Sure, with “Sherlock,” “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “Girls,” “Nurse Jackie” and more, Sunday’s overcrowded with great TV, but what to watch the rest of the time? Each Monday, we bring you this guide to five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.
“Conan the Barbarian”
IFC, Monday, May 14th at 8pm
So the former governor of California may not have had a political career nor a marriage that ran smoothly — what could you expect from someone who once made the famous on-screen declaration that the best things in life are “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women”? See how well John Milius’ 1982 fantasy, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his most memorable roles, holds up.
HBO’s four-part documentary on how alarmingly fat America has become is more than just a premium network’s exercise in doomsaying — it was made in partnership with the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, and is intended to be an agent of change accompanied by public health iniatives and a conference in D.C. Airing over two nights, the series first looks at the consequences and science behind the obesity epidemic, then its effect on kids and how the food and beverage industries, marketing, poverty and lifestyle changes have led us down this path. While the information being trotted out is all what you’d expect, the impact of the numbers shouldn’t be downplayed — two-thirds of adults and almost one-third of children are overweight or obese, and once someone’s overweight, he or she will have more of struggle to get back to and maintain a normal BMI than someone who’s always kept size under control. As TV goes, its bitter medicine to swallow, but it also feels much needed.
“Community”: Three-part season finale
ABC, Thursday, May 17th at 8pm
Network television’s most meta sitcom has been renewed for another season, though it remains to be seen if creator and showrunner Dan Harmon will return with it. While we await word, tonight’s season finale plays out over three parts, split by the season finale of “30 Rock” in the middle at 8:30. “Digital Estate Planning” finds Chevy Chase’s Pierce fighting for control of his father’s company, while “The First Chang Dynasty” pits the study group against Ken Jeong’s former teacher-turned-power-mad security guard for control of the school. And “Introduction to Finality” has Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger back in court against a former colleague. (We expect these episodes to be far stranger than these descriptions suggest.)
“Scandal”: “Grant: For the People”
ABC, Thursday, May 17th at 10pm
Shonda Rhimes’ new Beltway thriller may have been given a short first season, but in its mere six episodes to date it has managed to journey far down some unexpected rabbit holes, expanding from the story of fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her firm to one about murder, torture and secret White House entanglements. It’s bonkers and bloody enjoyable, and while it may maintain an implausibly grim view of political machinations (“The West Wing,” it certainly ain’t, despite the welcome presence of Joshua Malina), it’s nicely twisty TV that accelerates toward a finale tonight that promises death and revelations that may put the future of President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) in jeopardy — fortunately, ABC’s already renewed the show for a second season.
“Saturday Night Live”: Mick Jagger
NBC, Saturday, May 19th at 11:30pm
The Rolling Stones frontman stops by 30 Rockefeller Plaza to host the closing episode of SNL’s 37th season, doing double-duty as the music guest along with Arcade Fire, Jeff Beck and the Foo Fighters.
Also worth a look: Genuine fans and hate-watchers alike already know that the “Smash” season finale is this Monday, May 14th at 10pm on NBC; TLC really did make a special entitled “Obese and Expecting,” and it’s airing Thursday, May 17th at 9pm; Independent Lens’ “Precious Knowledge” examines the attacks on the successful but controversial Mexican American Studies Program at Tucson High School, and airs on PBS on Thursday, May 17th at 10pm; Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon star in the classic 1939 version of “Wuthering Heights,” with “The Essentials” hosts Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore doing the introduction, on TCM on Saturday, May 19th at 8pm.