There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up?
To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling the five best moments on TV each week. This time, two of TV’s most controversial shows return, while Fresh Off the Boat breaks out its first big-name cameo.
The Leftovers Gets a Makeover
As our own Moze Halperin points out, Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta’s post-low-key-apocalyptic drama has reinvented itself in all kinds of ways for its second season: changing locations, adding a whole new set of protagonists, and most importantly, swapping out title sequences. The choice of theme song — “Let the Mystery Be,” by Iris Dement — feels like a sly wink at anyone holding out hope that the Sudden Departure will ever be explained, and the family photo montage feels significantly less self-important than Season 1’s Renaissance frescoes. A promising opening to a promising season.
Lady Gaga Tears Us Apart
American Horror Story: Hotel has finally graduated from “fevered collection of posts on Lady Gaga fan forums” to “actual television show,” and in true Ryan Murphy fashion, it’s already the most polarizing show on air — except, maybe, the other show that premiered this week (see above). However you feel about Murphy, AHS, or its star, though, it’s hard to deny the totally bonkers appeal of Gaga’s Murder Foursome, co-starring Matt Bomer and soundtracked by She Wants Revenge. Welcome to television, Mother Monster!
Squanch Hits the Fan
Like the show itself, Rick and Morty’s second season finale was an inspired hybrid of absurdity, violence, and deeply damaged people, starting with a wedding and ending with Rick turning himself in to intergalactic Supermax. It’s a testament to the universe Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have created that the death of a hybrid being known as Birdperson at the hands of his teenage human bride comes as such a genuine shock; ditto the heroic self-sacrifice of a whacked-out cat alien known as Squanchy. But all that still pales in comparison to Rick, the alcoholic nihilist who caps off two seasons of moral development by realizing his family is better off without him.
Michaela Watkins Keeps It Casual
From one indie-esque Los Angeles streaming dramedy to another, the SNL alumna is establishing a solid niche for herself in the time of #PeakTV. Luckily, the Jason Reitman-EP’ed Hulu series offers Watkins more of a central role than Transparent; she co-stars as Valerie, a therapist in her late 30s navigating post-divorce life with her teenage daughter and startup bro roommate/brother. Casual, which released its first two episodes on Hulu earlier this week, is the definition of low-key TV — it won’t be blowing up either Twitter or the thinkpiece sphere anytime soon — but Watkins is compelling as ever in a much-deserved starring role.
Shaquille O’Neal, Used Car Salesman
Given Eddie’s basketball obsession, Shaq may be a predictable choice for Fresh Off the Boat‘s first major guest star, but he’s introduced in a delightfully unexpected way: as the bona fide owner and operator of Shaquille O’Neal Motors in Orlando, Florida. He’s taking a hands-on approach to anything with his name on it (“Don’t want another Shaq-Fu”), so he spends Louis and Jessica’s wedding anniversary haggling over a deal on a champagne pearl sedan. Louis even gets in a meta crack about how 2015 Shaq doesn’t exactly look fit for the court — luckily, all he needs to do is cut out third lunch.