Dr. Feelbad

Steven Soderbergh's retreat from cinema is TV's gain. The Oscar-winning director is directing every episode of "The Knick," and is off to a great start. Clive Owen plays John Thackery, a turn-of-the-century Gregory House pushing the boundaries of both medicine and his colleagues' patience. The production values are high, as is the squirm level. Soderbergh doesn't hold back on showing that surgery in 1900 didn't come with a lot of TLC. 9 p.m. Friday, Cinemax

Southern ways

"L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin" examines real-life issues facing a diverse group of Southern lesbians in small-town, Bible Belt America. Among the spotlighted cases: an out-and-proud pastor who is banished from her church and a white woman willing to accept her daughter's black lover — if he were a man. 8 p.m. Friday, Showtime

When he was the greatest

It's been far too long since Will Smith reminded us that he's a splendid actor, so while we wait for him to get back on board, let's revisit 2001's "Ali," in which the actor pulls off the near impossible job of portraying Muhammad Ali, one of the most charismatic athletes of all time. Jon Voight also scores as Howard Cosell. 6 p.m. Sunday, WUCW, Ch. 23

You're gonna need a bigger boat

Someday I hope TV executives follow their hearts and turn "Shark Week" into a marathon screening of the James Woods courtroom drama. Until then, we'll have to endure 13 new lowbrow specials, starting off with "Air Jaws: Fin of Fury," in which explorers go looking for Colossus the Megashark, which was last spotted a decade ago pumping gas somewhere in Alabama. 7 p.m. Sunday, Discovery

Neal Justin