If you’ve already got enough sexual harassment, infidelity and cocktails in your real life, you can skip “Mad Men” and try out one of the other promising new series starting out Sunday night, April 5:
‘100 Miles From Nowhere’
Animal Planet, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 5
Starring: Gonzo outdoorsy guys named Matt, Danny and Blake
Three friends decide to see whether they can travel 100 miles through the unforgiving wilderness in four days, with Utah’s Wasatch Mountains first on the list, scaling rock spires and dodging mountain lions. They function as their own camera crew, so there’s an element of real danger in “100 Miles,” unlike other survival-based reality shows where the participants can tap out with producers’ help.
The DIY voiceovers are part of the show’s charm: “Have people died here? Uh, yeah, they have.” “My legs feel like wood.” “I have swamp foot.” “No one likes blood dripping out of their nose.”
How do these guys look after three days away from civilization? “Disheveled” doesn’t begin to cover it.
NBC, 8 p.m. Sunday, April 5, concluding April 12
Starring: Richard Coyle, Juan Pablo di Pace
A 12-part continuation of the History channel’s miniseries “The Bible,” “A.D.” dramatizes the tale of Jesus’ crucifixion and the literal upheaval surrounding his burial and resurrection. More political drama than Sunday School lesson, it’s nowhere near as explicitly violent and bloody as “The Passion of the Christ,” but it’s not the first Easter story to show your little kids, either.
Although Greta Scacchi leads the Jesus contingency as his mother, Mary, most of the action follows the intrigue that shaped Jerusalem’s rulers at the time.
“Killing him won’t be the end of him,” the wife of Pontius Pilate warns him during one of his many rants about what a pain Jesus has been.
“It usually is,” Pilate replies drily. The Roman governor and high priest Caiaphas getting their come-uppance is one of the few earthly pleasures of the Easter story, and “A.D.” tells it with all the lavish sets, ambitious locations and emotional gravitas it deserves. Bonus: Not everyone in the cast is lily-white, even if they do speak English with British accents.
NBC, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 5
Starring: Treat Williams, Peter Facinelli, Anna Friel
Sgt. Odelle Ballard is a translator with a Special Forces team that’s just stumbled onto a desirable target when things go south for her. Before “American Odyssey” is halfway into its first hour, Ballard is trapped in Mali, hunted by mercenaries, with her life in the hands of a Muslim teenager.
Back in America, a drone pilot with a conscience is trying to blow the whistle on a shocking international conspiracy. He never gets his chance. Down the street, a former U.S. attorney who’s taken a private sector job can’t resist digging into his new bosses’ shady paperwork.
Though comparisons are inevitable, the fast-paced, interwoven story lines make “Odyssey” even more rewarding than “Homeland,” Showtime’s critical darling about a female hero taking on terrorism and corruption. And this is no cheap knockoff in terms of ambition and scope, either: Dazzling shots of Ballard’s travels through the North African desert are a bold declaration of commitment from a network show.
‘The Lizzie Borden Chronicles’
Lifetime, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 5
Starring: Christina Ricci, Clea Duvall, Jonathan Banks, Cole Hauser, John Heard
You’d think that after Lizzie Borden got away with murder in Lifetime’s above-average 2014 “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” movie, her fellow residents of Fall River, Mass., would give her a wide berth. Instead, Lizzie and her sister Emma are forced to deal with creditors, private detectives and undesirable relatives coming out of the woodwork before they can get down to finally spending Daddy’s money.
The eight-part series, full of dark humor and bloody confrontations, is a great excuse to spend more time with the Bordens in 1893 with a soundtrack of anachronistic indie rock singles. Ricci was born for this all-grown-up, Wednesday Addams kind of work, chasing off the schoolgirls who are working on a little nursery rhyme to mock her with. One little girl isn’t having it, insisting, “I’m not afraid of you.”
“Then you haven’t been paying attention,” Lizzie tells her.
PBS, 9 p.m. Sunday, April 5
Starring: Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy
For those of us who can’t get enough Anne Boleyn in our lives, English author Hilary Mantel’s award-winning historical novels about Thomas Cromwell have been adapted into a six-part “Masterpiece Classic” miniseries. “Wolf Hall” is the tale of Henry VIII through the eyes of the blacksmith’s son who rose to become his closest adviser.
Cromwell has inhabited most history books as a shadowy figure, but “Wolf Hall” brings him into the light, quickly sketching the tragedies and triumphs that motivated England’s most notorious lawyer to insert himself into royal politics. “Wolf Hall” is the story of a king and his girlfriends, yes, but the grim reality of life in the 1500s quickly intrudes on any fantasies of glamorous coronation gowns. “Wolf Hall’s” focus on Cromwell’s moral flexibility makes this story anything but a romance, even before heads start to roll.
OTHER SHOWS OF SPRING BEGINNING SOON
New series are marked with a star.
Tuesday, April 7
☆ “Funny Girls” | Oxygen, 8 p.m.
Docu-series about six women making it in comedy.
☆ “The Runner-Up” | Esquire, 9 p.m.
Clay Aiken lets you watch him run for Congress.
☆ “Your Family or Mine?” | TBS, 9 p.m.
Married couple juggles disparate sets of in-laws.
Thursday, April 9
☆ “The Comedians” | FX, 9 p.m.
Billy Crystal and Josh Gad make a Rob Reiner-style meta-mockumentary about making a comedy show.
▪ “Louie” | FX, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, April 10
☆ “Marvel’s Daredevil” | Netflix, 13 episodes streaming
Blind lawyer by day, crime fighter at night, Ben Affleck no more.
▪ “Nurse Jackie” | Showtime, 8 p.m.
▪ “Game of Thrones” | HBO, 8 p.m.
▪ “Silicon Valley” | HBO, 9 p.m.
▪ “Veep” | HBO, 9:30 p.m.
▪ “Turn” | AMC, 8 p.m.
▪ “Bitten” | Syfy, 7 p.m. (moves to Fridays at 8 on April 24)
▪ “Lost Girl” | Syfy, 9 p.m.
☆ “The Messengers” | The CW, 8 p.m.
Five good-looking strangers are tasked with battling an Antichrist-esque figure to prevent a rapture-like event.
▪ “Orphan Black” | BBC America, 8 p.m.
☆ “Tatau” | BBC America, 9 p.m.
Londoners find more than pretty beaches during a vacation to the Cook Islands.
☆ “Happyish“ | Showtime, 8:30 p.m.
Steve Coogan stars as a Luddite fuddy-dud dad who decides to join the 21st century.
☆ “The Casual Vacancy” | HBO, 7 p.m.
BBC-made a three-parter based on J.K. Rowling’s post-Harry Potter novel of small-town English politics.
▪ “Penny Dreadful” | Showtime, 9 p.m.
☆ “Grace and Frankie” | Netflix, 13 episodes streaming
Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda’s comedy series about women whose husbands leave them … for each other. With Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston.
☆ “Wayward Pines” | Fox, 8 p.m.
Ten-episode M. Night Shyamalan “event series” stars Juliette Lewis and Matt Dillon in a thriller set in a scary Idaho town.
☆ “Between” | Netflix, 12:01 a.m. (six new episodes stream weekly)
A town is quarantined after everyone above the age of 21 mysteriously dies.
☆ “Aquarius” | NBC, 8 p.m.
David Duchovny rewinds to the 1960s to investigate some folks calling themselves the Manson family.
| Sara Smith, email@example.com