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Top Picks: 'Agent 6,' alien diplomacy, and more

Gillian Anderson plays a tragic bride in a new 'Great Expectations,' 'American Masters' explores the lives of authors Harper Lee and Margaret Mitchell, master spy George Smiley is brought to life by actor Gary Oldman, and more top picks.


Gary Oldman in ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ is out on DVD March 20.


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A tormented Miss Havisham

Gillian Anderson is back in another adaptation of a classic. As part of the Charles Dickens bicentennial, "Masterpiece Classic" will première Great Expectations as a two-part, three-hour miniseries on PBS, April 1 and 8.

When aliens attack

Earth is under attack. Commander Shepard (aka you) must rally the galaxy to its defense. But convincing the bickering aliens of Mass Effect 3 to unite requires a balance of diplomacy and gunplay. This video game deftly pivots between science-fiction fables and action-movie spectacles. Conversations can drastically sway the story line, so saving the galaxy requires both careful aim and careful wording. Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Riveting Russian intrigue

Packed with enough moral ambiguity to satisfy John le Carré, Agent 6 marks the final book in Tom Rob Smith's wonderful trilogy about former secret police agent Leo Demidov. Leo moves from being a young believer in the authoritarian cruelty of Stalinist Russia to feeling disillusioned ambivalence as the cold war nears its end and his own family lies in tatters. Like le Carré, Smith succeeds because of an expert combination of thriller heroics, deft atmospherics, and, above all, troubled characters who defy stereotypes. This is top-notch popular fiction, comrades.

Backstories of two beloved classics


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