Surviving Jack, Mr. Selfridge 

Plus: The Walking Dead, How I Met Your Mother

Surviving Jack - FOX
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  • Surviving Jack

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Surviving Jack
Thursday, March 27 (Fox)

Series Debut: Fox has so many great comedies right now they can cancel ‘em at will (Raising Hope is dead, soon to be followed by Enlisted). So why should you pay any attention to the new Surviving Jack? First, Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU) absolutely kills it as Jack, an acerbic, zero-bullshit dad to a coming-of-age teen son (Connor Buckley)—and, in a shocking blow to sitcom tropes, neither is a complete idiot and mom isn’t absent/dead. Second, it’s set in 1991, so nostalgia TV can finally move on from terrible ‘80s fashion and music to terrible ‘90s fashion and music (remember hyper-color T-shirts and Jesus Jones? Blech). Third, everything that ABC’s similarly Wonder Years-y The Goldbergs gets wrong, Surviving Jack nails; the sarcasm, the realism, the heart and the feels, classic Fox family-style. (This is where The Only TV Column That Matters™ glosses over the fact that this was created by the same guy who foisted CBS’ S#!t My Dad Says upon your screens …)

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Mr. Selfridge
Sunday, March 30 (PBS)
Season Premiere: In 2013, Jeremy Piven reminded everyone why he won all those Entourage Emmys with the debut season of Mr. Selfridge, playing 1900s department-store magnate Harry Selfridge, a charismatic American who brought the bigger-is-better concept of shopping-as-recreation to London’s Oxford Street. Its 10 episodes didn’t garner Downton Abbey-level hype, but as sexy-glossy period dramas go, Mr. Selfridge wouldn’t have seemed out of place on HBO, or at least History, even though it’s more historically accurate than anything on that channel anymore. Season 2 picks up several years later, 1914, with World War I heating up (bad for business) and unionists organizing the warehouse workers (even worse). I don’t often recommend anything on PBS, but when I do, it’s Mr. Selfridge.

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The Walking Dead
Sunday, March 30

Season Finale: Who else knows/cares that “Terminus” was the original name for Atlanta, Georgia? Or that the second name before the township settled on Georgia was “Thrasherville”? THRASHERVILLE! The greatest name for a city ever, and the hicks just threw it away—you deserve your zombie apocalypse, Georgia. Back to Terminus: The splintered remnants of Team Rick (plus a few undesirable new tag-alongs; minus some useless kiddies) are all set converge at the ominously-titled destination at the end of the railroad tracks, but what’s there? Woodbury 2.0? Another (literally) dead end? As per my sorta-theory above, Atlanta? As per the Walking Dead comic books, a cannibal society? That was some odd-looking meat on the grill in last Sunday’s penultimate episode …

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How I Met Your Mother
Monday, March 31 (CBS)

Series Finale: First of all, the theory about The Mother being dead all along throughout the telling of the titular story is lame: Showtime—which is also owned by CBS—wouldn’t let Dexter, a serial killer, be dead at the end of his morally-ambiguous, murderous series, so it sure as hell isn’t going to happen on a network sitcom; you’d more likely see both 2 Broke Girls decapitated in a dumpster (which is my theory of how that show will end). And don’t throw “How I Met Your Mother should have ended years ago” gripes out there, either—as long as a sitcom is making money, you keep cranking them out until there’s nothing but dust (see: Two & a Half Men); this ain’t Breaking Bad. The only real mystery here is how quickly craptastic new replacement series Friends With Better Lives (premiering right after the HIMYM finale) will be cancelled. Instantaneously? Mid-April? There should be a bracket for this.

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House of Food
Monday, March 31 (MTV)

Series Debut: Remember the days when MTV created groundbreaking, fearless television? Anyway: Here’s a half-assed mashup of The Real World and Top Chef.

Twitter: @Bill_Frost | TV Tan Podcast

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