Things get quite busy again this week, with new series premiering five nights out of seven and a batch of returning shows, including the final seven episodes of Mad Men. Also, the approach of the Passover and Easter holidays brings a pair of Biblical-themed miniseries, and Sunday is one of the most overstuffed nights of TV I can recall.
Monday, March 30
The Big Picture with Kal Penn (9-10 pm, NatGeo)
Penn hosts a look at issues like crime and viruses through a prism of data analysis. (Two episodes air weekly)
Also tonight: the three-part science series Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies begins (9-11 pm, PBS; parts two and three air Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time); Comedy Central roasts
some twerp from Canada Justin Bieber (10 pm-12:02 am).
Tuesday, March 31
The Dovekeepers (9-11 pm, CBS)
This four-hour miniseries tells the stories of four women during the siege of Masada, which sounds sort of similar to Lifetime’s The Red Tent from last year (concludes tomorrow night, same channel and time)
Also tonight: the series premieres of Weird Loners (9:30-10 pm, Fox), about four dissimilar mid-30s housemates in Queens, Starring Becki Newton, Zachary Knighton, Nate Torrence, and Meera Rohit Kumbhani; and Younger (10-11:01 pm, TV Land), from Darren Star (creator of Sex and the City), about a 40-year-old single mother who pretends to be in her mid-20s in an attempt to restart her career and love life, starring Sutton Foster (Bunheads), along with Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, and Hilary Duff. (Two-episode premiere)
Wednesday, April 1
Best Bars in America (9-10 pm, Esquire TV)
I admit to having spent very little time watching this channel aside from Car Matchmaker and the occasional Parks and Recreation rerun, so I was not aware of this series hosted by comedians Sean Patton and Jay Larson, which begins its second season tonight with a visit to San Francisco, where the guys are joined by Nat Faxon.
Thursday, April 2
Lip Sync Battle (10-11:01 pm, Spike)
The title says it all, except that the combatants are celebrities (because we’d certainly rather watch them lip-sync than regular folks) and they get to choose their songs. Since Jimmy Fallon popularized this with his guests, it’s appropriate that he’s on the first show, along with Dwayne Johnson. (Two-episode premiere)
Also tonight: the series premiere of Olympus, about the wacky antics of those ancient Greek gods and goddesses (10-11 pm, Syfy); and the season two premiere of The Red Road (10-11 pm, Sundance).
Friday, April 3
The Grace Helbig Show (10:30-11 pm, E!)
YouTube personality Helbig, who’s also appeared several times on @Midnight, moves to television with a weekly talk show that’s going to look and feel quite different from most such shows, set in a house instead of a studio and with no audience or band.
Also tonight: Great Performances (10-11 pm, PBS) features a 2014 concert by Annie Lennox.
Saturday, April 4
Killer Crush (8-10:02 pm, Lifetime)
Remember The Hand That Rocks the Cradle? This is like that, except with a student working as a caregiver to her professor’s ailing wife.
Also tonight: Outlander returns for the second half of its first season (9-10:05 pm, Starz).
Sunday, April 5
An Overflowing Easter Basket
There’s so much new stuff on tonight I’m just going to run it down in list form:
- Sinatra: All or Nothing at All (8-10 pm, HBO; two-part biographical documentary of the entertainer features interviews, concert footage, and remarks from friends and family members; concludes tomorrow, also 8-10 pm)
- If There Be Thorns (8-10 pm, Lifetime; third movie in series of V.C. Andrews adaptations)
- A.D. The Bible Continues (9-10 pm, NBC; picks up where The Bible left off)
- American Odyssey (10-11 pm, NBC; an overly complicated drama with echoes of Homeland and Traffic, starring Anna Friel as a Special Forces soldier attempting to expose a global conspiracy)
- Wolf Hall (10-11:10 pm, PBS; six-part miniseries based on the Hilary Mantel novels about historical figure Thomas Cromwell, starring Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis)
- Mad Men (10-11:04 pm, AMC; second half of the final season)
- The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (10-11:02 pm, Lifetime; a fictionalized account of what happened to Borden after she was acquitted of murdering her parents)
- Salem (10-11:05 pm, WGN America; season two premiere)
That Time Netflix Wasn’t Helpful
I really wanted to use the premiere of Weird Loners to plug The Young Ones, a brief (two seasons, 12 episodes) British sitcom from the early 1980s about four mismatched student roommates in London, but sadly it’s not available to stream. Many people of my age bracket were exposed to the show because MTV aired it for a while around 1985-6. (If you’re willing to seek it out on DVD, it’s worth it.) Since that’s not an option, I guess I’ll suggest the first season of Salem, which takes the historical facts of the notorious 17th-century events and steers into decidedly supernatural territory with fervor and relish, sort of like Dark Shadows on meth. (13 episodes)
(Note: this information is accurate as of publication time, but programming is subject to change at the discretion of channels, providers, and networks. All times listed are Eastern time.)