Season three of The Americans featured some truly iconic moments and jaw-dropping reveals. I could say two words to you—tooth extraction—and that scene alone would be reason enough to watch. Undercover KGB spies Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) are at the center of this incredible thriller.
Game of Thrones
I have no idea who’s dead at this point, and there’s no purpose even guessing, since you can’t trust Game of Thrones not to move the goalposts.This season was a mixed bag — it had its moments, almost all involving Tyrion, Daenerys or Arya, but it got bogged down in pompous subplots and ineptly dramatized misogyny.
The final mini-season held some of Mad Men’s greatest moments: Don Draper drives into the desert, Bowie’s “Space Oddity” blasting on the radio. Peggy learns some important life lessons during her Vermouth-and-roller-skates picnic with Roger. The Borges-like construction of the final yoga scene. And most of all, Peggy strutting down the hallway with her shades and cigarette, mastering the art of the glamorously trashed entrance.
Orange Is the New Black
When you are visiting someone in jail, please do not taunt them with anecdotes about the excellent Phish show you just saw. (“Second row! I could practically smell Trey Anastasio’s B.O.!”) Prison etiquette tip #2: Don’t be Piper, because ugh, although she’s slightly more bearable with Laura Prepon back around. Orange Is the New Black remains a marvel: so many stories to tell, and so many unstoppable actresses to tell them.
Parks and Recreation
Fans of Parks and Recreation were not given much of a chance to savor the final season of the show. It lasted only 12 episodes, including an hour-long finale, and most nights they doubled up the episodes. However, none of this stopped it from being a great season. The bold choice was made to set the season in the not-too-distant future, giving the writers a chance to shake things up, which led to a lot more storyline possibilities.
Better Call Saul
To misquote The Simpsons’ Troy McClure, “Spinoff—is there any word less thrilling to the human soul?” Better Call Saul began its first season with the tricky task of using characters from one of the best TV series ever created while simultaneously forging its own identity. Fortunately, Saul’s long gestation time was evidence of the seriousness with which creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould took these goals, and while the resulting program has some of its progenitor’s stylistic trademarks, if anything it gets off to a smarter, stranger start than the first season of Breaking Bad.
Inside Amy Schumer
Network: Comedy Central
To understand the impact of Inside Amy Schumer, consider the fact that there’s a Washington Post article circulating online right now that derides Amy Schumer as a racist. This isn’t totally off base since much of her humor is race-based. Is she racist? Is she feminist? Is she both? Is she neither? Is it all ironic? Does it even matter.For a stand up comedian whose 26-minute show mostly features skits about abortion and herpes, she’s entered the cultural conversation in a big way.
“I’m used to dealing with angry, aggressive, dysfunctional men — i.e., men.” Welcome to the Oval Office, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Now that Selina Meyers has bumbled into the Presidency, she is officially “the worst thing to happen to this country since food in buckets, and maybe slavery.” But the further Veep ventures from mere political satire, the funnier it gets — at this point, it’s only about D.C. insofar as D.C. is where the horriblest of horrible people happen to work.
Last Week Tonight
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is an American late-night talk and news satire television program airing on Sundays on HBO in the United States and HBO Canada, and on Mondays (originally Tuesdays) on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. The half-hour-long show premiered on Sunday, April 27, 2014, and is hosted by comedian John Oliver. Last Week Tonight shares some similarities with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where Oliver was previously featured as a correspondent and fill-in host, as it takes a satirical look at news, politics and current events on a weekly basis.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
At first it was easy to mistrust the instant binge appeal of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, since the new Tina Fey/Robert Carlock creation naturally fed the world’s massive 30 Rock craving — it’s the TV equivalent of buying a Stewart Copeland solo album because you’re sad the Police broke up. But it really holds up over time, like Kimmy herself. Ellie Kemper is touchingly vulnerable as a refugee from Indiana just beginning her adult life after 15 years locked in an underground bunker, by an insane preacher who (brilliantly) turns out to be Jon Hamm.