Sure, Sunday tends to be overcrowded with high-end TV, including “Downton Abbey,” “Shameless,” “Girls,” Californication,” “Enlightened” and more, but what to watch the rest of the time? Every Monday, we bring you five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.
First-time director Scott Thurman explores the American culture wars by way of school textbooks in this documentary, which looks at the once-a-decade gathering of the 15 members of the Texas Board of Education as they decide the state’s textbook and teaching standards. Thurman finds a particularly fascinating subject in Don McLeroy, a passionate creationist who attempts to rewrite not just the science curriculum but other subjects’ as well, and who’s portrayed with compassion even as he leads the charge to change the agendas of the state’s schools in ways many will find horrifying. “The Revisionaries” premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
After the quick death of 2010’s low-rated sitcom “Running Wilde,” “Felicity” star Keri Russell returns to the small screen with a new and more promising project. She and Matthew Rhys play KGB spies living undercover in a D.C. suburb in the 1980s and raising children who have no idea of their parents’ true identities. This espionage drama was created by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent, with “Warrior” helmer Gavin O’Connor directing the pilot episode.
“30 Rock”: Series Finale
Thursday, Jan. 31 at 8pm on NBC
Goodbye, Liz Lemon! Goodbye, Jack! Goodbye, Lutz — we may miss you most of all. For seven seasons, Tina Fey’s landmark sharp, funny and sometimes downright brilliant sitcom provided an easy retort to anyone who’d dare bring up the claim that women aren’t funny. The show closes out its run with a two-part, hour-long finale in which Liz (Fey) tries to adjust to her new life as a stay-at-home mom while her mentor and boss (Alec Baldwin) takes stock of where he is — and Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) takes over NBC.
“Elementary”: “The Red Team”
Thursday, Jan. 31 at 10pm on CBS
“Sherlock” may always be the superior modern-day Sherlock Holmes reimagining, but CBS’ New York-set attempt managed to crawl out from under the shadow of the U.K. series in its last episode, which made its take on the detective (played by Jonny Lee Miller) much darker than the show first indicated, introduced a classic villain and provided an interesting twist in Holmes’ relationship with his female Dr. Watson (Lucy Liu). Winter premiere “The Red Team” finds Watson trying to patch up the relationship between Holmes and his police contact Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn).
Angela Bassett plays Coretta Scott King to Mary J. Blige’s Dr. Betty Shabazz in this Lifetime movie about the wives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Malik Yoba) and Malcolm X (Lindsay Owen Pierre) and the friendship they form after their husbands’ assassinations. This film, directed by Yves Simoneau (“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”), is the first of three Lifetime originals airing as part of the network’s Black History Month celebration — Toni Braxton’s “Twist of Faith” and the church family drama “Pastor Brown” follow later in February.
Also worth a look: Sutton Foster’s real-life brother (and fellow Broadway star) Hunter guest stars on “Bunheads” as Michelle’s sibling and fellow lovable mess Monday, Jan. 28 at 9pm on ABC Family; TNT’s new generation primetime soap “Dallas” kicks off its second season Monday, Jan. 28 at 9pm; goofy Jekyll-and-Hyde reimagining “Do No Harm” premieres on NBC Thursday, Jan. 31 at 10pm; and the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards, which celebrates people of color in TV, music, film and more, airs Friday, Feb. 2 at 8pm on NBC.