Orphan Black, Community 

Plus: Salem, The Boondocks, True Tori

Orphan Black - BBC AMERICA
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  • Orphan Black

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Orphan Black
Saturday, April 19 (BBC America)

Season Premiere: The Only TV Column That Matters™ inadvertently overlooked the 2013 debut season of Orphan Black, a British sci-fi series about a small-time criminal (Tatiana Maslany) who assumes the identity of a dead police detective she eerily resembles, only to learn she’s a clone, and that there are several other cloned versions of herself out there, as well. I’ve caught up, and I’d suggest you do the same, because Orphan Black is one of those rare sci-fi shows that plays outside of its genre as an engrossing, personal drama, and Maslany’s virtuostic performance—multiple distinct performances, to be exact—is that of a star in the making. It’s a Me (Us) Against a Grand Conspiracy paranoia thriller with many a squee-worthy twist (and even more coming in Season 2), and wisecracking Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is the new It Sidekick. Don’t miss Orphan Black (again).


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Community
Thursday, April 17 (NBC)

Season Finale: One of the best and definitely most out-there seasons of Community has also been its least-watched—it’s almost as if creator Dan Harmon took his second chance with NBC as a challenge: “You think it was weird before? Suck on this!” And yet, even with Season 5’s sub-CW ratings, Community could still realize the dream of Six Seasons and a Movie, because the only other half-hour comedy to survive NBC’s 2013-14 slate is Parks & Recreation; launching a new comedy block with only one established show is already a proven Turrible Idea (see: NBC Thursday, September 2013). So, with a hopeful eye to Fall 2014, how’s Community closing out this bizarro season? With a guest appearance from Chris Elliott (Eagleheart) … this does not bode well.

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Salem
Sunday, April 20 (WGN America)

Series Debut: Damn, everybody wants a piece of the Original Programming pie—even Chicago superstation (Wiki it, kids) WGN. Salem, a 17th-century period piece about—what else?—the Salem witch trials, from a creative team with a dubious TV résumé (anybody remember Threshold? FlashForward? Terra Nova?), will likely be filed under “Nice Try, But …” in the near future; if you’ve already sampled “Sexy History” shows like Vikings, Black Sails, The Tudors, Spartacus or even The CW’s Reign, there’s nothing new to see here. Well, except for ex-Nikita buzzcut Shane West in a hilarious wig from the Sons of Anarchy Halloween collection.

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The Boondocks
Monday, April 21 (Adult Swim)

Season Premiere: According to Adult Swim, “This season was produced without the involvement of [creator/executive producer] Aaron McGruder, when a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined.” Meaning: Adult Swim wanted the fourth and final (and, wild guess here, contracted?) season of The Boondocks now, and McGruder works on his own schedule. Since the last new episode aired in 2010, draw your own conclusions. Even with McGruder, The Boondocks has been frustratingly uneven; searingly hilarious and ruthless about black culture one episode, flat and lazy the next—maybe his absence won’t make a difference. Besides, he’s on to his next project now, Black Jesus, which he’s producing for … Adult Swim? So no one’s learned anything from all of this?

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True Tori
Tuesday, April 22 (Lifetime)

Series Debut: This is Tori Spelling’s, what, fourth reality show? After as many tell-all autobiographies? She—and especially husband Dean McDermott—ain’t that fascinating, and yet TV networks and book publishers can’t get enough of ’em. True Tori picks up with the couple three weeks after McDermott has left rehab, which is the standard, healthy amount of time to begin shooting your next reality series, and … yeah, I’ve already lost interest.

Twitter: @Bill_Frost | TV Tan Podcast

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