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20 Apr 2016

True TV: 'Game of Thrones' Is Back; 'Mike and Molly' Are Out

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What comprehensive information do we have on the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones? None? What critical motivation do you need to watch it anyway? None. What comprehensive information do we have on the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones? None? What critical motivation do you need to watch it anyway? None.

Game of Thrones (Sunday, April 24, HBO), season premiere: What comprehensive information do I have on the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones? None? What critical motivation do you need to watch it anyway? None. In 2015, HBO mailed out DVDs of the first four episodes of Season 5 for review. Those episodes were immediately uploaded to torrent sites by asshats who are likely members of the Television Critics Association, an elitist club of tubbies into which I—a TV reviewer with GoT discs in-hand who did not rip ’em and ship ’em to the pirate-verse—have been previously denied entry. Shortly afterward, HBO switched to difficult-to-copy, online-streaming-only advance screeners for critics to avoid another leak. This time around, HBO isn’t even allowing access to that, releasing only a plot synopsis for Season 6’s premiere, “The Red Woman”: “Jon Snow is dead. Daenerys meets a strong man. Cersei sees her daughter again.” Yeah …

Silicon Valley (Sunday, April 24, HBO), season premiere: After narrowly beating the Hooli lawsuit last season, the Pied Piper gang has fired Richard (Thomas Middleditch) as CEO, but at least offered him a lesser role as CTO (Creepy Twitchy Operator? I’m not up on corporate-speak). Erlich (T.J. Miller) and the O.G. Pied Piper team are questioning their loyalty to the company and, even worse (or better, depending on which side of the creative/business line you reside), their new heavy-hitter CEO (Stephen Tobolowsky) is bent on transforming their ramshackle startup into a slick enterprise, whether they like it out not (mostly not). Winter is coming hard in Season 3 of Silicon Valley—but, fortunately, Miller’s Erlich is as unreal, and kamikaze-hilarious, as ever (and, thanks to Deadpool, more than just an underground delight). Unlike Pied Piper, Silicon Valley deserves more mainstream love, as does …

Veep (Sunday, April 24, HBO), season premiere: We’re entering Season 5 of Veep, and there are still those who think the last thing Julia Louis-Dreyfus did was Seinfeld, or at least The New Adventures of Old Christine with that Coulson guy from S.H.I.E.L.D. While Veep isn’t the new Seinfeld—that would be It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a far superior comedy to Seinfeld (I said it; you read it)—it is a hysterically accurate portrayal of vein-blowing frustration with the idiocy of daily life in, and out of, Washington D.C., with more F-bombs and slashing insults than HBO as seen since the days of Deadwood. More so than House of Cards, this is the fantasy election cycle—in which former Vice President Selena Meyer (Dreyfus) is desperately clinging to the presidency that was handed to her—that’s even more entertaining than our current real political sitcom.

TURN: Washington’s Spies (Monday, April 25, AMC), season premiere: Things may finally be getting at least somewhat interesting here. First season … I didn’t care about a Revolutionary War espionage drama. Second season … to avoid being confused with a NASCAR reality show, the title was upgraded from TURN to TURN: Washington’s Spies, and Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl, Orphan Black) was added to the cast—that got me to at least take a look. Now, Season 3 is set to blow up with not only the long-teased defection of Benedict Arnold, but also the arrival of George Washington’s right-hand man, Alexander Hamilton (yes, he of that Broadway musical). History nerds are positively turgid.

Mike and Molly (Monday, April 25, CBS), spring premiere/final episodes: Six years ago, I wrote an investigative piece about a plausible Mike and Molly conspiracy theory: It’s really a leftover UPN sitcom from 1998, recycled and repackaged for 2000s CBS. The facts: UPN and CBS were/are owned by the same corporation; the laugh track is cranked to tellingly ’90s levels; Mike and Molly, despite featuring several talented comic actors, is painfully unfunny—just like every comedy ever produced by UPN (with the exception of the criminally underrated Shasta McNasty). Maybe the theory is true, maybe not, but Mike and Molly still sucks. But! Not as hard as most sitcoms CBS has introduced since 2010—most notably The Odd Couple, Angel From Hell and, sweet Jesus, Rush Hour. So, with the last seven M&M episodes upon us, this column offers a heartfelt-ish Sorry Not Sorry.

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