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

Friday

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.

Saturday

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.

Sunday

"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.)