TV column for Thursday, May 26


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Red Nose Day,” 9 p.m., NBC.

This two-hour burst
of comedy (mostly), music and emotion is designed to raise money for
children's causes worldwide. Screenwriter Richard Curtis (“Love
Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”) started this and
“Comic Relief” in England and “Idol Gives Back” in the U.S.,
assembling stars.

Craig Ferguson hosts
and is surrounded by other comedy people – Ellen Degeneres, Jack
Black, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, Ron Funches, Adam
DeVine and the Key & Peele duo. Others include Zac Efron, Kristen
Bell, Anna Kendrick, Emma Thompson, Steve Buscemi and Ludacris.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox.

For 11 seasons, this
show has delivered what's rare for Fox – an adequate mystery that
wraps up its story each week. Now it also helps avert summer reruns.
There are six new episodes, before “Bones” (in a late switch)
waits until mid-season to begin its final season.

Tonight's show is –
no surrpise here – sort of adequate. A Secret Service agent has
been killed, shortly before a presidential caravan; for a time, Booth
is barred from working the case. That's followed by the usual twists
and turns, plus – in the final minutes – some action, sentiment
and even humor.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “500 Questions” season-opener, 8-10 p.m., ABC.

TV's summer starts
with a quick quiz event – eight hours, on five of the next seven
days. The two-hour opener is followed by one hour Friday and Saturday
and two each on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Concocted by two of
TV's better brains – Mark Burnett (the “Survivor” producer) and
Mike Darnell (head of Fox's reality shows during their boom time) –
this has people trying to answer 500 questions without three straight
mistakes. This season, the second, includes “Jeopardy” champion
Ken Jennings.

Other choices
include:

“Inside Out”
(2015), 7:24 p.m., Starz. This animated delight – witty enough for
kids and grown-ups – leads a strong movie line-up. Another all-ages
gem is “Charlie and the Chocolate Family,” at 8:15 on Freeform.
Also: At 8, HBO repeats its “All the Way,” with Bryan Cranston as
Lydon Johnson; at 9, Starz has Jimmy Fallon as a baseball zealot, in
the amiable “Fever Pitch” (2005).

“Legends of
Tomorrow,” 8 p.m., CW. In the first half of the show's pilot film,
evil Vandal Savage is close to controlling the world in 2166. Rip
Hunter goes back in time to stop him. He assembles a mismatched team
that's fun to watch, complete with a forner movie Superman (Brandon
Routh) and with the “Prison Break” stars (Wentworh Miller and
Dominic Purcell) as Captain Cold and Heat Wave.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Until next fall, the CBS comedies will be
reruns, Fortunately, these are good shows, fun to re-see. Tonight,
Sheldon is sick and everyone else suffers.

“The Odd Couple,”
8:31, CBS. No experts on relationships, Oscar and Felix still try to
help their neighbors, after eavesdropping on their bickering.

“Mom,” 9:01
p.m., CBS. Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn guests in a terrific rerun. She
plays the mom who abandoned Bonnie. Christy – who's been slow to
forgive Bonnie's many sins – suggests forgiveness.

“Modern Family,”
10 p.m., ABC. In a transplanted rerun, Gloria gets a family seminar
at a school auction. This is not greeted with universal enthusiasm.

“Black-ish,”
10:31 p.m., ABC. This rerun finds Dre wondering why no one in his
family has been invited to one of the neighbors' pool parties.

TV column for Wednesday, May 25


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Wayward Pines” season-opener, 9 p.m., Fox.

“Pines” could
have retired after one intriguing season. Trapped in a controlling
and confining town, newcomer Ethan Burke slowly found the truth: This
was millennia in the future; as the Earth decayed, Dr. Pilcher had
frozen some people and created a town as humans' sole refuge.

Now Burke and
Pilcher are both dead. So is the original sheriff (Terrence Howard),
but in an opening flashback we see how he lured another newcomer
(Jason Patric). “Pines” has lost the compelling mystery of its
first season; still, it remains a strong story of people facing an
overwhelming system.

TONIGHTS MIGHT-SEE:
“Arrow” and “Supernatural” season-finales, 8 and 9 p.m., CW.

This is the final
day of the “sweeps” ratings period and of the official TV season.
Naturally, that brings a flurry of season-finales, including these
two.

First, Oliver links
with a surprising force, to try to rid Damien Darkh and his dark
magic. Then God – accustomed to tough decisions – must decide
what to do about Amara; that impacts Sam and Dean.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Nashville,” 10 p.m., ABC.

For four seasons,
this has had sharply drawn characters, great music, soapy moments and
adequate (but declining) ratings. Now it ends its run, with an hour
that seems likely to tackle key plot points.

After years of
denial, Will may finally be ready for the spotlight as a gay country
singer. Juliette may be set to go public with the fact that Jeff
Fordham's deathcame when he was preventing her suicide. Also, Rayna
scrambles to save her daughter; Scarlett and Gunnar consider ending
their musical duo.

Other choices
tonight include:

“Finding Nemo”
(2003), 8-10 p.m., ABC. Three weeks before the sequel (“Finding
Dory”) arrives, the Disney people repeat this gem, a splendid mix
of humor, emotion and gorgeous animation.

“The Price is
Right,” 8 p.m., CBS. The last of three reality-show specials has
“Amazing Race” duos. That includes two from the just-finished
season (Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl, Erin Robinson and Joslyn Davis)
plus winners from this fall (Joey Buttita and Kelsey Gerckens) and
2010 (Nat Strand and Kat Chang). There are five more, including
Harlem Globetrotters Herbert Lang and Nathaniel Lofton.

“Heartbeat,” 8
p.m., NBC. Like “Nashville,” this is a season-finale that's also
a series-finale. As a mysterious illness puts the hospital in
lockdown, Alex tries to save Pierce, Jesse and Ji-Sung.

“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit” season-finale, 9 p.m., NBC. Brad Garrett, who
played a soft-hearted cop in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” is a
brutal warden here. Tonight (wrapping a two-parter), his people
threaten the lives of the cops and the assistant district attorney.

“Criminal Minds:
Beyond Borders,” 9 and 10 p.m., CBS. This series – which will
return at mid-year – has one story set in Pamplona, Spain, then
closes its season with one involving a kidnapping in Haiti. Also,
Jack (Gary Sinise) and his wife (Sherry Springfield) prepare to send
their daughter to college.

“Chicago P.D.,”
10 p.m., NBC. Voight's now-reformed son is at the center of the
trouble tonight. He's been critically injured and a widow he was in
constant contact with was killed.

“The Americans,”
10 p.m., FX. A slow, solemn hour ends with a sharp jolt that will
resonate next week. Until that point, this centers on a deeply
depressing story that started by tricking a good-hearted scientist
into thinking he'd had sex with Elizabeth, in one of her alternate
identities.

TV column for Tuesday, May 24


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Voice” finale, 9-11 p.m., NBC.

So far, two judges
have dominated “The Voice": Blake Shelton has had four winners,
Adam Levine has had three, the people alternating in two chairs have
totalled only two, for Pharrell Williams and Usher.

This time, however, each judge has one person in the final four. Shelton has Adam Wakefield, Williams has  Hannah Huston, Christina Aguilera
has Alison Porter ... and Levine survived when Laith Al-Saadi received the instant save, Their Monday performances will rerun at 8 p.m., leading into the big finish.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Dancing With the Stars” finale, 9-11 p.m., ABC.

It's a collision of
reality finales. One will give a young singer a career boost; the
other will ... this one will, well, give someone a disco-ball trophy.

Nyle DeMarco, 27,
fresh from being the final wnner of the CW version of “America's
Next Top Model,” has been a favorite throughout. He faces Ginger
Zee, 35, the “Good Morning America” meteorologist, and Paige
VanZant, 22, a martial artist who survived as three football stars
were ousted.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Night Manager” finale, 10 p.m., AMC.

Over five weeks, two
gifted British actors have collided. Hugh Laurie is Roper, a weapons
dealer with the mask of a philanthropist; Tom Hiddleston – a prime
possibilty as the next James Bond – is Pine (also using other
names), an ex-soldier doing undercover spy work for a rogue British
unit.

Pine has become a
top Roper aide, but now comes a new crisis – a meeting in Egypt,
with people who knew him in his old identity. This John le Carre
story heads toward a big finish.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Hotel Hell” season-opener, 8 p.m., Fox.

On the edge of
Yellowstone Park, Dave Eby built Angler's Lodge by hand. The lodge
and the setting are gorgeous and business thrived, until the death of
their 10-year-old son. “I went to bed for three years,” Dede Eby
says. The business and the family became frayed.

Now Gordon Ramsay
must be a food expert (which he is), a hotel consultant and a
relationship counselor. There are some bitter moments, as he tells
the staff (accurately): “You're just drowning, way over your
heads.” And, of course, there's a happy ending.

Other choices
include:

“The Price is
Right,” 8 p.m.,CBS. This special includes “Big Brother” fans
and nine of the past contestants, including three winners – Ian
Terry (season two), Rachel Reilly (13) and Ian Terry (14).

“The Flash”
season-finale, 8 p.m., CW. After learning Zoom's plan, Barry vows to
stop him.

“Fresh Off the
Boat” season-finale, 8 p.m., ABC. Ken Jeong, the “Dr. Ken”
star, guests as Louis' estranged brother, arriving with big news.

“The Real O'Neals”
season-finale, 8:30, ABC. As prom nears, Kenny has two things to fret
about – the perfect “prom-posal” and whom, exactly, to ask.

“Person of
Interest,” 9 and 10 p.m., CBS. In a rarity, two ratings leaders
(“NCIS” and “NCIS: New Orleans”) get a week off. The first
“POI” finds Root going undercover, to protect a controversial
radio personality. The second has Finch and Reese trapped in a
hospital that may be ground zero for a virus.

“Containment,” 9
p.m., CW. At this pace, no one will want to go to hospitals. They're
ground-zero for virus outbreaks in this show at 9 and then in “Person
of Interest” at 10. Katie and Jake, who have been inside the
hospital, scramble to find Thomas, after learning that everyone in
his family has died.

“Secrets of the
Dead,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). Once a huge metropolis,
Teotihuacan vanished almost 2,000 years ago. Now – in an
interesting hour that Indiana Jones would love – archaeologist
Sergio Chavez searches for tombs under the Pyramid of the Feathered
Serpent.

TV column for Monday, May 23


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC) or “The Voice” (NBC), 8 p.m.

Both shows will pick
their winners Tuesday, so this is the last chance for viewers to
vote. On ABC, it's one hour and the final three: Nyle DeMarco -- the
deaf model-actor, 27, already an “America's Next Top Model”
champion -- faces martial artist Paige VanZant, 22, and meteorologist
Ginger Zee, 35.

On NBC, it's two
hours and the final four, this time split evenly between all four judges. Blake Shelton has Adam Wakefield. Pharrell Williams has Hannah
Huston, Christina Aguilera has Alison Porter and Adam Levine has Laith Al-Saadi, who received the final save.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “The Bachelorette,” 9:01-11 p.m., ABC.

JoJo Fletcher's
place in “Bachelor” history is unenviable: She's the only one to
hear “I love you,” yet be rejected. Now she's in charge, with
guys ranging from the charming Jordan Rodgers -- a former college
quarterback, like his superstar brother Aaron – to one who babbles
and goes virtually naked.

Others strain for
attention with what they ride (a motorcycle, a fake unicorn) or wear
(kilts, a Santa suit). Musically, one plays the piano (beautifully),
one plays the guitar (adequately); Wells Adams, a Nashville disc
jockey, tops that with All 4 One, an cappella group, as his personal
soundtrack.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Odd Couple,” 8:59 and 9:29 p.m., CBS.

For most of the
season, CBS ignored this show; now it's gone the other way. After
seven months on the shelf, “Odd Couple” has been airing twice a
week and will get a Monday spot this fall.

That makes sense.
“Odd Couple” gets a tad silly at times, lacking the smarts of a
“Mom” or “Big Bang Theory”; still, it fires out fast-paced
jokes, some of them quite funny. Tonight's first episode has Felix
and Oscar competing heatedly for president of the tenant association;
the second, the season finale, has Oscar reluctantly trying Online
dating ... and ending up with Felix's ex-wife.

Other choices
include:

“Clean Break,”
any time, www.acorn.tv. In a small
Irish town, a car dealer finds his business is failing and his
daughter is out of control. He concocts a revenge scheme, in this
four-part drama.

“The Price is
Right,” 8 p.m., CBS. Over the next three nights, the show will have
primetime specials with contestants and fans of “Surivivor”
(tonight), “Big Brother” and “Amazing Race.” This one has
audience favorite Rupert Boneham and others, including three past
winners – Tina Wesson (Season 2), Rob Mariano (22) and Jeremy
Collins (31).

“Gotham”
season-finale, 8 p.m., Fox. There's a crisis (again): Det. Gordon and
young Bruce Wayne are captive in the research facility under Dr.
Strange's strange asylum. Also, the inmates plan an escape.

“Houdini &
Doyle,” 9 p.m., Fox. Reports are spreading about a high-leaping
beast with demonic eyes. For Conan Doyle, who believes in the
supernatural, this is possible; Harry Houdini has his doubts.

“Whose Line Is It
Anyway?” season-opener, 9 and 9:30 p.m., CW. Each summer, CW
scatters some new shows (low-budget, pleasant-enough) amid the
reruns. This one has brilliant improvisers – Ryan Stiles, Wayne
Brady and Colin Mochrie. They link with Gary Anthony Williams in the
first half-hour and Keegan-Michael Key in the second.

“Person of
Interest,” 9:59 p.m., CBS. Angry about not being told what's
happening, Fusco tackles some missing-persons cases on his own.
Meanwhile, Finch and Reese head to a wedding, to protect two people
the machine identified.

“Blindspot”
season-finale, 10:01 p.m., NBC. While the team struggles to save a
friend, Weller searches for the truth and Jane tries to help Oscar.

TV column for Sunday, May 22


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Billboard Music Awards,” 8-11 p.m., ABC.

These people work
hard to assemble stars, past and present. There's an award to Celine
Dion, who will sing ... and another to Britney Spears, who will do a
medley of her hits. Madonna will perform a tribute to Prince. And
there are duets – Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Nick Jonas and
Tove Lo.

There's much more,
with music by Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, Ariana Grande,
Pink, the Go-Gos, Meghan Trainor, Shawn Mendes, DNCE and even a new
Adele video.It should be fun.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Masterpiece: Wallander” finale, 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check
local listings).

Here's the 12th
and final movie about police Det. Kurt Wallander. Most have been set
against the stark Scandinavian countryside; all have richly reflected
that same pensive mood.

But now there's an
added element, as Wallander's memory fades. After he left his pistol
in a restaurant, he had to turn in his badge; still, he pushes ahead
with a complex case involving his daughter's father-in-law.
Brilliantly performed (as usual) by Kenneth Branagh, “Wallander”
ends emotionally.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Preacher” debut, 10-11:30 p.m., AMC.

As each intriguing
scene rolls by, a thought builds: “Hey, this is fascinating; I
wonder what it's about.”

There are preachers
who explode (literally) in Africa and Russia. There's makeshift
anti-aircraft fire in Kansas ... a violent bartender miles above
Earth ... a barroom brawl between a pastor and a pack of Civil War
re-enactors. Each scene is beautifully directed by Seth Rogen and
Evan Goldberg, who helped adapt the graphic novel. Still, we wish we
knew what it was about; we'll stick with it to find out.

Other choices
include:

Red-carpet coverage,
6-8 p.m. ET, E. This cable channel handles the fashion-gushing duties
for the Billboard awards. ABC skips that and has the “America's
Funniest Home Videos” season-finale at 7.

“Psycho” (1960),
6:30 and 11:30 p.m., and “Nebraska” (2013), 9 p.m., Sundance. An
evening of black-and-white movies? It works because these two films –
an Alfred Hitchcock thriller and a drama-comedy with deep characters
– are beautifully crafted.

“All the Way,”
6:45 p.m. , HBO. If you missed the debut Saturday, here's another
chance. On Broadway, this won Tonys for best play and best actor; now
the movie again has Bryan Cranston as Lyndon Johnson, this time with
Anthony Mackie (Falcon in “Avengers:) as Martin Luther King.

“The Simpsons,”
7:30 and 8 p.m., Fox. First, a rerun finds an off-brand of drink
hurtling Bart and Lisa into puberty. Then the season-finale puts
Margein prison and forces Homer to do housework.

“Bob's Burgers,”
8:30 and 9:30 p.m., and “Family Guy,” 9 p.m., Fox. It's
season-finale time for all of Fox's animated shows. For “Burgers,”
the second episode happens to be its 100th overall.

“The Carmichael
Show,” 9:01 p.m., NBC. This comedy has been inconsistent, but hits
its stride whenever people start debating a controversial subject. It
so, the next couple episodes are promising – they view
porn-addiction tonight and Donald Trump next Sunday.

“Masterpiece: Mr.
Selfridge” finale, 10:30 p.m., PBS (check local listings). This is
a show that stayed too long. Its start – brashly creating a London
deparrtment store – was fascinating; the end, with Harry
Selfridge's gradual decline, has been monotone. Still, the final few
minutes are excellent.