The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of May 15, 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.

 

Downward Dog: S1E1

Downward Dog
(Series Premiere)

Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on ABC

Why: Keeping it the realest, this is not for everyone. First, we're in talking-animal territory — complete with CGI'd mouth movement. Second, this pup can come off as kind of a whiny bitch. But! This is an inventive and charming take on (late) millennial life, as seen through the eyes of a doggo. Nan, played by Allison Tolman (an Emmy nominee for Fargo), is trying to balance an increasingly demanding job with her complicated personal life, which includes an on-off relationship. Making things better or worse, depending on his mood, is Martin, voiced by co-creator Samm Hodges, who gives the dog an uptalky This American Life vibe. Again, it's not the easiest sell. Even ABC seems split on the show. The pilot was ordered to series a year ago, but was pushed to midseason, where it lost the one open slot to the abysmal Imaginary Mary. But the network is giving the premiere a cushy spot following the season finale of Modern Family before moving it to its regular Tuesday time slot.

Prepare to talk about: Pepper the cat, Martin's next-door nemesis and a scene-stealer; how surprisingly heartfelt the show is, thanks to the wonderful Allison Tolman.

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: S3E1

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
(Season Premiere)

Friday at 3 a.m. on Netflix

Why: Come for the infectious joy and zany comedy, stay for the unexpected depth and emotion. If Season 1 was more focused on rapid-fire jokes and Season 2 was a slow reveal of the darker side of Kimmy's tale, this season aims for more balance. The story builds on last year's cliffhanger: the imprisoned Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne asking Kimmy for a divorce so he can remarry. This gut-punch of a reminder of Kimmy's 15-year nightmare is always present as she, (mis)guided by Jacqueline, stalls on signing the paperwork to enjoy having some power over the Reverend. Part of moving forward for Kimmy is continuing her education, so this season sees her heading to college, where she meets a philosophy student and potential love interest played by Daveed Diggs. Meanwhile, Titus battles romance woes with his construction otter, Jacqueline continues her quest to change the Washington Redskins' name, and Lillian doubles down on her fight against gentrification.

Prepare to talk about: Titus going full Lemonade on Mikey; the new guest stars, including Laura Dern, Rachel Dratch, Andrea Martin, and Maya Rudolph; whether this season also will have a more serialized (and serious) second half.

 

Twin Peaks: S1E1

Twin Peaks
(Series Premiere)

Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime

Why: In the final episode of the original series, Laura Palmer tells Agent Cooper that she'll see him again in 25 years. Well, it's been 25 years, and now we're finally getting some answers. Maybe. Hopefully. With David Lynch, you never really know. Like fog covering a Washington forest, the plotlines of these new 18 episodes have been shrouded in mystery. What is known is that many of the original run's stars are back, including Sheryl Lee and Kyle MacLachlan. But Lynch has recruited a ton of famous newcomers, some of whom make perfect sense (Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, and Jennifer Jason Leigh) and others who also make sense but in a totally Lynchian way (Eddie Vedder and Trent Reznor). Lynch directed every episode, giving each frame of this revival his signature style. And the show's original composer, Angelo Badalamenti, who won a Grammy for the iconic theme song, also has returned.

Prepare to talk about: The insane extended cast — 217 characters, to be precise; whether this should remain a one-time event or return in another 25 years.

 

T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. He's strong as hell. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

6 comments

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May 13, 2017 4:13PM EDT

Hi TJ!
Since you were asking for feedback on the blog: could you start adding a 'Most important shows' tag to these posts, and do the same for the weekend binge guides, so we can find them all in one place? I often find new shows through these posts, and right now, after being away for almost 2 months, I'd like to be able to go back in time and read all the ones I've missed... But i have no idea where to start...
Thanks! :)

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May 13, 2017 4:19PM EDT

Oh and while I'm at it: are the Fall/Midseason/Spring/Summer preview pages archived somewhere? Sometimes I'd like to be able to go back to them as well, say, in the Summer when I'm deciding what I'll catch up on while all the other shows are on hiatus... They're a great snapshot of the TV landscape, they shouldn't be lost!

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May 13, 2017 6:54PM EDT

Great suggestions. Thanks!

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May 17, 2017 8:25AM EDT

I am subscribing to Showtime just for Twin Peaks. (I'm a fan of the original, back in the day, and especially fun reading all the conjecture on the then-nascent Internet.) Kimmy is the kind of show I don't like (sitcoms?), but this one has managed to draw me in.

Finally, Downward Dog. I'll give it a try because of Allison Tolman.

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May 18, 2017 1:39PM EDT

Official trailer for Downward Dog:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE93Fo-xq1A
I'll give it a pass, already following a bunch of shows I'd rather watch instead, I'm a cat person anyway.

Definitely excited for Twin Peaks, I subscribed to the follow up series over a year ago. Less than a week to go!

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May 18, 2017 8:32PM EDT

I love Pepper. I love Martin. Could do with less of Nan. Needs to be more like the Secret Life of Pets.

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