The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

The Following

“Violent” and “terrifying” are the first words brought to mind by this new series starring Kevin Bacon. The veteran film actor makes the jump to television to play an FBI agent who’s pulled out of an alcohol-soaked retirement when a serial killer he put in prison escapes and begins killing again. Rome’s James Purefoy plays the deadly madman, whose deeds inspire a network of copycat killers. Monday, Jan. 21, at 9 p.m., Fox

The Taste

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Cooking competitions may be as abundant as gourmet food trucks these days, but this one gets unusual seasoning from its judges, who include British food femme Nigella Lawson and the irreverent chef Anthony Bourdain—who seems to be playing against type in his first steady TV gig since he departed the Travel Channel. The focus is on the food, as the competitors’ dishes are all judged in blind taste tests. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 8 p.m., ABC

Edge of America: Oklahoma

Boston Globe journalist Geoff Edgers travels the country in search of odd subcultures in this new series about the lengths Americans will go to in the name of entertainment. In the premiere episode, he journeys to Oklahoma for a far-out Western adventure that includes a bull-testicle-eating competition and a shoot-out organized by black-powder-rifle enthusiasts. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m., Travel Channel

Frontline: The Untouchables

The 2008 financial crisis sucked $12.8 trillion out of the U.S. economy and brought ruin to investors and homeowners, yet no Wall Street titan linked to the crisis has been prosecuted for any crime related to the packaging and selling of bad mortgages and suspect credit swaps. Frontline looks at whether the leaders of the nation’s megabanks are “too big to jail.” Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Shakespeare Uncovered

Four centuries after William Shakespeare’s death, his plays provide the bedrock of Western literature, yet his life and literary intentions remain mysterious. Jeremy Irons and Derek Jacobi are among the revered actors who will host episodes of this new series, which examines the bard’s life and legacy. Ethan Hawke hosts the inaugural episode, focused on Macbeth. Friday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Other highlights

Wild Things

Dominic Monaghan, aka Charlie from Lost, circles the globe in this new travel-adventure series as he hunts for venomous snakes, flesh-eating ants, and other deadly creatures. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 10 p.m., BBC America

Spartacus: War of the Damned

The final season of this sword and sandal series kicks off with Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) bringing the slave rebellion to the doorstep of Rome. Friday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m., Starz

Screen Actors Guild Awards

The run-up to the Oscars continues with the 19th Annual SAG Awards. Historically, the two shows agree about 67 percent of the time. Sunday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m., TNT

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