Sunday, April 22 (HBO)
Series Debut: “I’m a political leper and an emotional time bomb, so here’s an idea: Let’s put me onstage.” That sums up new Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a former senator with vague ambitions to make a difference and leave a legacy—she’d like “to be remembered as The People’s Vice President”—but no chance in hell of achieving either, even if she did have the smarts or the support. Her stressed-out, micromanaging staff (including Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Walsh and Reid Scott) are no help, and the POTUS won’t even talk to her (at least once an episode, Meyer asks, “Did the president call? No?”). Veep is more Arrested Development than The West Wing, with a higher profanity-per-minute rate than a Tarantino flick and Louis-Dreyfus at her oblivious, self-absorbed best. It’s even funnier than the Republican primaries, and only half as damaging to American politics.
Thursday, April 19 (NBC)
Return: After a month off, Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) campaign for Pawnee City Council resumes with a seemingly endless list of promises and issues, via Knope2012.com: lowering Pawnee’s obesity level, relocating raccoons, assigning one police officer for every five citizens and one park ranger for every 10,000 raccoons, finishing the statue of Burt Bacharach, making refusing a hug illegal, legalizing clapping, paying off the city’s debt to Ringling Bros., curtailing the nudity on public-access TV, regulating the heights of trampolines, shutting down underground shooting ranges and a few hundred more. This is a far more solid city-council bid platform than that of Modern Family’s Claire Dunphy—vote Knope!
Saturday, April 21 (Syfy)
Movie: What’s the most hilarious line in this Syfy synopsis? “Aliens attack Earth using deadly electrical tornadoes as weapons … a farmer and a tornado blogger race against the clock to find a way to thwart the horrific invasion.” If you skipped right over “Aliens attack Earth” and “deadly electrical tornados” and zeroed in on “tornado blogger,” congratulations/sorry, you’re thinking just like The Only TV Column That Matters™. In the B-movie formerly known as Stormbringer—Wiki Deep Purple, kids—Jeff Fahey (apparently still looking for roles to top Lost and Machete) and Kari Wuhrer (probably unaware that Syfy flicks don’t require nudity) take on terrible CGI twisters that have … tentacles. Top that, next Saturday’s Space Twisters.
Sunday, April 22 (Fox)
Nevermind that Fox actually launched as a broadcast network in October 1986 with Joan Rivers’ doomed Late Show—the first primetime lineup, consisting of Married … With Children and The Tracey Ullman Show, premiered on Sunday, April 5, 1987. I was right there watching it in my stonewashed jeans, drinking a Jolt Cola (yes, I was pretty cool for a 6-year-old). Fine shows like 21 Jump Street, Werewolf, Women in Prison and The New Adventures of Beans Baxter followed that year, but Fox didn’t crack the Top 30 until 1989 with The Simpsons (which I watched while drinking a Rainier Beer in my Timberlands). For a network that began as an “edgy” alternative, Fox’s 25th Anniversary Special is a standard flashbacks ’n’ chats show, with cast reunions of hits like Beverly Hills 90210, That ’70s Show, The X-Files, In Living Color and … The Tick? OK, that is edgy.
Tuesday, April 24 (The CW)
Series Debut: A bunch of pretty 20-somethings (including DeGrassi: The Next Generation’s Cassie Steele and Firefly’s Jewel Staite) move into a Hollywood apartment complex with big dreams of becoming stars. Ironic, as none of them will ever work again after this steaming pantload is canceled.