The Most Important Shows on TV: Week of October 31, 2016

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.


People of Earth: S1E1

People of Earth
(Series Premiere)

Monday at 9 p.m. on TBS

Why: TBS is one of the few cable channels airing sitcoms that are actually funny haha and not just, like, thoughtfully humorous. People of Earth's first episode has actual jokes! And the last-minute twist required of all new shows. Plus a strong ensemble cast that should provide writers with enough material to keep this thing going for awhile. (And with Conan O'Brien and Greg Daniels among the executive producers, this has a strong shot at a second season.) Wyatt Cenac stars as a Pulitzer-seeking journalist used to writing about serious topics like prison reform and gun control who spends a week investigating a support group for supposed alien abductees. As he talks to the members (Ana Gasteyer and Luka Jones among them), he realizes not just that they might be telling the truth, but that he may also have been abducted.

Prepare to talk about: Ana Gasteyer's great TV year (beginning with Grease: Live and continuing with Lady Dynamite); an alien race of Ryan Goslings; that recurring dream that's been eating away at you.


Stan Against Evil: S1E1

Stan Against Evil
(Series Premiere)

Wednesday at 10 p.m. on IFC

Why: Comedy and horror, when blended correctly, can be an incredible combination. Like peanut butter and chocolate, Britney and Justin, or Netflix and chill. Stan Against Evil gets it right. From the mind of Dana Gould, a successful comedian and former writer for The Simpsons, this series is a bit of Buffy, some Ash vs. Evil Dead, and a little Shaun of the Dead. John C. McGinley delights as a recently retired (by force) small-town sheriff who forms an unlikely alliance with his replacement (Janet Varney from You're the Worst) when their quaint but peculiar New England town is overrun by demons. Turns out the whole damn place was built on a massive 17th-century witch burning site and McGinley's late wife was the only person preventing the 172 dead witches from haunting the town. IFC will air the remainder of the eight-episode season in two-episode batches throughout November, which hopefully reflects the network's belief that the series is bingeable and not an effort to burn off a clunker.

Prepare to talk about: McGinley’s deadpan, delightfully over-it attitude; 172 witches means 172 episodes, right?


The Crown

The Crown
(Series Premiere)

Friday at 3 a.m. on Netflix

Why: If you long for Downton Abbey, but without the dreadful downstairs drama, Netflix's ambitious new look at the British royal family is the solution. The 10-part production, which chronicles the lives of the Windsors from Elizabeth's marriage to Philip in 1947 to her sister's 1956 battle to marry a divorced man, is a big story with the budget to match. Rumored to have cost $130 million for the first of a planned six seasons, it's TV's most expensive series. But it's a show that uses every dollar wisely. That's no surprise, given the genius of the creative team, which includes creator Peter Morgan, the writer of the 2006 film The Queen and the 2013 play The Audience, and director Stephen Daldry, an Oscar nominee. The cast is just as good, particularly Claire Foy as Elizabeth, the woman who was never supposed to be queen, and Matt Smith, whose Philip is deeply sympathetic.

Prepare to talk about: How much you sympathize with Elizabeth, perhaps surprisingly; what other gold Peter Morgan can mine from his royal obsession.


T.J. DeGroat is the editor of SideReel. His one true queen is his mother (JK, it's Kelly Clarkson). Follow him on Twitter.



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Oct 30, 2016 1:21PM EDT

Looking forward to Stan Against Evil and People of Earth! Also season two of Humans premieres this week!

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Oct 30, 2016 9:08PM EDT

The best part about this list is how perfectly the shows line up with the day they premiere. People of Earth is a perfect Monday show. Intellectual, witty, and funny enough I won't complain all day like Garfield. Wednesday's Stan against Evil has the action, excitement, and humor I need in the middle of the week. Friday's The Crown might be slow paced for my taste, but a lavish and intellectual drama is a fantastic way to unwind after a hectic week.

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