Series Debut: Singer Johnny Rock (Denis Leary) and guitarist Flash (John Corbett) scored 15 seconds of fame when their critically hailed — and accurately named — rock band The Heathens released their debut album and broke up the on the same day in the early 1990s. Twenty-five years later, Johnny’s broke and forgotten, and Flash is in an even worse place: touring with Lady Gaga. Enter Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies), the daughter Johnny never knew he had. She’s also a singer, but has no desire to be a pop tart: Gigi wants to be a rocker, she has backing, and she wants The Heathens to reform to write her songs and join her onstage — except for Johnny, who would remain behind the scenes. Will he be able to put aside his raging ego, raging-er addictions and raging-est hair? Ha! “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll”—written entirely by Leary, including the songs — has all the “This Is Spinal Tap” moments and mini-rants about the state of modern music you’d expect, but never takes itself too seriously.
Thursday, July 16 (FX)
Season Premiere: Maybe the problem with Season 1 was putting a sad-sack married couple (the usually comic-reliable Nate Faxon and Judy Greer) on before the raucous party animals of last summer’s breakout hit “You’re the Worst” (which moves to FXX in September). This time around, they’re on after the raucous party animals of “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.” So … improvement?
Friday, July 17 (Netflix)
Season Premiere: The debut season of “BoJack Horseman” dropped with zero hype in August 2014, but the animated series about a washed-up ’90s sitcom actor who happened to be a horse (voiced by Will Arnett) became a cult hit instantaneously. Then, BoJack was struggling to finish his memoir with the help of a ghostwriter (Alison Brie) while being encouraged/antagonized by his agent (Amy Sedaris) and his deadbeat roommate (Aaron Paul). Now, BoJack’s landed his dream film comeback gig (the lead role in a “Secretariat” biopic) and he’s determined to drop the booze, drugs, terrible dietary habits and questionable sexual conquests, or at least hilariously determined-ish.
“Welcome to Sweden”
Sunday, July 19 (NBC)
Season Premiere: Brother-to-Amy Greg Poehler’s “Welcome to Sweden” was an odd bit of filler in NBC’s summer schedule last year; a Swedish import whose quirky comic rhythms weren’t helped by the American commercial-break format, not to mention those jarring “Swenglish” accents. Still, the funny and sweet (and based on Poehler’s own life) story of an American celebrity accountant who packs up and moves with his girlfriend to her native Sweden translated nicely. Season 2 finds Bruce (Poehler) still trying to fit in and move forward with his engagement to Emma (Josephine Bornbusch) while dealing with visiting old clients (like Jack Black, Jason Priestly, Aubrey Plaza and Amy Poehler, all playing ridiculous versions of themselves). Enjoy “Welcome to Sweden” now — it’ll be the only real comedy on NBC for the rest of 2015. No lie. CV
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast (Tuesdays on iTunes and Stitcher), and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.