BBC America's Orphan Black is one of those rare sci-fi shows that plays outside of its genre as an engrossing, personal drama.

Community (Thursday, April 17, NBC), season finale: One of the best and definitely most out-there seasons of Community has also been its least-watched—it’s almost as if creator Dan Harmon took his second chance with NBC as a challenge: “You think it was weird before? Suck on this!” And yet, even with Season 5’s sub-CW ratings, Community could still realize the dream of Six Seasons and a Movie, because the only other half-hour comedy to survive NBC’s 2013-2014 slate is Parks and Recreation; launching a new comedy block with only one established show is already a proven Turrible Idea (see: NBC Thursday, September 2013). So, with a hopeful eye to fall 2014, how’s Community closing out this bizarro season? With a guest appearance from Chris Elliott (Eagleheart) … this does not bode well.

Orphan Black (Saturday, April 19, BBC America), season premiere: The Only TV Column That Matters™ inadvertently overlooked the 2013 debut season of Orphan Black, a British sci-fi series about a small-time criminal (Tatiana Maslany) who assumes the identity of a dead police detective she eerily resembles, only to learn she’s a clone—and that there are several other cloned versions of herself out there. I’ve caught up, and I’d suggest you do the same, because Orphan Black is one of those rare sci-fi shows that plays outside of its genre as an engrossing, personal drama, and Maslany’s virtuosic performance—multiple distinct performances, to be exact—is that of a star in the making. It’s a Me (Us) Against a Grand Conspiracy paranoia thriller with many a squee-worthy twist (and even more coming in Season 2). Wisecracking Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is the new It Sidekick. Don’t miss Orphan Black (again).

Salem (Sunday, April 20, WGN America), series debut: Damn, everybody wants a piece of the Original Programming pie—even Chicago superstation (Wiki it, kids) WGN. Salem, a 17th-century period piece about—what else?—the Salem witch trials, from a creative team with a dubious TV resume (anybody remember Threshold? FlashForward? Terra Nova?), will likely be filed under “Nice Try, But …” in the near future; if you’ve already sampled “Sexy History” shows like Vikings, Black Sails, The Tudors, Spartacus or even The CW’s Reign, there’s nothing new to see here. Well, except for ex-Nikita buzzcut Shane West in a hilarious wig from the Sons of Anarchy Halloween collection.

The Boondocks (Monday, April 21, Adult Swim), season premiere: According to Adult Swim, “This season was produced without the involvement of (creator/executive producer) Aaron McGruder, when a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined.” Meaning: Adult Swim wanted the fourth and final (and, wild guess here, contracted?) season of The Boondocks now, and McGruder works on his own schedule. Since the last new episode aired in 2010, draw your own conclusions. Even with McGruder, The Boondocks has been frustratingly uneven; it’s searingly hilarious and ruthless about black culture in one episode, and flat and lazy the next—maybe his absence won’t make a difference. Besides, he’s on to his next project now, Black Jesus, which he’s producing for … Adult Swim? So no one’s learned anything from all of this?

True Tori (Tuesday, April 22, Lifetime), series debut: This is Tori Spelling’s, what, fourth reality show? After as many tell-all autobiographies? She—and especially husband Dean McDermott—ain’t that fascinating, and yet TV networks and book publishers can’t get enough of ’em. True Tori picks up with the couple three weeks after McDermott has left rehab, which is the standard healthy amount of time after rehab to begin shooting your next reality series, and … yeah, I’ve already lost interest.


The Client List: Season 2

In the second and final season of The Client List, small-town rub-and-tug artist Riley (Jennifer Love Hewitt) finds herself in charge in charge of the massage parlor—but not her heart! Aww. Ends on a cliffhanger, so no … happy ending. Released earlier this month via manufacture on demand. (Sony)

The Good Witch’s Garden

Small-town witch Cassie (Catherine Bell) opens a bed and breakfast, only to have it taken from her by an evil land developer. Will she partner with Riley and open a competing new rub-and-tug-and-bed-and-breakfast across the street? Sadly, no. (Hallmark)

The Drunk

When the grandson (William Tanoos) of the founder of the Socialist Party of America is arrested and tried for drunk driving, he decides to run for governor against his prosecutor (Tom Sizemore). And keep drinking, of course. (Green Apple)

Killing American Style

The 1990 … classic? … re-mastered and re-released, because mullets, violence, strippers, crime, Hammer pants and hot kickboxing action never go out of style. Also starring Jim Brown as the cop who’s going to bring these clowns down. (MVD)


Oakland stoners rob a medical-marijuana store, which happens to be owned by a notorious crack kingpin, who in turn hires ruthless contract killers to hunt down them down. Oh, and there are also ninjas and rappers, because, you know, Oakland. (Indican)

More New DVD Releases (April 22)

Apokalips X, Barefoot, Bettie Page Reveals All, Cloud 9, Doctor Who: The Web of Fear, A Farewell to Fools, Insane, The Lost Empire, Lullaby, Newhart: Season 3, Scream Park, Super Ninja Doll, The Suspect.

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Bill Frost

Bill Frost has been a journalist and TV reviewer since the 4:3-aspect-ratio ’90s. His pulse-pounding prose has been featured in The Salt Lake Tribune, Inlander, Las Vegas Weekly, Salt Lake City Weekly...