Tuesday 10pm, Spike
I can’t decide if this is brilliant or goofy. “Deadliest Warrior,” which begins its second season tonight, uses computer-animated and live-actor dramatizations, as well as forensics investigations, to determine what fighting forces are the fiercest. Each episode features a specific showdown; say, viking vs. samurai, or yakuza vs. mafia, and the warrior’s fighting style, weaponry, and other factors are broken down, explained, and then run through a video-game simulation to determine which party would win more often over the course of a bunch of battles. This season’s “contestants” include Aztec jaguars, Somali pirates, Persian immortals, Vlad the Impaler and Al Capone. All fearsome, no doubt, but where are the ladies? There’s nothing more brutal than the squinty-eyed gaze of a disappointed nana.
Friday 10:30pm, Starz
Wee cable movie channel Starz continues its quest to become the next Showtime or HBO with this new show, which it hopes will build on the success of its recent “Spartacus” blood and sex fest. “Gravity” focuses on a support group for suicide survivors. The cast includes Krysten Ritter (“Breaking Bad,” She’s Out of My League), Ivan Sergei (“Jack and Jill,” The Opposite of Sex), former model Rachel Hunter, and the always-reliable Ving Rhames. They star as a bunch of seriously messed-up people struggling to figure out how to make the most of a life they almost threw away. Points for an original concept, although this one could easily go over the top or into the gutter.
“Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking”
Sunday 9pm, Discovery
Do you ever stop to think about the enormity of the universe, or the fact that the vast majority of it is made up of dark matter, something that scientists still can’t explain? Doesn’t that freak you the hell out? I know it does me. This new four-part miniseries will either answer many of your questions about the inconceivable mechanism that is the cosmos, or send you clambering under the bed, wetting yourself with fear. Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most lauded scientific minds, and he and the Discovery Channel have teamed up to put some of the contents of his gigantic brain on to your TV screen. Discover Hawking’s take on the beginning of the universe, the likelihood of alien life forms, and his theory for how the world will end. Wear extra Depends for that episode.