Sunday, March 16 (NBC)
Series Debut: The kids of Washington D.C.’s elite politicos, CEOs, diplomats and even the president have been kidnapped by a mysterious mastermind bent on causing chaos on ’Merican soil, and it’s up to a Secret Service newbie (Lance Gross, House of Payne) and an FBI agent (Rachael Taylor, 666 Park Avenue) to get them back—well, not just those two, but you get the idea. Crisis is faster-paced, more tense and about 70 percent less ridiculous than CBS’ similarly themed Hostages, with better dramatic support in the form of Gillian Anderson (who exhibits only slightly more facial movement here than she does on Hannibal) and the anti-Dylan McDermott, Dermot Mulroney (playing a character named Thomas Gibson, which is the real name of the star of Criminal Minds—What! Is! Happening?!). Killer pilot, but can Crisis sustain this intensity over 12 more episodes? And what happens if there’s a Season 2? “Dear Washington, I have your pets …”
The Grim Sleeper
Saturday, March 15 (Lifetime)
Movie: Believe it or not, The Only TV Column That Matters™ is gaining a real affinity for Lifetime movies—better hurry up with Sharknado 2, Syfy. In the nicely-titled The Grim Sleeper, a far-too-good-looking L.A. Weekly reporter (Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23’s Dreama Walker, unbelievably pretty even by Los Angeles journalism standards) investigates a string of unsolved murders with a 14-year gap and learns that the cops have kept a serial-killer spree quiet—it’s True Detective without all of the thinky exposition and bad hair. And, The Grim Sleeper is based on a true story, wherein the recently apprehended suspect hasn’t even gone to trial yet. Oh, Lifetime!
Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe
Tuesday, March 18 (ABC)
Special: So what if it’s an infomercial for Marvel/Disney’s upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It’s an hour of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron! And, yeah, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe goes behind the scenes of films going back to 2008’s Iron Man (no Ghost Rider? Damn it), and tries to explain the myriad connections of the Avengers, like the geeks don’t know and casual fans of bright colors and ’splodey stuff care. Excelsior!
Doll & Em
Wednesday, March 19 (HBO)
Series Debut: If your Emily Mortimer tolerance is maxed-out by the end of any given episode of The Newsroom … not saying that’s me, just putting it out there … Doll & Em, a semi-improvised docu-style comedy starring Mortimer and Dolly Wells (Bridget Jones’ Diary) maybe isn’t for me … I mean, you. Mortimer plays Em, a British actress working in Hollywood who hires her just-dumped, heartbroken best friend Doll (Wells) as her personal assistant, resulting in far less of a par-tay situation than Entourage. Em’s “old”! Doll’s a “paid friend”! Cry, hug, scene. Doll & Em has its moments, but the female-buds comedy bar has already been set by Broad City—sorry, ladies.
Wednesday, March 19 (The CW)
Series Debut: In the future, 100 pretty space kids are exiled to long-abandoned Earth to survive, maintain perfect hair and have pensive, dewy-eyed moments. Sure, I can’t tell any CW series that isn’t Arrow or Supernatural apart from the others, but I’m also not in the target demographic—these shows are for, whaddya call ’em? Tweens? Millennials? Spores? Anyway, they’ll probably enjoy The 100 just as much as they do The Vampire Diaries of the Star-Crossed Tomorrow People or Reign of the Beauty & the Beast Originals in the Hart of Dixie.