On your TV this Sunday: a tally of the tube’s top men, Mark Harmon cops a new role, AMC’s ambitious new train ride, and more. Here are 12 programs to keep on your radar. (P.S. Did you remember to set your clocks back, where applicable? I once forgot for almost an entire Sunday, could not for the life of me figure out why The West Wing wasn’t on.)
8 pm America in Primetime (PBS) | I was remiss last week in not pointing you to this four-part essay on how more groundbreaking TV shows are being created today than ever before. This week’s installment covers the evolution of male characters from the “kings of their castles” in classic sitcoms to more intricate, conflicted figures — from The Andy Griffith Show and Leave It to Beaver to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. You can watch a sneak peek at PBS.org.
8 pm Once Upon a Time (ABC) | The story of how (a scrappy) Snow White met Prince Charming parallels what might be a breakthrough moment for Mary Margaret and “John Doe” — unless of course, the Evil… er, Regina has an ace up her sleeve.
8 pm The Simpsons (Fox) | You think cheerleading is hard? Try voicing Homer’s new assistant, says Glee‘s Jane Lynch.
9 pm Dexter (Showtime) | A very personal case awakens the needs of the Dark Passenger; Deb finds out Quinn slept with a witness in the Doomsday case.
9 pm The Walking Dead (AMC) | Glenn more than hears “the one about the farmer’s daughter,” if you catch my drift. Also: Do not drink the well water. Seriously.
9 pm The Good Wife (CBS) | When Alicia finds herself going toe-to-toe with the U.S. Treasury Department, she hires Peter’s former lawyer (played by True Blood‘s Carrie Preston).
9 pm Certain Prey (USA Network) | In the first of what possibly could become a series of TV-movies based on the John Sandford best-sellers, Mark Harmon (NCIS) stars as Lucas Davenport, a Minneapolis police chief on the trail of two women who are racking up a staggering body count. (Read what Harmon has to say about the TV-movie and whether there could be others.)
10 pm Pan Am (ABC) | When sparks fly between Laura (Margot Robbie) and a serviceman (Friday Night Lights‘ Gaius Charles), it leads her to realize what she’s really looking for in a man as well as opens her eyes to the country’s malicious racial climate; Kate’s mission to turn Niko (Goran Visnjic) culminates in dramatic fashion.
10 pm Hell on Wheels (AMC) | Set in post-Civil War America just as the first transcontinental railroad is being built, this new drama stars Anson Mount as a Confederate soldier resolved to exact revenge on those who killed his wife. Colm Meaney, Common and Dominique McElligott also star. I liked the pilot some, though it’s not without its slow moments. (Watch the trailer here.)
10 pm Homeland (Showtime) | After last week’s mess with the razor blade, the Director of Counterintelligence — with more than a nudge from Carrie — orders polygraph tests on everyone who came in contact with Hamid, including Sgt. Brody. Meanwhile, tensions between Brody and Mike reach a boiling point — which Morena Baccarin (who plays Jessica) elaborates on in her TVLine Q&A.
10 pm CSI: Miami (CBS) | The Sopranos‘ Drea de Matteo plays a regular at a poker game that has the highest of stakes — most recently, one player’s life. Aldis Hodge (Leverage) also guest-stars.
10:30 pm How to Make It in America (HBO) | Having been clued in to “the Lake Bell footage” by TVLine reader Brad, I hereby award this show a slot in the TVLU. On tap for this week: Nancy sets Ben and Cam up with a manufacturer; Rachel (that’s Lake Bell) pursues a hot story.
Which of the above is must-see TV for you? And by all means, hit the Comments to offer tune-in suggestions of your own!