The late-winter/early-spring TV onslaught continues: every day this week except Saturday, there is either a season premiere or a new series debut.
Monday, March 10
Believe (10-11 pm, NBC)
If you happened to be thinking that TV needs another series executive-produced by J.J. Abrams, this is your week. (Oscar-winning director of Gravity Alfonso Cuarón is also on board as a co-creator/executive producer, and he directed the first episode.) Believe is about a 10-year-old girl with special gifts (telekinesis, clairvoyance, much more) who is pursued by people who want to use her powers toward evil ends. After tonight’s premiere following The Voice, the show’s regular time slot will be Sundays at 9 pm.
Tuesday, March 11
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (9-10 pm, El Rey)
Writer/director Robert Rodriguez started the El Rey channel because he wanted to see shows and actors that reflect the more diverse country the US has become. Its first original offering is a reimagining of the 1996 horror movie into a series. In Rodriguez’s words, “The film was the short story, this series is the novel.” At the moment it appears that in the Boston area El Rey is only available to DirecTV subscribers, but I’ve heard that Comcast is supposed to be getting involved.
Wednesday, March 12
Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street (11-11:30 pm, Fuse)
Billy Eichner is back for a second season of running around on the street (sometimes with a celebrity accomplice like Amy Poehler or Lena Dunham), ambushing pedestrians by shoving a microphone in their faces and shouting rapid-fire trivia questions at them. His persona can be highly grating; I think the idea worked better in the shorter web segments the show evolved from. Also, you may have to hunt around on your TV lineup to find Fuse, which is mainly a music channel trying for MTV-style pop-culture cred.
Thursday, March 13
Breaking Boston (10-11 pm, A&E)
Oh look, it’s another Boston-based “reality” show, this one about four female friends trying to overcome life’s challenges. Wouldn’t you rather just rewatch the “Real Housewives of Southie” parody videos on YouTube?
Friday, March 14
Vice (11-11:30 pm, HBO)
The upstart news-magazine show returns for its second season.
Saturday, March 15
The Conjuring (10 pm-12 am, Cinemax)
One of 2013’s most satisfyingly scary movies, this allegedly true story of a haunted Rhode Island farmhouse and the family involved has it all: a well-told story, a quality cast, and an adept director (James Wan of Saw fame) who knows how to handle the various elements effectively.
Sunday, March 16
Crisis (10-11 pm, NBC)
The short-lived Life (2007-9), starring Damian Lewis and Sarah Shahi, was one of my favorite “brilliant but canceled” shows of the past decade, so when I learned that its creator is behind this new series I was hopeful. But the storyline—a group of privileged teens is kidnapped in order to manipulate their powerful parents—falls quickly into an abyss of tedium, and despite the presence of talent like Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney, the show suffers in the same way as many other series (Hostages, The Killing, 24) that try to build an entire season around a single case or event.
I’ve realized that while this column focuses on TV, the vast majority of my weekly Netflix picks have been movies, so I’m going to try to recommend some worthy TV series, especially lower-profile ones that perhaps haven’t received the attention they deserve. If you are the sort who wants or expects a show to pack a lot of eventfulness into each episode (Scandal fans, I’m looking at you…), this six-episode story of a man released from prison after spending nearly two decades on death row, and learning anew how to cope in the world, may not be for you, but if you enjoy mood, imagery, and contemplation, and are okay with incremental plot development, Rectify will satisfy. (The show will be back for a second season on SundanceTV in June.)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)