Some actors capture a character so well that it’s hard to imagine them portraying anyone else. For example, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul will always be Jesse Pinkman to many fans, even if he never utters the word “bitch” again. And for the truly talented, it’s less of a pigeonhole than a challenge to raise the bar and keep landing solid projects.Hulu original The Path (Series Premiere, Wednesday) has the potential to elicit that kind of memorable performance. Paul stars as Eddie, husband, father and follower of the fictional Meyerist Movement. He lives on a compound in Upstate New York with his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan, the good season of True Detective), a devoted lifelong member, and their children. When Eddie’s faith is tested during a retreat, he’s left shaken, afraid to share his concerns with even his wife for fear of punishment or abandonment.
The cultish organization reeks of Scientology, from its mysterious founder to the level-up approach to enlightenment and the passing of pseudoscience as fact. But The Path doesn’t set out to debunk New Age religions, instead exploring
the depth of belief and how that differs from choice.
Certainly another performer to watch out for, Hugh Dancy (who forever left his impression on the character Will Graham opposite the incomparable Mads Mikkelsen in NBC’s gone-too-soon drama Hannibal) personifies this mysterious religion as its ardent unofficial leader, Cal. With his own plans for the movement that don’t necessarily line up with those of the organization, Cal looks to expand the group’s reach and recruit new members.From executive producer Jason Katims ( Friday Night Lights , Parenthood ) and creator Jessica Goldberg (writer on Parenthood ), this thriller could be a new platform for characters we love and the actors who play them.
WEDNESDAY 30Empire (9 p.m., Fox) – The Lyons are back! Lucious is determined to get back on top, Cookie puts her plan into action and Hakeem finds himself pitted against the rest of his family.
Broad City (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Abbi and Ilana cash in on the Airbnb craze.
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Tyrion Lannister himself, Peter Dinklage hosts; Gwen Stefani performs. We predict a single high-budget Game of Thrones sketch (Westeros Family Feud, anyone?), the return of Drunk Uncle’s brother-in-law Peter Drunklage and an annoying Blake Shelton cameo.
The Walking Dead (Season Finale, 9 p.m., AMC) – In the words of Abraham, “Who’s Negan?” We’re about to find out as the infamous comic book villain, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is finally introduced. Judging by the grim finale reactions teased by the cast and crew since the season’s premiere in October, shit’s about to go down. At least one of our major characters will likely find themself on the wrong end of Lucille, Negan’s weapon of choice.
Girls (10 p.m., HBO) – Hannah gets in hot water at work; Elijah parties with Dill; Marnie informs Ray about her relationship status; Jessa is nervous to run into Hannah at Adam’s play.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (9 p.m., Logo) – SNATCH GAME!
Better Call Saul (10 p.m., AMC) – Mike gets even; Jimmy finds an opportunity.
TUESDAY 05American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (Season Finale, 10 p.m., FX) – Both parties deliver closing statements and the jury agrees on a verdict, capping off a court case that captivated the country — one that obviously still fascinates us today.