The Pillars of the Earth (Friday, 10/9c, Starz)
A throwback to the days when lavish miniseries ruled the airwaves, this eight-hour historical melodrama (airing over six Fridays) based on Ken Follett's best-seller juggles royal, religious and political intrigues that swirl around the building of a 12th-century cathedral. You'll meet a large cast of heroes (Donald Sutherland as an embattled nobleman, Rufus Sewell as a master builder, Matthew Macfadyen as a pious friar) and villains (most notably Deadwood's Ian McShane as a feverishly ambitious church official). Dig in.
Being Human (Saturday, 10/9c, BBC America)
Cult-TV alert! Barely will you have time to catch your breath from the season finale of Matt Smith's first season as Doctor Who (9/8c) than the second season begins of this cheeky horror-show about a ghost, werewolf and vampire who share a home—and the dream of being accepted as (more or less) normal. Good luck with that, as mad scientists are on the prowl for supernatural souls and are doing nasty experiments with them.
True Blood (Sunday, 9/8c, HBO)
Is this season's story finally coming together? King Russell, who seemed mighty impressed by Sookie's display of magical powers against the big bad wolves, is about to reveal his master plan to Eric, while Sookie continues to fret over dour distant Bill and Tara once again tries to figure out how to put off emo-vamp Franklin and his plans to turn her. The blood is really starting to boil.
Mad Men (Sunday, 10/9c, AMC)
The return of the two-time Emmy winning best drama instantly eclipses the rest of summer TV with its dazzling wit, its posh mid-'60s style and its timelessly provocative substance. Lots of rebuilding to do as the fourth season begins, as the new (and considerably smaller) ad agency crafts a PR strategy that, as usual, falls directly on Don Draper's broad shoulders and inscrutable public profile. Meanwhile, Don's personal life is about as bleak as it's ever been. And somehow we're still buying what he's selling us.
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