna, who will pay homage to Prince in a tribute your coworker is sure to have feelings about.

Prepare to talk about: Justin Bieber doing some dumb shit, probably; why Ciara is still a thing; the rise of Troye Sivan.


Preacher: S1E1

Preacher (Series Premiere)

Sunday at 10 p.m. on AMC

Why: One word: Arseface. Obviously there's more to the show than a silly name for a very memorable character. There are the A-list producers, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who have created exactly the type of show we'd expect from them: an insane one. There's the rich source material, a Western-themed comic book series about a Texas preacher (played here by Dominic Cooper), his ex-girlfriend, and an Irish vampire on a journey to literally find God. It's a thoroughly modern and very internet-friendly TV show that offers both style and substance. But, come on. It's all about Ian Colletti's unforgettable Eugene, referred to (very appropriately) as Arseface.

Prepare to talk about: Um… Arseface, obviously.


T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He will always have love in his heart for Mickey Mouse Club alumni. Follow him on Twitter if you know what's good for you.


1 comment

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May 16, 2016 5:13PM EDT

I am so excited for Preacher!

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