Wayward Pines (Thursday, May 14, Fox), series debut: Of all the creepy TV mysteries set in idyllic little mountain towns, M. Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines is, well, the latest—and, if Fox sticks to its “10-episode limited series” promise (thanks for tainting our trust, Under the Dome), potentially one of the greatest. Matt Dillon stars as Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent searching for a pair of MIA colleagues in Idaho. After a car crash, he winds up in Wayward Pines, a postcard-perfect hamlet with no roads or communication out. (The phones are all … landlines!) Disorienting weirdness and escalating clues that Wayward Pines maybe be some kind of pseudo-governmental Truman Show ensue, with supporting characters (including Juliette Lewis, Carla Gugino and the suddenly-Empire-hot Terrence Howard) offering Burke varying degrees of insight and/or misdirection. Wayward Pines doles out the answers slowly, but closure is guaranteed. Again, please don’t Dome this, Fox.
Maron (Thursday, May 14, IFC), season premiere: Last season, “Marc Maron” (Marc Maron) further proved himself to be lousy at romantic relationships, familial bonding, social interaction and pretty much anything else that happens outside of his garage podcasting studio. Likewise, Maron established itself as more than a Louie knockoff, a worthy semi-autobiographical comedy with its own scratchy voice that’s as comfortable as it is occasionally dark. Season 3 doesn’t look to break the format: Marc’s still looking for love, falling into sitcom-adjacent wackiness (like being asked to be a sperm donor for a lesbian couple) and figuring out what the hell’s wrong with himself (spoiler: everything). Don’t ever change, Marc—look at the all grief it caused Louis C.K. last year.
Is Your Dog a Genius? (Friday, May 15, Nat Geo Wild), series debut: I have a sneaking suspicion that this new series was actually conceptualized, pitched and created by a dog. There’s no such “person” as Dr. Brian “Hare,” “dog scientist,” right? Nice try, Nat Geo Wild.
The 2015 Billboard Music Awards (Sunday, May 17, ABC), special: If The Grammy Awards, The Latin Grammys, The iHeart Radio Music Awards, American Music Awards, The MTV Video Music Awards, The MTVu Woodie Awards, The Country Music Television Awards, The Country Music Association Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards, The American Country Countdown Awards, The BET Awards, The BET Hip-Hop Awards, The Soul Train Awards and The Radio Disney Music Awards haven’t already satisfied your insatiable awards-show appetite, you are almost definitely Taylor Swift. Thanks for reading, Taylor.
Mad Men (Sunday, May 17, AMC), series finale: Someone knows how Mad Men ultimately ends—not you or I, but someone. The theories will likely end up being far more fantastical than what show boss Matthew Weiner actually closes with, while the more mundane “Don falls from the building à la the opening credits,” “Peggy opens her own agency and finally transforms into Don” and “Fed-up Joan becomes a chauvinist-killing vigilante supervillainess terrorizing New York City by night” don’t quite cut it. The almost year-long break in Season 7 sucked what little buzz was left out of Mad Men, but that’s probably for the best: Unlike Breaking Bad, this is a series that needs to end quietly and on its own stately terms. But that doesn’t mean I’m not holding out hope for a spin-off series—might I suggest Trudy!, starring Alison Brie?