Sure, Sunday tends to be overcrowded with high-end TV, including “Mad Men,” “Veep,” “The Borgias,” “Game of Thrones,” “Nurse Jackie” 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.
HBO takes on the circus in this 40-minute activist doc directed by Amy Schatz, produced and narrated by Lily Tomlin and written by Tomlin’s professional and life partner Jane Wagner. “An Apology to Elephants” makes a case for the inherent cruelty of subjecting elephants to captivity and the realities of how they’re trained to perform. The film come on the heels of the recent dismissal of a case filed against Ringling Bros. for its treatment of its elements by the ASPCA, PETA and other animal groups.
“Rectify”: Series Premiere
Monday, Apr. 22 at 9pm on Sundance Channel
Sundance Channel’s first wholly-owned original drama comes from actor and filmmaker Ray McKinnon, of “Deadwood” and the Oscar-winning 2001 short “The Accountant.” A meditative and ferociously well-acted six-part series, “Rectify” stars Aden Young as Daniel Holden, a man who’s spent half his life on death row for a rape and murder when his sentence is vacated due to DNA evidence. Abigail Spencer, Johnny Ray Gill, Luke Kirby and J. Smith-Cameron are part of the ensemble cast playing Daniel’s allies and enemies as he tries to adjust to life outside after 19 years behind bars.
Jon Shenk’s 2011 documentary address climate change by way of an undeniable real world example — the Maldives, the island nation with the lowest elevation on the planet. The man of the title is the country’s former president Mohamed Nasheed (currently imprisoned after being ousted by the military and police last year), who the film tracks to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit as he makes a plea on behalf of a state in danger of disappearing as sea levels rise.
Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace’s doc about LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy’s retirement gig at Madison Square Garden comes to Epix after a sturdy festival and limited theatrical run. The film pairs snippers from an interview Murphy did with Chuck Klosterman with footage from the concert, on which Spike Jonze served as a camera operator.
Update: ABC just announced that the preempted episodes will air on the 26th, with the episodes described below pushed a week to May 3rd.
Having been preempted last week due to coverage of the Boston manhunt, “Happy Endings” will finish its season with its future uncertain — the cult favorite’s been on the bubble for a while, with ABC running a spot urging fans to save the series while USA Network has expressed interest in possibly picking up the comedy should it get canceled. The first of Friday’s two episodes, airing at 8pm, will feature Megan Mullally and Michael McKean as Penny (Casey Wilson) and Dave’s (Zachary Knighton) still-dating parents, while the finale, at 8:30pm, will find Jane (Eliza Coupe) planning a wedding for her and Alex’s (Elisha Cuthbert) older, more perfect sister Brooke (Stephanie March).
Also worth a look: The latest “30 for 30” doc from ESPN, a look at the 1983 NFL Draft called “Elway to Marino,” airs Tuesday, April 23 at 8pm ET; the extremely dark but always funny Anthony Jeselnik wraps up the first season of his late night show “The Jeselnik Offensive” on Tuesday, April 23 at 10:30pm on Comedy Central; The CW’s hit supernatural soap “The Vampire Diaries” offers up a backdoor pilot for spinoff series “The Originals” on Thursday, April 25 at 8pm.