The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week


Former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric makes her bid for the daytime talk-show throne vacated by Oprah Winfrey. Scheduled guests for the inaugural week of her syndicated gabfest include singer turned fashion designer Jessica Simpson and musician Sheryl Crow (Monday) and flesh-eating bacteria survivor Aimee Copeland (Tuesday). Monday–Friday, Sept. 10–14; check local listings for time and channel

The Crimson Petal and the White

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This dark and intriguing adaptation of a Michel Faber novel is set in an 1874 London teeming with characters Dickens would surely admire. In a first-rate performance, Romola Garai (The Hour) plays a famed prostitute and aspiring author determined to better herself; Chris O’Dowd, as a married perfume magnate, succumbs to her charms. With Gillian Anderson and Shirley Henderson. Monday–Tuesday, Sept. 10–11, at 8 p.m., Encore

The New Normal

Modern Family plays like The Waltons compared with this edgy new sitcom about two gay men (Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha) who hire a young unwed mother (Georgia King) to bear their child, to the dismay of her bigoted grandmother. Ellen Barkin gets many of the best lines as an Archie Bunker in skirts, but the whole cast is strong, and a wry benevolence shines through in their performances. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 9:30 p.m., NBC

Alien Deep With Bob Ballard

Oceanographer Ballard, who discovered the final resting place of the Titanic, goes deep beneath the waves in this five-part series to answer such questions as: Where did life come from? What made the continents? What is the ocean’s engine? Are rogue waves real? Will men ever call the sea home? In his quest, Ballard has help from Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Sunday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m., National Geographic Channel

Boardwalk Empire

Season 3 of this period crime saga, loosely based on the career of Atlantic City crime boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson, begins on New Year’s Eve 1922. Nucky (Steve Buscemi) faces challenges in his bootlegging enterprise, in the form of a volatile gangster (Bobby Cannavale). Meanwhile, his wife (Kelly Macdonald) is troubled by what she sees at a hospital that she and Nucky have endowed. Sunday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m., HBO

Other highlights

Bomb Girls

Another period drama, this new series is set at a World War II munitions factory, where women are trying on new professional roles while their men fight in Europe. Meg Tilly stars. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 10 p.m., ReelzChannel

Guys With Kids

Babies steal many of the scenes in this new sitcom—executive-produced by Jimmy Fallon—about three 30-something dads. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 10 p.m., NBC

Saturday Night Live

Actor and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane hosts the Season 38 premiere; the musical guest will be R&B/hip-hop artist Frank Ocean. Saturday, Sept. 15, at 11:30 p.m., NBC

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