It's a big week of TV beginnings and endings, and we're finally meeting the new Doctor.
There are plenty of much-anticipated things happening on the tube in the next seven days, but for most of us seeing Peter Capaldi's first full adventure as the Twelfth Doctor is easily the highlight. It's not the only thing to look forward to, though. We've got a new Syfy competition series featuring lots of -- ahem -- magic, the new BBC America supernatural drama Intruders and, of course, the final episode of True Blood. Plus the season finales of Legend of Korra and The Last Ship, renewal news for Outlander and much more.
Check out the week in TV below. What's on your watchlist?
Highlights of the Week
Wizard Wars (Syfy) Tuesday, 10 p.m. - "Spam-Tastic!"
Series premiere! - I know, I know, some of you are groaning because Syfy has added yet another competition series to its lineup, and others are groaning because a show called Wizard Wars won't involve actual wizards, but this new series hosted and judged by the always-entertaining magician team of Penn & Teller looks like it's got the potential to be a lot of fun. At its core, Wizard Wars is about magicians competing to put on the best show, but there's more to it than that. Rather than simply come in and deliver their prepared, polished acts for the judges, the competitors will have to take a random assortment of everyday objects (aquariums, chairs, Spam and plenty of other weird stuff) and use their creativity to craft mind-bending illusions. If the trailers are any indication, the magicians who've been invited to perform are cooking up some inventive stuff, and if it catches on this show has the potential to -- like veteran Syfy hit Face Off -- bring in an audience for the network that might not otherwise tune in. In the first episode, a team of Canadian magicians squares off against an American duo to craft illusions using everything from Super Soakers to Spam. Check out a preview below.
Doctor Who (BBC America) Saturday, 8:15 p.m. - "Deep Breath"
Season premiere! - At long last, the moment we've been waiting months for is here. This Saturday, Peter Capaldi will begin his adventures in the TARDIS and a new era of Doctor Who will begin, but not without skepticism from viewers both mourning the loss of Matt Smith and questioning the leadership of showrunner Steven Moffat. In Capaldi, we've been promised a less flirty, colder, more imposing version of the Doctor, which some fans have been waiting years for, and Capaldi seems to be settling into the role nicely. But will Moffat give him the right stories? Will Clara's character grow in ways she's not been permitted to before? Will it still make us laugh? Will the Doctor's new adversaries be able to crawl out from under the long shadows of his old ones? As with any changing of the guard on Doctor Who, there are still a lot of questions hanging in the air about the show, and not just from a story standpoint. During the Matt Smith era, we finally got to watch the series on the same day as its British fans, and various premieres and specials that aired in that era set ratings and viewership records for BBC America. Who fans can't wait to see what Capaldi will bring to the party, but what about the more casual viewers who were drawn in by the energy and adorableness of Matt Smith? Will they stick around for an older, more serious Doctor? Will the sheer anticipation of seeing someone new in the role be enough to hit another ratings high? We'll find out Saturday via an extra-long season opener in which the Doctor and Clara face dinosaurs and spontaneous combustion in Victorian London. Check out a preview below.
Intruders (BBC America) Saturday, 10 p.m. - "She Was Provisional"
Series premiere! - After we've all gotten our Doctor Who fix on Saturday night, BBC America will give us a decidedly different genre story with the premiere of Intruders, a supernatural drama starring John Simm (Doctor Who, Life on Mars), Mira Sorvino (Mimic) and James Frain (The Tudors) that looks like it could be one of the eeriest and most cerebral shows on television if it delivers on its promise. Simm is Jack Whelan, a former LAPD police officer who, when his wife (Sorvino) suddenly goes missing, is catapulted into a deep, dark mystery centered on a secret society that has apparently discovered the secret of immortality through inhabiting the bodies of others. This isn't simply a possession story, though. This is something much deeper and stranger, and if the trailers are any indiciation we just might end up addicted to this one. For a long time, it seemed that BBC America's only real hold on pop culture in America was Doctor Who, but that's changed through original dramas like Copper and the sci-fi phenomenon that is Orphan Black. Now the network is poised to hook more viewers with a daring, ambitious genre series, and they're launching it on a night when millions of fans will be tuning in to see the Doctor return. Will the Who lead-in spark a big debut for Intruders? We'll find out. In the meantime, check out a preview for the series below.
Outlander (Starz) Saturday, 9 p.m. - "The Way Out"
Outlander was easily one of the most-anticipated new genre series of the summer. Readers of Diana Gabaldon's mega-bestselling books were eager for it, fans of Ronald D. Moore were eager for it, and fantasy lovers who wanted a mature, steamy drama for them that wasn't Game of Thrones were definitely eager for it. To help build the show's buzz, Starz made the premiere episode available free online in advance of its air date, and as a result it picked up more than 5 million viewers across various platforms. That enthusiastic response, a particularly large one for a network the size of Starz, was enough to convince the network to order a second season of the show before its first episode even aired. So, after season one finishes its adaptation of the first novel in the series, the second season will adapt book two, Dragonfly in Amber. Now we have to see if the show can continue to hold such a large viewership's interest throughout its first season and justify that early renewal. Given the strong early critical response the first episode received, Outlander looks poised to keep putting up big numbers for Starz, and perhaps even surpass its early buzz by season-finale time. Premiere audiences are always inflated by curiosity, though, so we'll just have to wait and see. This week, Claire finds a way to escape Castle Leoch, cares for a sick child and gets new hope of freedom. Check out a preview below.
True Blood (HBO) Sunday, 9 p.m. - "Thank You"
Series finale! - After seven seasons of blood, sex, magic and mayhem, we finally bid farewell to True Blood this week, and it really feels like the end of an era. In 2008, when the series first launched under showrunner Alan Ball (best known at the time for the deeply cerebral Six Feet Under), it felt like a weird little vampire show that might not find a place on HBO, a network that was -- at the time -- still looking for its next great drama in the wake of losing both The Sopranos and The Wire. You might remember it differently, but in my head it looked very much like an unlikely marriage. The series premiere of True Blood picked up just 1.44 million viewers in Live + Same Day, which isn't bad for HBO but seems positively tiny when you consider that not one episode in seasons two through seven of the series picked up less than double that number. So the show didn't catch fire right away, but when it did, it really did. For a while there, True Blood was an unstoppable Sunday night juggernaut, a must-see super-hit for HBO packed with jaw-dropping moments that were the talk of the Internet on Monday morning. The spotlight has since been stolen by Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, but True Blood's legacy as one of its network's greatest success stories (a network, by the way, that also boasts success stories like The Sopranos and Sex and the City) is secure. There's something else about the True Blood legacy, though, that I think we can't forget, and that's how -- and there's really no other fitting word for it -- bonkers the show was willing to get. We might be jaded in this post-"Red Wedding" age of cable television. We tune in to Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and the like, and we expect over-the-top, unapologetic genre-driven TV that will leave us screaming at the screen. True Blood was, in a way, doing that before it was cool. In the finale, Sookie and all her friends in Bon Temps end a chapter of their lives and prepare to start another. Check out a preview below.
Monday, August 18
Under the Dome (CBS) 10 p.m. - "Awakening"|
Barbie enlists his father's help to reach out to Julia, but then realizes Don may not be trustworthy and may know more about the Dome than he is acknowledging. Meanwhile, Big Jim appoints himself sheriff of Chester's Mill.
Teen Wolf (MTV) 10 p.m. - "Perishable"
An assassin targets Scott and Liam at the lacrosse team's annual bonfire. Later, Lydia uncovers a family secret.
Tuesday, August 19
Face Off (Syfy) 9 p.m. - "Animal Attraction"
The 11 remaining artists face another individual challenge when they are told to mash up two animals and create a unique new species.
Wednesday, August 20
Extant (CBS) 9 p.m. - "More in Heaven and Earth" and "Incursion"
Two-episode event! - Molly searches for her baby and becomes convinced the agency took the child. Meanwhile, John discovers startling advancements in Ethan's programming, and Kern holds Kryger hostage in an attempt to recover the incriminating video he stole from the ISEA.
Thursday, August 21
Defiance (Syfy) 8 p.m. - "Bottom of the World" and "Doll Parts"
Two-episode event! - A deadly mine collapse leaves Amanda and Pottinger trapped, and it's a race against the clock for Nolan and Rafe to save them.
The Quest (ABC) 8 p.m. - "Battle Dome"
Teen Titans Go! (TOON) 6 p.m. - "Knowledge" and "Man Person"
Starfire craves knowledge but fears it will make her boring; Beast Boy replaces body parts with robotic limbs, thinking it makes him more manly.
Friday, August 22
Legend of Korra (Nick.com) 12 p.m. - "Enter the Void" and "Venom of the Red Lotus"
Season finale! - In the final two episodes of Book Three, Korra must face the Red Lotus and fight to save the Air Nation.
Saturday, August 23
We covered all of this Saturday's biggest events in the Highlights of the Week. You'll have plenty to watch.
Sunday, August 24
Teen Wolf (MTV) 7 p.m. - "Monstrous"
Special time! - Scott and Kira must protect Satomi's pack from assassins; Stiles and Malia learn the origins.
The Leftovers (HBO) 10:10 p.m. - "The Garveys at Their Best"
Tom connects with his past, even though he knows it's a mistake. Meanwhile, Nora has a job interview; Kevin's father receives an honor; troubling news comes as no surprise to Laurie; and Kevin tracks down a rampaging deer but can't seem to shake his bad habits.
The Strain (FX) 10 p.m. - "For Services Rendered"
Jim is used as bait in a plan to track down the Master. Meanwhile, Neeva encounters a mysterious stranger.
Falling Skies (TNT) 10 p.m. - "Drawing Straws"
Tom and the 2nd Mass learn to pilot an airship as part of a perilous mission to destroy the Espheni power core. Meanwhile, longstanding issues impact the group as the threat of death hangs over them.
The Last Ship (TNT) 9 p.m. - "No Place Like Home"
Season finale! - Chandler and the crew journey home in the season-one finale. Also: A political power player battles a menacing warlord, and Chandler tries to find his family, only to unearth a terrifying reality about the new world.
Witches of East End (Lifetime) 9 p.m. - "Art of Darkness"
Tarkoff, an old friend of the family, visits Joanna and Freddie. Meanwhile, Wendy, Freya, Ingrid and Dash attend an art gala where Wendy encounters someone from her past, and Killian begins to doubt his feelings for Eva.
The Lottery (Lifetime) 10 p.m. - "Sleep Deprived"
Vanessa works against Darius to control the Lottery; the Lottery contestants acclimate to the pressures of their new lives; Kyle meets an unlikely new ally; Alison's investigation intensifies.
Manhattan (WGN) 10 p.m. - "A New Approach to Quantum Cosmology"
Frank clashes with Charlie to protect Babbit, who has become the subject of an investigation.
What's on your watch list this week? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter at @blastr!