Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Orphan Black is back, ending our long national, cloneless nightmare

Tatiana Maslanys & Ari Millens (BBC America)

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Orphan Black (BBC America, AMC, IFC, WE, and Sundance, 9 p.m., Saturday): Taking its cue from Tatiana Maslany’s many heroines, AMC Networks is cloning this season three premiere across all its channels. Which is fine—more than fine—as the return of Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena, Rachel, Tony, and probably more Maslanys we don’t even know about yet puts an end to our long, cold, cloneless winter. Caroline Framke’s taking on the weekly reviews, and thinks if the show keeps cloning itself until it’s on more channels than a state of the union address, the world would be a better place. Meanwhile, Caroline Siede is on hand to take the long, clone-filled overview with her TV Review.


Also noted

Grimm (NBC, 8 p.m., Friday): Les Chappell tweeted that a promotional image from this week’s episode is one of the most “unintentionally hilarious” things he’s ever seen. While Grimm never disappoints in the monster department, you’ll just have to read Les’ review to see the picture he’s talking about. The episode is described thusly: “An investigation leads Nick and Hank to the path of a Native American power quest,” so let your imagination run riot on that.


Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC, 11 p.m., Friday): Community star Joel McHale stops by Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts’ conceptual clubhouse, alongside James Adomian, doing one of his thousand or so CBB characters. Emily L. Stephens hopes it’s character #426—he’s her favorite.

Childrens Hospital (Adult Swim, 11:59 p.m., Friday): As LaToya Ferguson put it in her ‘A’ review of last week’s fan fiction-themed episode of this hospital show spoof/undefinable comic laboratory, “It’s nonsense, but it all makes so much sense.” This week, one of the characters may have inexplicably gained superpowers, which should test LaToya’s assessment to its very limits.


Outlander (Starz, 9 p.m., Saturday): Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya was keenly disappointed in the mid-season premiere of this usually-rousing time travel series, but last week saw the show roaring back by, among other things, giving the show back to its kickass protagonist Claire Randall (Caitroina Blafe). Kayla gave it an ‘A’—at least partly due to an example of what she rightly calls Outlander’s “best sex scenes on television.” This week, Claire’s on trial for witchcraft, a rap which Kayla’s confident Claire will beat.

Elsewhere in TV Club

A.I. Week continues, with A.A. Dowd examining what happens when the irascible intellectualism of Jean-Luc Godard meets the giddy pulp of a noir tough guy teaching a computer how to love in his Watch This on Alphaville. Katie Rife sends the artificial intelligence right into your ear-holes next, with her Hear This feature on how Kate Bush’s “Deeper Understanding” created the internet right inside your skull. Then, capping off A.I. Week, a bunch of us huddle together in awe and fear for an AVQ&A and try to decide what pop culture would be best to teach our new robot masters what’s it’s like to be truly human, presumably so they don’t go all Matrix on us. (Note to editors: The Matrix isn’t on this list, right?) Then Mike D’Angelo makes things weird with a Scenic Routes, examining an improbable, barely-averted three-way involving the computer intelligence from Her. Way to make things weird, Mike. Again.


What else is on

Axe Cop (FXX, 12:15 a.m., Friday): Nick Offerman is the perfect guy to voice the title character, the axe-wielding, two-fisted supercop who is a little kid’s distillation of everything he knows about manliness.


Bitten (Syfy, 8 & 9 p.m., Friday): In the two-part season two premiere of this Canadian werewolf series, Smallville’s Laura Vandervoort returns as the lone female werewolf in the world (or is she?!), fighting against evil werewolves while trying not to take a big, juicy bite of her human boyfriend.

“Um, woof?”—The cast of Bitten (Syfy)

Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notaro (Showtime, 9 p.m., Friday): New standup special by Notaro, attempting to replicate the triumph that was her now-legendary 2012 album, Live.

Son Of Congo (ESPN, 9 p.m., Friday): Documentary chronicling NBA star Serge Ibaka’s first trip back to his war-devastated African birthplace since he left for America.


The Messengers (The CW, 9 p.m., Friday): After seeing the muddled, middling apocalyptic drama Dig that USA tossed out there, the CW figured, “Hell, we can do better than that!” So here comes the series premiere of this apocalyptic drama where, after a mysterious object crashes to earth and kills a bunch o’ people, the dead wake up with the knowledge that only they can save the world. Our own Molly Eichel checks in with a TV Review of the pilot.

Lost Girl (Syfy, 10 p.m., Friday): The final season of this Canadian series about Anna Silk’s sexy succubus heroine finds her trying to retrieve her best friend from the underworld and battle her evil father. With only eight episodes to get the job done, she’d better hop to and start sucking life-forces.

“Seriously, enough with the ‘suck’ metaphors”—the cast of Lost Girl (Syfy)

Angry Planet (Pivot, 10 p.m., Friday): In the season premiere of this documentary series, storm chaser George Kourounis is back, seeking out the most devastating and dangerous ways in which global climate change is wreaking havoc with the planet.


The Grace Helbig Show (E!, 10:30 p.m., Friday): Comedian Helbig welcomes The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons and internet personality/comic Colleen Ballinger (a.k.a. Miranda Sings) to her talk show.

Vice (HBO, 11 p.m., Friday): No details as of press time as to what are the subjects of this week’s installment of HBO’s unflinching news magazine series will be about. We’re pretty confident that whatever they are, you’re going to need to watch some nice, relaxing cartoons afterward. Maybe play with a puppy.


Deadly Revenge (Lifetime, 8 p.m., Saturday): Kate falls for seemingly perfect coworker Harrison. Good on Kate! But, this being Lifetime, Kate is foolish for being a woman and trusting a man under any circumstance. Honestly, Kate—should’ve seen that one coming.

Good Witch (Hallmark, 8 p.m., Saturday): Catherine Bell continues her reign of small-town good witchery as good with Cassie Nightingale. Cassie Nightingale’s a good witch, dammit! She gets results, you stupid chief!


The Haunting Of (LMN, 9 p.m., Saturday): In this week’s celebrity haunting reality show, actress Diane Farr (Numb3rs) invites the ghost hunters into her California home, which she insists is haunted, possibly by a pissed off letter ‘e.’

The 2015 TV Land Awards (TV Land, 9 p.m., Saturday): After a few years off, television nostalgia network TV Land seems to have gotten nostalgic about this “kudos on your past work” awards show, bringing in human smile muscle Terry Crews as host.


Tatau (BBC America, 10 p.m., Saturday): In the premiere of this eight-episode mystery miniseries, a pair of Londoners head to the Cook Islands on vacation, only to snorkel into a mystery when they spot a dead girl’s bound body in the crystal-blue waters, and have to decipher one of their own tattoos to solve the mystery. It’s Prison Break: Cook Islands: coming this Saturday!

“The money…is in…the squid…” (BBC America)

In case you missed it

Major Lazer: In this animated series premiere, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje voices the titular lead character, a Jamaican superhero fighting for justice against the oppressors of a dystopian future. Oscar winner J.K. Simmons lends his gruff pipes to the Major Lazer’s fat cat nemesis in the show, which makes ample use of the music of the eponymous electronic music group. Erik Adams, in his TV Review, was suitably impressed, saying, “The cast is strong and the structure solid (if familiar), but Major Lazer’s graphic and sonic palettes are stronger.” Here’s a taste:

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