WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013 —Tonight at 9 p.m. Sundance Channel is airing an interesting alternative to the usual mindless reality show programming of major broadcast TV. “Rectify” is the latest offering from executive producer Mark Johnson who is best known for the AMC series “Breaking Bad.”
“Breaking Bad” takes an incredibly flawed lead character and makes him likable without diluting his less than admirable lawless behavior. Featuring a methamphetamine making chemistry teacher who has inoperable cancer, “Breaking Bad” is anything but typical programming. Without seeing the show it is hard to imagine it as compelling, but brilliant writing and acting have won “Breaking Bad” seven Primetime Emmys so far.
In “Rectify,” Johnson and the show’s creator Ray McKinnon have helped create an equally flawed and ambiguous lead character in Daniel Holden, beautifully played by Aden Young. Recently released from death row based on new evidence, Holden still faces possible prosecution for raping and killing his teenage girlfriend 19 years earlier.
Meanwhile Holden has returned to a home and family that is part relieved and part horrified with the idea of trying to help him reclaim his life in a small southern town in Georgia. The gauzy lighting and loquacious dialogue audiences have come to associate with the south are but a few of the many cinematic tricks that makes “Rectify” feel more like a major film production than a weekly TV drama.
The audience is tempted early on to treat the plot of “Rectify” like a mystery that needs solving. But that soon takes a back seat to Holden’s struggle with his inner demons and his effort to find his place in a radically different world than the one he left. The totality of his strange new world is cleverly depicted in a single scene where Holden is in his boyhood bedroom looking at his old Walkman and cassette tapes.
The storyline for “Rectify” is as promising as “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” Both shows have been phenomenally successful on basic cable, and both have helped set a new standard for scripted programming in the process. But even more important, their success demonstrates TV audiences’ preference for a well made drama over the never ending parade of stupid reality shows the net heads continue to force-feed us.
The fact that “Rectify” isn’t about wannabe stars or washed up celebrities is reason enough to give Sundance’s newest drama a chance.
All times are EDT:
ABC: Dancing With the Stars: (Live) The couples perform for the judges; Stevie Wonder and Hunter Hayes perform.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (Repeat) With a rash of relationships on rocky ground, Ted and Victoria find themselves at a romantic crossroads, while Robin thinks Barney’s screwy when he decides to employ a dog as his wingman.
FOX: Bones: (New) The team must solve a murder to stop a viral outbreak.
NBC: The Voice: (New) With eliminations looming, the artists go all-out in head-to-head competitions.
CW: Oh Sit: (New) In this fun, high-stakes, high-octane musical chairs competition featuring new obstacles and bridges, water rounds, mechanical rounds and slick zones, 12 thrill-seeking daredevils who will race head-to-head through five physically demanding, chair-splitting obstacle course-style eliminations as they each compete to claim a chair – all to the sounds of a live band.
CBS: Rules of Engagement: (New) Jen forces the guys to throw Adam a surprise bachelor party. Meanwhile, Jen paints a graphic mural for Audrey and Jeff’s nursery.
CBS: 2 Broke Girls: (Repeat) Max, Caroline and Andy spend a disastrous weekend together at a cabin in the woods.
FOX: The Following: (New) Joe Carroll sets his escape plan in action.
CW: 90210: (New) Liam and Navid, in an effort to get teenage pro-surfer Cassie (guest star Marie Avgeropoulos) to be their first sponsored athlete, ask her favorite musician Olly Murs to do a special performance.
CBS: Mike and Molly: (Repeat) Mike’s captain sets him up with a pair of choice seats to a basketball game, but the ducats come with a price as the top cop wants Mike to set him up on a date with Mike’s mom.
ABC: Castle: (New) When Beckett is tasked with protecting a charming billionaire whose life is in danger, she reflects on her relationship with Castle; consumed with jealousy, Castle tries to solve the case as quickly as possible.
CBS: Hawaii Five-0: (Repeat) A grisly murder leads Five-0 to discover a ritualistic killing on Halloween, and the evidence suggests that the murderer will soon strike again.
NBC: Revolution: (New) Neville disappears; Aaron and Rachel set off for The Tower while Charlie and Miles follow the nuke to Atlanta. Leslie Hope guest stars.
PBS: Independent Lens: (New) A chronicle of the first year in office of Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, who undertakes a campaign to raise awareness about the catastrophic consequences of global warming, culminates in a trip to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit.
New episodes of:
The Real Housewives of Orange County at 8 p.m. on BRAVO
Top Gear at 9 p.m. on BBC
Overhaulin’ at 9 p.m. on DSC
Love it or List it at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Brain Games at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on NGC
Rectify at 9 p.m. on SUND
Defiance at 9 p.m. on Syfy
Bizarre Foods America at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Bates Motel at 10 p.m. on A&E
LA Shrinks at 10 p.m. on BRAVO
Texas Car Wars: Scrapped Out at 10 p.m. on DSC
Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV
Teen Mom 2 at 10 p.m. on MTV
The Numbers Game at 10 p.m. on NGC
Scam City at 10 p.m. on SCI
Burger Land at 10 p.m. on Travel Channel
Lizard Lick Towing at 10 p.m. on truTV
For movie lovers:
The Transporter on AMC
Van Helsing on ENC
The Da Vinci Code on FMC
For Love of the Game on FLIX
Spider-Man 2 on FX
The Prestige on IFC
Exit Wounds on REELZ
The Wizard of Oz on TCM
Love Struck: The Musical on ABCFAM
Wayne’s World 2 on FUSE
Snow White and the Hunstman on HBO
The Grudge on MOMAX
The Sentinel at 10 p.m. on AMC
What’s Your Number at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
Rock of Ages at 10 p.m. on HBO
Leave Her to Heaven at 10 p.m. on TCM
War Horse at 10 p.m. on TMC
The Butterfly Effect at 10:15 p.m. on ENC
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