TV column for Friday, July 20


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “John Oliver's
New York Stand-up Show,” 11 p.m., Comedy Central.

This excellent season-opener starts and
ends with clever “Daily Show” people, Oliver and Wyatt Cernac. In
between are fine bits by Hari Kondabolu, Mark Normand and,
especially, Ben Kronberg.

In the Steven Wright style, Kronberg
dryly drops little gems. He does puns (a step-father should be called
a “faux pa”), observes quirks (“rape is75 per cent rap”) and
announces: “I like my women like I like my coffee – sent back
because they're not hot enough.”

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Community,
8:30 p.m., NBC.

Here's a rerun of another of the
odd-and-clever episodes that make “Community” stand out.

In the biology lab, someone has smashed
a yam that was a class project. Now the study group takes action;
it's a “Law & Order” take-off, complete with theme music,
introduction, “ching-ching” sound between scenes and more. And in
a biology-class courtroom, Annie turns out to be a fierce prosecutor.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Batman Begins” (2005, FX); “The Dark
Knight” (2008, TNT), 8 p.m.

This is the day when “The Dark Knight
Rises” reaches theaters, offering the third Batman tale with
Christopher Nolan directing Christian Bale.

And if you missed the first two? They
run simultaneously tonight on cable.

Each of the three films has a few key
people on Batman's side – Michael Caine as Alfred, Morgan Freeman
as Lucius Fox (head of his Wayne Enterprises) and Gary Oldman as the
honest cop who will be Commissioner Gordon. Other roles are passed
along: Rachel Dawes is played by Katie Holmes in the first film,
Maggie Gyllenhaal in the second … which has superb, Oscar-winning
work by the late Heath Ledger, as the Joker.

Other choices include:

– “House,” 8 p.m., Fox. As this
brilliant series neared its finale, colleagues were increasingly
worried about House's health. This reruns an episode in which Dr.
Adams (Odette Annable) planned an intervention. Also, the medical
case centers on an Army veteran, accused of leaking information.

– “Whitney,” 8 p.m., NBC. With
the Olympics taking over next Friday, this show reruns its
season-finale: Whitney and Chris head to City Hall to get married …
only to find complications, starting with an expired driver's
license.

– :Homecoming,” 9 p.m., PBS (check
local listings). Growing up in a suburb of Kansas City, Mo., Joyce
DiDonato didn't really discover opera until her junior year in
college. She soon was finishing first or second in classical
competitions; this year, she won the Grammy for best classical vocal
solo. DiDonato, 43, still lives near her home town; this concert
catches her concert with the Kansas City Symphony, at its new
auditorium.

– “CSI: NY,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a
rerun, a murder may be linked to a high-stakes video tournament.

– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Monica Raymund has already been a “Lie to Me” co-star (as Ria
Torres) and a recurring “Good Wife” character (as Dana Lodge);
now she plays Jamie's new police partner. Also in this rerun, Jamie's
brother Danny finds that an ex-cop was involved in a bank robbery.