TV column for Friday, Aug. 18


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Great Performances,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

This is an annual
custom -- classical music that's elegant enough to please even the
non-classical viewer. The Vienna Philharmonic performs on the the
grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace in Austria.

The night starts
with dynamic Dvorak pieces -- first with the orchestra alone and then
joined (superbly) by soprano Renee Fleming. She returns for some
mellow Rachmaninoff numbers; then the orchestra soars, with
Stravinsky, Humperdinck, John Williams and (as usual) a Strauss
waltz.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.

No day, it seems, is
safe for love. This rerun is set on the most romantic day of the year
(Valentine's), on maybe the most romantic spot in the U.S. (Hawaii);
and, of course, there's trouble.

McGarrett and Danno
are celebrating with their girlfriends. The rest of the team,
however, is probing the murder of a man who was taking a class on how
to land women.

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

Now for a visit to
the glitziest spot in the U.S. That's Las Vegas, where Caesar's
Palace celebrates its 50th birthday. In this reun, the 12
remaining chefs split into two teams and serve 50 people.

The guests will
sample food from both teams and vote. The losing team then faces a
pressure test, with one chef being sent home.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Dark Matter,” 9 p.m., Syfy.

It's been a wild
journey for the man once known simply as Four – one of the
perplexed people on the spaceship Raza, devoid of all memories.
Eventually, he learned he was the son of the Zairon emperor; he
seized the throne and his former name, Ryo.

Now he's captured
his former friend Two, refusing to release her unless the Raza people
give him the deadly Blink Drive he needs to win a war. He invites
them to his palace, in a pivotal episode that mixes intense drama
with brief bursts of swirling action.

Other choices
include:

“Home Alone”
(1990), 5:55 to 8:20 p.m., Freeform. Filled with great sight gags,
this starts a fun movie night. There's “Wedding Crashers” (2005)
at 7 p.m. on Spike and “Charlie's Angels” (2000) at 7:19 on
Starz. At 8, there's “The Avengers” (2013) on FX, “Men in
Black” (1997) on AMC and Tom Hanks in both “Forrest Gump”
(1994) on VH1 and “You've Got Mail” (1998) on Pop.

“Big Brother,” 8
p.m., CBS. For the next two Fridays, “MacGyver” will be shelved.
It's replaced by an extra “Big Brother” this week and by football
next week.

“Masters of
Illusion, 8 p.m., CW. This new episode has magicians Xavier Mortimer,
Billy Kidd, Scott Pepper, Chris Randall, Joshua Jay, Greg Gleason and
Murray SawChuck. There's more magic, via reruns, with another
“Masters” at 8:30 and “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” at 9.

“Killjoys,” 8
p.m., Syfy. Even a good science-fiction show can try too hard,
getting tangled in complex storylines. What started as a
intergalactic romp becomes – tonight, at least – way too thick.
Aneela (played by Hannah John-Kamen, who also stars as Dutch) is
obsessed with finding Delle Seyah, who was kidnapped by Aneela's top
aide Gander. She brutally tortures him, in a darkly troubled hour.

Kevin Hart marathon,
9 p.m., Comedy Central. This starts with some older specials, the
2009 “I'm a Grown Little Man” at 9 p.m. and the 2011 “Laugh at
My Pain” at 10. Then “Kevin Hart: What Now?” (2016), at 11, is
a movie that includes scripted elements and a stand-up gig with a
crowd of 50,000.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Danny's instincts tell him there's something suspicious
about the death pf a woman hit by a car. Also in this rerun, his dad
(the police commissioner) meets with someone who claims to have
evidence of abuse of power in the department.

“Wynonna Earp,”
10 p.m., Syfy. A vengeful wish goes awry. Now allies become enemies.

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 17


TONIGHT'S
MUST-TRY: “Project Runway” opener, 8-9:32 p.m., Lifetime.

For
Grand Ledge's Buitendorp twins, the national spotlight returns. Two
years ago, Shawn and Claire won the first and only season of
“Twinning”; their prize ($222,222.22) has helped propel their
youthful fashion line, at www.shockandawww.com.

Now,
at 27, they're on one of the top reality shows ... and they're
competing with each other. Tonight, Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum throw the
first challenge at the 16 contestants. That includes designers from
Puerto Rico and Taiwan, plus two each from New York, Los Angeles,
Atlanta ... and Grand Ledge.

TONIGHT'S
MIGHT-SEE: “Weekend Update Summer Edition” and “Great News,”
9-10 p.m., NBC.

Last
week, this “Saturday Night Live” spin-off had a strong start,
fueled by some silly/giddy news stories. Mikey Day and Alex Muffet
played the Trump sons' Bill Hader even dropped by to become Anthony
Scaramucci. Now we'll see how the show does during a much more
sobering week.

And
in a late switch last week, NBC inserted a “Great News” rerun at
9:30. It does that again, this time with one of the better episodes:
Ater failing to get office people to bond, Carol (Andea Martin) has
her chance – a snowstorm traps everyone overnight ... and she
manages to steal wine from another show.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Flipping Out” and “Girlfriends' Guide to
Divorce,” 9-11 p.m., Bravo.

It
was Bravo that launched “Project Runway” (and other innovative
shows), before Lifetime stole it. Now Bravo battles the “Runway”
night with two season-openers, one reality and one fictional.

At
9 p.m., “Flipping Out” finds Jeff Lewis simultaneously obsessing
on his own home renovation, his work for new clients and the arrival
of his baby. At 10, “Girlfriends” finds Abby (Lisa Edelstein)
and Barbara launching their Web site and desperate to involve a
celebrity; they spot one (Denise Richards) dating Abby's ex-husband.
Also, Phoebe, Jo and Delia are each drawn to new people.

Other
choices include:

“Monday
Night Countdown,” 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. Yes, the title does seem a bit
odd for a Thursday-night show. This is a preview to the pre-season
game (8 p.m. ET) with Tampa Bay at Jacksonville.

“Boy
Band,” 8 p.m., ABC. We're a week from the finale now. Tonight, each
of the eight remaining guys will sing a solo and viewers will vote.
Next Thursday, the five-guy group will be formed.

“The
Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Sheldon doesn't have much experience
with having sex or keeping secrets; now Amy's umhappy that he's
telling colleagues about their occasional (annual, actually) trysts.
Also in this terrific rerun, Raj finds life is tough without his
parents' money.

“Kevin
Can Wait,” 8:31 p.m., CBS. In this rerun, Kevin starts an unlikely
friendship with Harry Connick, Jr. ... then starts spinning lies to
impress him.

“Battle
of the Network Stars,” 9 p.m., ABC. We can expect some good
athletes tonight. “TV Cops” (the second such team this summer)
includes former pro-football star Fred Dryer; “Sci-fi/Fantasy”
includes strongmen Lou Ferrigno and Kevin Sorbo, of “Hulk” and
“Hercules” fame.

“The
Night Shift,” 10 p.m., NBC. When the hospital is hit by a
cyber-attack, Jordan (Jill Flint) tries to overcome the chaos.
Meanwhile, TC keeps leaning toward action; he joins Rick on a SWAT
drug raid and considers returning to Syria to tie up loose ends.

“Zoo,”
10 p.m., CBS. Jackson is being held prisoner by Abigail, who wants to
extract key information. Meanwhile, his colleagues face a mid-air
crisis, when their plane malfunctions.

TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 16


TONIGHT'S
MUST-SEE: “CMA Fest 2017,” 8-11 pm., ABC.

Each
June, much of countrydom converges on Nashville for this fan
festival. ABC tapes evening concerts and merges them into one
mega-show.

This
year's fest did have a few older performers (John Anderson, Trace
Adkins, Jeff Cease of Black Crowes) and perpetual stars (Blake
Shelton, Chris Young, Rascal Flatts). Mostly, though, it obsesses on
the new: Tonight, hosts Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett perform; so
do Sam Hunt, Dustin Lynch, Maren Morris, Eric Church, Cassadee Pope,
Brett Young, Old Dominion and Florida Georgia Line.

TONIGHT'S
MIGHT-SEE: “America's Got Talent,” 8 p.m., NBC.

On
Tuesday, “Talent” started its live portion; 12 acts performed and
viewers voted. Tonight, viewers have some touch-up work, creating an
“instant save” as seven acts advance to the semi-finals. The same
thing will happen for two more Tuesday-Wednesday blocks.

Also
tonight, last year's champion, Grace VanderWaal, will perform/ She's
a singer and ukulele player who was 12 when she won. The show's first
winner (Bianca Ryan) was 11, but in the nine years after that, there
were no other female or child champs.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Marlon” debut, 9 and 9:30 p.m., NBC.

“Tackling
the big issues, I see,” Ashley (Essence Atkins) says. She's mocking
her ex-husband Marlon (Marlon Wayans), but she could be mocking the
show itself. Until now, this timeslot went to “The Carmichael
Show,” which did tackle big issues, often cleverly; in contrast,
“Marlon” is loud and slight.

Wayans
plays a childish chap, in love (understandably) with ex-wife Ashley
and their kids. The second episode, in which she learns he has a
storage shed filled with memories, has some good moments; the first
doesn't. In that one, he's so obnoxious it's hard to see how she (or
viewers) would stick near him.

Other
choices include:

Elvis
Presley movies, all day, Turner Classic Movies. It was 40 years ago
today that Presley died at 42. He made plenty of bad movies, but TCM
saves the better ones for evening -- “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) at 6
p.m. ET, the concert film “That's The Way It Is” (1970) at 8 and
“Viva Las Vegas” (1964) at 10.

“MasterChef,”
8 p.m., Fox. The top 12 home chefs head to Las Vegas, where they
prepare food for 50 celebrities, to help celebrate the 50th
anniversary of Caesar's Palace.

“Mr.
Mercedes,” 8 p.m., DirecTV and AT&T, rerunning at 11. Hodges,
the retired cop, remains haunted by the case he couldn't solve and
taunted (via computer, mail and more) by the killer. In a good
episode, his friends fret about his sanity, but a victim's sister
(Mary-Louise Parker) hires him.

“Salvation,”
9 and 10 p.m., CBS. In the first hour, Grace and Darius have a tough
mission – slipping into Russia to prevent a nuclear conflict; in
the second, their tougher mission is slipping back out, after being
framed for murder. Also, Liam tries to convince Jillian to re-join
the project.

“The
F Word” season-finale, 9 p.m., Fox. Each episode has had a team
(family or friends) emerge as the winner. Now Gordon Ramsay chooses
two teams to compete for the $100,000 top prize.

“Law
& Order: Special Victims Unit,” 10 p.m., NBC. In a rerun,
Anthony Edwards (“ER”) plays a police sergeant whose son is
accused of rape.

“Greenleaf,”
10 p.m., Oprah Winfrey Network. On Tuesday, the season-opener
(rerunning at 9 p.m. today) saw the aftershocks of Grace's
confrontation with Mac. Now the show settles into its regular night.
Grace ponders her future with Darius; Charity is desperate to contact
her ex-husband.

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 15


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“America's Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC.

After approximately
three zillion audition episodes, “Talent” finally has its top 36
acts. From here on, this ratings-champion will move more quickly.

On each of the next
three Tuesdays, a dozen acts will perform and viewers will vote. Each
Wednesday – including a final “save” by viewers – seven acts
will move to the semi-finals.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Hollywood Game Night” return, 10 p.m., NBC.

Now that “World of
Dance” has ended its first season, this show steps into the
summer's coziest slot.

Host Jane Lynch has
the three actors who play siblings on “This Is Us” -- Sterling
Brown, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley. Others are comedian Bill
Engvall and two reality show people – businessman Marcus Lemonis
and fashion guy Carson Kressley.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Greenleaf” return, 10 p.m.,
Oprah Winfrey Network;
reruns at 1 a.m.

Returning
to her home town – and to the mega-church her parents run –
Grace
has found secrets and crises. She tried
to confront her evil Uncle Mac, but that was delayed by a car
accident.

Now
the confrontation
sends aftershocks
through the family
. Meanwhile, there's
bad news
for
her younger sister Charity,
whose
ex-husband
Kevin
fell
in love with a
man.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Bachelor in Paradise,”
8-10:01
p.m., ABC.

Alongside
all the fuss and alcohol, it seems, “
Paradise”
can produce romance.
To remind us, here
is
the June wedding of Evan Bass and
Carly Waddell, who met on the show.

Bass
is 34 and runs erectile-dysfunction clinics in Nashville; he tied for
ninth in
JoJo Fletcher's “Beachelorette.” Waddell is 31 and a cruise-ship
singer
who finished fifth in Chris
Soules' “The Bachelor.”
They're
expecting a baby, which will be her first and his fourth. After the
wedding, tonight's show will have people discuss the break in this
year's “Paradise” taping; then the fuss resumes.

Other
choices include:

“NCIS,”
8 p.m., CBS. This rerun shifts the focus to Jimmy Palmer (Brian
Dietzen). He's out on a ledge (literally) to save a suicidal
stranger.

“The
Fosters,” 8 p.m., Freeform. Callie has been trying to avoid
trouble; now, however, she comes across an issue that's important to
her. Also, Jude and Taylor get notoriety for their gaming videos.

“Leah
Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” season-opener, 9 p.m., A&E.
The first season – which has reruns from 4-9 p.m. -- was a surprise
both in its ratings success and its Emmy nomination. The new one
starts by meeting two women who grew up in the Cadet Org of
Scientology.

“The
Bold Type,” 9:01 p.m., Freeform. This episode starts with two of
its
young women deeply
in love and in lust
with good guys.
That's all quite pleasant – bright, beautiful people embracing life
– but where can a drama go from here? Tonight, it piles on the
complications – alternate romance, alternate substances and more.
Detours
and all,
“Bold” remains boldly watchable.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a Seabees unit has been
infected by a super virus. Now that threatens the entire Naval base
... and the city of New Orleans ... and, specifically, Dr. Wade (CCH
Pounder). She's been infected and has only hours to live, if she
can't find an antidote.

“Manhunt:
Unabomber,” 10 p.m., Discovery. The “Unabomber” says he'll quit
his bombing if his manifesto is published. The FBI refuses, but Jim
Fitzgerald, a profiler, feels someone may recognize the writing
style. Eventually, Attorney General Janet Reno (Jane Lynch) must
decide.

TV column for Monday, Aug. 14


TONIGHT'S ODDITY:
“Bachelor in Paradise” opener, 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.

For good or (mostly)
bad, this season has drawn waves of attention. It began taping in its
usual mode – lots of drinking and mixing, by people who look fine
in swimwear. Then taping was briefly suspended, while producers
probed whether some of the drunken sex was consensual.

They decided it
wasn't criminal, but one man left show and ABC chief Channing Dungey
called it “a wake-up call” pointing to “safety issues.” Host
Chris Harrison will discuss that as the show opens.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“So You Think You Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

The brief “World
of Dance” season has ended now and Fox has the dance crowd to
itself. That comes just as it reaches its best part – the top 10
dancers, each paired with a past star.

There are people
whose forte is tap -- (Lex Ishimoto), ballroom (Sydney Tormey) cha
cha (Kiki Nyemchek), contemporary (Logan Hernandez, Taylor Siive,
Koine Iwasaki), hip-hop (Dassy Lee, Mark Villaver, Mark Green); and
some combination (Kaylee Millis). They'll dance, one will be sent
home (based on last week's votes) and then viewers will vote anew.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Diana: In Her Own Words,” 9-11 p.m., National
Geographic.

“Boy, was I
troubled,” Princess Diana says quietly. These are the secret tapes
she gave to Andrew Morton, for his book. Now portions are played
here, skillfully blended with footage from the time.

Diana describes an
unhappy childhood at home and a joyous one at school. Just 19 – “I
had never had a boyfriend” -- she married Prince Charles; on the
honeymoon, he brought eight books and cufflinks from Camilla Parker
Bowles. By then, she says, bulimia had caused her waist to shrink
four-and-a-half inches, to 23. There would be more crises with
Charles ... and a revival as a solo humanitarian.

Other choices
include:

“Juno” (2007), 8
p.m., Pop, or “Julia” (1977), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies.
Both movies – a sharp comedy and a real-life, wartime drama – won
Oscars for their scripts. “Julia” also won for the supporting
performances of Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Robards.

“Hooten and the
Lady,” 9 p.m., CW. Hooten's latest project is to find a Faberge egg
in Moscow. When Alex arrives to help, she confronts her arch-enemy
... who now deals with the black market

“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. In a family ravaged by drugs and drink, things get serious when
12-year-old Roscoe is caught smoking pot. Reactions are stern – and
surprisingly funny.

“Life in Pieces,”
9:30, CBS. Yes, there are more odd souls in this extended family. In
this rerun, we meet Colleen's eccentric father; we also meet cousin
Mikey (Greg Grunberg of “Ally McBeal”), shattered by a breakup
and about to be set up on a date.

“CBSN: On
Assignment,” 10 p.m., CBS. In the volley of threats between the
U.S. and North Korea, Guam keeps being mentioned as a target.
Vladimir Duthiers visits military bases there and in South Korea and
Hawaii. Another report views how Iceland may be effectively
eliminating Down syndrome.

“Midnight, Texas,”
10 p.m., NBC. It's nice to be able to see dead people ... but not so
good if they won't go away. Now Manfred seems to have conjured up an
ancient being who seduces and feeds on men. He and others head to a
roadside bar to stop her and protect the town's anonymity.

“Loaded,” 10
p.m., AMC. Leon decides the perfect way for everyone to focus on the
new game is to spend some time on his new yacht. The result, AMC says
is 24 hours of sex, drugs and murder.