The summer TV doldrums get a jump-start this weekend with a bunch of eagerly-awaited premieres.


The eight-hour “Pillars of the Earth” miniseries debuts on Starz at 10 p.m. The historic melodrama based on the 1989 Ken Follett novel revolves around the construction of a cathedral in 12th-century England amid a bloody war of succession. It features an all-star cast and promises lots of sex and violence (hey, it’s Starz!), romance and intrigue, and lots of dirty, dirty peasants.


The supernatural roommates are back for a second season of “Being Human” at 7 p.m. on BBC America. When we last left our heroes — a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost — they had just prevented a vampire apocalypse and George accidentally turned his girlfriend into a werewolf (Oops!). Now they find themselves being hunted by two mysterious men and encounter a vampire couple who might have revenge on their minds. It’s a pretty entertaining series, a definite cut above the “Twilight”-level vampire stupidity, with a good dose of comedy mixed into the action.


"Carousel." (AMC photo)

Forget the World Cup or the return of “Jersey Shore,” this is the biggest TV event of the summer: The return of “Mad Men” (10 p.m., AMC), the best — errr, second-best — series on TV (“Breaking Bad” raised the ante this year). The upcoming fourth season has been remarkably spoiler-free, and I’m fine with that — surprises are good. But I can tell you this: The action picks up a year or so after Season 3, with the new ad agency trying to keep its head above water; Don has a new bachelor pad; Betty is remarried, unhappily, of course; and Peggy has a new haircut. The rest you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Jordana Spiro & Co. are back. (TBS photo)

And in lighter fare, “My Boys,” the breezy comedy about a Chicago sportswriter and her circle of friends, is back for a fourth season as well (10 p.m., TBS). Series regular Jim Gaffigan is gone (his character moved to China), and now the gang has to find a suitable replacement for their posse. (Click here for a preview.)