Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Whatta buncha Hacks

Jean Smart in Hacks
Jean Smart in Hacks
Photo: HBO Max

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, May 13. All times are Eastern. 


Top pick

Hacks (HBO Max, 3:01 a.m., series premiere, episodes 1 and 2): The Home Box Office people really like Jean Smart. As well they should! She brought them the greatest dildo moment in TV history! She’s currently starring alongside Kate Winslet’s accent in Mare Of Easttown! And now she’s yelling “EAT YOUR HEART OUT CELINE” while sporting an updo! What a cornucopia of blessings this partnership has turned out to be.

In Hacks, Smart plays Deborah Vance, a groundbreaking female comedian whose career keeps rumbling in neutral, doing the same old show in Vegas and shilling caftans via QVC in her downtime. But the powers that be want something fresher (Pentatonix, to be precise) so she’s set up on a blind partnership date with an entitled newcomer (Hannah Einbinder) who’s as every bit recalcitrant as the legend for whom she’s supposed to be writing jokes. Think Late Night, but a TV show, and with fewer dudes. Look for more on this promising comedy later this month. Two new episodes will arrive each week.

Regular coverage

Clarice (CBS, 10 p.m.)

Wild cards

Intergalactic (Peacock, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): Space criminals stage a space breakout from space prison, forcing a space pilot who’s been wrongfully convicted of a space crime to go on the run with them, through space. What part of that doesn’t sound appealing?

144 (ESPN, 9 p.m., premiere): Not every documentary we get about life during lockdown is going to feel all that relevant or necessary. This one, though, is an entirely different kettle of fish. Chronicling the WNBA’s 2020 bubble season, Jenna Contreras and Lauren Stowell’s film takes its title from the 144 players (that’s the whole league) who decided to dedicate the season to Breonna Taylor.

Mom (CBS, 9 p.m., series finale): The Allison Janney-led series ends its run with tears, impressive guest stars, and the muffled yet jubilant cheers of all the casting departments delighted that Janney no longer has a network shooting schedule to deal with.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!