"Helix" (Syfy, Fridays). Ronald D. Moore, who rebooted "Battlestar Galactica" and brought the highland romantic fantasy "Outlander" to the TV screen, is an executive producer of and contributing writer to this well-wrought sci-fi suspense serial, now in its second season. It's what might be called variously derivative -- a scrap-yard machine whose component parts have included an isolated Arctic setting, an out-of-control super-virus, quasi-zombies, a shadowy corporate cabal and dangerous immortals. You know the drill. But the package is classy, even classical; the performances are good; and the attitude is just perverse enough for the show to be genuinely surprising and even shocking at times. This year, the aforementioned arctic laboratory having gone up in flames, the setting has shifted to a mysterious island, which, though non-tropical, brings with it thoughts of "Lost" -- an impression strengthened by the series' newly introduced dual timelines (the current season takes place now and 30 years from now), cult in a compound, things that go bump in the woods and the presence of
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"Breaking Greenville," a new reality series on TruTV, is another small-town, workplace comedy, about dueling small-market news teams; both "Parks and Recreation" and "Mary Tyler Moore" are, therefore, in its DNA, mutated and degenerated, to be sure, but easily detectable. As usual with these things, the quotes around "reality" are meaningful and, at the same time, irrelevant. Given what seems to be the genuine quirkiness of the characters -- parochial, self-deluded, ambitious, aspiring, a cast Christopher Guest might deem worthy of an unreal documentary -- how much is exaggeration, how much invention and how much actual is hard to reckon and, again, not worth the bother. It's well-conceived, as these things go, and charming, by local standards.