TV Picks

The best TV picks for the week ahead, June 27-July 3

bcain@newsobserver.comJune 26, 2014 

  • Other highlights

    • Saturday is a big night for original made-for-TV movies, starting with “Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs” on Lifetime (8 p.m.). Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) plays Jeffs in this true story of the fundamentalist leader who spent more than a year on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted List” on charges related to his alleged illegal arrangement of marriages involving underage girls. Martin Landau also stars. Over on Hallmark, “When Sparks Fly” (9 p.m.) is about a young journalist not as happy with her life in the big city as she’d hoped. It’s a safe assumption she’ll find love and happiness “back home.” It stars Meghan Markle and Christopher Jacot. Rounding out this eclectic trio of flicks is “Snakehead Swamp” on Syfy (9 p.m.). It’s about a humongous snakehead fish that terrorizes Louisana’s swampland.

    • PBS (UNC-TV) has a lot going on Sunday night, starting with the Season 2 premiere of “Last Tango in Halifax” at 8. The Season 2 premiere of “Endeavour” starts at 9. At 10:30, there’s a new British comedy series called “Vicious,” starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as an elderly gay couple who have lived together for nearly 50 years.

    • Over on HBO Sunday night at 10, it’s a dour new series based on the Tom Perrotta novel “The Leftovers.” It was co-created by Perrotta and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) and takes place after a mysterious rapture-like event vanishes 2 percent of the world’s population – child’s play if you’ve been watching “The Last Ship” on TNT, though the tone here is much darker.

    • ABC also debuts a new series on Sunday. “Reckless” (10 p.m.) is about a man trying to free his wife, who has been imprisoned overseas during a political uprising. It stars Patrick Fugit, Eloise Mumford and Naveen Andrews.

    • There are some finales on Sunday as well. Showtime ends the sixth season of “Nurse Jackie” (9 p.m.) and the first season of the horror series “Penny Dreadful” (10 p.m.). We’ll also get the series finale of “Californication” (9:30 p.m.).

    • On Tuesday we get the second-season premiere of one of my favorite shows of all time: “Drunk History” (10 p.m., Comedy Central). The TV series is based on a Funny or Die Web series in which comedians – or more often, comedy writers – get absolutely wasted and then retell famous stories from American history. Sometimes they puke, sometimes they cry. The stories are kinda-sorta factual-ish, and they are almost always hilarious. If you haven’t seen any of the episodes, spend a dozen hours or so right now looking for clips online.

    • For some real (and non-funny) history, Season 11 of “History Detectives” (9 p.m., UNC-TV) has been reformatted to take on just one mystery per episode. Tuesday’s premiere episode looks at one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history, the explosion of the Mississippi steamboat SS Sultana. Meanwhile, the ESPN documentary series “30 for 30” presents “White, Blue and White” (8 p.m.), about the late ’70s/early ’80s soccer success in England of Argentine stars Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa.

    • On Thursday, UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Weekend” show spotlights the Raleigh Mediterranean restaurant, Babylon.

The Wilmington-filmed “Under the Dome” series, based on the novel by Stephen King, returns for its second season Monday night at 10. Monday’s episode was written by King and we’ll finally get to see what happened after the explosion of pink stars in the Season 1 finale – and also, if Big Jim (Dean Norris) will actually let Barbie (Mike Vogel) hang. I’m guessing Barbie is safe, but King recently told reporters that he’s loving the new television trend in which no characters are safe, and that he “jumped at the chance to kill off a couple of loved series regulars.” Hmmm.

For more on what to watch, visit newsobserver.com/warmtv.

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