We loved the pilot of Crisis—but we wonder if the show can keep up the intensity over 13 or more episodes.

The Grim Sleeper (Saturday, March 15, Lifetime), movie: Believe it or not, The Only TV Column That Matters is developing a real affinity for Lifetime movies—better hurry up with Sharknado 2, Syfy. In the nicely titled The Grim Sleeper, a far-too-good-looking L.A. Weekly reporter (Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23’s Dreama Walker, unbelievably pretty even by Los Angeles journalism standards) investigates a string of unsolved murders with a 14-year gap and learns that the cops have kept a serial-killer spree quiet—it’s True Detective without all of the thinky exposition and bad hair. The Grim Sleeper is based on a true story, wherein the recently apprehended suspect hasn’t even gone to trial yet. Oh, Lifetime!

Crisis (Sunday, March 16, NBC), series debut: The kids of Washington, D.C.’s elite politicos, CEOs, diplomats and even the president have been kidnapped by a mysterious mastermind bent on causing chaos on ’Merican soil, and it’s up to a Secret Service newbie (Lance Gross, House of Payne) and an FBI agent (Rachel Taylor, 666 Park Avenue) to get them back—well, not just those two, but you get he idea. Crisis is faster-paced, more tense and about 70 percent less ridiculous than CBS’ similarly themed Hostages, with better dramatic support in the form of Gillian Anderson (who exhibits only slightly more facial movement here than she does on Hannibal) and the anti-Dylan McDermott, Dermot Mulroney (playing a character named Thomas Gibson, which is the real name of the star of Criminal Minds—What! Is! Happening?!). The show has a killer pilot, but can Crisis sustain this intensity over 12 more episodes? And what happens if there’s a Season 2? “Dear Washington, I have your pets …”

Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe (Tuesday, March 18, ABC), special: So what if it’s an infomercial for Marvel/Disney’s upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It’s an hour of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers: Age of Ultron! And, yeah, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe goes behind the scenes of films going back to 2008’s Iron Man (No Ghost Rider? Damn it!) and tries to explain the myriad connections of the Avengers. Like the geeks don’t already know, and like casual fans of bright colors and ’splodey stuff care. Excelsior!

Doll and Em (Wednesday, March 19, HBO), series debut: If your Emily Mortimer tolerance is maxed out by the end of any given episode of The Newsroom … not saying that’s me; just putting it out there … Doll and Em, a semi-improvised docu-style comedy starring her and Dolly Wells (Bridget Jones’s Diary) maybe isn’t for me … I mean, you. Mortimer plays Em, a British actress working in Hollywood who hires her just-dumped, heartbroken best friend Doll (Wells) as her personal assistant, resulting in far less of a par-tay situation than Entourage. Em’s “old”! Doll’s a “paid friend”! Cry, hug, scene. Doll and Em has its moments, but the female-buds comedy bar has already been set by Broad City—sorry, ladies.

The 100 (Wednesday, March 19, The CW), series debut: In the future, 100 pretty space kids are exiled to long-abandoned Earth to survive, maintain perfect hair and have pensive, dewy-eyed moments. Sure, I can’t tell any CW series that isn’t Arrow or Supernatural apart from another, but I’m also not in the target demographic—these shows are for, whaddya call ’em? Tweens? Millennials? Spores? Anyway, they’ll probably enjoy The 100 just as much as they do The Vampire Diaries of the Star-Crossed Tomorrow People or Reign of the Beauty and the Beast Originals in the Hart of Dixie.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR MARCH 18!

American Hustle

A con man (Christian Bale) and his faux-British partner (Amy Adams) work with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to bring down a corrupt politician (Jeremy Renner) while Jennifer Lawrence chews scenery. Winner of 10 Wiggy Awards. (Sony)

Cybergeddon

A Fed (Missy Peregrym) and a hacker (Kick Gurry) race to stop a cyberterrorist (Oliver Martinez) from wreaking havoc IRL. No, this is not a movie from 1999, but a recent Yahoo! Web series—with the tagline “There is no ESC.” Ha! (Arc)

Frozen

Anna (the voice of Kristen Bell) sets off to stop her sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who’s trapped the kingdom in eternal winter and, even worse, won’t stop singing that damned song. Contrary to reports, Frozen will not turn your kids gay (wink, wink). (Disney)

Return to Nuke ’Em High Vol. 1

Two lesbian bloggers (!) must fight a mutated glee club and the Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate to save Tromaville High School (not Nuke ’Em High? WTF?) and the world from Lloyd Kaufman. Most troubling, this is just Vol. 1! (Anchor Bay)

Surf Party

A chill bro (Khan Chittenden) is looking forward to a summer partying at the beach in 1980s So Cal—until his surfboard is stolen! Bummer! Can he and his stoner buds get it back and save summer? And what the hell is Joan Jett doing here? (Green Apple)

More New DVD Releases (March 18)

20ft Below, American Virgins, Atlantis: Season 1, Battle of the Undead, Contracted, Devious Maids: Season 1, Here Comes the Devil, Kill Your Darlings, Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz, Reasonable Doubt, Saving Mr. Banks, Sparks, Swerve, Tentacle 8.

Bill Frost

Bill Frost has been a journalist and TV reviewer since the 4:3-aspect-ratio ’90s. His pulse-pounding prose has been featured in The Salt Lake Tribune, Inlander, Las Vegas Weekly, Salt Lake City Weekly...