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Comings and goings: ‘Happy Endings’ returns, ‘Walking Dead’ departs

This weekend is kind of like "The Facts of Life" for me. You know, "you take the good, you take the bad..."

The good is that "Happy Endings" finally returns to ABC with back-to-back episodes at 8 p.m. Friday. The bad is that "The Walking Dead" signs off for the season at 9 p.m. Sunday on AMC.

There aren't as many of my friends who are excited for "Happy Endings" as for "The Walking Dead," but that doesn't surprise me. A lot of them — and the rest of the viewing public — probably don't even know about the show, which has been much maligned by the network.

Now in its third season, it began life as a midseason replacement in the Wednesday night comedy block but not on until 10 p.m. The next season it stayed on Wednesdays but moved up a half hour. This season, it was bumped from that to form a Tuesday comedy block with the now canceled "Don't Trust the B—— in Apartment 23."

For a mere two weeks, it also aired episodes on Sunday, replacing "666 Park Avenue" (which was ridiculously shelved with just four episodes to go). Now, it's coming back — to yet another new night — after having been shelved since Jan. 29.

Is it any wonder people have a hard time following it?

The show is once again on the bubble in terms of renewal, and I fear that being regulated to the Friday night death slot is going to push it into the graveyard unless ABC believes it has a really weak sitcom slate for the fall.

It's a shame, because it's a fabulously funny sitcom with amusingly dysfunctional characters, pop-culture references galore, plenty of deranged practical jokes and multiple laugh-out-loud lines per episode. It's up there with "Parks and Recreation" — another great show not enough people are watching — as the best sitcoms on today. ("Modern Family" ranks highly, too, though I haven't been nearly as impressed with this season as past ones.)

With "The Walking Dead," of course, there's no need to worry about its return. The show has already been renewed for season four.

However, not all characters will be coming back, I'm sure. There will certainly be at least one major character death, if not more, when Rick and his gang go head-to-head with The Governor and his Woodbury fighters.

My friends and I have been debating the deaths. All of us think there is some death that will devastate Maggie (though I really hope not eliminate her). A few people think it will be Glenn, and I could see that. He's a major character that would be a shocking death for both Maggie and viewers. It would also be a huge blow for Maggie to lose him, especially after the events of last week.

I'm lobbying for Hershel and Beth. Don't get me wrong; I like Hershel, but really, how well is a one-legged old man going to hold up against heavily armed opponents, zombies or both? The odds are not in his favor. As for Beth, heck, most people don't even know her name, that's how small a role she plays.

Killing these two off would wipe out the last of Maggie's family, which would be an equally, if not more, crushing blow than losing Glenn. Either way would introduce a whole new side to her next season. Will she come out a hardened fighter or will she lose it, like Rick did? I think either path would be very interesting to examine.

I don't have any guesses on others who might be marked for death. All I know is that if Daryl dies, we riot.

*****

Scripted series premieres: "Orphan Black," 9 p.m. Friday, BBC America (an orphan gets caught in a conspiracy when she discovers she's a clone); "How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life," 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, ABC (sitcom about an uptight single mom who moves back with her eccentric parents).

Series premieres: "The Gossip Game," 9 p.m. Monday, VH1 (female hip-hop gossip reporters); "Master of the Mix," 10 p.m. Monday, VH1 (DJ competition); "Monsters and Mysteries in America," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Discovery (people claim to have encountered mythical creatures); "Plain Jane," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Style (makeover show); "Forever Young," 10 p.m. Wednesday, TV Land (five seniors and five twentysomethings live together).

Season premieres: "Doctor Who," 8 p.m. Friday, BBC America; "Call the Midwife," 8 p.m., and "Masterpiece Classic: Mr. Selfridge," 9 p.m. Sunday, PBS (Jeremy Piven stars as the founder of the lavish, self-named British department store); "The Real Housewives of Orange County," 8 p.m. Monday, Bravo; "Kickin' It," 8:30 p.m. Monday, Disney XD; "My Crazy Obsession," 10 p.m. Wednesday, TLC.

Season finales: "Raising Hope," 9 p.m. Thursday, Fox; "1600 Penn," 9:30 p.m. Thursday (likely series finale); "Kathy," 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Bravo; "Pit Boss," 9 p.m. Saturday, Animal Planet; "The New Normal," 9 p.m. Tuesday, NBC (possible series finale); "Justified," 10 p.m. Tuesday, FX; "Snooki & JWoww," 10 p.m. Tuesday, MTV.

Miniseries finale: "The Bible," 8 p.m. Sunday, History (marathon of series starts at noon).

Specials: "Jesus: Rise to Power," 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, National Geographic (examines the origins of Christianity); "Gospel of Judas," 8 p.m. Friday, National Geographic (Jesus' story from Judas' perspective); "Philip Roth: Unmasked," 9 p.m. Friday, PBS ("American Masters" documentary); "The Ten Commandments," 8 p.m. Saturday, ABC; "Are We There Yet? Women's History Past, Present and Future," 8 p.m. Monday, Nickelodeon (Nick News special).

BBC America specials: "Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited," 8 p.m. Sunday (the third doctor is featured); "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector," 9 p.m. Tuesday (recounting the highs and lows of the music mogul); "Spies of Warsaw," 9 p.m. Wednesday (WWII spy thriller, part one of two).

Catch up: See the first two "Bates Motel" episodes at 8 and 9 p.m. Monday before the new third one at 10 p.m.

W.Va. alert: West Virginia State University graduate Rick Kelly, who has been first assistant director on Fox's "Raising Hope" since 2010, will direct the second half hour (9:30 p.m.) of the show's season finale Thursday.

A haunted doctor's office in Huntington is featured on "The Dead Files Revisited," 10 p.m. Friday, Travel; siblings claim to have seen Mothman in "Monsters and Mysteries in America," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Discovery.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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