Drama Kings

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“Happy Endings”

Wednesday 9:30pm, ABC
The airwaves are flooded with sitcoms right now, and I have a feeling that this one might get dismissed by critics or lost in the shuffle. It certainly isn’t original; a group of friends (three guys, three gals) suffer the trials and tribulations of modern romance, set in motion after one of them bails on a wedding. It’s literally the exact same premise as “Friends,” and the clips suggest that the show is trying way too hard to embed itself into the pop-culture consciousness, with all kinds of goofy made-up words à la “Seinfeld.” Still, its leads have an affable charm about them, including Elisha Cuthbert—everyone’s favorite cougar prey on “24”—as the runaway bride.

“Game of Thrones”

Sunday 9pm, HBO
This adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy-novel series is two parts Lord of the Rings and one part “Dynasty.” “Thrones” is set in a fantastic medieval world filled with astonishing landscapes and larger-than-life kings and knights. Sean Bean (Boromir from Rings) is the stoic and just Ned Stark, forced to leave his family and home after being called to serve the king (Mark Addy, in an unexpectedly dramatic role). Bad career move. Stark soon discovers a multitude of plots to take out the king, most of them at the behest of his venomous queen (Lena Headey, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”). Of course, the king himself is a usurper, and his predecessor’s children want their crowns back. And that’s not even mentioning the horrifying men and monsters waiting behind The Wall. I’m nearly through the second book in the series. May the show be half as good.

“The Killing”

Sunday 10pm, AMC
If you missed the first few episodes of this riveting crime drama, better catch up quick. Starring Mireille Enos (“Big Love”), Billy Campbell (“Once and Again”), and Michelle Forbes (“True Blood”), “The Killing” methodically follows the investigation of the murder of a teenage girl in Seattle, as well as how the crime affects the victim’s family and community. While everything thus far has been extremely, sometimes painfully realistic (the scene where the parents finally learn the fate of their daughter is particularly brutal), there are already half a dozen mysteries emerging in the case and a certain “Twin Peaks” tone has started to permeate the proceedings. (That’s a good thing.) The stark direction, unadorned dialogue, and superb acting make this a must-watch mystery. 

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