1) “United States of Al” debut(shown here), 8:30 p.m. Thursday, CBS. For six dangerous years, these men were close. Riley was a Marine; Amalwir (“Al”) was his Afghan translator, friend and sometimes protector. Now, after three years of bureaucracy, Al reaches the U.S.; culture shocks begin on both sides. Unlike many Chuck Lorre shows – “Big Bang,” “B Positive” (now moving to 9:30), “Mom” – this doesn’t have big laughs. Like all Lorrte shows, it has lots of little laughs, plus some deeply likable characters.
2) “Law & Order: Organized Crime” debut, 10 p.m. Thursday, NBC. A decade ago, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) abruptly left “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” after a dozen years. Now, suddenly, he’s back. He’s still a police detective, now in a unit that focuses on organized crime. In the “SVU” episode (9 p.m. Thursday), he comes across his old colleague Benson (Mariska Hargitay). They’re working the same case, which then sprawls into his show, taking up much of its first season.
3) “Masterpiece: Atlantic Crossing” opener, 9 p.m. Sunday, PBS. Princess Martha seemed to have a breezy life. Her uncles were the kings of Sweden (her homeland), Norway and Denmark. She married her first cousin, the Crown Prince of Norway, had three children and charmed Americans (especially Franklin Roosevelt) during a visit. Then World War II changed everything. This eight-week film (sometimes in Norwegian, with sub-titles) sags a bit in the middle, but starts and ends powerfully.
4) “Snowpiercer” season-finale, 9 and 10 p.m. today, TNT, rerunning at 11 and midnight. We start at a low point for Layton, the ex-cop who was a revolutionary force and, for a time, the train’s democratic leader. Now Wilford is in control, preparing for (really) a carnival; Layton is working in the sewage area. Still, he schemes to somehow rescue Melanie, who had left the train to gather vital information at a science research station. These two episodes are harsh, brutal and, as usual, beautifully crafted.
5) “Resident Alien” season-finale, 10 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy; and “Manifest” season-opener, 8 p.m. Thursday, NBC. It’s a big week for sci-fi fans, as one show arrives and two leave – “Snowpiercer” and “Resident Alien,” which has been a delight. Four people – Asta, her dad and two kids – know “Harry” is an alien in human form; but now Asta’s friend has found a body in his freezer. The “Manifest” return is flatly written and acted, but has a catchy story. Now there’s a search for a piece of the doomed plane.
6) “Pooch Perfect” debut, 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC. Imagine a newcomer, judging our society by ABC’s Tuesday line-up. At 10 p.m. is “Soul of a Nation,” the solidly serious news show; this week, it looks at activism in sports. And at 8 p.m.? Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect”) hosts the U.S. version of a show that failed in the ratings when she did it in her native Australia. In the opener, ABC says, 10 teams are each told to make “a muddy mess of a dog” look pretty. Then they make dogs look like other creatures.
7) “American Masters,” 9-10:30 p.m. Friday, PBS. When Doc Severinsen was 6, he insisted on learning the trumpet; his dad (a small-town dentist) preferred a violin, Doc’s still playing and touring, 87 years later. “You can’t say to Picasso, ‘Put the paintbrush down,’” his third wife says, adding that she’s “happy he’s with a trumpet player (Cathy Leach, a music professor) now.” This views his gym work and practices, plus the pizzazz he molded with Johnny Carson. It has rich humanity and great music.
8) “Mahalia,” 8 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime, rerunning at 11:03. Last year, on the eve of Easter, Lifetime traced gospel greatness, with the story of the Clark sisters. That movie reruns at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, leading into the story of Mahalia Jackson, who sang often at Martin Luther King’s rallies. In 1963 – two years after she became the first gospel singer to win a Grammy – she was in Washington, D.C., shouting “tell them about the dream.” He set aside his prepared text and gave his famous speech.
9) More Easter Week shows. Charlton Heston’s epics rerun: “Ben-Hur” (1959) is 8 p.m. ET Friday on Turner Classic Movies, with “The Ten Commandments” (1956), 7-11:44 p.m. Saturday on ABC. Also Saturday, History’s “The Bible” mini-series is 2 p.m., with the Easter portion from 8 to midnight, Gospel concerts are 9 p.m. Tuesday on the Oprah Winfrey Network and 9 p.m.ET Thursday on TBN; they rerun at 1 and 4 p.m. respectively Sunday … when TCM has “Easter Parade” (1948) at 8 p.m. ET.
10) ALSO: The college basketball tournament continues today (CBS) and Tuesday(TBS), with the final four colliding Saturday on CBS. At 8 p.m. today, CW’s “Bulletproof” wraps up its three-week South African adventure, with surprises and (as usual) a car chase. The next day (9 p.m. Tuesday), CW launches the sixth and final “Supergirl” season. And at 9 p.m. on an overcrowded Thursday, TBS has “Wipeout” (formerly on ABC) and Fox has the clever “Moodys” (formerly a Christmastime comedy).