Season Premiere: Compared to Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil,” the 2004 Thomas Jane-led “Punisher” flick wasn’t that bad — but Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead”) is the ultimate Punisher the fanboys have been waiting for. Season 2 of Marvel/Netflix smash “Daredevil” picks up with Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) still doing his Hell’s Kitchen vigilante thing by night and sort-of attending to his lawyer duties by day. But, someone doesn’t think he’s doing enough, hard enough — that’s Frank Castle (Bernthal), a.k.a. the Punisher, a brutal, relentless mercenary with a “Kill ‘Em All, Let Me Sort ‘Em Out” credo that clashes with Murdock’s less murder-y version of street justice. As if that weren’t trouble enough, another fan-favorite frenemy is also in town with a score to settle: Ninja-assassin Elektra (Elodie Yung). Aside from the new additions, and better lighting, this is still the “Daredevil” you fell in tortured love with last year.
Sunday, March 20 (Fox)
Special: Myself and at least a dozen readers like to think that I’m kinda funny. But, sometimes, you just have to admit utter comedic defeat — from Fox PR: “‘The Passion,’ a two-hour musical event airing live from New Orleans, tells the 2,000-year-old story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth. Hosted and narrated by actor, writer, producer, director and New Orleans native Tyler Perry, the special will feature a cast of today’s biggest stars performing a variety of popular music. Set in modern day, The Passion will follow the dramatic and inspirational story of Jesus of Nazareth (Jencarlos Canela), as he presides over the Last Supper, and then is betrayed by Judas (Chris Daughtry), put on trial by Pontius Pilate (Seal), convicted, crucified and resurrected.”
Tuesday, March 22 (NBC)
Series Debut: Melissa George — and everyone else — deserves better than this. In the cleverly-titled “Heartbeat,” George stars as heart-transplant surgeon Dr. Alex Panttiere (woman with a dude’s name — one cliché checked), a brilliant doctor who doesn’t play by the rules (and there’s another cliché) whose accomplished-if-occasionally-mansplained career (and another) contrasts with her messy personal and romantic life as a single mom and Melissa George-level hot thang (and there’s all the remaining clichés). At best, “Heartbeat” plays like an unaware spin-off of sexy-docs spoof “Childrens Hospital”; the rest of the time, it’s just pretty people in scrubs Acting! Really! Hard! in a community-theater production of “House M.D.”
“You, Me, Her”
Tuesday, March 22 (Audience/DirecTV)
Series Debut: In 2015, DirecTV’s Audience Network quietly slid into the half-hour-comedy game with “Billy & Billie,” a breezy rom-com about step-siblings in love/lust from the hilarious Neil LaBute. This year, Audience is trying out “You, Me, Her,” an indie-flick-esque dramedy they’re billing as “polyromantic.” “You, Me, Her” stars Greg Poehler (“Welcome to Sweden”) and Rachel Blanchard (FX’s “Fargo”) as bored suburban Portland married couple who inadvertently end up hiring/sleeping with/falling for the same female escort (Priscilla Faia, “Rookie Blue”). Naturally, they decide to bring the escort on full-time and make their marriage a threesome, because, Portland. CV
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.