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TV picks: 'Incredible Crew,' Teen Titans, 'Doctor Who,' Lord Peter

TelevisionEntertainmentNick CannonDoctor Who (tv program)PBS (tv network)Lady GagaBBC

"Incredible Crew" (Cartoon Network, Thursdays). This single-camera teenage sketch comedy, created by Nick Cannon, premiered the last of its 13 episodes in mid-April, but they continue in rotation, are highly re-watchable and deserve your attention, whether or not you fit the target demographic. This is one of the most imaginative shows the year has produced -- absurdist, energetic, silly and smart, with high production values and a cast of talented performers locked in with one another from the get-go. Jeremy Shada, who is the voice of Finn on "Adventure Time," is, relatively speaking, the celebrity among them, but Shauna Case, Shameik Moore, Tristan Pasterick, Chanelle Peloso and Brandon Soo Hoo each brings something distinctive to the mix. Among skits with titles such as "Horrible Surprise Party," "Really Enthusiastic Snowman" and "Young Lady Gaga," there are ads for nonexistent products (like Sparkle Beard, a facial-hair play set for girls, and edible Cheat Sheet Tacos), musical numbers ("Doing Something Fun While Doing Something Boring," "Putting Shaving Cream on Stuff," the power ballad "Thoughts Before Bed"), and an oleo of formally presented stunts like "Playing Instruments With Other Instruments," "Milk Harmonica" and "Punch Bowl Jump Rope." (As in the green-slime tradition of "You Can't Do That on Television," things often get messy.)

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"Teen Titans Go!" (Cartoon Network, Tuesdays). Seven years after the end of CN's popular "Teen Titans," the network revives the junior superhero brand as a kind of domestic comedy with attitude, rendered in the Japanese-sprung chibi style (big heads, little bodies) and written in the droll, rockem-sockem spirit of its own "Powerpuff Girls." (The "Teen Titans" cast reprise their original roles.) Last week's premiere revolved around sandwiches and pie; this week Robin (the Boy Wonder) must take driver's ed after wrecking the Batmobile.

"Doctor Who" (BBC America, Saturdays). We are halfway through the half-season featuring Jenna Louise Coleman as Clara Oswin Oswald, the latest companion to Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, and, except for the misstep of the under-thought and overwrought "The Rings of Akhaten," their second official adventure together, it is turning out to be a good one, bearing down into a series of especially suspenseful, fast-paced and focused episodes. (The complicated, timey-wimey, intertwined multicharacter narratives of the Amy, Rory and River years have been for the moment streamlined; this is a time machine for two.) The streak continues with Saturday's episode: "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," set in an interstellar salvage ship, is one of the show's racing-against-the-clock-in-a-confined-space stories (this does constitute a series sub-genre, including the episode before last, the submarine-bound "Cold War"), though here it also contains, in the Doctor's newly redesigned time-spaceship, an unconfined space.

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"The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Complete Collection" (Acorn Media DVD). AngloTVphilia, to coin a word, has had something of a revival in recent years, between blockbuster PBS imports, BBC America and a legion of ancient and recent British series made available for streaming. But "Downton Abbey" was built on the shoulders of giants. One of the pillars of 20th century public broadcasting is this detective series from the 1970s, adapting five Dorothy L. Sayers novels, which has been conveniently collected into a single box, being released this week by Acorn Media. Ian Carmichael, a stalwart of Ealing comedies in the 1950s and '60s, stars as the sleuthing aristocrat Lord Peter, with Glyn Houston as butler (and former batman) Bunter. (A subsequent adaptation, starring Edward Petherbridge, was produced in the late 1980s.) Originally written and set in the 1920s and '30s, the mysteries encompass a range of settings and situations, from town to country, socialites to socialists and upper class to lower -- Lord Peter, notwithstanding his title, is a born democrat. "Downton Abbey" fans will find this familiar ground; there is even a Dowager Duchess. Shot largely on video on constructed sets, these series are modest by current television standards of splendor, but the writing and performances are sharp and witty, and it does not take long to fall under their spell.

robert.lloyd@latimes.com

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