HBO’s ambitious half-hour comedy “Girls” (9:30 p.m. Sunday) sets out to define and lampoon an emerging generation, become the next “Sex and the City,” yet savagely reject that show’s emphasis on surface, shopping and artifice.
‘‘Girls” is written and directed by Lena Dunham. She stars as Hannah, the show’s central character, a self-professed writer who never writes. In the first scene, her parents (Becky Ann Baker, Peter Scolari) inform her that, two years after college, they’ve decided to stop funding her “groovy” Brooklyn lifestyle. Later, she tries to convince her boss that it’s time for her to stop interning and start receiving a paycheck. These moments nicely satirize the bizarre economics of the new “bohemia,” a fantasyland where would-be Hemingways live off their daddies and toil in a literary-industrial complex that doesn’t bother to pay “creators” who don’t even pretend to work.
The interpersonal relationships in “Girls” are equally grim. Hannah’s pretty roommate, Marnie (Allison Williams), appears confident, but in a compulsive, bossy fashion. She barely endures her wimpy boyfriend because he doesn’t know how to act like a man, either in or out of bed. In contrast, Hannah couples sporadically with Adam (Adam Driver), an actor who uses sex to express hostility and contempt.
‘‘Girls” will inspire strong feelings. It laughs at privilege and insiderdom but features the daughters of NBC News anchor Brian Williams, playwright David Mamet and drummer Simon Kirke (Bad Company) in its cast. Some will chafe at its characters’ sense of entitlement. Others may identify with their state of being personally and professionally adrift.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): a look back at the life and career of the late Mike Wallace.
• Scheduled on “Dateline NBC” (6 p.m.): “My Kid Would Never Do That.”
• “Titanic” (8 p.m., ABC) concludes.
• “Masterpiece Classic” (8 p.m., PBS) presents “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”
• Much hinges on a tattoo on “The Killing” (8 p.m., AMC).
• Lane’s new friend raises eyebrows on “Mad Men” (9 p.m., AMC).
• The father of Lucrezia’s child returns on “The Borgias” (9 p.m., Showtime).