What to Watch Friday: The Final Spartacus Battle Begins, 'Mikita' Tension, Banshee and More

Spartacus season 4On TV this Friday: Spartacus commences its War of the Damned, Banshee mixes it up with an MMA fighter, Ethan Hawke uncovers some Shakespeare and Nikita‘s man doesn’t like what he sees. Here are 10 programs to keep on your radar.

8 pm Nikita (The CW) | Michael and Nikita’s relationship becomes strained as he watches her work with Owen to take down a rogue “cleaner” (played by Pedro Pascal, The Good Wife).

8 pm Kitchen Nightmares (Fox) | Gordon Ramsay steps in when a Massachusetts man refuses to cede control of the Olde Hitching Post restaurant to his oldest daughter.

8 pm Fringe (Science) | If you’re still reeling from the series finale, check in with the back-to-back repeats Science Channel has cued up, including the Season 2 finale that left Olivia’s stranded in the alternate universe and Peter poised to canoodle with her doppelgänger. (Note: From here on, the channel’s Tuesday-night Fringe repeats will air on Fridays.)

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9 pm Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz) | Season 3 premiere: As the series’ final season begins, Spartacus’ victories make him a real threat to Rome.

9 pm Shakespeare Uncovered (PBS) | Series premiere: Each episode uses interviews, clips from film and television adaptations and a celeb host to go deep with of one of The Bard’s plays. Up first: Ethan Hawke and Macbeth (or “the Scottish play,” if you’re reading this backstage and are about to go on as Banquo).

9 pm Dateline NBC (NBC) | The show (Pow!) investigates a murder (Bam!) at a comic-book store (Zaaaaaap!).

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10 pm Banshee (Cinemax) | A high-stakes mixed martial arts title bout is threatened when the champion runs afoul of Lucas and Siobahn.

10 pm 20/20 (ABC) | The news journal plumbs the “culture of deception” with pieces on the Manti Te’o hoax and a real-life Norman Bates who impersonated his dead mother to keep her New York home.

10 pm Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO) | Maher interviews House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Montana Sen. Jon Tester and welcomes GOPAC president David Avella, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and political strategist Kristen Soltis to the roundtable.

10 pm Portlandia (IFC) | Portland holds its first (not-so-hardcore) battle of the bands. Roseanne Barr (Roseanne), George Wendt (Cheers), Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and the Dirty Projectors guest-star.

Hit the comments with your must-see picks from tonight’s lineup!