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by Alison Willmore
May 7, 2012 11:51 AM
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The 5 Things to Watch on TV This Week: London Swings in a New BBC Drama, Election Night on 'Parks and Rec'

Sam Claflin in 'White Heat' BBC America
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.

"AFI's Master Class: The Art of the Collaboration": David O. Russell and Mark Wahlberg
TCM, Tuesday, May 8th at 10pm

The second in a series of quarterly specials on artistic collaborations (the first, which aired last November, featured Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams), this hour will focus on actor-producer Mark Wahlberg and director-writer-producer David O. Russell, who'll appear in conversation in front of an audience of filmmaking students from the AFI Conservatory. The two have worked together on 1999's "Three Kings," 2004's "I Heart Huckabees" and 2010's "The Fighter." The special will also include clips from films that have inspired the men, among them "It's A Wonderful Life," "The 400 Blows" and "Man of a Thousand Faces."

"White Heat": "The Past is a Foreign Country"
BBC America, Wednesday, May 9th at 10pm

This six-part BBC2 drama brings together seven former London flatmates who were students together in the '60s and who've reunited due to the death of one of their own (but which one?) in the present day. Juliet Stevenson, Lindsay Duncan and Hugh Quarshie are among the fine actors cast as members of the group in the contemporary era, while Claire Foy, MyAnna Buring and David Gyasi play their younger selves in the many flashbacks, lucking out in getting to wear all the period-appropriate fashions.

"Parks and Recreation": ""Win, Lose, or Draw"
NBC, Thursday, May 10th at 9:30pm

Amy Poehler's intrepid civil servant Leslie Knope finally sees the results of her season-long campaign for city council in the "Parks and Recreation" season finale, and we'll get to see whether or not the show's written itself into a corner by presenting a situation in which Leslie either has to lose or to stop spending as much time with the ensemble of parks department characters whose interactions make the show. Paul Rudd will return as the sweet but dim rich kid Bobby Newport, Leslie's main opponent in the neck-and-neck political race, as will his tough campaign manager Jennifer Barkley (Kathryn Hahn), who could prove a unexpected element in what unfolds if, as was hinted at last week, she doesn't get paid due to a death in the Newport family.

"Common Law": Series Premiere
USA, Friday, May 11th at 10pm

Michael Ealy's not new to the big or small screen -- he's had roles in everything from off-Broadway productions to 2002's "Barbershop" to Showtime's "Sleeper Cell: American Terror" -- but he's definitely having a moment, with a role in last year's excellent, long-delayed "Margaret," an attention-getting turn alongside Taraji P. Henson in box office hit "Think Like a Man" and now a lead role in a new USA show. In keeping with the network's quirky character-centric comedies, "Common Law" will feature Ealy and Warren Kole as a pair of Los Angeles Robbery-Homicide detectives who are placed in relationship counseling after their bickering threatens their seven-year partnership. Sonya Walger plays their shrink.

"Fringe": "Brave New World (Part 2)"
Fox, Friday, May 11th at 9pm

"Fringe" has been renewed for one more season of dual-universe nuttiness, which means that this and last week's two-part finale isn't also serving as a capper on the series. Actor Lance Reddick told reporters that two potential endings had been shot for "Brace New World," which means we're surely getting the cliffhanger version this week to take us into the final 13-episode arc in the fall. Leonard Nimoy, who has semi-retired from acting, will reprise his role as Dr. William Bell. Executive producer Joe Chappelle directed both parts of the season finale.

Also worth a look: "Tiny Furniture," the film that launched "Girls" creator and star Lena Dunham's career two years ago, airs on the Sundance Channel Tuesday, May 8th at 8pm; new Discovery Channel series "The Devils Ride," purporting to be a real-life "Sons of Anarchy" (one that's of course nothing like National Geographic's "Outlaw Bikers"), premieres May 8th at 10pm; "Summer Pasture," Lynn True and Nelson Walker's documentary about Tibetan nomadic herders, airs on PBS' Independent Lens Thursday May 10th at 10pm.

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1 Comment

  • Chris | May 7, 2012 1:53 PMReply

    Please make this a weekly feature.