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5 Best Bets on TV This Week: An L.A. Gangster Noir From Frank Darabont, a Twisted Animated Adventure From Dan Harmon and More

5 Best Bets on TV This Week: An L.A. Gangster Noir From Frank Darabont, a Twisted Animated Adventure From Dan Harmon and More

Sure, Sunday tends to be overcrowded with high-end TV, including “Homeland,” “Masters of Sex,” “Getting On,” “Treme,” “The Walking Dead” 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.

Rick and Morty”: Series Premiere
Monday, December 2nd at 10:30pm on Adult Swim

Between when Dan Harmon was let go as showrunner of “Community” last summer and his being hired back this summer, the writer/producer/performer co-created this animated series over at Adult Swim with Justin Roiland, who was involved with Harmon’s un-televised TV network/media collective Channel 101. The dark comedy plays like a warped reimagining of “Back to the Future” in which Rick is an alcoholic, sociopathic mad scientist dragging his traumatized grandson Morty (both characters are voiced by Roiland) on perilous adventures in time and space. Sarah Chalke and Chris Parnell also voice characters.

“Mob City”: Series Premiere
Wednesday, December 4th at 9pm on TNT

After getting booted off “The Walking Dead,” the AMC zombie drama he developed for television that has gone on to more success, Frank Darabont makes his return to television with this period limited series set in 1940s Los Angeles. In six episodes, stretched over three weeks, the series will explore the prolonged battle between the NYPD and organized crime in the city, with former TWD star Jon Bernthal in the lead role as a detective caught between the two sides. “Mob City” represents a step up in terms of ambition from TNT’s previous scripted programming efforts like ampersand dramedies “Franklin & Bash” and “Rizzoli & Isles” — it’ll be interesting to see if the network continues in this direction.

“State of Play”: Series Premiere
Wednesday, December 4th at 9pm on HBO

Peter Berg, who ushered both the big and small screen incarnations of “Friday Night Lights” into being, looks again to the world of sports in this new HBO docuseries he’s hosting and co-producing. “State of Play” will explore different themes in athletics and how they relate to larger society, each episode pairing a 40-minute vérité doc with a 20-minute roundtable discussion. The first episode, “Trophy Kids,” will focus on parents who obsess over the sports prowess and competitive success of their children.

“The Sound of Music Live!”
Thursday, December 5th at 8pm on NBC

You have to be curious about NBC’s throwback musical extravaganza, a live three-hour staging of the theatrical “Sound of Music” starring (ulp!) Carrie Underwood as Maria and Stephen Moyer (of “True Blood”) as Captain von Trapp. Eight-time Tony nominee Rob Ashford will co-direct the production with “Saturday Night Live” alum Beth McCarthy-Miller.

“An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story”
Thursday, December 5th at 9pm on CNN

Director Al Reinert, who was nominated for a best documentary Oscar for his film on the Apollo missions “For All Mankind,” turns to the case of a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder, only to be cleared and released 25 years later. Michael Morton was charged with beating his wife to death, allegedly in front of their three-year-old son, and this film, which premiered at SXSW in March, documents the shocking miscarriage of justice and the process by which Morton fought for his freedom. 

Also worth a look: HBO commemorates World AIDS Day with doc “The Battle of AmfAR,” about the creation of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday, December 2nd at 9pm; Epix celebrates a legendary comedy club with hourlong special “The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall” on Friday, December 6th at 8pm; Showtime’s docuseries about mortality “Time of Death” comes to a close on Friday, December 6th at 9pm; Pink’s latest tour/spectacle is documented in Epix concert special “The Truth About Love Tour” on Saturday, December 7th at 8pm.

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