'Battle Creek' to 'iZombie': March TV madness

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Season three episodes of "House of Cards" has started streaming on Netflix.

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH. 9 p.m. Sunday, Fox29.

SECRETS AND LIES. 9 p.m. Sunday, 6ABC.

BATTLE CREEK. 10 p.m. Sunday, CBS3.

HOUSE OF CARDS. Today, Netflix.

March TV comes in like a lion Sunday night - three new network series compete with the "Downton Abbey" season finale - and continues to roar all month long with new and returning shows coming to broadcast, cable and a device near you.

Sunday's best bet - besides "Downton" and the return of "The Good Wife" - is CBS' "Battle Creek."

A collaboration between "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan, who wrote the original script years ago, and "House" creator David Shore, who ran with it, "Battle Creek" is a whimsical, even genial, cop show.

Josh Duhamel stars as FBI agent Milt Chamberlain - yes, you read that right - who's mysteriously been reassigned to Battle Creek, Mich. (a place Gilligan knew only from the side of a Kellogg's box), where Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) has been grumpily fighting the good fight with diminished resources.

Their odd-couple pairing is less predictable than most, but it helps that the ensemble cast isn't sidelined. No one wants to waste the likes of Janet McTeer ("The Honorable Woman," "Damages"), Kal Penn ("House") or Liza Lapira ("Super Fun Night").

Someone's had fun with the names - besides Milt, there's Penn's Detective Fontanelle White, Edward Fordham's Detective Aaron Funkhauser and Aubrey Dollar's sunny receptionist Holly Dale.

It isn't a comedy - they're working murders - but if the employees of Dunder Mifflin had solved crimes rather than sold paper, "The Office" might have looked a bit like "Battle Creek."

Fox's "The Last Man on Earth" is a comedy, albeit a bleak one at times.

"Saturday Night Live" alumnus Will Forte writes and stars as the title character in what could be the ultimate one-man show.

I happen to love that his research consisted of having seen the History Channel's unintentionally hilarious "Life After People" several years ago. I love even more a surprise in the one-hour premiere that I hope no one spoils for you.

It may seem like an "SNL" sketch that's gone on too long, but give it time. "The Last Man on Earth" could be The One.

Following NBC's remake of the Australian series "The Slap," is ABC's remake of the Down Under mystery "Secrets and Lies."

Ryan Phillippe stars as a house painter whose discovery of a young boy's body in the woods turns him into the prime suspect.

Juliette Lewis mostly just scowls as the driven detective who's sure he did it. The show delivers the secrets and lies, but isn't compelling enough to justify yet another story about a child's murder. BBC America's "Broadchurch" set that bar too high.

Launching today, before the March rush, is Netflix's "House of Cards," whose third season feels like a Bizarro World "West Wing." There's not much President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) can do to surprise us - we know they're capable of anything. But it's how they use the power they've amassed, along with their fascinating marriage, that makes "House of Cards" a still binge-worthy option.

 

More in March

Also fighting for your attention:

THE FOLLOWING. 9 p.m. Monday, Fox29. Someone drags Kevin Bacon onto a dance floor in the first few minutes of the season three premiere, after which things go downhill fast for Bacon's Ryan Hardy. As they do.

BROADCHURCH. 10 p.m. Wednesday, BBC America. We didn't need a second season, but the chance to see David Tennant and Olivia Colman together again - with Charlotte Rampling and Marianne Jean-Baptiste joining them - outweighs any sense that the story might be less focused. The first few minutes are electric.

CSI: CYBER. 10 p.m. Wednesday, CBS3. Oscar winner Patricia Arquette returns to CBS as a cyber-psychologist in a "CSI" spin-off that may have you rethinking every gadget in your life.

AMERICAN CRIME. 10 p.m. Thursday, 6ABC. From Oscar winner John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") comes a show built on the fault lines of race and class that could change the conversation about what broadcast TV can and can't do. In the aftermath of a fatal home invasion, nothing is as simple as it first looks.

DIG. 10 p.m. Thursday, USA. Jason Isaacs plays an FBI agent in Jerusalem whose murder investigation ties in to an ancient mystery. Created by Gideon Raff ("Homeland") and Tim Kring ("Heroes"), it's complicated, but expected to wrap in 10 episodes.

UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT. March 6, Netflix. In a new comedy from Upper Darby's Tina Fey and "30 Rock" vet Robert Carlock, Ellie Kemper ("The Office") plays Kimmy, who's starting life over in New York after 15 years in a cult.

THE RETURNED. 10 p.m. March 9, following Season 2 premiere of "Bates Motel." Remake of the stylish French zombie series that ran on Sundance TV.

THE ROYALS. 10 p.m. March 15, E! Network's first scripted series, about a fictional British royal family, stars Elizabeth Hurley.

iZOMBIE. 9 p.m. March 17, CW57. Rose McIver plays a new zombie in this charming - really! - series from "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas.

COMMUNITY. March 17, Yahoo. The NBC-canceled comedy lives - online. The 13-episode Season 6 will stream in two back-to-back episodes the first week, followed by one episode each week. How very TV.

BLOODLINE. March 20, Netflix. Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard and Linda Cardellini star in edgy family drama from the creators of "Damages."

THE DOVEKEEPERS. 9 p.m. March 31 and April 1, CBS3. Two-night miniseries based on Alice Hoffman novel about the siege of Masada stars ex-"NCIS" star Cote de Pablo. Produced by Roma Downey and husband Mark Burnett, whose "A.D.: The Bible Continues" comes to NBC April 5.

WEIRD LONERS. 9:30 p.m. March 31, Fox29. Comedy about misfit singles.

YOUNGER. 10 p.m. March 31, TVLand. Sutton Foster ("Bunheads") plays a 40-year-old who needs to shave years to land a job.


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