The NCAA tournament begins this week, but you don’t need me to tell you that; I’m here to cover the stuff you may not already know about. It’s another fairly active TV week, with three new shows (one on Netflix, which is becoming almost routine); a season finale that will leave people talking; and a couple of season premieres, including a cult comedy’s triumphant return on… Yahoo?
Monday, March 16
It’s another iffy night of bland network programming. (I suppose you could just watch Dancing with the Stars or The Voice, but if you’re here reading this you are probably a person who doesn’t care about those shows.) Looking at tonight’s movies, Encore is doing one of its periodic James Bond catalog dumps this month, and tonight’s selection (8-10 pm) is You Only Live Twice (1967), the last of Sean Connery’s five official appearances as Bond. I mostly like this one, but with a very squicky feeling about the part where he poses as a Japanese guy, a shameful tactic the movies used going back at least as far as the Charlie Chan series of the 1930s (and one which was also employed in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No). Thankfully we have evolved beyond this sort of retrograde thinking, but I think it’s important to remember it was still happening not that long ago.
Tuesday, March 17
Community (Yahoo Screen)
The moment many of us have been waiting for is finally here: the mythical sixth season of Community is real. Sadly, Shirley is gone (Yvette Nicole Brown needed a less demanding schedule), but there are two new characters: Paget Brewster as Frankie Dart, a consultant hired to improve Greendale, and Keith David as Elroy Patashnik, a retired scientist. Otherwise we can expect more of the usual madness we’ve come to love.
Also: the premiere of iZombie (9-10 pm, CW) from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas, which is sort of an undead take on Medium: a medical student becomes zombified and takes a job in the morgue for access to brains, which leads to the discovery that they contain information about how the people died. And tonight is also the season two premiere of Undateable (9-9:30 pm, NBC) followed at 9:30 by the series premiere of One Big Happy, about best friends who decide to have a child together (he’s straight, she’s gay), but the arrangement becomes complicated by a sudden marriage. Ellen DeGeneres is an executive producer.
Wednesday, March 18
Empire (8-10 pm, Fox)
Empire is a genuine phenomenon of a magnitude TV has not seen for some time. Ratings increased almost every week (the opposite nearly always happens), and the show has connected with viewers in an immediate way. Even if the storytelling tilts toward the outlandish, it’s executed at a high level and is just fun to watch. Season one wraps tonight with double episodes; expect your friends and coworkers to be talking about it Thursday.
Thursday, March 19
The Lost Boys (8-10 pm, Sundance)
I’d never seen this 1987 teen-vampire movie until a few months ago, when I was urged to watch it by my wife. I was deeply unimpressed, and I believe it has more to do with the movie than with me. YMMV.
Friday, March 20
Another Friday, another original series premiering on Netflix—that’s what it’s starting to feel like. There may be a point where the frequency of new programming coincides with a drop in quality, but it hasn’t happened yet. This week’s new show is a drama about a prominent Florida family and its secrets. It comes from the team behind Damages and stars Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Ben Mendelsohn, Jacinda Barrett, Norbert Leo Butz, Jamie McShane, Enrique Murciano, Sissy Spacek, and Sam Shepard.
Also tonight: the season six premiere of Children’s Hospital (12-12:15 am, Adult Swim).
Saturday, March 21
Now, Voyager (8-10 pm, Turner Classic Movies)
We’re going to eschew Lifetime’s offering this week in favor of a classic starring Bette Davis as a troubled woman, emotionally abused by her overbearing mother, who manages to find self-confidence and a measure of happiness in an affair with an unhappily married man. It’s a very woman-centric movie, a little surprising for 1942 but unsurprisingly based on a novel written by a woman.
Sunday, March 22
Point Break (9:50 pm-12 am, Encore)
Oh hell yes: unlike The Lost Boys (see Thursday above), this is a terrible movie I can get behind, because it’s so bad it crosses over into being awesome.
United States of Tara (2009-11)
Diablo Cody created this… comedy? (seems like the wrong word, but that’s how it was classified) about a dysfunctional family with, at its center, a woman with dissociative identity disorder (what in the past used to be called multiple personalities). The show is uneven but is anchored by the performances of Toni Collette as Tara and her various alternate selves. (Three seasons, 36 episodes total.)
(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.)