Part mystery, part scavenger hunt, the new dramedy "Dispatches From Elsewhere" (10 p.m. Sunday, AMC, TV-14) sets out to be something completely different. And actually succeeds.
Written and created by Jason Segel, who also stars, "Dispatches" will probably annoy as many people as it enchants. And that's half the point.
Segel does entirely too good a job playing Peter, a depressed data analyst for a music streaming company. His days unfold with dreary consistency until he happens upon a lamppost flier touting a mysterious group. After calling their number, he falls down a rabbit hole of secret clues, conspiracies and counterconspiracies that throw him together with four other strangers on a similar path.
Look for two-time Oscar winner Sally Field as Janice Foster, a married woman who sees their venture as some kind of game. Dour Fredwynn (Andre Benjamin) perceives a much more sinister force behind their quest. Simone (Eve Lindley) appears as sad as Peter and just as game for something, anything, to shake up her life.
Look for Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me") as the shadowy figure Octavio Coleman, Esq. Even if you don't stick around to watch all of "Dispatches," you should see Grant's strange introduction. Talking directly to the audience (and perhaps to TV reviewers!) he complains about the conventions of TV storytelling, promising to dispense with the practice of wasting the whole pilot explaining Peter's story, he sums things up in a neat two-minute introduction. Then he admits that he's not telling the whole truth.
It would be easy to dismiss "Dispatches" as gimmicky. But what game (or TV fantasy) isn't? The show is simply too strange to categorize. I was reminded of the peculiar originality and audacity of the 1999 fantasy/comedy "Being John Malkovich." I'm not entirely sure what's going on. But I'm curious to see what happens next, and thoroughly entertained.
-- Viewers who missed "Patrick Melrose" on Showtime can stream the series in its entirety on Amazon Prime, beginning Sunday.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the title role as a man trying to establish a sane and sober life after coming to grips with a posh and stylish yet extraordinarily abusive upbringing. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving co-star as parents from hell. Not for every taste, this series is rated TV-MA.
-- Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS): an interview with Michael Bloomberg; Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher talks about the killing of an ISIS prisoner; the storm-wracked Bahamas' embrace of solar power.
-- The Tampa Bay Vipers host the DC Defenders in XFL Football (7 p.m., ESPN2).
-- Ryan Seacrest hosts "American Idol" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
-- A battle for survival on "Doctor Who" (8 p.m., BBC America, TV-PG).
-- Time to rustle up a militia on "Outlander" (8 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).
-- Zoey ponders the source of her musical "gift" on "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
-- Ralph and Yunis interview witnesses on "The Outsider" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).
Life is worth living on "God Friended Me" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... "Little Big Shots" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... Bart turns spoiling into a sport on "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... Kate and Sophie come to terms on "Batwoman" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14) ... Ticking off the boxes on "Duncanville" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
Kidnappers seize Fatima on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... A new school anthem on "Bob's Burgers" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... Supergirl faces a new threat on "Supergirl" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) ... Brian brings fateful news on "Family Guy" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... A will may explain a sudden murder on "NCIS: New Orleans" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).