One beloved miniseries ends, while another series we thought might be dead makes its triumphant return.
This week features two somewhat improbable TV events. First, Beauty and the Beast, a show many people thought was done, returns for its final season-two episodes with a season-three renewal already secured. Then, Cosmos -- a broadcast network-supported educational series that might never have happened if the right people hadn't backed it -- ends its miniseries run after a dozen very powerful episodes. Plus, another major showdown on Game of Thrones, the penultimate episode of The 100's first season, and the struggles of the new series Crossbones.
Check out the week in genre TV below. What's on your watchlist?
Highlights of the Week
Beauty and the Beast (The CW) Monday, 9 p.m. - "Beast is the New Black"
Beauty and the Beast has not aired a new episode since March 10. When it was announced that the final episodes of the second season would be held by The CW until the summer, many saw it as a sign that the show was doomed. Every episode of the show's first season easily passed the one-million-viewer mark, but not a single season-two episode (so far) ever hit that mark. Sinking ratings, combined with numerous new and developing genre shows that could have taken its place on the network, made it look very possible that season three would not happen for Beauty and the Beast. Then, a few weeks ago, the show got a somewhat surprising renewal, perhaps because The CW ended up dropping things like The Tomorrow People and the planned Supernatural spinoff, Bloodlines. So a show that seemed to be heading into the sunset will now have new life in the fall, so if you're a fan you can watch the final episodes in June and July without worrying that they'll be the end. As the show returns this week, Vincent is arrested for murder, and Cat and company have to clear his name. Check out a preview below.
Crossbones (NBC) Friday, 10 p.m. - "The Covenant"
The series premiere of NBC's new pirate/alternate history-ish drama seemed to have the potential to become big summer event TV, but reaction to the premiere made it clear that if Crossbones is going to be big, it's facing an uphill climb. Last Friday's debut pulled in a key demographic score roughly equal to what Hannibal earned when it premiered its second season back in February, but unlike Hannibal, Crossbones did not exactly get a rousing round of critical acclaim in the lead-up to its debut, and it also features a higher budget. That doesn't mean the show is doomed, of course, and having watched the premiere I think the potential for something bigger is still there. That said, if you want this show to stick around, you might want to start trying to convert your friends. In episode two, Blackbeard's plans are put in jeopardy when another popular pirate voices disagreement. Check out a preview below.
Orphan Black (BBC America) Saturday, 9 p.m. - "Variable and Full of Perturbation"
As fun as it is to watch the clone-fueled drama unfold on Orphan Black, it's almost as fun to watch the show grow as a pop-culture phenomenon. Season one drew a ton of critical acclaim for the show and its star, Tatiana Maslany, and though viewership was small at first, it was still respectable for a BBC America show on a Saturday night. Orphan Black was no Doctor Who, but it still got by. Then, as season two dawned, and critical acclaim for the new episode continued to build in the lead-up to the premiere, I wondered if viewership would improve as the fandom grew. At first it didn't. The season-two premiere of Orphan Black actually drew a slightly smaller viewership than the series premiere last year. Overall, though, the show is easily besting its debut season. Almost every episode of season two so far has bested season one in terms of overall viewers, often by hundreds of thousands, and critical praise for the show continues week after week. Orphan Black is clearly one of the must-watch sci-fi shows on TV right now, but it's also becoming an indelible part of pop culture, and it seems poised to just keep growing its influence. This week, Cosima's running out of options, and Felix gets a visitor. Check out a preview below.
Game of Thrones (HBO) Sunday, 9 p.m. - "The Watchers on the Wall"
Well, it's practically become tradition at this point that the final three episodes of any given Game of Thrones season will give us at least one shout-at-the-television-until-you're-blue-in-the-face-then-cry moment, and last night's "The Mountain and the Viper" did not disappoint. Another brutal death shocked viewers, even those viewers who already knew it was coming, and now the show has even more energy as it heads into the final two episodes of its record-breaking fourth season. Fans who only watch the show know that the series isn't going to just coast on last night's shocker until the end of the seaosn, though, and fans of the books already know what big things are coming next, so the next two hours of the series will also likely pack a big punch. At this point Game of Thrones is easily HBO's biggest series in years, and could be on its way to being the network's biggest show ever, eclipsing things like The Sopranos, True Blood, and Sex and the City as the premiere pop culture icon from a network that's delivered plenty of pop culture icons. So, as we barrel toward the season finale, will the show break another viewing record? We'll find out in a little less than two weeks. In the meantime, in this week's episode, the Night's Watch must finally face the Wildling threat that's been building all season. Check out a preview below.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (FOX) Sunday, 9 p.m. - "Unafraid of the Dark"
Miniseries finale! - In some ways, it's amazing that we ever got this new incarnation of Cosmos. If not for the clout of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane -- who's made millions for FOX with his animated series and who took a special interest in reviving Carl Sagan's iconic program -- we might never have seen it. So, that Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey exists at all is noteworthy, but the show goes beyond something that simply defies the often cynical approach we take to what network executives will allow on their channels. It's also a very good dose of educational programming, and though its ratings on FOX (it also airs every Monday on the National Geographic Channel) might be modest, its audience is devoted and fascinated by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's weekly voyages throughout our universe. Now Cosmos is coming to an end again, and we might never see another version of it (though I sincerely hope we do). It's a bold, ambitious and fully realized educational series, and we don't get much of that on broadcast TV beyond PBS these days. So celebrate this show's existence with its finale, in which Tyson will explore dark energy and discoveries related to supernovae.
Monday, June 2
Not much going on besides the return of Beauty and the Beast, which we already featured. Take the extra time to catch up on something else.
Tuesday, June 3
Heroes of Cosplay (Syfy) 9 p.m. - "Ottawa Pop Expo"
The group heads to Ottawa Pop Expo.
The Wil Wheaton Project (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "Episode 2"
Felicia Day guest stars in the second episode of Wil Wheaton's humorous genre commentary series.
Wednesday, June 4
The 100 (The CW) 9 p.m. - "We Are Grounders, Part 1"
Season finale part 1! - Bellamy fights to save Jasper. Clarke and Finn face a new enemy. Murphy gets revenge.
Thursday, June 5
This is another quiet night. Spend it catching up on shows your friends won't leave you alone about.
Friday, June 6
Continuum (Syfy) 9 p.m. - "Revolutions Per Minute"
Alec crosses the Rubicon. Kiera faces strain in her relationship with the Freelancers.
Saturday, June 7
Apart from Orphan Black, things are a bit quiet. Go see a movie.
Sunday, June 8
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) 10 p.m. - "FUD"
Joe's team starts work on building the new machine, while fighting against internal differences.
Penny Dreadful (Showtime) 10 p.m. - "Closer than Sisters"
Vanessa recalls what led to Mina's disappearance.
Salem (WGN America) 10 p.m. - "Departures"
Mary's power is compromised. Cotton's father arrives.
What are you watching this week? Let us know in the comments!