The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of March 12, 2018

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.


This Is Us: S2E18

This Is Us
(Season Finale)

Tuesday at 9:00 pm on NBC

Why: Wow, can we believe that we have already arrived at the second season finale of This Is Us? You may not have realized, since last week's episode took a departure from the primary characters to focus almost entirely on Deja (you can let us know in the comments if you love her or hate her). This week, we return to The Big Three to celebrate the much-anticipated wedding of Kate and Toby. Also, for some reason, based on the previews (and this image here), an undead and appropriately aged Jack is present, although we assume it's just a dream-type sequence where characters are imagining what it would be like if Jack were actually there. Or it's a wax sculpture! Or he's come back from the dead! But we're gonna go with it being a dream. We also wonder if this finale will set up some new big storyline/mystery for everyone to look forward to and obsess over for quite some time until Season 3 premieres in the Fall.

Prepare to talk about: Deja. Just kidding! Last week was all about Deja and we're ready for a break; old Jack - still looking good; hey, when are we gonna learn more about Jack's dead brother?


Rise: S1E1

(Series Premiere)

Tuesday at 10:00 pm on NBC

Why: Rise is a new drama from Jason Katims, who brought us past tear-fests including Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, both of which were shows beloved by fans. So, it's safe to say that fans of either of those shows have been eagerly awaiting the debut of Katims's newest show! Rise stars Josh Radnor (aka How I Met Your Mother's Ted Mosby) as high school English teacher Lou Mazzuchelli, based on real-life teacher Lou Volpe. Mr. Mazzu, as he's known, takes over the drama department from Tracey Wolfe (Rosie Perez) - they begin as enemies, but eventually see eye to eye - when Lou wants to shake things up in this small Pennsylvanian town and stage "Spring Awakening" as the school's musical (instead of "Grease"). The show features a large ensemble cast of unknowns, and it's in their individual stories that you'll be reminded of shows like FNL and Parenthood. As "Spring Awakening" *is* a musical, this show will also definitely be featuring plenty of singing a la Glee (and even a football player turned singer to boot), although it's a bit more of a...sad Glee. Seems like a perfect fit to debut after the season finale of This Is Us. Beginning next week, it will move into its time slot.

Prepare to talk about: Which of the students is your favorite; why is Mr. Mazzu such a sad sack?; how much of the finished "Spring Awakening" product is NBC/the series going to air?


Instinct: S1E1

(Series Premiere)

Sunday at 8 pm on CBS

Instinct is basically a paint-by-numbers, perfect-for-CBS procedural. Based on a James Patterson novel (Murder Games), the series stars Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) as a former CIA agent turned psychology professor and author (talented guy!) who ends up teaming up with the NYPD after a serial killer is seemingly using his books for inspiration. This is all pretty run of the mill, although one notable thing about this show is that Cumming's character, Dylan Reinhart, is openly gay, which is a first (there have certainly been many supporting roles before, but never the lead) of a CBS crime series. As the genre goes, Cumming is also assigned a no-nonsense female partner, Lizzie (played by Bojana Novakovic). As the genre also goes, the two first clash, only to realize that they make a great team (and they have great chemistry). Again, none of this is reinventing the wheel, but if this is your network and this is your genre, it's an entertaining addition to the spread.

Prepare to talk about: Why are we so obsessed with serial killers lately (see: The Alienist, Mindhunter, this season of American Crime Story); how it's nice to see Naveen Andrews (who I only know from Lost, but others will recognize from the Once Upon a Time spinoff and Sense8) in a new role.


Rachel is the product manager of SideReel, and she goes to musicals all of the time, but has somehow never seen Spring Awakening (so Mr. Mazzu's version better be good)!


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Mar 12, 2018 7:53PM EDT

Also debuting on Tuesday is Shondaland's "For the People"!

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