"Defiance": Series Premiere
Monday, Apr. 15 at 9pm on Syfy
While Syfy's latest series about a group of humans and aliens trying to form a community in a post-apocalyptic (but Western-influenced) world may look like a lot of other shows and films in the genre that have come before, it's unique in one way. The show, which stars Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Jaime Murray, Mia Kirshner and others, is half of an ambitious transmedia venture that also includes an MMO game produced by Trion Worlds -- the two properties are set in the same universe and will interact, though playing/watching one is not required in order to take in the other. Check out our interview with showrunner Kevin Murphy ("Caprica"), in which he talks about spanning two platforms with one project, here.
"Top of the Lake": Miniseries Finale
Monday, Apr. 15 at 9pm on Sundance Channel
Have you been watching Jane Campion's terrific miniseries? You should be -- "Top of the Lake," which premiered at Sundance in January and has been airing Monday nights on Sundance Channel, is bound to be one of the best things you'll see on TV this year. The two-hour finale airs tonight and brings together Robin Griffin's (Elisabeth Moss) investigation of a missing girl, her past and the remote community of Laketop in great and sometimes shocking ways.
"The Central Park Five": TV Premiere
Tuesday, Apr. 16 at 9pm on PBS
Following a premiere at Cannes last year and a festival and theatrical run that earned it much acclaim, including a Spirit Award nomination, Ken and Sarah Burns and David McMahon's documentary "The Central Park Five" will have its television premiere on PBS. The film chronicles the 1989 Central Park Jogger case from the perspective of these five teenagers who were tried and convicted of the crime, only to have those convictions vacated in 2002 after another man's confession was confirmed by DNA evidence.
"Southland": Season Finale
Wednesday, April 17 at 10pm on TNT
Considered by many (who watch, at least) to be the best cop drama on TV at the moment, "Southland" wraps up its fifth season on TNT, where it's had a second life after having been canceled on original network NBC in 2009, this week. The show, which stars Benjamin McKenzie, Michael Cudlitz, Regina King, Shawn Hatosy and others, has attracted many accolades for its gritty portrayal of life as a Los Angeles cop, but its future is uncertain, with McKenzie already booking a pilot in case a renewal isn't handed down. Which makes it a good time to check in on the series before it potentially leaves the air -- and LAPD Chief of Police Charlie Beck is slated to make a cameo in the season finale.
"Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington": TV Premiere
Thursday, Aprl 18 at 8pm on HBO
Achingly sad, celebratory and heartful, Sebastian Junger's documentary about photojournalist Tim Hetherington is a portrait of a great talent and a life cut short -- Hetherington was killed by mortar fire when covering the Libyan civil war in 2011. It's also a personal missive -- Junger and Hetherington co-directed the Oscar-nominated doc "Restrepo," about a year in the life of a platoon stationed in a very dangerous area in Afghanistan. The film comes to HBO after a premiere at Sundance in January.
Also worth a look: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan's documentary about heroic female role models "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" airs on PBS's "Independent Lens" on Monday, April 15th at 10pm; Emily Kapnek's surreal suburban satire "Suburgatory" wraps up another strong season with a one-hour finale on ABC on Wednesday, April 17th at 8pm; basketball star doc portrait "Amar'e Stoudemire: In the Moment" premieres on Epix on Friday, April 19th at 8pm; Jeff Orlowski's doc "Chasing Ice" comes to the National Geographic Channel on Friday, April 19th at 8pm; Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn star in Richard Curtis' malaria heart-tugger "Mary and Martha" on HBO on Saturday, April 20th at 8pm.