Entertainment is hitting the snooze alarm for the first full week of 2013. No big new movies to note, and no notable DVD releases. Here are our top three TV picks for the week.
MONDAY: 'The Staircase: Last Chance'
"The Staircase" is a 2004 television nonfiction miniseries that just may be one of the best ever made. It follows the case of North Carolina author Michael Peterson, who was convicted of the murder of his second wife Kathleen, who was found bloodied at the bottom of the staircase in their Durham mansion. The trial, the revelations about Peterson's pursuit of gay military men for sex, the family background about his two adopted daughters whose mother was also found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the possibility that an owl was the real murderer -- it's all fascinating, and you wouldn't believe it if it was fiction. Now Peterson has been released from prison pending a new trial, and the original filmmaker has added two new episodes to the series. (Jan. 7, 10 p.m., Sundance Channel.)
The giraffe fight from Discovery Channel's new "Africa" documentary went viral recently, and it's easy to see why. Two majestic giraffes in Namibia repeatedly violently slam each other with practically the only weapon they have, their enormous and slender necks. It's just one moment from the new series, which took four years to make, and which comes from the makers of similar series "Life," which was widely critically acclaimed. In addition to the giraffe fight, the series looks at other bizarre and beautiful animal behaviors, including lizards who dare to eat flies directly off the backs of sleeping lions. You'll never see these scenes at your local zoo. (Jan. 8, 10 p.m., Discovery Channel.)
The "Girls" are back. Lena Dunham's Emmy Award-winning HBO show is returning this week for a second season. Not everyone took to the show, which features Dunham and cast playing a group of quirky twentysomethings trying to make it in New York, but those who loved it really loved its humor and sometimes shockingly weird plots, which return in the season-two trailer (taking a bath with a friend? that yellow mesh shirt?). Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet and Adam Driver all return. (Jan. 13, 9 p.m., HBO.)