Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter, offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV.
Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s TV schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch it. This week, NatGeo heads to “Mars,” Lady Mary is on the run and MTV bravely tackles rape culture. Plus, Shondaland’s ABC shows wrap up with their midseason finales.
“Mars,” NatGeo, Mondays, 9 p.m. (CRITICS PICK)
“Mars,” a hybrid documentary/space opera from National Geographic executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, explores what it positions as an essential task for humanity — the pilgrimage to the red planet, both as a scripted story of intrepid explorers in 2033 and a documentary investigating where we currently stand in the quest to jump planets. By pairing fact with fiction, the program cannily makes literal the essential tension of science fiction, using the documentary and scripted elements to play off of and enhance each other. And though the hybrid isn’t quite seamless, “Mars” is a thought-provoking and visually stunning production, albeit one that isn’t exactly riveting. It’s a slow, considered exploration — but when you think about it, that’s probably what our journey to Mars should be like.
“Good Behavior,” TNT, Tuesday, 9 p.m.
If you miss “Downton Abbey,” you can catch Michelle Dockery in a completely new role: she plays an ex-con meth addict. But we’ve got to point out that Variety’s critic Sonia Soraiya believes this show is suffering from a case of miss-casting, posing the question, “Why is Lady Mary playing a redneck?”
“Teen Wolf,” MTV, Tuesday, 9 p.m.
The sixth and final season of MTV’s long-running fan-favorite teen horror series kicks off this week. While this season is very much about the disappearance and loss of Stiles (Dylan O’Brien), creator Jeff Davis has teased a lot of moments between Stiles and Lydia (Holland Roden), for those viewers holding out for their relationship. It all builds up to a climactic finale for the 100th episode.
“Sweet/Vicious,” MTV, Tuesday, 10 p.m.
The young-skewing teen network takes a daring attempt at exploring rape culture on college campuses in its newest series. The subject matter is timely, and according to our critic, it works. Variety‘s Maureen Ryan applauds the casting of the central duo (Eliza Bennett and Taylor Dearden), and writes in her review that the “promising” show “never loses sight of the issues surrounding rape culture, violation, and consent. But it’s not an “eat your vegetables” kind of program — it’s essentially an enjoyable superhero saga.
“How To Get Away With Murder,” ABC, Thursday, 10 p.m.
Season 3 of Shondaland’s twisty-turny whodunnit reaches its midseason finale, which will finally answer the burning question: Who is underneath the sheet? And before you watch “HTGAWM,” you can catch the fall finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 13.
“The Affair,” Showtime, Sunday, 10 p.m.
So many points of views, so many stories to tell. So who’s telling the truth? “The Affair” returns for its third season with a few new faces. Brendan Fraser joins the drama as a rival to Noah (Dominic West), and French actress Irène Jacob plays his new love interest. Showtime made the Season 3 premiere available early on the app, and Variety staffers have already been buzzing about the show’s format changes.