"The Killing "(AMC, Sundays). That "The Killing" would return was not at all clear at the end of its previous season; viewers grumbled that two seasons was too long to follow a case that in the context of the series took only as many days to resolve as there were episodes. (It did create a kind of temporal cognitive dissonance, to be sure; and yet I was even more of a fan in the series' second season than during its first.) Beyond the crime the title requires, and first and foremost, "The Killing" concerns two troubled, fatefully entwined detectives -- Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden, who cares too much, and Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder, who also cares too much -- working in a Seattle so wet and rainy as to suggest a city less of the Pacific Northwest than the post-apocalypse. (It's Vancouver, actually.) Based on a Danish series, it was a herald of the slow and steady, mood-first style we've seen here more lately in "Top of the Lake" (its twin in several respects) and "Rectify." As in the first season (and as in "Lake" and, retrospectively, "Rectify") it's a story of lost children in a cold world, and heroes almost too weary to help them, but helpless not to try.
"The Greatest Event in Television History #2" (Adult Swim, Thursday). A follow-up to last October's super-hyped, blink-and-you-missed-it (except it's also on the Internet) first "The Greatest Event in Television History," in which Adam Scott and Jon Hamm took over from Jameson Parker and Gerald McRaney in a shot-for-shot remake of the opening credits to "Simon & Simon." This unexpected adventure into the recesses of the medium -- it was, literally, "an event in television history" -- was preceded by a Jeff Probst-hosted "countdown" and making-of documentary that featured Paul Rudd as the director, though it was Lance Bangs' name on the slate, and Scott's project. Photographic evidence and Internet scuttlebutt indicate this week's sequel will feature Scott and "Parks & Recreation" costar Amy Poehler in forms resembling Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers, in an appropriation (to use the high art term) of their "Hart to Hart."
"The First Churchills" (Acorn Media DVD).The first series broadcast under the umbrella, or "brolly," of "Masterpiece Theatre," the Anglophile's paradise, this 1969 BBC period serial gets a video release this week. Set in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, it follows the public affairs and intimate moments of John and Sarah Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough (a strong and sparky John Neville and Susan Hampshire), who -- in this telling at least, based on their descendant Winston Churchill's biographical account -- come off as equal partners, appealingly modern and unconventional. (Neville would go on to star in Terry Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" and play the Well-Manicured Man on "The X-Files"; Hampshire starred in seven seasons of "Monarch of the Glen.") Set in an age of intricate fabrics and big wigs (for men), it feels not a whit less sumptuous for being shot on video, and no less convincing for being shot on a soundstage. (And none of your high-def stuff, either.) The dialog has a faintly Shakespearean swing that makes the drama feel oddly contemporary -- and keeps the viewer entranced, even when the politics and personages evade him -- just as the bright, flat studio lighting makes the images feel more immediate. And it proceeds at a leisurely, almost sensual pace, finding time to spend on card games (with instruction), a long amateur theatrical on a classical theme, dances and the friendly group rituals of a 1677 wedding night.
"The Fosters" (ABC Family, Mondays), "East Los High" (Hulu). Jennifer Lopez is the celebrity executive producer of "The Fosters," about a blended family whose last name coincidentally reflects the status of some of its children. (Others are biological, adopted.) That the parents -- Teri Polo's cop and Sherri Saum's high school principal -- are lesbians is barely adverted to. (That they're of different races is deemed to be not worth mentioning at all.) It's a new-century drama that, unlike some series that make a deal out of their sexual modernity, lives comfortably in the new century and just gets on with the more important business of caring for children on the difficult verge of adulthood. "East Los High," a new teen serial streaming from Hulu, is the sort of drama one might see on ABC Family, were ABC Family inclined to greenlight a high school series set in East L.A. and made with a Latino cast, creators and crew. (It could happen one day -- I'm not saying it won't.) As eventful as any other teen soap, it also feels down-to-earth and issue-oriented, in the manner of the old "Degrassis" and, indeed, was made with input from Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, Voto Latino and the California Family Health Council -- none of which interferes with the flow.