Many network shows are wrapping their seasons this week, but it seems somewhat pointless to highlight them; if you’re a fan you already know, and if you aren’t a fan, the last episode of the season is a terrible place to try to get into a show. So I’ve managed to cobble together a column with my two main fallbacks, PBS and old movies.
Monday, May 12
Independent Lens (10-11 pm, PBS)
“Let the Fire Burn” is a documentary that looks back on the 1985 clash between police in Philadelphia and an organization called MOVE that resulted in the deaths of 11 people.
Tuesday, May 13
Frontline (9-11 pm, PBS)
The NSA’s surveillance activities since 9/11 are examined in “United States of Secrets.” (This is part one; the conclusion airs on Tuesday, May 20th, also at 9 pm.)
Also tonight: the premiere of Riot (9-10 pm, Fox), an American adaptation of a peculiar show format involving dancing, singing, and sketch performance challenges to be accomplished on a set built at a 22-degree angle, with Australian comic Rove McManus leading a crew of performers and weekly celebrity guests.
Wednesday, May 14
Blue Caprice (8-9:35 pm, The Movie Channel)
A dramatized version of the series of sniper killings that occurred in the Washington, DC area in 2002, starring Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond.
Thursday, May 15
Dead Calm (9-11 pm, Sundance)
Decent suspense thriller from 1989 starring Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman as a couple sailing alone in the Pacific.
Friday, May 16
Barbara Walters: Her Story (9-11 pm, ABC)
As Barbara prepares to retire, ABC looks back on her half-century career.
Saturday, May 17
Saturday Night Live (11:30 pm-1 am, NBC)
The 39th season concludes with slow alum Andy Samberg returning to host and musical guest St. Vincent.
Sunday, May 18
Gentleman’s Agreement (8-10:15 pm, Turner Classic Movies)
A movie from 1947? Must be a slow night, and a worthy movie. Gregory Peck plays a journalist who pretends to be Jewish to experience anti-Semitism. Directed by Elia Kazan, it won a Best Picture Oscar.
The Fall (2013-)
This gripping BBC crime drama set in Belfast stars Gillian Anderson as a detective superintendent sent in to assist on a difficult serial-killing case. (Five episodes so far; more are coming.)
(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.