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Welcome to This Week in TV. In a bid to help you prioritize among all the events, premieres, big episodes and finales, The Hollywood Reporter‘s eagle-eyed TV team every Monday will take a closer look at what to expect from the week ahead — and provide helpful links and context for each. Here’s a handy primer for the events that will likely take over the headlines in the week ahead.
American Horror Story Gets Political With Cult, Tuesday, 10 p.m.
Viewers won’t have to look far back in their rearview mirror for the latest installment of Ryan Murphy’s and Brad Falchuk’s horror anthology. Season seven of the FX drama opens in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, and particularly Donald Trump’s shocking triumph over Hillary Clinton. The result is what THR TV critic Daniel Fienberg calls “the franchise’s must focused and funny entry to date.” Standout performances include a “spectacular” turn by Sarah Paulson and new addition Billy Eichner. On sister network FXX, You’re the Worst returns for its fourth season.
Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville Blasts Off Sunday, 8 p.m.
The Family Guy mastermind steps out from behind his many beloved animated characters for his first live-action TV series. Set 400 years in the future, the sci-fi series centers on a commanding officer on a part-human, part-alien spaceship who must learn how to work alongside his ex-wife (Friday Night Lights’ Adrianne Palicki) when she becomes his No. 2. But while The Orville might take itself slightly more seriously than MacFarlane’s half-hour work, the star and creator promises there will still be laughs. “We really do see it as a sci-fi comedic drama,” he told reporters in August.
Outlander Blasts Forward in Time for Season Three, Sunday, 8 p.m.
The end of the “Droughtlander” is nigh with the highly anticipated return of Starz’s popular adaptation. Picking up right after the events of the season-two finale, season three will see lots of time-traveling for heroine Claire (Caitriona Balfe) as she reunites with her first husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies), in 1948 despite her being pregnant with the child of her second husband, Jamie (Sam Heughan). Just how long will it take before Claire is able to reunite with Jamie? Fans will have to wait and see.
HBO and David Simon Reteam for The Deuce, Sunday, 9 p.m.
The Wire and Treme creator makes his long-awaited series return with this ’70s-set drama about the burgeoning porn industry in New York City. The series, starring James Franco (times two) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is already earning rave reviews, including from THR TV critic Daniel Fienberg, who calls the eight-episode first season “substantive, provocative and entertaining.” Elsewhere, “HBO’s gem of a comedy” Insecure, according to THR TV critic Tim Goodman, wraps its second season with season three already greenlighted.
Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman Dive into Top of the Lake: China Girl, Sunday, 9 p.m.
Fresh off some of the most acclaimed performances of their careers, Moss for season one of The Handmaid’s Tale and Kidman for Big Little Lies, the two join forces for the second installment of Jane Campion’s detective series. Also starring Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie, THR film critic Todd McCarthy praises the new episodes as a “gripping” and “totally addictive” follow-up to season one, which nabbed Moss a Golden Globe for her work as Det. Robin Griffin. Thankfully U.S. audiences won’t have to wait long between episodes, with SundanceTV airing the entire second season over three nights.
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