Spies, cartoons, reacquainting with the “world’s greatest detective,” and a Sunday slate of premium cable shows are all on tap this week.
Monday, November 3
Over the Garden Wall (7-7:30 pm, Cartoon Network)
Is there such a thing as an animated miniseries? There is now. Patrick McHale of Adventure Time created this 10-part tale, airing on five consecutive nights this week, about two brothers on a journey through a forest.
Tuesday, November 4
Frontline (10-11 pm, PBS)
The practice of solitary confinement in prisons is examined.
Wednesday, November 5
The Game (10-11:15 pm, BBC America)
It’s a spy thriller and a period drama, two great tastes that one hopes will taste great together. Set in 1972, The Game is about an MI5 team investigating the threat of a Soviet plot against Britain. Most of the cast is relatively unknown to American audiences, but the presence of Brian Cox as the boss is enough to get me to check out the show, and may be for others as well.
Thursday, November 6
White Collar (9-10:01 pm, USA)
The show ended last season on a cliffhanger without knowing if it would be coming back. It was a bold move that worked; originally USA talked about wrapping up Neal and Peter’s story with a two-hour movie, but eventually they settled on a truncated, six-episode sixth and final season, which begins tonight (followed by the return of Covert Affairs for the second half of its fifth season).
Friday, November 7
A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House (9-10 pm, PBS)
The performers include John Fogerty, Common, Mary J. Blige, Willie Nelson, and Ramon Santos.
Saturday, November 8
Sherlock (7-9 pm, BBC America)
If somehow you haven’t seen the nine episodes that have aired on PBS and don’t have access to Netflix streaming, BBC America begins showing them tonight.
Also tonight: the historical drama Hell on Wheels returns for the second half of its fourth season (9-10 pm, AMC).
Sunday, November 9
HBO’s Deep Bench
Not every HBO show can be as big a hit as Game of Thrones, but a subscriber-supported channel doesn’t have to concern itself as much with ratings (compared to the networks) and can give smaller shows time to develop. Tonight there’s a trio of season premieres: at 9 we get the third and final season of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, which will deal with the Boston Marathon bombings; at 10 is the long-gestating season two of The Comeback, starring Lisa Kudrow as former sitcom star Valerie Cherish, still trying to resuscitate her career; and following that at approximately 10:40 pm is the second season of Getting On, a darkly comic look at the staff of a hospital’s geriatric-care wing with Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, and Laurie Metcalf.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
If somehow you have not availed yourself of the pleasures of this delightful and clever series, then you’ve almost certainly watched something that has been influenced by it. Joss Whedon reimagined his screenplay from the 1992 movie into a TV series, and in the process left an indelible impact on both the medium and the vampire genre. Buffy Summers and the Scooby Gang became a template for all sorts of ragtag groups fighting the good fight, and the writers’ ear for dialogue found its way into our everyday conversations. (Seven seasons, 144 episodes total; as much closure as you can expect from a story about a girl whose tombstone read “She saved the world. A lot.”)
(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.)