- 30 Rock
Thursday, May 5 (NBC)
Season Finale: Lost in all of the NBC hype over Steve Carell’s departure from The Office (which was handled nicely, but there are still three episodes left—now what?) and karaoke catastrophe The Voice (which feels more like an infomercial for some cut-rate Canadian band camp every week) is the season finale of 30 Rock, the net’s most critically revered/audience-shunned series. Maybe viewers don’t like being told over and over again by the media intelligentsia that they’re slack-jawed morons for not watching 30 Rock (they are); maybe it’s too “inside” and “meta” for anyone outside of said media intelligentsia to appreciate (it is); maybe it’s the off-putting size of Alec Baldwin’s head (it’s huuuge). But 30 Rock is totally relatable to the common folk: In tonight’s Season 5 finale, Liz’s (Tina Fey) summer vacation in the Hamptons is ruined when Tracy (Tracy Morgan) moves into the condo next door. Never mind—go back to The Mentalist.
Friday, May 6 (Fox)
Season Finale: Speaking of shows with more critical love than actual viewers: Fringe has admirably refused to dumb down its dizzying alternate-universe twists this season—despite being moved to Fridays, the TV black hole where sci-fi goes to die (unless, oddly enough, it’s on Syfy). If Fox hadn’t picked Fringe up for a fourth season this fall, tonight’s Season 3 closer could have been a series finale—it’s titled “The Day We Died,” and all signs point to the final showdown between This Universe and the slightly skewed That Universe (biggest differences: Over there, the Statue of Liberty is bronze, and MTV plays music videos) ending badly for both sides. Not to mention, “a beloved cast member meets an untimely demise.” Sorry, anyone who’s not Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson or John Noble.
Saturday, May 7 (Animal Planet)
Series Debut: Further proof that everyone is going to get their own reality show at some point: “Cat behaviorist” Jackson Galaxy (actual name, far as you know) “brings his unique understanding of cats to desperate families on the verge of giving up on their furry companions,” like pussies that break up relationships and even send owners to the hospital. Now, I’m no feline profiler like this tattooed assclown, but, with a minor amount of common-sense tweaking, this show could be re-imagined as My Brand-New Cat That’s Not at the Bottom of a Lake Because He Was Being a Total Dick. You’re welcome, Animal Planet.
Saturday, May 7 (Syfy)
One day after the premiere of Marvel’s sure-to-be-blockbuster Thor movie, Syfy presents Almighty Thor, shot for a fraction of a fraction of the budget and starring a nondescript blond twink (Cody Deal) in the title role. If that isn’t enticing enough, Almighty Thor also stars ’rassler Kevin “Big Sexy” Nash as Odin and … wait for it … Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street, Booker and more straight-to-video sleaze-gems than all Baldwin brothers combined) as villain Loki. Just saved you $8, didn’t I?
Monday, May 9 (Syfy)
Series Finale: There’s been at least one Stargate series on television since 1997, but the franchise (which includes SG-1, Atlantis, Miami, Special Victims Unit, et al) ends tonight with the demise of Stargate Universe, the darkest and least warmly received entry of the lot. For some reason, viewers just didn’t connect with a humorless group of narcissists adrift in space with little to no hope of ever seeing Earth or Richard Dean Anderson again. Will the crew of the Destiny make it back home in the finale? Since the last episodes were completed before the cancellation announcement, and the producers were planning on a third season, looks like they’ll get royally Caprica-ed.