Sunday, June 15 (HBO)
Season Finale: Not only has this been the most rape-y and head-popping season of Game of Thrones yet, but also the most-watched ever: Season 4 has averaged 18.4 million viewers, beating out The Sopranos as HBO’s highest-rated series (just imagine the numbers if HBO Go actually worked). So now HBO has even less incentive to send preview screeners out to TV critics—all I’ve received is this synopsis of the season finale, “The Children”: “An unexpected arrival north of the Wall changes circumstances; Dany (Emilia Clarke) is forced to face harsh realities; Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) learns more of his destiny; Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) sees the truth of his situation.” Wild speculations: Wreck-It Ralph; split ends; an Animal Planet reality series; he’s screwed.
Monday, June 16 (FX)
Season Finale: It’s over already, and while not every episode of the year-delayed fourth season of Louie has been “funny,” “cohesive” or, in some cases, “watchable,” at least Louis C.K. took a chance or 14 and created some of the weirdest television of the year—here’s hoping FX doesn’t reward him with a new timeslot in Comedy Purgatory (aka FXX). Overlooked in all of the critical analysis, C.K. also deserves credit for letting this season’s guest stars (especially Sarah Baker, Todd Barry, Yvonne Strahovski, Ellen Burstyn, Ezter Balint, Charles Grodin and, closing it all out tonight, Pamela Adlon) outshine him. Hell, he even dragged a decent performance out of Jerry Seinfeld, something no one’s seen in years.
Tuesday, June 17 (VH1)
Series Debut: About as necessary as VH1 itself in 2014, the I Love series was at least mildly entertaining when it was looking way-way back (although I fail to see anything snark-worthy about the ‘90s—I’ll take Zima and grunge over Bud Light Lime and pussy coalminer pop any day). But the idea of talking-head comedians riffing on 2000-2009 sounds as enticing as a second look at Paris Hilton’s sex tape, which holds up only slightly better than Napoleon Dynamite … damn it, now I’m doing it …
Tuesday, June 17 (TNT)
Season Premieres: It’s not the best series about female buddyhood—that would be USA’s Playing House, which you should be watching, and then re-watching, much harder—but TNT’s resilient Rizzoli & Isles is the only cop drama that gets the dynamic right without being preachy about it. As Season 5 opens, Boston homicide detective Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is pregnant, medical examiner Isles’ (Sasha Alexander) relationship with Rizzoli’s brother is heating up, and you’re still probably not going to believe that R&I is one of the highest-rated cable series of all-time—just ask your mom, or HBO. Even harder to swallow: Perception is still a thing.
Tuesday, June 17 (FX)
Season Finale: That full-year time-jump freaked everyone out a few weeks ago, but there should be no doubt that Deputy Molly (secret-show-lead-all-along Allison Tolman) is finally going to get her man. Or there should be plenty of doubt: Fargo has been nothing if not unpredictable; perhaps a tidy conclusion like that of fellow anthology series True Detective (which, it’s odd/funny to note, only had a fraction of Fargo’s body count) isn’t in the cards. Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton, who’s been fantastically evil) may well take out Salesman of the Year/wife killer Lester (Martin Freeman) before Molly hauls him in, but The Only TV Column That Matters™ gave up making plot predictions the second Lester eyed that hammer in Episode 1.