There are three series premiering this week, but one of them is only viewable if you have a certain brand of video game console. Otherwise the rest of the week is a bit quieter than usual, but fortunately there’s new dose of ridiculousness (also known as a Saturday night Lifetime movie) to counter the doldrums.
Monday, March 9
The Returned (10-11 pm, A&E)
This is not the French show about dead people who reappear in a small town that ran on Sundance in 2013. Well, it is and isn’t; it’s an American remake of that show. (It’s A&E’s Gracepoint.) And apparently in this instance “remake” is applied pretty literally, which raises the question: with an original that’s so distinctive, why bother? Carlton Cuse (Lost) is an executive producer. (It’s preceded at 9 by the season three premiere of Bates Motel.)
Tuesday, March 10
Powers (PlayStation Network)
The sources from which we get TV programming, and the means by which it comes into our homes, continue to proliferate and diversify. Sony has been streaming movies and other content via PlayStation consoles for some time, but this is their first original offering, based on a comic-book series (that was originally in development at FX) about a world in which superheroes live among regular people, and the cops who police that world. Sharlto Copley (Chappie, District 9), whose character had superhuman abilities but has lost them, and Susan Heyward (The Following), who is human, star as the detectives; other cast members include Noah Taylor, Michelle Forbes, and Eddie Izzard.
Wednesday, March 11
blackish (9:31-10 pm, ABC)
Sitcoms generally have to be around for at least a few seasons before they earn the right to use clip shows as filler, so blackish is taking a different approach in its freshman season with “bloopish,” offering a batch of bloopers and gags that might otherwise have found their way onto the DVD set’s special features (and probably still will).
Thursday, March 12
Requiem for a Heavyweight (8-9:45 pm, Turner Classic Movies)
Once again we find ourselves turning to the classics to rescue an otherwise ho-hum evening of network programming. Rod Serling wrote the screenplay for this 1962 drama about a boxer at the end of his career who’s asked by his manager to lose his final match on purpose; it stars Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, and Julie Harris.
Friday, March 13
How Is It Possible…
No channel is showing any of the Friday the 13th movies tonight? Talk about a missed programming opportunity. Things are pretty dull elsewhere, so I guess I’ll suggest Dazed and Confused (8:45-11 pm, IFC), which needs no explanation from me; you all know what it is and what it’s about.
Saturday, March 14
Wuthering High School (8-10:02 pm, Lifetime)
Oh Lifetime, where would our Saturday nights be without your cheesy movies? This time around it’s a modern-day version of Wuthering Heights set in… well, you probably already figured it out from the title. But was it really necessary to include “School” in the title? It would have sounded a lot better if it was just Wuthering High. Or do you not trust your audience to figure these things out if you don’t make it super-obvious?
Sunday, March 15
The Royals (10-11:15 pm, E!)
E! climbs on the original scripted programming express train with a sudsy drama about a fictitious version of a British royal family (not much of a reach for E!, if you think about it). Elizabeth Hurley stars as Queen Helena; the rest of the cast is not as well-known, but I can tell you that Joan Collins is going to pop up at some point as the Queen’s mother.
Aziz Ansari Live at Madison Square Garden (2015)
Ansari has graduated to playing much larger venues, and his material is commensurate with the size of the arena. He continues to be one of the hottest standups working, and I’m always looking forward to what he does next.
(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.)