This Week’s Top 5 TV Picks

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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 five best bets for the coming week. As the holiday season comes to a (merciful) close, TV is revving up its engines for the new year. This week, the long-running sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for its bazillionth season, and co-star Kaitlin Olson gets a sitcom of her own, The Mick, which premieres on Fox. (Don’t worry — she’s still part of the Always Sunny gang.) Plus, HBO makes a couple quick changes to its schedule to honor the lives of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who both died this week. Have a safe and happy new year, and hold your beloved cultural icons close.


Sunday: Wishful Drinking

After the surprising death of Carrie Fisher on Tuesday, HBO announced an encore presentation of Wishful Drinking, the documentary that initially aired in 2010. Wishful Drinking began as an autobiographical one-woman stage play, written by Fisher, before HBO commissioned a documentary version of the show. It’ll air at 9 p.m. this Sunday; the following Saturday, Jan. 7, will see the fast-tracked premiere of Bright Lights, another HBO doc about Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who also died this week. 😦


Sunday: The Mick

In a way, The Mick is a show I’ve been waiting for, a star vehicle for the hilarious and under-appreciated Kaitlin Olson from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which also premieres this week). Olson plays Mackenzie, a.k.a. “Mickey,” a chain-smoking, booze-guzzling hustler who moves into her sister’s Greenwich, Connecticut mansion to take care of her spoiled niece and nephews when her sister and brother-in-law are arrested for fraud. Olson is fantastic, and the first four episodes were funny enough to fill me with hope for this new sitcom. It premieres on Sunday at 8 p.m. on Fox, before moving to its regular time slot at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.


Wednesday: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

TV’s favorite know-nothing scumbags are back, and, miraculously, they’re as funny as ever. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns on Wednesday for it’s twelfth season, an impressive feat for any show but particularly so considering Always Sunny hasn’t faltered yet. The sitcom opens with a very special episode indeed — a musical episode that riffs on The Wiz, called “The Gang Turns Black.” Don’t miss it this Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FXX.


Thursday: Nashville

Nashville already gave viewers a sneak peek of the first hour of its fifth season premiere a couple weeks ago, but Thursday is the music-biz soap’s official, two-hour season premiere. Judging from the ratings, it looks like most Nash-heads are waiting for Thursday’s premiere — at 9 p.m. on CMT — to get the full experience, or maybe you caught the premiere’s first hour on Hulu. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it here (I get it; I’m a purist). There was a noticeable difference in the pacing, thanks to new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, who replaced Dee Johnson when Nashville moved from ABC to CMT for its new season. Fingers crossed this means more moony-eyed duets and less out-of-left-field melodrama.


Thursday: Portlandia 

I say this as a fan, but Portlandia‘s moment has kind of passed; poking fun at this ultra-liberal, bird-happy enclave of the Pacific Northwest just isn’t as fun as it was in 2012. But the show still has its delights, particularly if you like character-driven sketch comedy. This season, as ever, Portlandia welcomes copious amounts of guest stars — newcomers include Maria Bamford, Tim Heidecker, Laurie Metcalf, Judy Greer, Veep‘s Sam Richardson, Search Party‘s John Early, and Cindy Wilson of the B-52s. Watch the premiere on Thursday at 10 p.m. on IFC.