After nearly two years off the air, Louis C.K. is back on the small screen, presenting another season of brilliant dark humor with Louie (Season Premiere, 10 p.m. Monday, FX).
The series has garnered accolades from fans and critics alike since its debut in 2010, with several awards and nominations for the show’s acting, writing, directing and the overall series. But instead of capitalizing on the show’s popularity, continuously churning out content until it gets stale, creator/writer/director/star C.K. took a year off from Louie after 2012’s third season. (Don’t worry, he kept busy with a successful tour and HBO special). Besides being one of the top comics in the business today, C.K. is smart to ration his talent, stay creative and keep us wanting more.
The show’s blending of live stand-up with related scripted stories is nothing new, but C.K. puts his special brand on the storytelling device — and it’s fun to see our hapless protagonist in both contexts.
Besides Louie moving to a new night, fans this season will get a double dose of C.K. with back-to-back episodes — 14 over seven weeks. Expect excellent guest stars, multi-episode story arcs and plenty of the quick laughs and self-deprecating jabs we’ve come to expect from Louie.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 30
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Phil stresses out telling Claire a complicated lie; Gloria feels the pressure as she organizes the family’s annual photo; Jay enters Stella in a dog show.
THURSDAY MAY 1
iHeartRadio Music Awards (8 p.m., NBC) – The top songs and musical acts of the past year, as determined by Clear Channel listeners, plus performances by Drake, Blake Shelton, Shakira, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Arcade Fire and more.
Portlandia (Season Finale, 10 p.m., IFC) – Residents of Portland take a weekend trip to nearby New Beavertown, Ore.
Toni and Candace host a feminist retreat with k.d. lang; Dave and Kath seek a relaxation vacation; Peter and Nance take a walking tour of the town. Stick around after the finale for first looks at the upcoming seasons of Comedy Bang! Bang! and Maron.
Review (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – For Forrest MacNeil’s last batch of life experience reviews, the host fittingly quits his job, enjoys his last day and … tries being Irish.
FRIDAY MAY 2
Shark Tank: Swimming With Sharks (8 p.m., ABC) – Ever wished for a whole episode of Shark Tank updates? Wish granted! The sharks recap their best and worst investments on the show. Followed by a new installment of products and pitches in the tank.
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) -– Will continues his dark descent with the help of Hannibal. Jack questions the duo’s sudden reconciliation. We finally meet Margot’s maniacal brother Mason Verger (Michael Pitt), a significant character in the Hannibal Lecter franchise. Elsewhere, Freddie Lounds rears her gingery head and interviews Will for her upcoming book.
Vice (11 p.m., HBO) – Women stand up against rampant rape in India; effects of Soviet-era nuclear tests in Kazakhstan persist decades later as radiation becomes part of the population’s DNA.
SATURDAY MAY 3
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – The Amazing Spider-Man himself, Andrew Garfield, makes his hosting debut with musical guests Coldplay.
SUNDAY MAY 4
Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Daenerys sets her sights (and her army of 10,000) on King’s Landing; Littlefinger and Sansa arrive at House Arryn; Tommen takes the throne and, presumably, appoints Ser Pounce to the Kingsguard. Please, no more sad Hodor scenes!
Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Don returns to SC&P, but this time he’s working under totally different circumstances at the office. This week we see him adjusting to his new terms and working under Lou. Elsewhere Pete underestimates Peggy and Roger deals with troubles at home.
Silicon Valley (10 p.m., HBO) – Erlich hires an ex-con street artist to design a logo for Pied Piper; Richard prepares for a live demo of the app; Peter Gregory and Gavin Belson have an unanticipated run-in.
MONDAY MAY 5
24: Live Another Day (Series Premiere, 8 p.m., Fox) – Four years after the season finale of 24, Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brian are back, this time in London, fighting to prevent global crisis.
TUESDAY MAY 6
Small Town Security (Season Premiere, 11 p.m., AMC) – Catch up with the whole Ringgold, Ga., gang as Joan sets to profit off her “speecy spicy meatball” and Dennis continues his transformation
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern