Thursday, April 4 (NBC)
Series Debut: Like NBC and everyone involved, we're all trying to forget Do No Harm, the last new crime drama the network served up for Thursdays—Hannibal will definitely help wipe that memory, if not through sheer gore alone. This Silence of the Lambs/Red Dragon prequel goes back to the days when Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale) worked with the FBI (specifically, agents played by Laurence Fishburne and The Big C's Hugh Dancy) to help crack serial-murderer cases. Yes, it's another Quirky Outsider Assists the Law procedural—but this one happens to be(come) one of the most twisted killers of all. Hannibal (produced by Pushing Daisies' Bryan Fuller) is creepy and bloody as hell, probably too much so for network TV; watch it while you can and wonder how much longer it would have lasted on cable.
Sunday, April 7 (AMC)
Season Premiere: This year's Off Limits list from Mad Men showrunner Matthew Weiner: Don't tell "the year the season begins," "the status of Don and Megan's relationship," "whether the agency has expanded to an additional floor," "new characters" and "new relationships or partnerships." Presumably, Jon Hamm's trouser snake is off the table, as well. The Only TV Column That Matters™ can say that Season 6 kicks off with ad man Don Draper (Hamm) moping through the most ennui-drenched Hawaiian vacation ever—why's he having such a miserable time, even with a bubbly, bikinied Megan (Jessica Pare) by his side? Don, like most every other character on Mad Men in this two-hour season, has big worries on his mind, and little of it has to do with selling advertising. There's no "Zu Bisou Bisou" moment like in 2012's season opener, but "The Doorway" sets up what looks to be a rocky year—whatever year that might be, because I'm not gonna say. Here's something, though: Stan's proto-hipster beard is outta control!
Tell Your Mom
Saturday, April 6 (NBC)
New Night/Burn-Off Alert: Ouch. The only worse timeslot NBC could have given their once-darling hype magnet would be after Last Call With Carson Daly—but even then, at least Carson Daly would see it. By dumping the remaining seven Season 2 Smashes on Saturday nights, the network is pretty much telling the cast and crew to find new jobs (Debra Messing already has, a CBS sitcom; Katharine McPhee, probably singing at boat shows) and 'Merica to find a new Peacock show to hate/ignore (money's on Hannibal). Smash had, and will yet have, many a fantastic musical performance and production number—just DVR it and skip past the "story," "acting" and "Anjelica Huston."
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Ready for Love
Tuesday, April 9 (NBC)
Series Debut: If you've ever thought to yourself, "I like The Bachelor, but it's not as confusing as it could be," or "I wonder what kind of brilliant programming former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria would produce?", here ya go! As much as I was hoping that Ready for Love would be a Broadway show based on the songs of Bad Company (Wiki it, kids), it's really just another reality dating show, with several unnecessary twists: Three bachelors (including Plain White T's guitarist Tim Lopez—live this one down, band-mates) sift through 36 women with the help of two hosts (Guiliana and Bill Rancic) and two "relationship and compatibility" experts (I am so in the wrong racket) over eight weeks and two channels (NBC and Style). So, anyway ... you can watch the whole blissfully simple season of Burning Love 2 now at BurningLove.com. Do that.
Bad Kids Go to Hell
Six rich private-school teens stuck in Saturday detention suddenly begin getting killed in horrific "accidents." If your Breakfast Club radar weren't already going off, this flick also stars ... Judd Nelson! in Barry Manilow's wardrobe! (Phase 4)
Boss: Season 2
In the final season (unless Starz makes that wrap-up movie), Chicago Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) staves off brain-disease death and an ever-growing list of enemies in the grittiest, nastiest political drama since Spin City. (Lionsgate)
Down the Shore
When a Jersey amusement-park boss (James Gandolfini) and his ex (Famke Janssen) are confronted with the ashes of his dead sister and a man claiming to be her husband, questions arise. Like, "Famke Janssen? And him?" (Anchor Bay)
Jennifer's (Laura Prepon) 30th birthday party is about to be wrecked by her cheating boyfriend, her bratty little sister (Dream Walker), battling backyard bands and terrible, terrible friends. And, just guessing, something in the kitchen. (Monterey)
Sexy Evil Genius
A mysterious, wig-happy woman (Katee Sackhoff) lures all of her ex-lovers (including Seth Green, Harold Perrineau, William Baldwin and Michelle Trachtenberg) to a Los Angeles bar with revenge in mind. Why else go to a bar in L.A.? (Lionsgate)
More New DVD Releases (April 9)
Crush, Dragon Wasps, Expiration, Family Ties: Season 6, The Four, Hyde Park on Hudson, Infected, Inside Men: Season 1, The Kill Hole, Late Bloomers, Luster, Merlin: Season 5, Paranormal Movie, The Phantom Father, Ring the Bell, Shadow Witness, The Sorcerer & the White Snake, Womb