- Arrested Development
Sunday, May 26 at Midnight (Netflix)
Return/Season Premiere: TV critics are whining that Netflix wouldn’t make the revival of Arrested Development available for advance review—like you’re not going to watch it because Frank J. Farley of the Wichita Bugle only gave it two bowties in his Tinseltown Beat column. All you need to know: 15 new episodes will begin streaming Sunday morning, each focusing on a different Bluth family character with only Michael (Jason Bateman) as the constant; show creator Mitch Hurwitz insists they should be viewed in their proper order (hey, he would know); characters like Lucille 2, Barry Zuckerkorn, Bob Loblaw, Tony Wonder and Annyong will be back, though The Only TV Column That Matters™ only cares about Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer, who also returns); it’s not going to look and feel exactly like Arrested Development’s three-season 2003-06 Fox run because, well, that was over six years ago; you should just set aside 8.5 hours of your Memorial Day weekend now. Ca-caw! Ca-caw!
Thursday, May 23 (NBC)
Series Debut: Anne Heche (Hung) stars as a Midwest housewife who has a near-death experience after choking on a sandwich (product-placement opportunity alert, Jimmy John’s). Upon awakening, she realizes that she can talk to God, much to the skepticism/dismay of her husband (Michael Landes) and his mistress (American Horror Story’s Alexandra Breckenridge). As long as you have Him on the line, Anne, could you ask him to command HBO to bring back Hung? Save Me may be a remnant of NBC’s crash-and-burn-and-explode 2012-13 development slate, but it’s still funnier than most of what actually ran during the season (The New Normal, Guys With Kids, etc.). Which is saying nothing—try it, don’t try it; it’ll be gone soon enough.
Thursday, May 23 (AMC)
Series Debut: The network that showcases great, television-redefining dramas (and Hell on Wheels) continues to fail at reality TV, and Showville is AMC’s laziest throwaway yet: It’s a talent show! In small-town ’Merica! The only detail that differentiates this traveling road show from something you’d run across on CMT is the sub-Wes-Anderson-flick quality of some of the contestants: creepy horn players, obese ballerinas, delusional actors and one-man bands, all exploited just up to the line of winking mockery. At least the rube acts will become as basic-cable famous as Showville’s charisma-free “professional” hosts/mentors, whoever the hell they are.
Sunday, May 26 (HBO)
Movie: Steven Soderbergh’s final feature before “retirement” is Behind the Candelabra, based on Scott Thorson’s book chronicling his secret five-year relationship with Liberace—maybe Soderbergh just wanted to go out on a wiggy note. Besides Michael Douglas (as flamboyant piano man Liberace) and Matt Damon (as his adopted boy-toy Thorson), Behind the Candelabra also features side players like Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula and Rob Lowe sporting some fantastically ridiculous ’70s hair (as he does with everything, Lowe pulls it off best). It all looks flashy but, like Thorson’s book, there isn’t much below the surface, and Behind the Candelabra takes itself too seriously to be a Liz & Dick-style camp classic. Still, best wig deployment since The Americans.
Monday, May 27 (A&E)
Season Premieres: All of the attention has been on Bates Motel recently, but A&E’s push toward non-Duck Dynasty legitimacy began last summer with gritty New Mexico contempo-western Longmire, which defied True TV’s call that it was too hard-edged for a network that wants to be the next USA and became a minor hit—watch it harder, if only to keep Katee Sackhoff employed. As for The Glades … it’s still The Glades.