The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of February 13, 2017

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.


Doubt: S1E1

(Series Premiere)

Wednesday at 10 p.m. on CBS

Why: Well, this is it: Katherine Heigl's final shot at Hollywood relevance! The rom-coms fizzled, the indie pics sputtered, and the return to TV failed. So, in another attempt to correct the course her career has taken since abandoning Shondaland in 2010, Heigl stars as a smartypants lawyer who begins to fall for her client. The problem: he's accused of a grisly crime. Laverne Cox, Dule Hill, and the excellent Elliott Gould also are part of the top-notch cast, but this is Heigl's vehicle and she must be feeling some serious pressure. Of course, actual racist monsters like Mel Gibson already have been forgiven (and rewarded/awarded), but an actress who made a couple of hubristic missteps? The verdict's still out. Anyway, Heigl has a pretty good chance. While there are no sure bets anymore, a legal drama on CBS is about as good a bet as you'll find.

Prepare to talk about: Laverne Cox continuing to break down broadcast-network barriers; whether Heigl "deserves" a hit show (ugh); the fact that she's actually quite a good actress (um, ever heard of My Father the Hero?).


The Good Fight: S1E1

The Good Fight
(Series Premiere)

Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS

Why: Remember when The Good Wife ended its sixth season with an insane, CGI-assisted scene between Alicia and Kalinda that everyone involved tried to spin? I do too. Thankfully, neither character appears in this spinoff, which focuses on the divine Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and aims to help CBS launch its All Access streaming service. Only this episode will air on the network, with the rest streaming weekly on Sundays (the second episode will be available online immediately after the premiere). Fight picks up about a year after the events of Wife, as Diane deals with the effects of a Bernie Madoff-like scam and joins another of Chicago's preeminent law firms. Baranski’s Diane is backed by Cush Jumbo's Lucca and a new character, goddaughter Maia, played by Game of Thrones wildling Rose Leslie.

Prepare to talk about: The F-bomb that comes about halfway through the episode; the Trump of it all; CBS All Access: yea or nay?


Big Little Lies: S1E1

Big Little Lies
(Series Premiere)

Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO

Why: Further proof that the most rewarding roles for women are found on TV, this limited series based on Liane Moriarty's bestselling book stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley as mothers whose seemingly perfect lives in an affluent coastal community start to unravel. Witherspoon and Kidman also teamed up as executive producers, recruiting a stellar supporting cast that includes Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, and Adam Scott. That acting talent, along with David E. Kelly's smart writing and Jean-Marc Vallée's sharp directing, elevate what could have become simply soapy. The seven-episode series balances light humor, serious drama, and fizzy melodrama. Expect Witherspoon to collect a few trophies for nailing arguably the richest role she's found during her Reesurgence.

Prepare to talk about: Reese's lookalike daughter, which has nothing to do with the show, but seriously; Laura Dern's character's "volatility"; the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula.


T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He's a huge fan of Reese Withoutherspoon. Follow him on Twitter.



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Feb 11, 2017 6:14PM EST

Big Little Lies has all of the benchmarks of a great HBO show. Drama, intrigue, huge names, and an instantly exciting premise. I know I'm not the only one anxiously awaiting this riveting series.

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Feb 19, 2017 8:08PM EST

Doubt turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise for me. I don't think I've watched Heigl in anything other than Grey's. I've heard these rumors that she's "difficult", but I enjoy her as an actress. Doubt fits in the same lane as Conviction. The cast and story seem much more "tight" than Conviction was even at it's finale.

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