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, Sunday is packed with big, buzzy premieres — including the new season of Homeland, which shifts the action back to the U.S., and a certain heavily meme-ified HBO series starring Jude Law.

Now: Sneaky Pete

This new Amazon hourlong, streaming as of today, was created by Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston, along with David Shore, but don’t get your hopes up: Sneaky Pete is a rather more familiar brand of TV crime story than Vince Gilligan’s acclaimed AMC drama. The show centers on Marius (Giovanni Ribisi), a con man who poses as his cellmate Pete — who’s lost contact with his family over the past 20 years or so — when he’s let out of jail in order to avoid a crime boss (played by Cranston) to whom he owes money. The series is just fine, with solid performances from reliable stars like Margo Martindale and Marin Ireland.

Sunday: Homeland

If the real-life drama over U.S. foreign policy is stressing you out, try the soothing tones of Homeland, which premieres its sixth season this weekend. After hopping around from Venezuela to Afghanistan to Berlin in the past few seasons, the new one brings it back home: Former CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) is living in Brooklyn and working with a lawyer who advocates for Muslims living in the U.S. The whole season takes place between the presidential election and inauguration day, as the intelligence community prepares for a new president who is not a fan of the CIA (and who’s also a woman, although the show doesn’t really focus on it, at least at the beginning). The premiere airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

Sunday: The Young Pope

Young Pope! There’s no need to feel down, I said, Young Pope! Pick yourself off the ground! Sorry — it’s hard to separate the Young Pope memes from The Young Pope, HBO’s bizarre new drama, created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, about a new American-bred pope, (Jude Law) who aims to shake up the Vatican. The memes have taken on a life of their own, and this Sunday, you can finally get in on the joke (or not) when the series premieres this Sunday at 9 p.m.

Sunday: Victoria

You’ll need some help from your DVR this weekend: On top of the premieres of Homeland and The Young Pope, the PBS Masterpiece miniseries Victoria begins this Sunday. The series tells a fairly hagiographic story of Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman), who began her reign as a teenager and the first unmarried English queen in centuries. It’s nothing terribly thrilling or surprising, but if you’ve already burned through the first season of The Crown and crave another costume drama to distract you from the news, try Victoria, premiering at — you guessed it — 9 p.m. this Sunday.

Thursday: Baskets

The first season of this strangely sweet, weird little comedy from Zach Galifianakis, Louis C.K., and Jonathan Krisel took some time to warm up to — the show’s deadpan humor and less-than-sunny outlook made for some grim viewing, despite the sunny California setting. But this show about a Parisian-trained clown named Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) who winds up working for a rodeo in his hometown of Bakersfield grew on me, thanks to inspiring, empathetic performances from Galifianakis, Martha Kelly, and Louie Anderson, who earned an Emmy nod for his role as Baskets’s mother, Christine. The second season opens as Chip goes on the road with a scraggly team of street performers; check it out at 10 p.m. this Thursday on FX.