"Major Crimes" (TNT, Mondays). The sequel to the beloved "The Closer" begins its second season this week, with Mary McDonnell back as Capt. Sharon Raydor, the head of a fictional Los Angeles Police Department unit devoted to ... major crimes. The transfer of power last year from Kyra Sedgwick's semi-comical, deadly serious Brenda Johnson — half scatterbrain, half heat-seeking missile — to McDonnell's cooler, more contained character had something of the controversial quality of a "Doctor Who" regeneration. (Change is bad! No, change is good!) But McDonnell's music is very affecting — I am fine with anything that keeps this great actress on view — and her Sharon deceptively deep and deep-feeling. The sequel's focus on the police working with the district attorney's office to close cases without having to go to trial does feel a little bit strained (Nadine Velazquez joins the show this year as a deputy D.A. and designated irritant), but all in all this remains one of TV's best procedurals and, with the loss of "Southland," the one that makes the best use of Los Angeles, its neighborhoods, cultures and varities of light. (Jon Tenney, meanwhile, who played Brenda's FBI agent husband in "The Closer" and was a recurring character on last year's "Major Crimes," has taken up residence alongside Rebecca Romijn in TNT's new bantering detectives series "King & Maxwell," which also premieres Monday; about that, more anon.)
The Tony Awards (CBS, Sunday). The Tonys are the best of all awards shows, because (1) I have no opinions whatsoever about the nominees, having not seen a Broadway show since that time we had a night off on tour and Kevin the drummer suggested going to see "The Music Man," though, sadly, Craig Bierko was out of the show by that time (but Rebecca Luker happily was not); (2) Neil Patrick Harris (fourth time hosting); (3) there is much well-practiced singing and dancing, one battle-tested showstopper after another; (4) Neil Patrick Harris; (5) as the old-fashioned cousin of the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys, it's all the more lovable, and loving, for its perceived relative lack of pop-cultural cool-kid status; (6) Neil Patrick Harris, ladies and gentlemen; (7) ordinary citizens attend (the audience defines the theater community) and vocalize their enthusiasm; and (8) that guy.
"Wizards vs. Aliens" (The Hub, Saturdays), "The Aquabats! Super Show!" (The Hub, Saturdays). With "Wizards vs. Aliens," "Doctor Who" re-creator Russell T Davies fills the hole left in BBC children's programming by the loss of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" after the death of star Elisabeth Sladen. Here, working again with "Sarah Jane" co-creator Phil Ford, Davies jumps clear out of the Whoniverse for a genre mix-and-match in which an extraterrestrial race known as the Nekross has come to Earth in order to "eat magic." (They find it delicious.) Bad news for the wizards of the world, including 16-year-old Tom (Scott Hargan), our hero. (The Harry Potter likeness, down to the house hobgoblin, is inescapable and surely not accidental.) Sci-fi and fantasy, though to some extent antithetical (the possibly possible versus the impossibly possible), mate well, being in dramatic terms nearly equivalent: spells, technobabble, what's the difference, really? (And what is a sonic screwdriver but a wand with a little "science" glued on?) A straight-ahead kids' show, it represents the cheap side of modern TV sci-fi and/or fantasy (which is to say, it still looks better than any 20th century episode of "Doctor Who") but does its job without winking or irony. The cast includes the wonderful Annette Badland as Tom's grandmother; some will recall her as the troublesome Blon Slitheen from the ninth Doctor's year — turned back into an egg, perchance to grow up good the second time. Which, in a sense, she has here.
"The Aquabats! Super Show!" is, by contrast, full of ironical winking, yet there is nothing superior or dismissive in its re-creation of '70s/'80s/early-90s-style live-action Saturday morning TV. It is both a parody of the thing and the thing itself — an actual Saturday morning kids' show. (I write about the series, and speak with some of the Bats in and behind it, in this Sunday's Calendar section.) In its translation of a rock band that dresses like superheroes into superheroes who are also a rock band, it is something like Pinocchio becoming a real boy, if by "real" we mean something totally made up. Comes with its own integrated cartoons and commercials for fake toys and adolescent lifestyle aids (from a company called Gloopy).
"Falling Skies" (TNT, Sundays). I've never been able to summon much enthusiasm for America's favorite basic-cable post-apocalyptic road-picture of a TV series — that one with all the zombies. But I have been well disposed to this one, whose third season commences this week, wherein plucky humans roam the digital matte paintings of a ruined near-future to repel a race of spidery aliens and their giant robot thugs. Constructed, some say, as an echo of the American Revolution — and I can see that, sure — it stars Noah Wyle as George Washington, more or less. There are many big noisy battle scenes in which you root without reservation for the home team, but this is no interstellar "Red Dawn." If anything, in its complicated mix of gung-ho soldiering, troubled leadership, military-civilian dialectic, uneasy alliances and compromised minds, it resembles the admirable reboot of "Battlestar Galactica." (There is a zombiefication element as well, "Walking Dead" fans.) The insectoid enemy aliens are unusually convincing, and not just by TV standards; and unlike many beastly extraterrestrial invaders, who seem incapable of changing a light bulb let alone managing to cross the dark, forbidding reaches of space, they come off as smart and even relatable; you feel their pain, a little. It is also tense and terrifying. The new season takes up the action seven months after the end of the last, and there have been some changes around Charleston, is all I'm going to say.