- The Office
Thursday, April 28 (NBC)
Steve Carell’s Final Episode: Pretty brave of The Office to send Michael Scott off before May Sweeps. Or utterly stupid. Either way, tonight’s one-hour Steve Carell finale will top last week’s Parenthood cryfest for emotional buh-byes; he’s been America’s best/worst boss for six years, which is probably longer than you’ve been with your current real boss (assuming you’re employed, that is). The good news: Amy Ryan makes an appearance, and Will Ferrell is still hanging in there as Michael’s “replacement,” DeAngelo Vickers (though likely not for much longer; I don’t see this becoming a creepy, lingering Gwyneth Paltrow/Glee situation). Farewell, Michael Scott, even several men couldn’t fill the hole you’ll leave behind … that’s what she said!
Thursday, April 28 (FX)
Unaired Episodes: It’s been a while since the ol’ Fox/FX synergy was put to good use. Me, I think Fox could benefit from repurposing episodes of Tuesday night’s funny-but-struggling Traffic Light across the FX schedule—but they’ll probably just wait until they cancel it, like Running Wilde. As you don’t remember, Running Wilde was the Will Arnett/Keri Russell comedy about a rich oil heir (Arnett) in love with an environmental activist (Russell) that played like an alternate-universe Arrested Development: more money, but fewer laughs. If Running Wilde actually did hit its stride in the final four unaired episodes (which FX will run Thursdays through May 19), this is going to be painfully funny.
All week (All channels)
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it …
Sunday, May 1 (USA)
Season Premiere: More so than any other USA Network original series, witness-protection serial In Plain Sight deviates from the network’s formula: It leans more dramatic than comic, and it’s not set in a dream-vacation locale (though IPS’ version of Albuquerque, N.M., is waaay nicer than Breaking Bad’s). But, it does have USA’s requisite Welcome Characters: U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) was cable’s most interesting female cop until AMC’s The Killing came along, and her partnership with the coincidentally named Marshall Mann (Fredrick Weller) is the most symbiotic badge-pairing since SVU’s Benson and Stabler. As Season 4 opens, Mary’s sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) is in trouble again … just like in Seasons 1-3. So, In Plain Sight doesn’t deviate that much from the USA plan.
Wednesdays (ABC, Fox)
New Series: The Only TV Column That Matters™ has previously pissed on one (Happy Endings) and missed the other (Breaking In). Upon further consideration, both are pretty damned funny. You may now watch ’em.
Wednesday, May 4 (FX)
Season Finale: Several dozen viewers are rightfully pissed-off over the cancellations of Terriers and Lights Out, but FX could still coast for years on the quality drama that Justified has become. The Elmore Leonard-sanctioned series plays like a continuation of Deadwood (I know, blasphemy!), just set in modern-day Appalachian Kentucky with less salty (but no less eloquent) dialogue and a slightly more-defined moral compass. There’s bound to be a body count in the Season 2 finale, with a hillbilly war raging between Boyd (Walton Goggins) and the Bennetts; likewise-targeted U.S. Marshal Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) caught in the middle and considering just splitting town with Winona (Natalie Zea). The term “Best Show on TV” gets tossed around too much, but Justified has more than earned it over this year’s 13 episodes. And I’m not apologizing for the Deadwood comparison, purists—suck it.