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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: March 31 to April 6

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY MARCH 31 Friends With Better Lives (CBS, Citytv, 9 p.m.) Imagine they made a sitcom that updated the Friends ten years after the finale episode and you have the setup for this new series. Debuting tonight, the premise focuses on six witless thirtysomething friends all at different stages in their lives. Pivotal couple Andi (Majandra Delfino) and Bobby (Kevin Connolly) are married with two kids but long for the days when they had more fun; best pal Will (James Van Der Beek) is newly-divorced and pretending to love the single life while secretly pining for his ex-wife; Kate (Zoe Lister Jones) is a feisty career woman still looking for Mister Right; and the attractive couple Jules (Brooklyn Decker) and Lowell (Rick Donald) only have eyes for each other, but at least one of them is already regretting their engagement. Luckily, there’s no monkey named Maurice in the first episode.

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TUESDAY APRIL 1 The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama (PBS, 8 p.m.) For those who care, there are options to frivolous TV talent contests and dizzy reality programs on Tuesday night. Launched last week, this five-part documentary series follows academic Schama on his journeys to Russia, the Ukraine, Egypt, Spain and, obviously, Israel as he examines the impact that Jewish culture has made on the world over the past several centuries. The last three hours air tonight, starting with Schama’s exploration of the integration of Jewish talent into the mainstream of European culture and commerce. Watch and learn.

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WEDNESDAY APRIL 2 Modern Family (ABC, Citytv, 9 p.m.) Still ranking high in ratings and quality in its fifth season, Modern Family has more or less spoiled viewers for the sitcom concept. How can anyone watch The Big Bang Theory or Suburgatory after spending a half hour with the Pritchett clan? In tonight’s new show, Phil (Ty Burrell) attempts to help Gloria (Sofia Vergara) sell her old apartment, but naturally she rejects his expertise; Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) tries to accept the horrific wedding-cake topper carved by his life-partner Cam’s (Eric Stonestreet) farmer father; while Jay (Ed O’Neill) offers to host a special evening for his expansive brood but regrets it before the first guest even arrives.

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THURSDAY APRIL 3 My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (TLC, 9 p.m.) Back tonight for a third season, this freakishly popular reality series takes viewers inside the rarely-seen gypsy world; except in this instance, the gypsies all reside in the southern U.S. and speak with hillbilly accents. As per the previous two campaigns, the gameplan for season three seems to be finding and focusing on hot-blooded gypsy clans. In tonight’s opener, two teens from feuding families decided they want to marry, which naturally has their parents, grandparents, cousins, whoever, screaming and yelling at each other like there’s no tomorrow. Now that’s good reality-TV.

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FRIDAY APRIL 4 Unforgettable (CBS, 8 p.m.) Remember this show? Launched in 2012 and returned sporadically by CBS, the premise casts the capable Poppy Montgomery as Carrie, a former New York detective blessed/cursed with an eidetic memory that enables her to remember events in excruciating detail. Naturally, Carrie is a whiz at solving murders, which helps out immensely in tonight’s new show when she and her trusty partner Al (Dylan Walsh) pose as man and wife to track the person who killed a wealthy couple.

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SATURDAY APRIL 5 We Bought a Zoo (YTV, 8 p.m.) Directed by Cameron Crowe, this sweet-natured film came and went from theatres in a flash back in 2011, but it’s still a good option to hockey this Saturday night. Matt Damon plays the earnest young widower Ben, who packs up his teen son Dylan (Colin Ford) and young daughter Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) and heads out in search of a new life. The family finds a perfect old house, but are surprised to discover that the previous owners were running a private zoo that comes with a lion, giraffe, monkeys and all manner of other species from the animal kingdom. Naturally, they buy the place and in between fixing up the grounds and fending off a fussy property inspector, Ben finds himself drawn to the comely zookeeper Kelly (Scarlett Johansson).

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SUNDAY APRIL 6 Game of Thrones (HBO Canada, 9 p.m.) All good things come to viewers who wait. Back tonight for a fourth season, HBO’s epic series based on the books by George R.R. Martin resumes the ongoing power struggle in the violent fantasy kingdom known as Westeros. In the season-opener, the wily Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) welcomes an unexpected guest to King’s Landing, while the warrior Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is surprised to find that he’s now unwelcome at Castle Black. In other news, Dany (Emilia Clarke) undertakes a journey to the slave city known as Meeren, while Arya (Maisie Williams) runs into an old acquaintance. Of course all of this will mean more to devoted GOT fans, but new arrivals are always welcome.

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