Talk about saving the best for last. As the 2014-15 TV season comes to a close, two stellar new series -- “The Comedians” and “Marvel's Daredevil” -- make their premieres this week. Here are my thoughts on both:
“The Comedians,” 9 p.m. Thursday, FX. Billy Crystal and Josh Gad are TV’s true “odd couple” in this laugh-out-loud comedy from Larry Charles (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld”), Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”) and Ben Wexler (“Community”), which is based on the Swedish series “Ulveson & Hergren.”
The premise: A TV network (FX) has paired Crystal and Gad -- who play themselves -- in a late-night sketch comedy show. But the generation gap between them results in some serious/hilarious problems, which spill over to the anxious producer (Stephanie Weir), the gets-no-respect head writer (Matt Oberg) and the self-centered production assistant (Megan Ferguson). Guest stars include Denis O’Hare, Dana Delany and Steven Weber.
The joy here is watching Crystal and Gad play off each other. Their scenes together are a hoot, with each having no problem lampooning the other, or themselves, for that matter. The third episode, which features a drug-induced excursion by the pair to a supermarket in formal wear, is comedic gold. I literally lost it when the store’s camera catches Crystal “freeing” an inflatable. Grade: A
“Marvel's Daredevil,” 2:01 a.m. Friday (13 episodes), Netflix. Charlie Cox (“Boardwalk Empire”) plays the title character -- a blind attorney who dishes out his own kind of justice in New York City’s “Hell’s Kitchen” -- in the streaming service’s adaptation of the Marvel comic.
And what an adaptation it is. Without the censorship rules that limit broadcast and cable productions, creator/executive producer Drew Goddard (“Cabin in the Woods”) serves up a dark, edgy, violent and, at times, gruesome series that has some teeth to it.
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The series also features a hero who takes as much punishment as he dishes out, which -- I know this is funny to say about a comic book character -- gives it some realism. The fight choreography, by the way, is some of the best I’ve seen on the small or big screens.
The series also stars Rosario Dawson, Deborah Ann Woll (“True Blood”), Elden Henson and Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”), who, as the villain Wilson Fisk, makes Tony Soprano look like a choir boy. But Cox is the guy here, who plays a flawed superhero with the best of them. Grade: A
Also new this week
* “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles,” 9 tonight (April 5), Lifetime. Christina Ricci reprises her role from the hit Lifetime film, “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” as the title character in this eight-part series that takes a fictional look at Borden’s life after being acquitted of killing her father and stepmother.
* “American Odyssey,” 9 tonight (April 5), NBC. Anna Friel (“Pushing Daisies”) plays an American soldier who, while on assignment in North Africa, stumbles upon computer files that show a major U.S. corporation is secretly funding terrorists and then finds herself in a fight for her life in trying to bring the truth home.
* “Wolf Hall,” 9 tonight (April 5), PBS. Adapted from Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” the six-part series chronicles how Thomas Cromwell (Tony winner Mark Rylance), the son of a blacksmith, became Henry VIII’s (Emmy winner Damian Lewis) most-trusted adviser.
* “Your Family or Mine,” 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, TBS. The comedy details how a young husband and wife (Kat Foster, Kyle Howard) navigate the ins and outs of each other’s family, with veteran actors Richard Dreyfuss and JoBeth Williams playing Howard’s parents.
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