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TV Picks: 'The Affair,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Walking Dead'

TV Picks: 'The Affair,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Walking Dead'
Dominic West, left, and Ruth Wilson "The Affair." (Craig Blankenhorn / Showtime)

"The Affair"—As the title suggests, the Showtime drama chronicles the extramarital liaison between Alison (Ruth Wilson), a waitress in Montauk, N.Y., and Noah (Dominic West), a teacher/writer summering there with his family and his wife’s wealthy parents. 

But the story is not quite what it seems. In the first half or the pilot, the origins of their meeting are being relayed by Noah to someone, presumably a police officer, anxious to know how “the whole mess” began. The second half is Alison’s story.  Subsequent episodes will include the viewpoints of Noah’s wife, Helen (Maura Tierney) and Alison’s husband, Cole (Joshua Jackson.)

Wilson, so lethally sexy as smitten sociopath Alice Morgan in "Luther," is just as mesmerizing here, and possibly just as trustworthy. West, both endlessly elastic and solid as an actor, likewise offers an infuriating but forgivable portrait of a man spinning the best version of himself.

Created by "In Treatment's" Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi, "The Affair" is a lyrical, disturbing portrait of the imperfection, and manipulation, of memory. Showtime, Sundays, 10 p.m.

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"Vampire Diaries"—After what even the most devout fans might characterize as a totally crazy Season 5, "Vampire Diaries" is pulling a "Homeland" and attempting something of a reboot, with a return to basics, if one can have basics in a show about vampires, witches, werewolves, doppelgangers, hybrids and Travelers.

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Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) ended last season by getting trapped on the Other Side, and that's where they'll be, apparently, at the beginning of this season.

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Events jump forward four months to find Elena (Nina Dobrev) in mourning, Caroline (Candace Accola) trying to lift the anti-magic spell from Mystic Falls and Alaric (Matt Davis) having a hard time adjusting. No doubt Season 6 will be about breaking on through to the Other Side (to rescue Damon and Bonnie), but more important, show creators have vowed to return to character over crazy plot. In a relative way, of course. CW, Thursday, 8 p.m.

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"The Walking Dead"—The Season 4 finale was a good news/bad news situation. On the one hand, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michone (Danai Gurira) and all the gang were finally reunited after a season spent asunder. On the other, most of them were trapped in a locomotive car by the crazy cannibals who run Terminus.

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Fortunately, outside that car is Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), baby Judith and a whole bunch of guns. So it can't be too long before the folks at Terminus are eating hot lead instead of human flesh and everyone is treated to the miracle of a still-living Judith. Ah, but then what?

With each passing season, the line between the living and the living dead grows more nebulous, as poor sweet crazy Lizzie tried to show Carol before Carol had to kill her. But Lizzie was right; the worst part of the zombie apocalypse is what it has done to the survivors, who have become the greatest threat to our heroes. AMC,  Sundays, 9 p.m.

Twitter: @marymacTV

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