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2 new dramas debut this week

By Amy Robinson, A&E/Teen Editor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Several scripted series are returning for new seasons this week, including USA’s “Royal Pains,” ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” and TNT’s “Major Crimes.” Following the latter two are the week’s two new scripted shows: TNT’s “Murder in the First” and ABC Family’s “Chasing Life.”

The crime drama “Murder in the First” — from crime/legal TV guru Steven Bochco — premieres at 10 p.m. Monday. What makes it different from “Major Crimes” and the bulk of other cop shows is that during the course of its 10 episodes, it will only follow a single case.

Taye Diggs (“Private Practice”) and Kathleen Robertson (“Boss”) lead the cast as the detectives in charge of investigating a pair of murders that have ties to a Silicon Valley prodigy (Tom Felton of the “Harry Potter” series). The cast also features James Cromwell (“Babe”) and a number of other faces that will be familiar to TV fans: Steven Weber (“Wings”), Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”), Raphael Sbarge (“Once Upon a Time”), Ian Anthony Dale (“Hawaii Five-0”), Currie Graham (“Raising the Bar”), Nicole Ari Parker (“Soul Food: The Series”), Charles Baker (“Breaking Bad”) and Lombardo Boyar (“The Bernie Mac Show”).

Next, at 9 p.m. Tuesday, is ABC Family’s “Chasing Life.” An adaptation of the Mexican drama “Terminales,” it centers on April, a twenty-something reporter who has a new job, new boyfriend...and new cancer diagnosis. She decides to live her life to the fullest as she debates whether or how to tell her close-knit family — her widowed mom, rebellious younger sister and lively grandmother — about the diagnosis.

Italia Ricci (“Unnatural History”) stars as April, with Richard Brancatisano (“Power Rangers: Mystic Force”) as her boyfriend. Mary Page Keller (“Beginners”), Rebecca Schull (“Wings”) and Haley Ramm (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) make up her family, as does Steven Weber (pulling double duty), who plays her estranged oncologist uncle. Aisha Dee (“I Hate My Teenage Daughter”) is her best friend, to whom she confides in about her diagnosis, and Scott Michael Foster (“Greek”) also has a featured role.

Neither show looks particularly exciting, but both have their respective networks’ most popular shows as their lead-ins, so who knows? If the spark is there, having a strong predecessor could help blow up their ratings.

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Reality series premieres: “The Hunt,” 10 p.m. Sunday, History (hunting Kodiak bears in Alaska); “Escape Club,” 10 p.m. Sunday, E! (12 singles compete to stay on a tropical island); “Big Smo,” 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, A&E (a country rapper pursues his career).

Season premieres: “North Woods Law,” 9 p.m. Thursday, Animal Planet; “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta,” 9 p.m. Friday, TLC; “Life with La Toya,” 10 p.m. Saturday, OWN; “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” 8 p.m., and “Brother vs. Brother,” 9 p.m. Sunday, HGTV; “Finding Bigfoot,” 9 p.m. Sunday, Animal Planet; “Sister Wives,” 9 p.m. Sunday, TLC; “Major Crimes,” 9 p.m. Monday, TNT; “Big Rig Bounty Hunters,” 10 p.m. Monday, History; “Pretty Little Liars,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC Family; “Royal Pains,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, USA; “Suits,” 9 p.m., and “Graceland,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, USA; “Duck Dynasty,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, A&E.

Returning: “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” 9 p.m. Sunday, E!

Replaced: “Bad Teacher” and “Friends with Better Lives” have been yanked from CBS’ schedule with no current plans to air the remaining episodes. “Repeats of “The Millers” and “Mom” replace “Teacher” and “Friends,” respectively.

Series finale: “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” 9 p.m. Sunday, Fox.

Season finales: “Turn,” 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC; “Wicked Tuna,” 9 p.m. Sunday, National Geographic (followed by live after-show); “Hotel Secrets & Legends,” 10 p.m. Sunday, Travel; “Hotel Impossible,” 10 p.m. Monday, Travel; “The 100,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, CW.

Specials: “Brian Williams’ D-Day Special,” 8 p.m. Friday, NBC (interviews with WWII veterans); “D-Day in HD,” 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, History (rare footage and interviews with survivors); “Tony Awards,” 8 p.m. Sunday, CBS (hosted by Hugh Jackman); “Miss USA,” 8 p.m. Sunday, NBC; “Guy’s Choice Awards,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, Spike.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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