TV column for Sunday, June 24


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The Newsroom”
debut, 10 p.m., HBO.

The best new show of the season – or
almost any season – arrive. Aaron Sorkin provides all the “West
Wing” touches and more – brilliant dialog, biting issues,
smart-and-flawed people.

A network news anchor (Jeff Daniels)
has the sort of soliloquy Sorkin is famous for. It's a stunning
cascade, somewhere between brilliance and a nervous breakdown. He
leaves for three weeks and returns with his newsroom in chaos –
just as mega-news strikes. Soon, his new co-workers – superbly
played by Emily Morimer, Alison Pill and more – collide.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: U.S. Olympic
trials, 7-8 p.m., NBC.

There's a flurry of track finals
tonight, including the 400-meter races for men and women.

Women also have the finals for the pole
vault and the discus, men for the long jump, shot put and 100-meter
run. For more, try cable's NBC Sports Network. It has track reruns
at noon and diving at 1 p.m.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Fox 25th
Anniversary Celebration,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

There really is a lot to celebrate, you
know. A ragged little network expanded and enlivened TV.

In prime time, Fox revived animation
with “The Simpsons,” sketch comedy with “In Living Color,”
sci fi/horror with “The X Files,” talent shows with “American
Idol.” Its sports coverage was distinctive; its dramas ranged from
“House” to “Beverly Hills, 90210.” It has done a lot of
things poorly and enough well to merit this celebration rerun, hosted
by Ryan Seacrest.

Other choices include:

– “Avatar” (2009), 7 and 10:30
p.m., FX. Here's another chance to see James Cameron's film, which
links an OK (but derivative) plot with superb visuals. It's great on
a big screen, pretty good on TV.

– “Person of Interest,” 8
p.m.,CBS. In a rerun, the computer identifies a judge as future
victim or perpetrator. The guy is a hard-liner who wants nothing to
do with this sort of rogue justice.

– “The Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS.
This rerun has Alicia working against – and, during a crisis, with
– her nemesis, Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox).

– “Falling Skies,” 9 p.m., TNT.
The shaky coalition of disciplined soldiers and bitter Berserkers
falls apart violently. There's much more in a strong episode: A
visitor offers a sudden plot detour; Ben Mason (Tom's son) goes
alien-hunting on his own, finding triumph and tragedy.

– “True Blood,” 9 p.m., HBO. As
expected, Tara is REALLY displeased about becoming a vampire. There
are some great moments with that … and with Sookie's brother,
re-meeting his teen lover. Other scenes, with Sookie's ex-lovers
confronting the Vampire Authority, are merely OK.

– “AFI Lifetime Achievement Award,”
9-10:30 p.m., TV Land. Four years after her little brother (Warren
Beatty) won this award, Shirley MacLaine has her turn. The even t
includes Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand and more..

– “The Great Escape”debut, 10
p.m., TNT. After going against the grain with smart dramas, TNT gives
in to the reality-show trend. Tonight, teams try to escape from
Alcatraz.