The NCAA men’s tournament kicks off on Tuesday (women’s on Saturday), but if you enjoy college basketball you already know everything you need to. Speaking only for myself, I kind of enjoy that there is this thing going on for the next several weeks that I can ignore completely because it doesn’t interest me at all.
Monday, March 17
Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert (9-10:15 pm, HBO)
This documentary tracks a year in the life of a single mother struggling to care for her three children and herself while working at a low-paying job. Executive producer Maria Shriver founded The Shriver Report to draw attention to urgent social issues, such as this one, that our country is facing. (This program will also be available to watch online for free from March 17-24 at hbo.com, ShriverReport.org, and YouTube.)
Tuesday, March 18
Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe (8-9:01 pm, ABC)
Yes, it’s essentially an hour-long commercial for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and upcoming Marvel movies, but admit it: you want to see extended previews and behind-the-scenes glimpses of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, and since Avengers: Age of Ultron has started filming, maybe there will be some sort of tease for that as well.
Wednesday, March 19
The 100 (9-10 pm, CW)
Based on a series of young adult novels (what isn’t these days?), The 100 is an ambitious sci-fi story: nearly a century earlier, civilization on Earth was wiped out in a nuclear apocalypse; the only survivors were those living aboard space stations at the time. Now, a group of 100 juvenile delinquents has been sent back to the planet to see whether it can again support life. That’s a complicated setup for another typical CW show about very pretty teenagers getting all angsty. But hey, the formula clearly works for them, so if it isn’t broken why bother trying to fix it?
Thursday, March 20
The Great Gatsby (8:30-11 pm, HBO)
Last year’s version of the classic novel wasn’t so well received by critics, but I think it’s a better movie than its reviews suggested. I am not as enamored of Leonardo DiCaprio’s work as many others, but his performance here gets interesting when he starts to show what’s beneath Gatsby’s artificial surface. And give Baz Luhrmann credit: it’s stunning to look at from start to finish.
Friday, March 21
An American Werewolf in London (8-9:40 pm, Flix)
Horror has never been one of my favorite movie genres, but this one came out when I was in college and I saw it several times during those years. At the time its violence and gore was considered pretty intense, though I’m sure modern audiences wouldn’t think so. Written and directed by John Landis, he gives an interesting twist to a familiar story.
Also tonight: the return of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (8-9 pm, CW).
Saturday, March 22
Da Vinci’s Demons (9-10 pm, Starz)
Part Renaissance soap opera, part action-adventure ride, part supernatural drama: if that sounds to you like a formula that shouldn’t have been mixed together in the first place, you aren’t wrong, and yet this show somehow satisfies a desire for a certain kind of popcorn TV that’s dumb but thinks it’s smart, if you know what I mean. Season two starts tonight.
Sunday, March 23
American Dream Builders (8-9 pm, NBC)
Another home-renovation show, this one has a competition element that I don’t quite get from its description, but I’m sure it will make sense to those who watch. Nate Berkus is the host.
Also tonight: the sixth and final season of Drop Dead Diva premieres on Lifetime (9-11:02 pm, two episodes).
Last week I mentioned this show in reference to a new series from the same creator, and then I discovered that it’s available on streaming, making it an ideal choice to highlight here. Charlie Crews is an LAPD detective who was framed for murder and served 12 years in prison; exonerated, released, and the recipient of a substantial settlement, Crews can do whatever he chooses, but he opts to return to police work to seek justice for the innocent. The first season of the show was cut short by a TV writers’ strike, making it even more surprising that it got a second season. (32 episodes total, with a reasonable amount of closure at the end.)
(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.)