This Week’s Top 5 TV Picks


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. This week, we have two stage-to-screen, one-man-shows from two very different performers, Colin Quinn and Alan Cumming; the return of the ludicrous but highly entertaining primetime soap The Affair; and a new mystery-comedy hybrid from TBS. If all else fails, you can always re-watch all of Mad Men for the fourth time. Not that I’d know anything about that.

Now: Colin Quinn: The New York Story

“Everybody from New York thinks they’re better than everyone else,” Colin Quinn points out in his new Netflix special, Colin Quinn: The New York Story, available to stream as of today. “It’s the only city that has blue-collar snobs.” It’s the second Netflix special for the SNL vet and longtime New York standup comic, and it’s based on an Off-Broadway show of the same name that looks at the demographic history of this diverse, neurotic city through a comedic lens. “How did all these cultures come together to make the ‘New York attitude’?” Quinn asks. “You have to realize, all the people who came here, came here because they were miserable wherever they were.”

Friday: Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs

Do you need more of an explanation-slash-reason to tune into this PBS special other than the title? Alan Cumming! Singing! Sappy songs! Like Colin Quinn’s new Netflix special, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs premiered as a live cabaret show, at New York’s Cafe Carlyle in 2015. It’s the film-TV-theater legend’s first-ever solo show, and man is it weird to hear him speak and sing in his real accent (Cumming is Scottish). Enjoy his soothing brogue and his drawstring (faux?) leather pants tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS.

Sunday: The Affair Season 3

It’s back, and it’s pulpier than ever. Everyone’s still hurting; everyone’s still hiding secrets; everyone’s still having sex. The third season of this primetime soap adds a few extra layers of froth — the perspective of a new character, a college professor played by Irene Jacob; teenage daughter Whitney’s (Julia Goldani Telles) quarter-life crisis; and a very silly plot involving a guard at the prison where Noah (Dominic West) has been serving time for a murder he didn’t actually commit. The madness begins on Showtime this Sunday at 10 p.m.

Sunday: American Music Awards

On Sunday, the not-Grammys will broadcast live on ABC, delivering a ratings spike to the network that just about justifies its existence. Of course, the broadcast will feature many live performances from nominated artists, including Justin Bieber (via video), The Chainsmokers, Lady Gaga, Greenday, John Legend, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, and even more! Gigi Hadid and Jay Pharoah will co-host. The ceremony begins at 8 p.m. EST this Sunday on ABC.

Monday: Search Party

You may be tapped out on dark half-hour comedies about young people who live in New York City, but Search Party is a little different. The new TBS comedy stars Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat as a young woman stuck in a rut, feeling increasingly alienated from her college friends and her juvenile live-in boyfriend. When she finds out a former classmate has gone missing, she takes it upon herself to lead her little group on a search for the woman, even though none of them really knew her that well to begin with. Search Party has an indie-movie feel, probably because of its indie-movie executive producers, Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers (Fort Tilden) and Wet Hot American Summer scribe Michael Showalter. TBS is airing the entire first season over five nights starting Monday at 11 p.m., with two half-hour episodes each night. (Psst: You can watch the first episode on YouTube.)