Sunday, March 3 (ABC)
Series Debut: When her weed-smuggling husband is executed for, oh, stealing a few millions bucks worth of cocaine from an international crime lord, a woman (Radha Mitchell) with buried Russian mob ties covertly takes on said crime lord to repay hubbie’s debt and/or avenge his death—and to Protect Her Children (gotta have the family angle). If Red Widow sounds like Revenge with a Breaking Bad/Weeds twist, ding-ding-ding! You win a bag of faux coke; they have plenty. The first episode is solidly tense and, since this is based on a Dutch series, there’s only seven more—they know how to hit it and quit it in Europe.
The Celebrity Apprentice
Sunday, March 3 (NBC)
Season Premiere: Remember, when it debuted waaay back in 2004, how Donald Trump’s The Apprentice was a semi-legit competition featuring driven young professionals who wanted to make a mark in the business world? Yeah, that concept swirled down the drain with the ’Merican economy—bring on the middle-age freak show! This time around, returning “celebrity” “favorites” Gary Busey, Omarosa, Bret Michaels, La Toya Jackson, Dennis Rodman, Marilu Henner, Stephen Baldwin, Claudia Jordan, Penn Jillette, Lisa Rinna, Trace Adkins, Lil Jon, Dee Snider and Brande Roderick act up and melt down for charity, or something. The Only TV Column That Matters™ is willing to give The Celebrity Apprentice another chance because: Penn Jillette calls it the “most honest” reality show on TV (i.e. they really are that crazy), and Brande Roderick (just because).
Welcome to Myrtle Manor
Sunday, March 3 (TLC)
Series Debut: It’s taken The Learning Channel, or any channel, a surprisingly long time to produce an “unscripted” series about a trailer park, the seeming promised land of redneck reality TV—on the Redneck Riviera, no less. Unlike Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the rest of the white-trash wave, however, Welcome to Myrtle Manor—a Myrtle Beach mobile-home park that owner Becky (just Becky) envisions as a “five-star resort”—is rife with Twin Peaks-esque characters, left-field stories and its own lunatic, pastel-painted wisdom (security guard Marvin will become a regular on The Soup, guaranteed). Hell, I might even get my own above-ground pool.
Sunday, March 3 (History)
Series Debut: The History Channel can’t win: When they dumped the dull-ass Hitler documentaries and went with brand-questionable reality fare like Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars, history purists and Hitler enthusiasts (they’re out there—try Craiglist) bitched. When they tried to get back in the history game, “fact-checkers” questioned the network’s assertion of a malevolent Nazi/UFO alliance. Now, HC wants to push a scripted period drama about Norse warriors that looks like a mid-budget mashup of Game of Thrones, Spartacus and a Scandinavian metal video … no, no, no. Time to get real and embrace your true destiny, History Channel: The new home of 24-hour Duck Dynasty marathons.
Sunday, March 3 (HBO)
Season/Series Finale: Season 1 of the Laura Dern/Mike White dramedy Enlightened was such a drag that the hangover carried into the first episode of Season 2. But since then, it’s turned a nimble, touching tale of Dilbert-level corporate espionage and quiet anarchy that, while you assume she’ll be crushed by The Man, has you rooting for Dern’s idealistic office drone Amy Jellicoe. Her quest to take down the company that drove her to a mental breakdown and subsequent “spiritual rehab” ends on a satisfying note tonight, playing overtly as a series finale, even if HBO does decide to pick up a third season (so far, they haven’t). Heed the hype and check out Enlightened—but maybe fast-forward through Season 1.