The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of March 6, 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.

 

The Americans: S5E1

The Americans
(Season Premiere)

Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX

Why: Has there ever been a better time to start watching this show? It's the peak drama of the Peak TV era, featuring two of television's most compelling performances and stories that, while rooted in 30-year-old conflicts, feel chillingly relevant. The show began as an exploration of a complicated marriage couched within a thrilling spy drama. Now it's about the entire family, with Paige continuing to be a major focus. (Yes, there will be more for Henry coming this season, too). The beginning of the episode puts a twist on the family theme, but we quickly return to the teenage romance that's causing so much trouble. The final 10 minutes of the episode are an interesting distillation of what makes The Americans so unique. Philip, Elizabeth, and comrades spend several minutes silently digging a hole. Really. There's no dialogue and the action is... slow. When they eventually find what they're looking for, an unexpected development kicks off a shocking chain of events.

Prepare to talk about: Whether any other drama in recent TV history has been this consistently excellent for this long; a seed planted several seasons ago that has sprouted; the new disguises (pilots and flight attendants and cowboys, oh my).

 

Love: S2E1

Love
(Season Premiere)

Friday at 3 a.m. on Netflix

Why: Renewed for a third season a month before this one begins streaming, there's a lot of love at Netflix for Love. During the final minutes of Season 1, Mickey tracks down Gus (thanks to social media, natch), and admits to being a drug, alcohol, sex, and love addict (jackpot!), prompting Gus to kiss her. In some films and TV shows, that would lead to an uncomplicated happily ever after, but on Judd Apatow's anti-rom-com, things are bound to get even messier. Celebrated in large part for its realistic depiction of a one-step-forward, two-steps-back romance, the new season of Love continues to navigate the highs and lows of intimacy and commitment as Mickey and Gus, played by the stellar Gillian Jacobs and co-creator Paul Rust, come closer to revealing their true selves to each other.

Prepare to talk about: Iris Apatow killing it as TV's other Arya; David Spade's guest spot as her father; how Bertie is an exile from Please Like Me.

 

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries
(Series Finale)

Friday at 9 p.m. on The CW

Why: Ready or not, after eight seasons and 170 episodes, it's time to say goodbye to Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Bonnie, and yes, Elena. That's right, there's a Delena reunion (which was spoiled long ago by the show's producers, so don't come at us), but that doesn't mean that this twisty CW drama's ending will be a totally happy one. As has been reported, someone was missing when the group filmed its final scene. But before the big reveal, viewers can expect another Founders' Day parade, a dramatic battle, and a ton of guest stars. It's bound to be epic. In fact, the episode is titled "I Was Feeling Epic" in a callback to Elena's (well, epic) monologue way back in the second episode: "We met, and we talked, and it was epic, but then the sun came up and reality set in."

Prepare to talk about: How what could have been just another Twilight-for-TV knockoff grew into something much more interesting; the return of Ms. Dobrev; who kicked it.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He thinks it should be Dalena instead of Delena, obviously. Follow him on Twitter.

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Mar 7, 2017 4:19PM EST

"The Americans" is (together with "The Leftovers") the best show on TV right now. Acting and writing is at golden-age-level.

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Mar 9, 2017 2:22AM EST

I wrote off 'The Americans' back in Season 1. As I tend to watch whatever shows I choose before I fall asleep, the slow pace and dark scenes would cause me to pass out before the episodes had ended. I am almost tempted to give it another shot after this news. I've loved Keri Russell since her days on Felicity.

I've kept up with 'The Vampire Diaries' since the beginning. Eventually Elena became one of my least favorite characters (Too whiny and the center of attention far too often) so I was glad to see her sit it out for a while. I was never a fan of Bonnie without her magic. I feel like the writer's dropped the ball there. Though, I predict that she'll be the one kicking the bucket. I mean, either Enzo comes back to life or she dies and we know (think) that somebody dies. Plus there's the whole her life is tied to Elena's thing. I could see something along the lines of her giving her life to be with Enzo and explaining everything in a journal entry that Elena could read when she wakes up.

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Mar 9, 2017 1:04PM EST

@SuperShySweetGuy not only does the slow pace always pay off, but each season has been better than the one before it. It's remarkable TV.

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