Major premieres and season finales are the highlights this week.
Most auspicious is FX’s “Fargo.” HBO’s “True Detective” became a sensation, but “Fargo” is the more entertaining series. Will it gather raves?
The wonderfully offbeat spirit of the “Fargo” movie lives in the 10-episode limited series debuting at 10 p.m. Tuesday. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the turf. Bizarre violence clashes with folksy humor. Nasty characters operate in a gorgeous landscape. The series has an epic feel, but the stories take twisted, harrowing turns.
The mysterious Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) amuses with deadpan humor, stuns with violence and sets the riveting story in motion. He shakes up the lives of insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), police officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) and police deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman). The top-notch cast includes Bob Odenkirk, Keith Carradine, Oliver Platt and Kate Walsh.
Blessed with terrific acting, memorable characters and witty dialogue, “Fargo” is a must-visit stop in the TV landscape.
“Scandal” presents its season finale at 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC. The clips show Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn looking mighty concerned. They have to be happy, too: The political thriller recently won a Peabody. If you want more inside information, Jimmy Kimmel talks to “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes at 11:35 p.m. Thursday, also on ABC, of course.
CBS will toss an “NCIS” repeat at “Scandal” at 10 p.m. Thursday. We’re in a week when many favorite series are in repeats. Those include NBC’s “The Blacklist,” ABC’s “Castle,” ABC’s “Modern Family” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” But “NCIS” will offer a new episode in its regular time slot at 8 p.m. Tuesday, and Kelli Williams (“The Practice”) guest stars as the team investigates an officer’s murder after a bar fight.
“Dancing With the Stars” has a Disney night at 8 p.m. Monday. You’ll hear Disney songs and see Disney characters on ABC, which is a Disney-owned network. How do you like that product placement?
Blake Shelton revealed his top three singers last week on “The Voice.” Now the other coaches have to do the same in episodes at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The Top 12 perform live April 21.
“American Idol” is down to the final seven, who will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fox. Another ejection comes at 9 p.m. Thursday. The winner will be named May 21. Do you care?
“Survivor” also wraps up its season May 21. In a nifty trick, the long-running reality show, at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS, has managed to be more suspenseful than “Idol” this season.
“The Crazy Ones” offers its one-hour season finale at 9 p.m. Thursday on CBS. There’s a good chance this will be the series finale, because CBS hasn’t renewed the low-rated Robin Williams comedy.
Ken Burns’ films are events for PBS. The latest, “The Address,” arrives at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Students struggle to learn the Gettysburg Address, and that offers Burns a chance to explore the address’ enduring power.