Two new Netflix series, a historic television marathon and the always unpredictable VMAs are among the talkers on TV this week:
“Happy Valley” and “BoJack Horseman” (Wednesday and Friday on Netflix)
The streaming service launches a couple of very different series this week, the first of which is the ironically titled “Happy Valley.” This engrossing, six-part British crime drama is about a kidnapping that spirals out of control in a rural town protected by a no-nonsense police sergeant (Sarah Lancashire, “Last Tango in Halifax”) who’s a delight to root for. The Brit-speak can be a wee bit difficult to decipher at times but the show is good enough to warrant giving your remote’s rewind button a workout. Rating: 3 stars. Can’t say the same for “BoJack Horseman,” an animated series voiced by Will Arnett (“The Millers”) and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”). Arnett plays a washed-up ‘90s TV star — a man with a horse’s head — in this bizarre, Seth MacFarlane-like show that seems to have stemmed from a trippy night on ‘shrooms. In the words of Nancy Reagan, just say no. Rating: 1 star.
“The Simpsons” marathon (9 a.m. Thursday, FXX)
Stock up on Buzz Cola because you’ll need the caffeine to plow through this unprecedented bingefest. Every episode of the animated series chronicling the ups and d’ohs of Homer Simpson’s life will air in chronological order in the longest marathon in TV history. Some 552 episodes — enough to pack 25 seasons of Fox’s clever comedy — will be shown back-to-back over the course of 12 days. The parade of programming includes “The Simpsons Movie,” airing after episode 400.
“Doctor Who” (7 p.m. Saturday, BBC America)
Another chapter begins in Britain’s long-running sci-fi saga as Scottish actor Peter Capaldi takes over as the 12th doctor. Whovians will be treated to a feature-length season premiere that follows the TARDIS’ newest time-traveler on an adventure set in Victorian London. The episode is bookended by a pre- and post-show chat hosted by “Doctor Who” fanboy Chris Hardwick.
“10 Episodes That Changed TV” (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Logo TV)
This five-hour special celebrates the groundbreaking sitcoms that dared to tackle controversial issues like Maude’s abortion — a primetime event that aired a year before the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade. Episodes featuring Jodie’s coming out on “Soap,” “The Golden Girls’” ahead-of-its-time take on HIV and a memorable same-sex kiss on “Will & Grace” are among the other shows that make up this curated collection that illustrates the symbiotic relationship between sitcoms and social mores.
“MTV Video Music Awards” (8 p.m. Sunday, MTV)
Beyonce leads the pack with eight nominations, but who really cares who walks away with a Moonman statuette? We watch MTV’s annual kudosfest because it’s the rare awards ceremony where anything can happen — and often does. Whether it’s Kanye taking down Taylor Swift, a Madonna make-out session or Miley twerking her way to the top of Twitter trends, musicians sure know how to get us talking with their unique breed of crazy (i.e. Lady Gaga’s meat dress). Performances this year include Usher, Ariana Grande, 5 Seconds of Summer and Maroon 5.