It’s another very busy week in the TV universe. A lot of people only care about the return of Game of Thrones on Sunday, but several other shows have season premieres this week, along with the arrival of four new shows and the departure of two comedies.
Monday, March 31
How I Met Your Mother (8-9 pm, CBS)
Mini-rant alert: network shows have long had a problem with knowing when it’s time to wrap things up and say goodbye. (Spoiler alert: because money.) It’s easy to forget that for its first few seasons Mother was on the bubble for cancellation, and it’s a funny coincidence that the show started to lose its mojo right around the time it started drawing bigger audiences. Creatively the tank has been empty for at least two or three seasons as the show spun its wheels in order to delay introducing the mother, demonstrating all too aptly my argument for why it should have ended sooner. Most of this season has been borderline unwatchable, with occasional frustrating glimpses of the show it used to be and could still be; I’ve stuck with it because I’ve watched from the beginning and I want/need to see how the story ends.
After the finale, CBS hopes you will stick around to watch Friends With Better Lives (9-9:30 pm), a new show that appears to have been cloned from HIMYM’s DNA with James Van Der Beek spliced in.
Tuesday, April 1
Inside Amy Schumer (10:30-11 pm, Comedy Central)
Amy’s back for a second season, in all her vulgar, inappropriate glory. Comedy Central has developed quite a strong slate of original comedy shows; I understand it’s promotionally more advantageous for them to spread out their programming across different nights of the week and times of the year, but I’d love to see this show paired with Broad City.
Also tonight: The Mindy Project returns from its winter schedule break, with two episodes tonight (9-10 pm, Fox) and two next Tuesday.
Wednesday, April 2
TripTank (10:30-11 pm, Comedy Central)
This new animated sketch anthology show feels like an attempt to revive the old MTV series Liquid Television for a post-Adult Swim audience. It’s probably best appreciated while under the influence of something.
Thursday, April 3
Community (8-8:30 pm, NBC)
I never need a reason to plug this show, but “animated episode in the style of the 1980s G.I. Joe cartoon” is a pretty solid one.
Friday, April 4
Major League Baseball: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Red Sox (2-5ish pm, NESN)
The 2014 home opener gives us a moment to reflect again on last season’s World Series championship as the team gears up to try to win another one.
Also tonight: the season-three premiere of Continuum (10-11 pm, Syfy; seasons one and two are available on Netflix streaming) and the series finale of Raising Hope (9-10 pm, Fox), with guest stars Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore on Downton Abbey), Jeffery Tambor, and (?!) Kenny Loggins.
Saturday, April 5
Austin City Limits (9-10 pm, PBS)
This show is one of my Saturday fallbacks, but a good guest is always worth mentioning: tonight Nine Inch Nails perform songs from last year’s album Hesitation Marks.
Sunday, April 6
A Very Busy Sunday
Most of the excitement is on HBO: the season-four premiere of Game of Thrones (9 pm), followed at 10 by the premiere of the new comedy Silicon Valley from Mike Judge (Office Space, King of the Hill) and at 10:30 the season-three premiere of Veep.
Also tonight: the series premiere of Turn, a drama about Colonial spies during the Revolutionary War (9-10:30 pm, AMC).
After working as director, writer, and executive producer on Freaks and Geeks, Judd Apatow tried to capture that show’s vibe in a college setting. The result, Undeclared, ran for one season on Fox and featured many familiar faces from Freaks who have gone on to become Apatow regulars. While not the legitimate classic Freaks and Geeks unquestionably is (you have watched that, right?), Undeclared certainly deserved a better fate, and in a fairer world would have run at least long enough for its original freshman characters to graduate. (17 episodes total; ends like they were hoping for another season.)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)