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“Orphan Black” returns with multiplied tension; “The Night Manager” bests Bond.

4/13/2016

“Orphan Black”

Thursday, April 14 (BBC America)

Season Premiere: Tense sci-fi soap “Orphan Black” has so much going within its clone-crowded narrative that the news of out-there musician Peaches appearing in Season 4, playing herself, barely even registers (in fact, it almost makes too much sense). TrueTV OrphanBlackIn this chapter, Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) sets out to investigate Beth, the deceased sister-clone whose identity she stole at the beginning of the series, and the origins of the clone conspiracy — which leads to trouble, as does trying learn anything in this universe. Unrelated … maybe … yet another clone, a mysterious outsider who’s been aware of her multi-sister status all along, enters the picture, upping Maslany’s character load for the season to eight (and still no Emmy, huh?).

 

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

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Friday, April 15 (Netflix)

Season Premiere: Last year, Netflix snapped up “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” after NBC decided to get out of the “thinky” comedy business and canceled it before ever going to air; if you can name a single now-dead sitcom the network ran with instead, you probably work at NBC Universal (for now). Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) won hearts as a bubbly, wide-eyed rescued ex-doomsday cult member discovering the modern world for the first time, but where to take her in Season 2? Don’t worry, she’s still plenty naïve — and, after 15 years in an underground bunker (possible spoiler alert), still a virgin. Also brace for way more of “UKS” breakout star Tituss Burgess (“Peeno! Noir!”).

 

“Containment”

Tuesday, April 19 (The CW)

Series Debut: “Under the Dome,” “Colony,” any dystopian-future YA book/movie you care to name — should it be disturbing that ‘Merica seems to love stories about communities held captive? Go write a thesis; I have TV to review here. Oddly paired with the superhero fun of “The Flash,” the dark “Containment” follows the panic, societal breakdown and, of course, conspiratorial whisperings behind the outbreak of a deadly virus in Atlanta (first zombies, now this — Georgia can’t catch a break). Between the pretty citizens freaking out and dying inside the quarantined area, and the pretty scientists on the outside racing to find a cure, there’s mucho Big Drama to go around. But enough to carry 13 episodes? Here it comes: “Containment” isn’t all that infectious.

 

The Night Manager”

Tuesday, April 19 (AMC)

Miniseries Debut: Tom Hiddleston is, of course best-known for the films “Midnight in Paris” and “Muppets Most Wanted,” if not a handful of Marvel movies as Thor’s uptight brother with the mullet (a.k.a. the Asgard Natural, or “Party in the back, extermination of the human race up front”). In “The Night Manager,” he plays a British ex-soldier charged with infiltrating the inner circle of an international businessman/criminal (Hugh Laurie) and taking down his arms-dealing trade. The undercover-spy-in-too-deep trope isn’t anything new, but Hiddleston and Laurie acting off one another is expectedly fantastic, and “The Night Manager” is every bit the Bond adventure that “Spectre” should have been — and, from the look of it, probably almost as expensive. CV

 

Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.

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