1 The heroes of "Spotlight," writer/director Tom McCarthy's thrilling fact-based exposé of shocking abuse, conspiracy and denial, are three reporters and three editors, played by a brilliant ensemble cast. Set in the early 2000s, the film shows two formidable Boston power structures — the Boston Globe and the Catholic Church — in conflict over the coverup of sexual abuse by the clergy. The acting is beyond praise, especially when the characters are complex. You don't need to be a news junkie to admire such sleek, adult entertainment.
2 It's tricky business to create and build an ensemble show from scratch. But Transatlantic Love Affair's "Emilie/Eurydice" at Illusion Theater is a tender show that grabs your emotions and never lets go. Based on the real-life story of student Emilie Gossiaux, who was hit by a truck in New York, "Emilie" also gets mashed up with a reference to the Greek myth of Eurydice. Ensemble performers create all the props with their bodies, whether a door, a mirror or the straphangers of public transportation. As Emilie, Heather Bunch is an open canvas, full of innocence and wonder. illusiontheater.org
3 "The Human Touch" is a well-focused display of 35 paintings, photos, drawings and sculpture at the Weisman Art Museum. The chosen artists are a rich cross-section of multiethnic talent. Their art often simmers with the tensions and ambivalence that immigrants feel as they struggle to balance their history and personal aspirations against American expectations, opportunities and disappointments. weisman.umn.edu
5 Unless it turns lifeless (no pun intended) in its final three episodes before the annoying winter break, the current half-season of "The Walking Dead" could go down as the best eight-show stretch in the zombie series' six-year run. The back story on stick-swinging lone wolf Morgan was a welcome diversion, especially since Lennie James is the best actor on the show. The fighting and fleeing scenes have been tooth-gnashingly intense, too. As for the one big question mark of the season — no spoilers! — let's just hope they pull a "Dallas" and it was all just a dream. 8 p.m. Sun., AMC
4 "We Are Not Ourselves," the sprawling, brilliant, heartbreaking debut novel by Matthew Thomas, is the story of an American family deeply affected by the father's early-onset Alzheimer's, told primarily through his wife, Eileen, a fiercely proud nurse. It's stunning how this novel — page after unblinking page of seemingly mundane details in the lives of three people — can be so utterly captivating and moving.