1) “Mad Men” Season 7 (available March 22)
Why Should I Watch It? “Mad Men” is the best show on TV. I know, I know. Plenty of people like to argue other great shows are the best thing on television, for a variety of inauthentic reasons (clickbait, unawareness, sheer stupidity). But the only show you absolutely should be watching no matter what — assuming you care about silly things like “culture” and “art” — is “Mad Men.” No other series provides such depth of context combined with formal beauty. Oh, and Season 7 is a helluva good time thanks to moments like this and this (slight spoilers). But for more on the specifics…
Best Episode: Season 7a featured a number of terrific entries to the series’ canon, even with significantly fewer episodes than “seasons” past. But one segment reigned supreme. Episode 6, the penultimate episode of the half-season, features theeeeee moment fans have been waiting this whole time to see: Don and Peggy make nice. Not only that, but a dream team comes together for the betterment of the company, the mystery of Bob Benson is finally solved and Roger Sterling assuming the role of a hero he was born to play. “The Strategy” couldn’t be a happier episode if it had been turned into a cartoon, and for that, we the devoted fan base are eternally grateful (it’s about damn time!).
2) “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (available March 6)
Why Should I Watch It? Our TV Editor told you to — literally. Now, Liz and I don’t always land on the same page, but if there’s one thing we can agree on it’s that you should always, always, always watch anything with Tina Fey’s name on it. Seriously, I watched “Admission” because of her, and that movie was not good. Granted, the great Fey only signed on as an actress for that film — like “Date Night” and “This Is Where I Leave You” — and not as an executive producer and co-creator, like she is for “Kimmy Schmidt.” However, had I decided to start picking and choosing which Tina Fey projects I watched, perhaps I’d think I could skip this one, too. And then where would I be? At the top of my editor’s sh*t list, that’s where. [Editor’s note: Correct.]
Best Episode: I will never forget the moment Jack Donaghy knocked down the door to his own office in the pilot of “30 Rock.” It wasn’t the funniest bit of the landmark series’ opening act (which would be this), but it was the moment I knew something special was happening right in front of my eyes. “At the very least, I will enjoy this show,” I remember thinking, shortly before remembering Alec Baldwin in “The Hunt for Red October” and wondering, “What the hell were you thinking turning down that franchise?” I look forward to that feeling with “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and greatly hope it doesn’t come any later than Episode 1.
3) “Bloodline” (available March 20)
Why Should I Watch It? “Bloodline” comes from the creators of “Damages,” which while imperfect, created some truly juicy drama over the course of its five seasons. These creators were also able to coax out some career-best performances from actors like Glenn Close and Rose Byrne, neither of which can compare to the acting talent across the board on “Bloodline.” From Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek to the aughts era’s go-to sleazeball Ben Mendelsohn, Netflix’s new original series has the muscle necessary to contend with any cast across television. But really, you need no other reason to watch than this:
Best Episode: Reviews for “Bloodline” have been embargoed until Tuesday, March 3, so any specific reactions are off limits until then (look for our review around 9:30pm ET the night of). What I can say (or at least will say) is the pilot contains a “House of Cards”-level twist carrying such magnitude it puts the show on an unexpected path. Get ready. This one will be discussed…more…later.
4) “Archer” Season 5 (available March 7)
Why Should I Watch It? “Archer Vice” is the best season of “Archer” since the previous season of “Archer,” which may not sound like much until you realize every season of “Archer” is absolutely fantastic. “Archer Vice” took things to a whole new level, though, as the gang was forced to go on the run, selling cocaine down south while Cheryl-turned-Cherlene became a country-singing superstar, Pam got skinny and Archer did his best impression of The Bandit. Oh, and Lana was pregnant. And wouldn’t tell anyone the identity of the father. So that was fun.
Best Episode: Basically any episode where Pam scarfs down cocaine ranks among the top, but we’ll give the edge to “Archer Vice: Southbound and Down” considering it’s undoubtedly Archer’s favorite. “Archer” episodes often work best under a simple premise, and this is a perfect example. Charged with getting Cherlene to Austin in less than 36 hours, the ex-ISIS agents assemble in a bus and a blocker car to live out Archer’s fantasy of remaking “Smokey in the Bandit” for real. ‘Nannigans ensue.
5) “3rd Rock From the Sun” Complete Series (available March 15)
Why Should I Watch It? John Lithgow’s performance alone makes “3rd Rock From the Sun” worth checking out. As the leader of an alien crew sent to Earth to study humans and their customs, Lithgow is delightfully absurd. He bounces back and forth from brash arrogance — fitting for the professor he pretends to be — and utter bewilderment with uncanny, but nonetheless convincing, speed. But there’s so much more than just Lithgow. French Stewart made a name for himself on this show for good reason (a name he soon tarnished, but don’t let that ruin this). Plus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt wouldn’t be the indie movie-makin’ stud he is today had he never gotten the haircut that ruined his childhood on “3rd Rock.” He overcomes it. That’s how good this show is. It can overcome that hair.
Best Episode: It’s been too long since I’ve seen this terrific show to take an authoritative stance on which episode is the best of the best. My fondest memories are when Dick and Mary fight because their lack of communication — for good reason — so delightfully parodies many couples’ poor communication for bad reasons. For now, I’ll recommend “Dick and Taxes” from Season 4, if only because I just filed my taxes and can empathize with the family’s nerves over realizing they’ve never paid them before. Oh, and Harry works at the bar, which is always good fun.
READ MORE: Review: John Lithgow & Alfred Molina Give Their Best Performances As a Struggling Couple In ‘Love Is Strange’***
***this headline has been altered to reflect the views of Ben Travers
6) “Turn” Season 1 (available March 25)
Why Should I Watch It? Because I didn’t. Swamped with “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” responsibilities when “Turn” premiered last April, I didn’t have the resources to give it its proper due. Many other outlets didn’t either, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise the largely ignored series debuted well in the ratings. Some less
lazy busy folks even took the time to check it out post-premiere and liked what they saw. Hopefully you do, too. And even if you don’t, it’s not like the new season of “Mad Men” is on…yet.
Best Episode: Boy, it had better be the pilot. Otherwise, I may never get through the whole first season of this show. Look at all the stuff premiering this month on this list alone, and then throw in 13 episodes of “House of Cards”! It’s a busy month! I’m so sorry, “Turn.” I promise I’ll give you your due soon.
7) “Garfunkel and Oates” Season 1 (available March 25)
Why Should I Watch It? We’re big fans of IFC over here at Indiewire (seeing as our root words share the same DNA), so that means we’re also quite eager for IFC TV to land another hit outside of “Portlandia.” “Maron” is solid and “The Spoils of Babylon” was mad fun, but the network needs another breakout hit. After all, it won’t be able to show “Boyhood” on repeat for another few months and even that Oscar-winning cinematic achievement has to run out of drawing power sometime. “Garfunkel and Oates” certainly didn’t achieve a culture-altering status in Season 1, but the series shows enough promise to justify a bit of bingeing. One way or another, these talented ladies deserve a wider audience than they’re getting.
Best Episode: Fun fact: every episode of “Garfunkel and Oates” was directed by Fred Savage, the ex-“Wonder Years” star turned prolific television comedy director. He’s worked on everything from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to “Happy Endings” to “Party Down” and, somehow, every episode he’s done of those shows turned out great. Weird, right? It’s almost as if most-to-all of those shows’ episodes are great. Anyway, using this unquestionably accurate mathematical equation, odds are high you’ll do fine with any episode of “Garfunkel and Oates.”
The Rest of Incoming TV:
“Glee” Season 5 – March 7
“A Different World” Complete Series – March 15
“Trailer Park Boys” Season 9 – March 27
Outgoing TV (all on March 30)
“Adventure Time” Seasons 1-4
“Ben 10” Seasons 1-3
“Children’s Hospital” Seasons 1-2
“Codename Kids Next Door” Seasons 4-6
“Cow and Chicken” Season 2
“Dexter’s Laboratory” Seasons 3-4
“Dude, What Would Happen?” Season 2
“Ed, Edd ‘n’ Eddy” Seasons 3-4
“Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” Season 2
“Johnny Bravo” Season 2
“Regular Show” Seasons 1-4
“Robot Chicken” Season 1-2
“Samurai Jack” Season 2
“The Grim Adventures of Bill & Mandy” Seasons 3-4