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Around the remote: TV picks for the week of April 13-18

Saturday, April 12, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM

By CHUCK BARNEY

Contra Costa Times

DON'T MISS:

"FARGO" -- This instantly addictive 10-part drama series captures the spirit of the beloved 1996 Coen Brothers cult hit, but presents an all-new "true crime" story with new characters. Among them is Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), a mysterious and manipulative drifter who lures hapless small-town insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) down a dangerous path. Is the series filled with dark humor and surprising twists? Darn tootin' it is! 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX.

OTHER BETS:

SUNDAY:

Conan O'Brien makes his debut as host of the "2014 MTV Movie Awards." The offbeat celebration of big-screen goodness includes non-Oscar-ready categories like best fight and best kiss. Pass the Golden Popcorn. 9 p.m., MTV.

Are you still mad for "Mad Men"? The acclaimed drama returns for the first half of its two-part final season, which has enigmatic ad executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) spending a lot of time in sunny California. 10 p.m., AMC.

"Years of Living Dangerously" is an ambitious four-part documentary that uses celebrity star power to call attention to the issue of climate change. Participants include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba and Harrison Ford. 10 p.m., Showtime.

MONDAY:

Trouble-prone actress Lindsay Lohan drops in for a guest spot on "2 Broke Girls." She plays an indecisive bride-to-be who hires Max and Caroline (Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs) to make her wedding cake. Can they decline? 8 p.m., CBS.

It's the midseason finale of "Dallas" and you just know there will be drama. Producers have promised plenty of red-hot action on various fronts in an episode fittingly titled, "Where There's Smoke." 9 p.m., TNT.

TUESDAY:

Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Newhart and Roseanne are among the profiled stars on "Pioneers of Television" who parlayed standup careers into hit sitcoms. 7 p.m., PBS.

"The Address" is a very different kind of documentary from Ken Burns. It follows students with learning disabilities who attempt to learn and recite Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Along the way, the film examines the impact and importance of those famous words. 9 p.m., PBS.

New characters pursue a new case in "Fargo," this violent and darkly comic 10-episode series (neither remake nor adaptation) that takes place within the Coen Bros. universe. 9 p.m., FX.

WEDNESDAY:

"The Americans" continues its torrid second season with an episode that has Philip and Elizabeth (Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell) confronting painful truths in their respective missions. That doesn't sound so good. 10 p.m., FX.

THURSDAY:

Say it isn't so. The season finale of "Scandal" is already upon us. It's election day and, hold on to your seats, because things could get explosive. 10 p.m., ABC.

Amber and Ryan reunite as the fifth-season of "Parenthood" comes to a close. 9 p.m., NBC.

FRIDAY:

On "Kitchen Nightmares," cranky chef Ramsay visits the Old Neighborhood Restaurant in Arvada, Colo. Of course, major changes are needed. 8 p.m., Fox.

SATURDAY:

Check out "Billy Crystal 700 Sundays." The comic actor's Tony-winning one-man show explores his childhood in Manhattan. 8 p.m., HBO.

     

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