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, unwind with the dulcet tones of David Attenborough, who narrates the BBC’s sumptuous nature docu-series Planet Earth II. Plus, HBO’s got a couple new series premiering on Sunday, and PBS celebrates the late, great Maya Angelou. Have a great long weekend!

Saturday: Planet Earth II

Americans, I know you can’t afford the therapy you so badly need right now, so have a seat on the couch and let the gorgeous Planet Earth II , the follow-up to the BBC’s Planet Earth docu-series from 2006, soothe your sorrows. The second installment is just as revelatory as the first, and advances in technology have allowed the producers to get closer to the animals and capture scenes that would’ve been impossible the first time around. The series opens on Saturday at 9 p.m. with an episode on islands, and the premiere will be simul-cast on BBC America, SundanceTV, and AMC.

Sunday: Big Little Lies

This one’s juicy, guys. Based on the 2014 novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is a one-off HBO mini-series in the vein of The Night Of — there are just seven episodes in total, all written by veteran TV writer David E. Kelley and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (The Dallas Buyers Club, Wild, C.R.A.Z.Y.). The series is set in the tony seaside town of Monterey, California, and is centered on three women, played by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. The centerpiece of the show is a murder committed on the eve of a school fundraising gala; the series expertly builds up to the revelation of what happened that night, while keeping the viewer engrossed in the various dramas swirling through the community. It premieres this Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Sunday: Crashing

Following Netflix’s Love, which returns next month for a second season, Crashing is the latest (slightly disappointing) TV show from executive producer Judd Apatow. Pete Holmes stars as Pete, a nice-guy standup comedian who ends up crashing with various friends in New York City when he finds out his wife is leaving him for another man. The show will appeal to hard-core comedy nerds — it’s chock full of guest stars — but isn’t exactly the next Louie. It’s got a much milder, sweeter thing going for it, which might be just what you need right now. Check it out this Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on HBO.

Tuesday: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

File this one under “my god this feels relevant”: This new PBS documentary on Maya Angelou, part of the American Masters series, opens with footage of the infamous 1989 incident in which a man stood in front of a tank in China’s Tiananmen Square, as Angelou says in voiceover, “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” Maybe it’s necessary, she continues, to encounter defeat, “So we can know who the hell we are.” Gobble up more nuggets of wisdom from the famous poet, author, and activist, who died in 2014, when the doc premieres Tuesday —fifty-two years to the day since the assassination of Malcolm X — at 8 p.m. on PBS.

Tuesday: The Detour

This TBS comedy created by husband-and-wife team Jason Jones and Samantha Bee proudly wears its irregularly beating heart on its sleeve. The first season followed the Parker family on a road trip to Florida, which turned out not to be the innocuous vacation father Nate (Jones) led the rest of the clan to believe. The season ended with the reveal that Nate’s wife, Robin (Natalie Zea), isn’t who she says she is; Season 2 provides answers, but slowly, as the family moves to a city that’s almost as weird as they are — New York. The madness begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. on TBS.