George Stark (David O'Hara, left) and John Luther (Idris Elba) on "Luther" on BBC America
Updated: September 2, 2013 4:58PM
“LUTHER” (9 p.m. Tuesday on BBC America): Violence begets violence — that’s the disturbing thread running through this dark British crime drama starring Idris Elba (“Pacific Rim,” “The Wire”) in his Golden Globe-winning role as troubled detective John Luther. The miniseries returns with a consecutive four-night run that has Luther hunting down one of the scariest predators on TV. (Chance of nightmares: 95 percent.) Luther isn’t the only one doing the investigating in season three; a new superintendent (David O’Hara, “The Tudors”) has it out for the unorthodox detective.
“IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA” (9 p.m. Wednesday on FXX): Twisted as a pretzel and bawdy as ever, one of the most consistently funny comedies on cable is back for a ninth installment on a new, younger-skewing network. Years of abuse from the guys at Paddy’s Pub have reduced Dee (Kaitlin Olson) to a self-loathing mess, but that’s not about to stop her from parlaying her pathos into a career in stand-up comedy.
“BOARDWALK EMPIRE” (8 p.m. Sunday on HBO): Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) barely held onto his Atlantic City empire — not to mention his life — in season three of this sumptuously produced Prohibition Era drama. More problems are headed for the Boardwalk, but thanks to Al Capone, things are heating up in west suburban Cicero, too. New characters include Al’s brothers, Ralph and Frank, as well as a Florida speakeasy owner played by Patricia Arquette.
“MILLION SECOND QUIZ” (7 p.m. Monday on WMAQ-Channel 5): NBC’s new game show — accurately billed as Event Television — is bananas. For a million straight seconds, players go head-to-head answering trivia questions in a giant hourglass in Manhattan. The best of the best will duke it out in the Sept. 19 finale for an unprecedented $2 million grand prize. And check out this second-screen experience: Viewers can play along online during the primetime broadcasts and be chosen live, on air, to compete in New York in the following night’s episode.