Wednesdays, 10pm, BBC America
Captive audience: British police-procedural watchers; Doctor Who geeks; people who just love devouring good TV.
Moment of truth: BBC America continues its streak of giving stateside audiences instantly addictive U.K. television with this riveting, immensely bleak mystery about a seaside British town whose community begins to unravel after an 11-year-old boy is found dead on the beach. Former Time Lord David Tennant stars as the hardened, tortured, methodical detective (Is there any other kind?) who seeks to find the boy’s murderer. Considering I consumed four eps of this show in one day, one after the other like Cape Cod potato chips, I predict American audiences will become just as devoted.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Thursdays, 12:15am, Carton Network
Captive audience: Adult Swim watchers; CSI/NCIS haters; people who still wish Police Squad! would’ve gone more than six episodes.
Moment of truth: This incessantly nutty sendup of all the high-tech police procedurals (and their spinoffs) CBS airs has returned for a third season, with Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan joining the crew as a hippy-dippy gadget girl. Unfortunately, things get a bit wobbly this season. Last week’s premiere, which mocked both Con-Air and Comic-Con, had me in hysterics. But an upcoming ep, which uses guest star Ed Helms in cruel and unfunny ways, may be its worst episode yet. Let’s hope creator/star Paul Scheer (The League) uses his hairpiece-covered noggin to come up with more funny.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.
John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show
Fridays, 11pm, Comedy Central
Captive audience: The Daily Show watchers; comedy nerds; people who grew up watching An Evening at the Improv every night.
Moment of truth: Sorry to disappoint all you Jon Stewart purists out there, but I think John Oliver has been doing a bang-up job filling in on The Daily Show while Stewart’s in the Middle East directing a movie. Oliver also does fine work hosting this weekly stand-up showcase, which just started its fourth season. The show’s really nothing spectacular—just Oliver playing MC to a slew of up-and-coming comics and seasoned vets. Thankfully, many of the comics (Reggie Watts, W. Kamau Bell, Pete Holmes, Paul F. Tompkins) are very funny. Now, if only Oliver can do something about that long-ass title.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.