Arguably the best two new shows of the season wrap up Sunday, with the season finales of "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO, 9 p.m.) and "The Walking Dead" (AMC, 10 p.m.)
The former was the show most buzzed-about coming into the season, given its fine cast and that the project is backed by Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg as producers. Set in 1920 Atlantic City, the show does a fine job in capturing the issues of the day, such as Prohibition and women's suffrage, interlacing real and fictional characters.
Though I'm not entirely sold on Steve Buscemi in the lead -- often times, he seems to be playing Steve Buscemi -- there are enough interesting subplots to keep things going, as well as great performances from Kelly McDonald and Gretchen Mol.
"Boardwalk" is the network's most critically acclaimed show since "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" left the air, and it's worthy company for both of those series.
Meanwhile, there's no argument that "The Walking Dead" is the surprise hit of the season. Even AMC, which does TV better than pretty much anyone else, didn't know what to expect, giving the series only six episodes for its debut.
Based on the graphic novels of Robert Kirkman, "The Walking Dead" -- thanks to a brilliantly conceived marketing campaign -- debuted to the highest numbers in the network's history, doubling the audience of Emmy winner "Mad Men." It was already renewed for a 13-episode second season after the second episode aired.
Centering around a small band of humans -- some of the few survivors of a zombie plague that overruns the planet -- no other shows ramps up the level of tension each week as the viewer genuinely doesn't know who will survive.
While "Dead" seems more of an HBO or SyFy style show, somehow it has shown itself to fit perfectly on AMC, even drawing new viewers to that network.
Sunday night should be a great night of TV, but it's depressing to think both of those shows will be gone after that.
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Years ago, I wrote a "Smallville" episode and submitted it to the producers. It was about Clark waking up in an alternate universe where he was raised by Lionel Luthor instead of the Kents and was a bad guy. Tonight, John Glover returns to the show (CW, 8 p.m.) as Lionel, in an episode where Clark wakes up in an alternate universe where he was raised by Lionel. I'm not saying I was ripped off; instead, it's just another example of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the right idea. Oh well. It's followed by a new "Supernatural" at 9 p.m.
CBS has a new night of "Medium," "CSI: NY" and "Blue Bloods," while Fox airs a new "Good Guys" at 9 p.m.
NBC airs the TV movie "Walk In My Shoes" from 8-10 p.m.
On cable, SyFy has a new "Sanctuary" at 10 p.m.
On Sunday, "The Amazing Race" (CBS, 8 p.m.) is down to four teams, followed by "Undercover Boss" and "CSI: Miami."
Fox has a special hour-long "Cleveland Show" at 8:30 p.m., following a new "Simpsons" and before a new "American Dad."
ABC has new episodes of "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters" from 9-11 p.m.
On cable, there's a new "Dexter" at 9 p.m.
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