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Game of Thrones (Sunday, April 6, HBO), season premiere: “Two Swords” is as lighthearted and humorous as Game of Thrones gets, thanks mostly to series vets Peter Dinklage (Tyrion is the master of the stoic WTF? face) and Lena Headey (have another drink, Cersei), though The Only TV Column That Matters™’ new favorite character has to be The Hound: Rory McCann kills it, in every sense, in a late-episode scene that’s essentially a death-brawl over chicken. Meanwhile, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) learns it’s easier to control a growing army than growing dragons (spoiler: they’re assholes)—and you still get your standard GOT allotment of weird sex and nudity (to ease the transition from Girls).

Silicon Valley (Sunday, April 6, HBO), series debut: Mike Judge nailed the corporate-cubicle-farm ennui of the 1990s with Office Space, and it’s easy to see the line from there to his new Silicon Valley—and you know where you are, because someone says “this is Silicon Valley” every five minutes in the pilot. For those not up on all things Google, Microsoft and TED Talks, much of Silicon Valley will sound like tech-gibberish at first, but once the groove is established, it’s as relatable as Office Space: A programmer nerd (Thomas Middleditch) toiling for a Google-like behemoth and crashing at the “Hacker Hostile” of a dotcom millionaire (T.J. Miller) inadvertently creates a game-changing algorithm and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a corporate bidding war. Will he sell out and cash in, or build his own company with his fellow underdog housemates? Stick with it—the comedy soon outweighs the jargon in Silicon Valley—and how can you not love the sight of Kid Rock playing to a thoroughly disinterested code-monkey house party? You can’t.

Veep (Sunday, April 6, HBO), season premiere: As Season 3 opens, vice president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is on a hellish—meaning “public”—tour promoting the autobiography she “didn’t even write,” Some New Beginnings: An American Journey, which the president’s chief of staff (Kevin Dunn) points out “is so full of shit, they put a colon right in the middle.” The rest of Selina’s staff is desperately awaiting news of the still-unseen-on-the-series president’s re-election plans, as well as her possible competition for the nomination should he not run. (He’s not, as if there were any doubt—Selina and the show need new venues in which to fail upward.) Veep is as hysterically mean as ever, and still the most profane HBO series since Deadwood—and probably closer to the truth of Beltway politics than anyone would care to admit.

Granite Flats (Sunday, April 6, BYUtv), season premiere; BYUtv is available in Palm Springs on DirecTV and cable: BYUtv isn’t screwing around with promotion for the Season 2 premiere of Granite Flats—hell, they even got my attention. At the heart of the 1960s-set series is an annoying Kids As Detectives conceit, but beyond that, Granite Flats is a semi-dark tale of Cold War paranoia that even dares to take on the infamous (at least in conspiracy circles) MKUltra program, in which the U.S. government secretly tested mind-control drugs its own military and civilians. This, of course, led to the creation of contemporary country music …

Academy of Country Music Awards (Sunday, April 6, CBS), special: So we’re to believe that there’s an actual “academy” recognizing such genius lyrics as “This brand new Chevy with a lift kit / Would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it” (Florida Georgia Line, “Cruise”) and “Might sit down on my diamond plate tailgate / Put in my country ride hip-hop mixtape / Little Conway, a little T-Pain, might just make it rain” (Luke Bryan, “That’s My Kind of Night”)? And what is it with hicks and their trucks? Is this why locking gas caps were invented?


DVD ROUNDUP FOR APRIL 8!

513 Degrees

After doing prison time for a crime he didn’t commit, Mike (Avelawance Phillips) and his brother (Malik Barnhardt) agree to make one last “delivery” for underworld criminals, because … ? Like every DVD, also starring Danny Trejo. (Entertainment One)

Apocalypse Kiss

A serial killer with OCD sets out for vengeance against the two lesbians who are taking credit for all of his kills in the future-noir thriller that wants to be Sin City, but isn’t even as smart as Sim City. Strangely enough, no Danny Trejo. (Maxi/Midnight)

Back in the Day

Michael Rosenbaum and Morena Baccarin star in the story of a loser actor (Rosenbaum) going to his high school reunion to get his one-time Dream Girl (Baccarin). Also starring Emma Caufield, presumably as his Nightmare Girl. (Screen Media)

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

’Nam vet and boxing trainer Frank Vega (Danny Trejo—there he is) teams with his old pal Bernie (Danny Glover) to beat up the no-good East L.A. punks who killed his favorite student and probably set foot on his lawn, too. Damn punks. (Fox)

Nurse

By day, nurse Abby (Paz de la Huerta) attends to patients at All Saints Memorial Hospital; by night, she tracks, seduces and kills unfaithful men in bars. But would they have been unfaithful without being seduced? And where’s Danny Trejo? (Lionsgate)

More New DVD Releases (April 8)

August: Osage County, Best Night Ever, Cavemen, Dead on Appraisal, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Holy Ghost People, Justin Bieber’s Believe, Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, My Name Is Paul, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Sheriff of Contention, Snake & Mongoose, Zero Charisma.

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House of Cards (Friday, Feb. 14, Netflix), season premiere: Falling between Arrested Development (“It’s back! But … huh?”) and Orange Is the New Black (“OMG! The greatest thing in the history of things!”) in the Netflix hype of 2013, the uneven debut season of political drama House of Cards was more fun if you didn’t think about it too hard. Some whined about star Kevin Spacey’s talk-to-the-camera asides as magnetically evil congressman Frank Underwood—but they provided many of the series’ best moments (and one provides one of the Season 2 premiere’s funniest moments). The less time you spend pondering the actions of Underwood’s power-couple counterpart (Robin Wright) and D.C. journoslut Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), the better, because the weirdness is escalating now that he’s vice president. (Veep, this aint.) All 13 new episodes go live at midnight, but pace yourself—it is Valentine’s Day, after all.

The Good Mistress (Saturday, Feb. 15, Lifetime), movie: If the political machinations of House of Cards seem farfetched, just hose out your brain with The Good Mistress, the latest in Lifetime’s ongoing—and, so far, impressive—campaign to become the No. 1 vendor of WTF? movies on cable. The setup: “A young woman (Annie Heise) struggling to recover from alcoholism moves to a new town, where her high school friend (Kendra Anderson) has offered her a job. After becoming involved with a mysterious gentleman (Antonio Cupo), she soon discovers that he is actually her friend’s husband, a candidate in the county elections and a suspect in a murder investigation.” So she’s the good mistress; he’s the bad guy; and he never gets the chance to simply look into the camera and explain himself. Not cool, Lifetime.

Star-Crossed (Monday, Feb. 17, The CW), series debut: It’s been a sucktastic launch season for The CW, as none of its new 2013-2014 series have caught on: Reign, The Originals and The Tomorrow People are barely being propped up on their respective nights by relative vets The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Arrow, and the midseason replacements look about as viable as a Sex and the City prequel ... what, that happened? Upcoming March premiere The 100—about pretty future space kids exiled on abandoned Earth with, like, no Wi-Fi—at least has a semi-original concept, but Star-Crossed is really just Roswell: The Next Generation, wherein a group of E.T. teens are being integrated into a high school with human teens as a “social experiment” that neither side likes. Does an epic Romeo and Juliet romance unfold between earthling Emery (Amy Teegarden) and space-boy Roman (Matt Lanter)? Duh—it even says “an epic Romeo and Juliet romance unfolds” in The CW’s press release.

Tubbin’ With Tash (YouTube.com/Natasha): As 2014 shapes up to the year of Natasha Leggero—the tiny comedienne best known for guesting on Chelsea Lately, roasting James Franco on Comedy Central, and a current surreal arc on ABC’s Suburgatory as a normal, appropriate human not prone to discourses about her vagina—The Only TV Column That Matters™ recommends checking out her YouTube series Tubbin’ With Tash before she blows up. It’s the celebrity interview show as it should be: in a hot tub and less than five minutes long, with cheesy ’80s graphics, hysterically invasive questions (“Do you not want to have babies because of your career, or because it’d be a mess?” she asked Sarah Silverman; of Jeff Ross: “Do you think you’ll die alone, or next to an 18-year-old?”), a “medical cocaine license” and a sidekick named Pig Bottom. When The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon crashes and burns, NBC, call Tash.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR FEB. 18!

Afternoon Delight

A bored Silver Lake housewife (Kathryn Hahn) hires a homeless stripper (Juno Temple) as a live-in nanny and friend, and everyone learns Valuable Life Lessons. Well, the stripper doesn’t learn anything, because strippers have it all together. (Docurama)

Game of Thrones: Season 3

Robb Stark continues his battles beyond the wall; the wildings are still southbound; Daenerys Targaryen and the Dragons remain adorable; and, all anyone really cares about … The Red Wedding! (HBO)

Jailbait

“In the vein of Orange Is the New Black,” in that it’s about women in prison and … that’s it. Sara Malakul Lane stars as a new inmate sentenced for killing her abusive stepfather in self-defense; the usual violence and lesbian stuff ensue. (Asylum)

Nurse Jackie: Season 5

Now out of rehab, Jackie (Edie Falco) jumps into the new world of sobriety and, even worse, dating. Is she headed for a relapse? Like Aerosmith and Jane’s Addiction, Jackie’s only tolerable when on drugs, so (spoiler) yeah. (Lionsgate)

More New DVD Releases (Feb. 18)

Apocalypse Pompeii, Battle of the Damned, Deliverance From Evil, Don’t Pass Me By, Fists of Legend, The Ganzfeld Haunting, Hellbenders, The Invoking, Mad in Italy, Mortal Enemies, Random Acts of Violence.

Published in TV

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