Winter has finally come! (But don't forget about these other

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Game of Thrones at SXSW 2019

Winter has finally come. We've traveled for the throne, bled for the throne. It feels like TV fans have waited forever (not just since January, but for years) for the throne by this point. This Sunday, April 14, it happens—the final season of Game of Thrones will triumphantly premiere.

That alone seems momentous enough to suck up all the oxygen within the larger TV fan universe, but Spring 2019 has been littered with these kind of gigantic happenings. Our favorite show of 2018—BBC America's Killing Eve—just came back last Sunday, for instance. And the long-awaited streaming wars may have finally started last month when Apple officially debuted TV+, which will compete not only with Netflix/Hulu/Prime/YouTube TV/CBS All-Access but with future heavyweight entrants like Disney+.

But little known fact—the 2019 TV season did not start this week. And with this week's Orbital Transmission, we're highlighting a few things you may have missed so far this year given the anticipation malaise-leading up to one last rodeo in Westeros. We're not saying you need to change your Sunday plans for the next month plus, but there's plenty of other stories worthy of your DVR and attention—luckily many of them will also survive beyond May 2019.

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Orbital Transmission 04.09.2019
A still from Warrior

Warrior: The world always needs more Bruce Lee stories

Beloved pop culture icon Bruce Lee pitched an idea in 1971 for a TV series about a martial artist in the Old West—but skittish studio heads passed on the project (and on Lee as its star), opting to make Kung Fu with David Carradine instead. Fast forward nearly fifty years, and Shannon Lee (Bruce's daughter), Justin Lin (Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift), and Jonathan Tropper (Banshee) have teamed up to bring the project to life on Cinemax. Called Warrior, the show focuses on a martial arts prodigy arriving in 19th-century San Francisco and finding rival gangs, anti-immigrant sentiment, and plenty of crime underbelly happenings. Think Peaky Blinders or Boardwalk Empire perhaps—gritty period dramas centered on criminal pursuits of one kind or another. This one just happens to boast excellent fight choreography.

Bear Grylls in Netflix's You vs. Wild

Because of Bandersnatch, we'll choose Bear Grylls, too

Maybe it feels like forever ago, but right at the very start of 2019 (OK, technically late 2018) the choose-your-own mantra finally came to mainstream TV. Netflix's Bandersnatch actually surprised folks with how charming it was—the Black Mirror episode skillfully toed the line between gimmicky and seamless, winking directly at viewers post-certain choices and providing a natural (albeit limited) range of outcomes after others. The concept proved so popular that Netflix promised more choose-your-own endeavors would be coming this year—and the first arrives this week right before GoT. Maybe directing Bear Grylls to scale that mountain or eat those berries sounds too gimmicky on the surface, but the way Bandersnatch artfully embedded its mechanics will inevitably keep us curious enough to check this out on April 10.

Star Trek: Discovery

Finally, Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes where Trek hasn't gone before

Gee, that S2 premiere of Star Trek: Discovery was a breath of fresh air, eh? Right from the start, this season seemed like it might be the actual premiere that we all wished for at the beginning of this show's run: a nod to TOS, but with a handoff to actually explore "strange new worlds." The Mirror Universe wasn’t mentioned at all—and we were happy to fire aft torpedoes on that entire storyline. Thankfully, the season at large has built on all those questions raised: why was the Enterprise, Starfleet’s flagship, away for the duration of the Klingon war? Does it really take that long to get across the galaxy at high warp? When Burnham calls the Enterprise "an instrument of last resort," what does she mean? Why is the Enterprise disabled? What did Burnham to do to drive Spock away?

JK Simmons in Counterpart

We would appreciate someone saving Counterpart

When it comes to 2019 TV viewing, there's an Americans-sized hole in our hearts. FX's beloved Cold War drama had it all: star performances, cool era-appropriate tech, spy intrigue, flashes of engaging personality outside of the grimmest of deadly storylines. In light of that, S2 of Showtime's Counterpart managed to keep us from crying over lost mail robots all throughout the spring. With its added layer of sci-fi, the show's 2019 run really picked up steam after a flashback to the starting moment of its universe. JK Simmons still stunned in the lead role, the action captivated, and the frankly looked like little else on TV. Naturally, we now have a Counterpart-sized hole in our hearts heading into 2020—Showtime declined to pick up a season three. Sigh.

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