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, a lush new period piece is streaming on Amazon, a new superhero sitcom premieres on NBC, and SundanceTV honors the late, great Mary Tyler Moore.

Friday: Z: The Beginning of Everything

I wasn’t crazy about this Amazon original series about the wild life of Zelda Fitzgerald and her husband, Scott; as I wrote in my review, the show squanders the potential of its subjects, depicting their famously hard-partying lifestyle in a fairly conventional narrative. And the show made a fatal error in casting actors in their mid-to-late 30s (Christina Ricci, also a producer, and David Hoflin) to play the young couple, who were 18 and 20 when they first met. At the very least, the 1920s sets and costumes are gorgeous; if you’re looking for a quick escape into a world where there’s nothing much to do but drink champagne in the bathtub, try Z: The Beginning of Everything. The ten-episode first season is streaming on Amazon Prime as of today.

Saturday: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

The wonderful Mary Tyler Moore died on Wednesday at the age of 80. The pioneering comedic actor starred in two legendary sitcoms, The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which she played Laura Petrie, the wife of TV writer Rob Petrie (Van Dyke), and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, starring Moore as Mary Richards, a young woman who moves to Minneapolis after a breakup to take a job as a TV news producer. The show was one of the first to center on a single woman whose primary concern is her career; TV creators from Tina Fey to Lena Dunham have cited Moore as an influence. On Saturday, SundanceTV pays tribute to Moore with a marathon of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Starting at 6 a.m., the channel will air the entire final season of the show, which ran from 1970-1977.

Tuesday: The Fosters

The Fosters suddenly feels like a radical show. Centred on a biracial lesbian couple who take in two foster children at the series’ start, the show was created by two openly gay men who wanted to see a modern American family reflected on the screen. It’s been nearly four years since it premiered, and you’d still be hard-pressed to find another family like this on TV. The Fosters‘ fourth season returns from a long hiatus on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Freeform.

Tuesday: Bill Burr: Walk Your Way Out

You might not be in the mood to sit back and let an abrasive white dude shoot confrontational jokes at you for an hour, but if you are, Bill Burr’s your man. The veteran comic, born in Massachusetts but based in New York, has been a mainstay on Netflix for years, and on Tuesday you can stream his fifth standup special for the site, recorded at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium — and that’s on top of his animated Netflix sitcom, F Is For Family, which will return for a second season sometime soon.

Thursday: Powerless

Vanessa Hudgens stars in this new NBC superhero comedy, the first sitcom set within the DC universe. (Just what we’ve all been waiting for!) Hudgens plays Emily Locke, the new director of Research and Development for Wayne Enterprises, who is determined to create solutions for the boring normals who don’t have superpowers but have to deal with annoying daily occurrences like train derailments and superheroes smacking into their windows. The show has a solid cast, including Alan Tudyk, Community‘s Danny Pudi, and Ron Funches, and the concept leaves plenty of room for crossover appearances. But the pilot is so-so, and Hudgens’ bright-and-chirpy Emily drove me crazy by the halfway point. Maybe you’ll fare better; Powerless premieres Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on NBC, right after a new episode of Superstore.