Sunday, April 24 (HBO)
Season Premiere: Even though last year’s debut season was seen by more critics than actual people (critics are not humans; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), HBO picked up New Orleans drama Treme for a second almost immediately—which means we all get another chance to pronounce it correctly in conversation: “Truh-may,” not “Tree-m.” The David Simon-produced series, about a Crescent City neighborhood struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina circa 2005, doesn’t have same tension as his previous show The Wire, but it does have all of the smallest-detail storytelling elements and expansive cast, and easily the best musical backdrop in all of television (tonight’s season premiere features appearances by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Galactic). Moving forward, Treme’s story doesn’t get any less bleak—and, like The Wire, it rarely gets better than this, either.
Thursday, April 21 (FX, Adult Swim)
Season Finales: One is an animated half-hour on an otherwise live-action network; the other is a live-action 11 minutes on a mostly animated network; both, funny as hell. In Season 2, not-so-super-spy Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin, the best voice in the ’toon biz) has faced down Swiss jailbait, alligators, paternity suits, World War II geezers, Hollywood actresses and even cancer, but his undoing in tonight’s finale may be the hot KGB agent we met last week. As for Chris Elliott’s Walker, Texas Ranger homage/takedown Eagleheart, it’s going out with an episode entitled “A Mug of Chili and a Bowl of Death,” which is also going to be the name of the restaurant I’ll open after the newspaper business goes under.
Saturday, April 23 (BBC America)
Season Premiere: The Doc (Matt Smith) comes to ’Merica! In more ways than one: The Season 6 opener marks the first time that Doctor Who will premiere simultaneously on England’s BBC One and BBC America, as well as the first time the 48-year-old franchise has been filmed on-location in the states (including Utah’s Monument Valley, as seen in tonight’s two-hour premiere). In another landmark, new guest star Marc Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica, Leverage, Burn Notice, Supernatural, etc.) has now played a badass villain on every TV series ever made, and ex-ER doc Alex Kingston (as recurring character River Song) still looks pretty damned good for being the same age as the Doctor Who series itself.
Monday, April 25 (Oxygen)
Season Finale: Even though the ‘ho-hum cast of Season 6 has been the first to fail to top the previous year’s fight club of psycho-skank Bad Girls, it’s at least been a personal triumph for The Only TV Column That Matters™: My Season 5 review quote, “The Bad Girls Club, like bacon of the month, or an STD, really is the gift that keeps on giving,” has appeared in all 13 episodes, emblazoned on the BGC reality-house wall. Other than that, a pretty disappointing season—isn’t it about time for an all-stars edition, Oxygen? I have plenty more quotes.
All week (All channels)
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it …
Tuesday, April 26 (NBC)
Series Debut: Another talent show … great. You’ve got a garage-sale Ryan Seacrest in host Carson Daly, and the judges aren’t even called “judges,” they’re “coaches.” Also Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green and the other two “coaches,” whoever the hell they are, turn their backs to the singers and judge (coach?) them on their voices alone—hence, The Voice. NBC calls this an “innovative format.” American Idol’s lawyers probably call it “not yet actionable.”