Sure, Sunday is overcrowded with high-end TV like “True Blood,” “The Newsroom,” “Weeds,” “Breaking Bad” (returning this Sunday at 10pm on AMC) and USA’s new “Political Animals” (also premiering Sunday at 10pm) 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.
“Hard Times: Lost on Long Island” (Broadcast Premiere)
Monday, July 9 at 9pm on HBO
How much has the economy actually recovered? This new doc from “Brick City” co-director/-creator Marc Levin looks at long-term unemployment by way of the community of Levittown, New York, a Long Island hamlet considered the model for the contemporary suburb. The film challenges preconceptions about joblessness by focusing on a highly skilled, well-educated selection of characters who’ve been unable to find work, examining not just the economic strain they face but the personal and social ramifications as well. This is the third of a series of economic-themed docs Levin and Daphne Pinkerson have made with HBO — the others include 2009’s garment industry-centered “Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags” and 2011’s “Triangle: Remembering the Fire.”
“White Collar” (Season Premiere)
Tuesday, July 10 at 10pm on USA
Matt Bomer’s currently blowing up the big screen with his role in “Magic Mike,” but he’s also back on TV this week as criminal-turned-consultant Neal Caffrey, who works with Special Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) to catch thieves, mobsters, con-men, smugglers and more for what’s going on four seasons now. Last season ended in a cliffhanger that had Neal on the run, but this year’s 16-episode arc will bring in guest stars Treat Williams, Mekhi Phifer, Gregg Henry and Mia Maestro once he’s inevitably settled back in his partnership.
“Hit and Miss” (U.S. Series Premiere)
Wednesday, July 11 at 10pm on Direct TV’s Audience Network
Chloë Sevigny plays a pre-op transsexual contract killer in this British series. Really, what else do you need to know? The series is from Paul Abbott, creator of “Shameless” and “State of Play.”
POV: “Guilty Pleasures” (Broadcast Premiere)
Thursday, July 12 at 10pm on PBS
These days, everyone may be swept up in “50 Shades of Grey,” but long before there was any thought of BDSM-inclined, emotionally damaged business magnates, there was the huge industry of bodice-rippers, Harlequin romances and Mills & Boon novels. Director Julie Moggan’s doc follows five subjects who are either fans of or work in the world of romance books, from a Japanese housewife who looks for escape in dance lessons to a male retiree who writes swooning stories under a pseudonym, and examines the ways in which their taste for fantasy influences their reality.
“The Firm”: Series Finale
Saturday, July 14 at 10pm on NBC
This ill-fated sequel to the John Grisham novel-turned-1993 Sydney Pollack movie comes to an end this week after never quite coming together in the first place. In Indiewire’s interview with star Josh Lucas in May, the actor confessed that the series “was a total extraordinary mistake from day one,” one that was originally pitched to him by the creators as along the lines of “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” but that “ran up against what is reality, which is that television is a corporate medium.” It is, still, an interesting experiment is importing a nearly decade-old property to the small screen.
Also worth a look: Spy series “Covert Affairs” returns for a third season on Tuesday, July 10 at 10pm on USA; “Damages” is back for its DirecTV-only fifth and final season on Wednesday, July 11th at 9pm on the Audience Network; nonfiction series “Polyamory: Married and Dating” looks like old-school late night cable semi-scandalous goods, premiereing Thursday, July 12th at 11pm on Showtime; and if you’re wondering what Nia Vardalos is up to these days, she’s starring alongside Ian Ziering in doll-based gymnastics movie “An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars,” airing Saturday, July 14 at 8pm on NBC.