The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of May 1, 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.

 

Truth & Iliza: S1E1

Truth & Iliza
(Series Premiere)

Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Freeform

Why: My "Ladies of Late Night" list grew by a whopping 50 percent when Freeform announced that its first weekly talk show would be created by Iliza Shlesinger. The comedian is familiar to dozens of people thanks to her 2008 win on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and many more because of her hilarious and bawdy Netflix specials (she also has a book coming out this year, so she's kind of a big deal). During this six-week trial, each episode will center on a themed question (how does one get "woke," for example) that Shlesinger will try to answer through a mix of sketches, celebrity interviews, audience funsies, and field pieces. One thing there won't be is an old-school monologue. And no direct politics. Unless there is. Because, you know, this thing is new and no one really knows how it will play.

Prepare to talk about: Freeform's pretty stellar evolution from ABC Family; the even newer woman-led late-night show in the works at BET, and this one isn't hosted by a white blonde.

 

Sense8: S2E1

Sense8
(Season Premiere)

Friday at 3 a.m. on Netflix

Why: It's been nearly two years since the release of the first season, which ended with the cast of beautiful polyglots eluding the show's baddies, but Will psychically connected to Whispers. The Christmas special caught us up with with sensate squad: Lito and Hernando finding freedom and peace in Mexico, Nomi and Amanita evading Agent Bendix, a fresh-faced Capheus being pulled back into Silas' world, Sun kicking even more ass, Riley helping Will stay out of harm's way, Wolfgang dodging bullets, and Kala dodging her new husband's advances. Plus, an orgy. Obviously. In the incredibly bingeable second season, the sensate cluster will learn more about the secret organization tracking them and a new character played by Michael X. Sommers provides some comic relief. It's not quite Peak TV (although the diversity element does make it "important"). It's not an awards contender. But Sense8 is a whole lot of fun.

Prepare to talk about: How much more necessary this series is in Trump's America; Lana Wachowski's solo directing debut; how incredible the Wachowski sisters' personal story is.

 

Billions: S2E12

Billions
(Season Finale)

Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime

Why: Billions is one of those victims of Peak TV. A very good show that hasn't quite broken through to the A list, it is a creative success that draws a big enough audience that Showtime recently renewed it for a third season. The series has a lot going for it: an incredible creative team, captained by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin; a stellar cast, led by Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, and Malin Akerman; and culturally relevant stories about a warring U.S. attorney and hedge fund billionaire (loosely based on real-world drama). As Season 2 comes to a close, a surprising source lets Axe know he may be in the crosshairs of law enforcement and Wendy and Chuck come to a decision about their tumultuous marriage.

Prepare to talk about: Breakout character Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), widely considered to be the first gender non-binary character on mainstream U.S. television; what would happen if Carrie Mathison met Bobby Axelrod at a coffee shop in Manhattan.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He's more about Hernando than Lito. Follow him on Twitter.

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May 2, 2017 7:57PM EDT

Truth & Liiza (why two I's? Why not?) one positive no politics, that is exceedingly boring, and why I dumped all of the late night shows. On the negative, I've never heard of Liiza-but maybe that's a positive. I'll give it 20 minutes, and see how it goes.

Sens8 Season 2, got to binge watch Sense8 Season 1. I've always been meaning to watch it.

Billions, meh.

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May 7, 2017 11:31AM EDT

@kaidenlaw - It's because here name is Iliza, with a capital 'i'. And she's cool as hell.

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May 8, 2017 5:51PM EDT

@Chickleston; good to know. I will give it a try.

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