This week on your TVs and streaming devices: two season premieres, a series finale, a batch of new shows, and something I overlooked last week (it happens occasionally).
Monday, February 23
The Night Shift (10-11 pm, NBC)
NBC liked some of its summer shows from last year enough that not only did it renew them, but it’s not waiting until summer to bring them back. The Night Shift is a hospital show set in San Antonio and it’s pretty mediocre, but I guess there has to be at least one such show on at any given time, and it does seem to have found an audience.
Also: if you have HBO and have not yet seen the documentary Citizenfour, it’s on tonight (9-11 pm).
Tuesday, February 24
Parks and Recreation (10-11 pm, NBC)
I don’t usually bother giving space to series finales, but fans know that Parks is a special show. This final season has been full of gems, gifts, satisfying story resolutions, new beginnings, and Easter eggs for fans, and while I’m sad it’s ending, I am eager to see how the series wraps up. The one thing fans know is coming that hasn’t happened yet is an appearance by Ann and Chris, so that must be in tonight’s finale.
Wednesday, February 25
9-1/2 Weeks (7:30-10 pm, Sundance)
Who needs Fifty Shades of Grey? If kinky is what you’re after, this 1986 flick starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke has plenty.
Thursday, February 26
QI (8-10 pm, BBC America)
Whoops, I missed this one when it premiered last week. QI (“cue eye”) is a very, very British “panel show” hosted by the inimitable and delightful Stephen Fry (reason enough to watch) in which guests are challenged to answer questions and demonstrate their knowledge in the most interesting ways possible. A letter of the alphabet is chosen for each season and the episodes have specific themes keyed to words that begin with that letter (I told you it was very British). (Because shows on British TV run without ads, three 30-minute episodes will air in this two-hour block, with our charming American commercial breaks added.)
Friday, February 27
House of Cards (Netflix)
I haven’t yet finished season two, mainly because the past two months have been ridiculously overstuffed with other things to watch, and I tend to work on clearing recorded shows off my DVR before hitting my Netflix queue. But I know the general outline of what happens and I’ll be caught up soon; those of you who have finished season two can jump right into season three today.
Saturday, February 28
Good Witch (8-10 pm, Hallmark)
Witches are another subject that TV show creators never seem to tire of exploring, and although this is technically a new series, it’s based on a series of (seven!) TV movies featuring the same title character and played by the same actress, Catherine Bell. The fact that it’s airing on Saturdays tells you everything you need to know.
Sunday, March 1
The Last Man on Earth (9-10 pm, Fox)
From directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who gave us The Lego Movie, comes a new show about a guy (Will Forte) who finds himself the only survivor of a virus that has wiped out the rest of the planet’s population in 2020. It’s unusual for a show to place so much of the burden on one performer, but Forte (who also created the show) is more than up to the challenge and is hilarious. Some critics have called this one of the best new shows of the year. (Two episodes air tonight)
Also tonight: two new dramas, Secrets and Lies (9-11 pm, ABC; two episodes), a murder mystery starring Ryan Philippe as the accused and Juliette Lewis as a detective; and Battle Creek (10-11 pm, CBS), an offbeat cop show about mismatched partners, created by Vince Gilligan and starring Dean Winters and Josh Duhamel.
Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Call this selection cheating if you want, but this week’s series finale of the show gives me another opportunity to proclaim its greatness. Quite simply, Parks is one of the best sitcoms of the past 20 or 25 years, making the fact that a show this good never drew a large audience is an even bigger shame. Rarely will you find a show with such an astoundingly talented cast and writers that produced gem after gem. One other note: the first season is only six episodes, and they do not represent the show at its best; various elements of character and tone are still being tinkered with, but everything starts clicking in season two. (Seasons one through six are currently on Netflix; 111 episodes are available, plus the current final season has 13, which should be added at some point.)
(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.)