Our televisions are inundated with quality television on a regular basis. Because of this, it can be difficult sometimes to keep track of everything. Not all of us have the benefit of DVR to deliver all of our favorite shows to us every week, leaving it up to us to remember to tune in. The committed TV-watcher will find something for them every week, often discovering that one day of the week yields more of their favorite shows than most.
In case that day of the week happens to be Thursday, we’ve compiled all the must-see shows to keep you tided over until the weekend begins. From mainstays that have been around for years, to brand new shows with odd concepts, it’s a day that’s as packed as any other with quality television.
1. Wayward Pines, FOX at 9pm
Based on a series of novels by the same name, Wayward Pines is one of FOX’s newer offerings, featuring the star power of Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard among others. M. Night Shyalaman is one of the producers, something made plenty evident by teasers for the show that peg it as your classic “happy little town hiding a big fat mystery” type of tale.
The story itself seems simple enough. Dillon plays a Secret Service agent looking into the disappearance of two fellow agents in a small, sleepy town in Idaho. Of course the town is more than meets the eye, as he quickly discovers that he may be in well over his head with a bunch of wacked-out yokels intent on never allowing him to leave. It seems to be a show in the ilk of Lost, hiding a secret that once-revealed would spell the end of the show. All we can do is wait until that secret is revealed.
2. Louie, FX at 10:30pm
Heading into the final episode of its fifth season, Louie has made itself into the pinnacle of dark comedy. Louis CK has made a career off of his self-deprecating and realistic sense of humor. For his titular show, he’s poured that into a concept that feels like an all-too real depiction of the inner workings of his mind. Its fictional characters still in many ways represent Louie’s everyday life, as he juggles raising his children with his career as a comedian.
Many critics will tell you that the show is by and large one of the best comedies on TV today. Its seasons are short yet poignant, never running more than 14 episodes. Its latest season is closing out with just eight, making it that much more brief.
3. Lip Sync Battle, Spike TV at 10pm
Lip Sync Battle is one of Thursday’s odder offerings, yet it’s still made itself wildly entertaining every week. The concept for the show is simple enough: Two celebrities are pitted against each other, with each having prepared a fully-choreographed routine during which they lip-sync along with a well-known pop song. So far, the likes of Anna Kendrick, Terry Crews, Mike Tyson, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, and more have passed through, all bringing performances we’d never expect to see.
Its greatest benefit is its video virality, with the show’s best routines often going wide on YouTube. With audiences constantly getting barraged online, it’s only a matter of time before they feel inclined to tune in on Thursday.
4. Hannibal, NBC at 10pm
It doesn’t kick off for another week, but Hannibal is returning to NBC for a third season. Its incredibly cerebral Season 1 saw it struggle to bring in viewers, sitting on the brink of cancellation following its initial run. Since then though, the origin story of Hannibal Lecter starring Mads Mikkelsen has become a critical darling. Its stunning imagery and subversive story structure has made it a one-of-a-kind drama with no real comparison outside of HBO’s True Detective.
The show has continued to build steam thanks to a rare instance of patience of NBC. It’s now found itself as one of the few shows on the network left with a devoted Internet following, and you can bet the network will want to hold on to that for as long as they can.
5. Elementary, CBS at 10pm
This one just closed out its third season the other week, but there’s no reason not to go back and relive it on Hulu and CBS.com. If BBC’s Sherlock is the thinking man’s Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Elementary is one for the common man. Its network TV appeal makes it more accessible than its BBC contemporary, while still managing to capture the cleverness of the world’s greatest detective.
This Holmes/Watson combo is intriguing to say the least, starring Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. It makes for a dynamic we’ve never really seen for one of the most exciting duo’s in literature, bringing them to modern day New York City, rather than the traditionally British setting of the story.
6. Bones, FOX at 8pm
Bones has been around for a decade now, approaching the end of its 10th season. The crime procedural follows an FBI agent and a forensic anthropologist as they tackle the strangest crimes Washington D.C. has to offer. Throughout its lengthy run, its faced cancellation at multiple turns, fighting it off with its passionate Internet fandom. Of course the on-screen chemistry of leads Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz hasn’t hurt its popularity either, making for everyone’s favorite “will they/won’t they” of primetime.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest