TV column for Monday, Jan. 2


TODAY'S MUST-SEE:
Rose Parade, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, ABC, NBC, HGTV, Hallmark and RFD.

Some people
associate the parade and bowl games with hangovers; each year, they
watch them in a New Year's Day blur. But this time (with Jan. 1 on a
Sunday), they were pushed back a day.

Now we can see the
parade with clear eyes. There's much to see, including 41 floats,
lots of horses and 21 marching bands. There are ones from Mexico and
Japan, plus Air Force and Marine bands, a high school all-star band
and ones from the Rose Bowl schools, Penn State and Southern
California.

TODAY'S MUST-SEE II:
Football, all day.

As soon as the
parade ends, the first two bowl games begin. At 1 p.m. ET, ABC has
the Outback Bowl, with two 8-4 teams – Florida (ranked No. 17) and
Iowa. ESPN has the Cotton Bowl, with undefeated Western Michigan (No.
15) and Wisconsin (10-3, No. 8).

ESPN follows at 5
p.m. with the Rose Bowl; Penn State (11-2, No. 5) faces Southern
California (9-3, No. 9). At 8:30, it has the Sugar Bowl, with
Oklahoma (10-2, No. 7) and Auburn (8-4, No. 14).

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Bachelor” opener, 8-10 p.m., ABC.

TV's favorite
runner-up is now in charge. Nick Viall finished second in Season 10
of “Bachelorette,” was inserted in the fourth episode of Season
11 – and finished second again. Now he does the choosing.

Viall, 36, grew up
near Milwaukee in an 11-kid family. He graduated from the University
of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is in technology sales.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Celebrity Apprentice” opener, 8-10 p.m., NBC.

The show's previous
host was dumped after he drifted into politics, so now a former
politician steps in. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's also a movie actor,
has the usual assortment of semi-celebrities.

Four are mostly just
famous from other reality shows -- Snooki, Kyle Richards, Carson
Kressley and Porsha Williams. Six have been top athletes -- Laila
Ali, Lisa Leslie, Eric Dickerson, Matt Iseman, Chael Sonnen and Ricky
Williams.There are three musicians (Boy George, Vince Neil, Carnie
Wilson) and a comedian (Jon Lovitz), plus TV personalities Brooke
Burke-Charvet and Carrie Keagan.

Other choices
include:

“Murdoch
Mysteries,” any time, www.acorn.tv.
Here's the 10th season of this Canadian series, focusing
on an upper-crust, cop a century ago. Known to some
Americans as “The Artful Detective,” it can be slow and stagnant;
but the two-part season-opener – murder among marriage hopefuls – has plenty of
big moments and a solid mystery.

“Kevin Can Wait,”
8 p.m., CBS. Kevin is finally ready to give his wife a proper ring.
Since this is a situation comedy, he decides to surprise her ... and
sees it go very wrong.

“The Odd Couple,”
9:30 p.m., CBS. For the first time in four weeks, here's a new
episode. Charlotte plans to take Oscar to a classy event; instead, he
has Felix in his place.

“Scorpion,” 10
p.m., CBS. During a desert mission, Cabe has been seriously wounded
by shrapnel. To save him, the team tries to freeze him.

Jimmy Kimmel, 10
p.m., ABC. Here's something new – a special designed to follow the
“Bachelor” opener. Mocking opportunists, it's called “Jimmy
Kimmel Live: Here for the Right Reasons.”

“The Wall,” 10
p.m., NBC. This is the second “sneak preview,” before the show
settles into its regular spot at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Duos answer
questions, with a mega-wall randomly creating rewards.

TV column for Saturday, Dec. 31


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“New Year's Rockin' Eve,” 8-11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to 2:13 a.m.,
ABC.

The original plan
was basic: Tape some Hollywood music in advance, then weave in live
coverage of Dick Clark at Times Square. And now? The live, Times
Square party will have Ryan Seacrest, plus music by Mariah Carey,
Thomas Rhett, DNCE, Gloria Estefan and her Broadway show.

There's also a live
New Orleans portion (with Jason Derulo and Panic at the Disco) to
note midnight, Central time. There's music from Las Vegas (Lionel
Richie) and a ship (Demi Lovato), plus that Hollywood party with
Alessia Cara, John Legend, Hailee Steinfeld, Flo Rida, Niall Horan
and more.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: Football, 3 and 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.

The Eve celebrations
no longer have a monopoly on Dec. 31; now the day also has the first
round of playoffs for the college football championship.

First is top-ranked
Alabama (13-0) and No. 4 Washington (12-1) at the Peach Bowl in
Atlanta; then No. 2 Clemson (12-1) and No. 3 Ohio State are at the
Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. The winners collide Jan. 9.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: More New Year's Eve.

You can do some
channel-hopping tonight, with lots of music. At 11 p.m., Fox has
Pitbull's annual Miami party; Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg join him
as hosts. At 11:30, NBC has a Carson Daly special, with Blake
Shelton, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys and Pentatonix.

There's more, beyond
music. CNN starts its multi-city coverage at 8 p.m. ET, with Anderson
Cooper and Kathy Griffin in New York; it reruns it at 1 a.m. Fox News
starts at 8; at 11, it has Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle in
Times Square, with correspondents in Miami and Nashville.

Other choices
include:

“Twilight Zone”
marathon, all day, Syfy. After the movie (1983) at 6a.m, we get a
non-stop flurry, with episodes – some of them brilliant-- every
half-hour, from 8 a.m. today to 4 a.m. Tuesday.

More marathons,
cable. Freeform has the first Harry Potter film at 7 a.m., with
others at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30, 5:30 and 9 p.m. TNT has the second and
third “Lord of the Rings” epics at 4:22 and 8 p.m. And BBC
America alternates “Ghostbusters” films – 11 a.m. and 1:30
p.m., 4 and 6:30 p.m., 9 and 11:30.

“Showtime at the
Apollo,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Here's a rerun of an amiable special from
Harlem's 82-year-old Apollo Theatre. Steve Harvey hosts and has other
comedians to introduce – Tracy Morgan, Anthony Anderson, Gabriel
Iglesias, Jay Pharoah and George Lopez. There's also music from John
Legend, Flo Rida, Bell Biv Devoe, JoJo, En Vogue and more, including
powerhouse Chaka Kahn.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, the team tries to rescue a college student
who was kidnapped by a dangerous vigilante. Also, Max, Kamekona and
Flippa fight for survival, after being shipwrecked.

“A Toast to 2016,”
8-10 p.m., NBC. Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb host a light look at
the year. Their guests include Michael Buble, Dana Carvey, Simone
Biles and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Seth Meyers special,
10 p.m., NBC. Meyers gets his first New Year's Eve show, expanding
his oft-hilarious “A Closer Look,” to eye the bizarre year that's
ending. His guests are Jennifer Lawrence, Leslie Jones and
Schwarzenegger, with Kelly Clarkson singing “It's Quiet Uptown.”

“Saturday Night
Live,” 12:30 a.m., NBC. Tentatively scheduled is a rerun that
opened with some of the show's finest moments. In the election
aftermath, Kate McKinnon sang “Hallelujah”; Dave Chappelle gave a
thoughtful monolog, then joined Chris Rock to satirize middle-class
shock at the results.

TV column for Friday, Dec. 30


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Bones” and “Sleepy Hollow,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox.

Crossovers can be
tricky – especially when the genres clash. “Bones” stays within
(or near) realism; “Sleepy Hollow” doesn't, it has demons, monsters and Ichabond Crane, a Revolutionary War soldier who somehow
transported to modern times. In this rerun, the shows merge.

Brennan, the
no-nonsense type, is startled to find a body that's 200 years old and
headless. Crane – who matches her know-it-all approach –comes to
retrieve it. Soon, Booth and Brennan are visiting Sleepy Hollow ...
but depart before the big finish – a dandy one that includes a
ghost army of Redcoats.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “MacGyver” and “Hawaii Five-0,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS.

In real life,
apparently, escaping from a prison is quite difficult; that's why
we've always tried to avoid committing felonies. But in both of these
shows, people plan escapes.

MacGyver does it
using only batteries and salt; it's part of his plan to help a
druglord escape, then follow him to his secret headquarters. The
“Five-0” escape is more elaborate, involving a deliberate
chemical spill. Six dangerous convicts escape, including Kono's
husband Adam; the team is in pursuit.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
Bowl games, all day.

After lots of
warm-ups – obscure bowls, obscue teams –we're getting to the big
time. That peaks at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, with Michigan (10-2 and ranked No. 6)
and Florida State (9-3 and No. 11) in the Orange Bowl.

Earlier, ESPN has
Georgia (7-5) and Texas Christian (6-6) at noon ET in the Liberty
Bowl, then Tennessee (8-4, No. 21) and Nebraska (9-3) at 3:30 in the
Music City Bowl. Also, at 2 p.m., CBS has Stanford (9-3, No. 18) and
N. Carolina (8-4) in the Sun Bowl.

Other choices
include:

“Into the
Badlands,” 5-11 p.m., AMC. It's been almost a year since this
stylish martial-arts film finished its first tiny, six-episode
season. A second season was belatedly ordered, so here's the first
one entirely. In a violent world controlled by barons, a master
fighter links with a youth who bears a key secret.

Double-features,
cable. FX has the two-part “Twilight Saga” finale at 5:30 (2011)
and 8 p.m. (2012). HBO has the first two Tobey Maguire “Spider Man”
films, at 6:20 (2002) and 8:25 p.m. (2004).

“iHeartRadio Music
Festival,” 8-10 p.m., CW. Here's the start of a special that aired
in October. The second half airs Monday; tonight includes U2,
Pitbull, Billy Idol, Sam Hunt and the Backstreet Boys.

“Last Man
Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC. For Mike, a hardy Denver guy, this rerun
offers the ultimate dilemma: His daughter's wedding shower is on the
same day as a Broncos game.

“Dr. Ken,” 8:31
p.m., ABC. Now that Ken and his wife work at the same clinic, they
feel competitive. Tonight, they try to prove each other wrong about a
patient's diagnosis.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. After a good career, a retired police lieutenant is
accused of shooting potential miggers on the subway. He disappears;
Frank, the police commissioner, deals with the fall-out. Also in this
rerun, Frank's son Danny works wtih Baez (Danny's police partner) to
find a way to arrest someone whose crime she witnessed as a child.

“20/20,” 10
p.m., ABC. As a custody fight raged in Minnesota, the wife accused
the husband of being abusive to her and their teen daughters. Then
the girls disappeared; they were found two years later, at a Northern
Minnesota horse farm. The mother has been convicted of hiding them
from authorities and the farm-owners face charges. Barring a late
change, here's a rerun of the story.

TV column for Thursday, Dec. 29


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS.

It's a rerun night
on the big networks, which we'd complain about bitterly ... except
some of the reruns are delightful. That starts with “Big Bang,”
TV's best comedy, doing what it's best at – isolating Sheldon
one-on-one. This time, he's with Bernadette, when they both skip a
wine-tasting.

Then comes “Mom,”
another great comedy. Allison Janney has won seven Emmys, including
two as Bonnie, the wayward great-grandma. She's enthusiastically
heterosexual, but during her financial troubles had a two-year
lesbian affair with Jeanine (Rosie O'Donnell), who resurfaces
tonight.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Safe Haven” (2013), 8 p.m., E.

At first glance,
this is just another movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel: On the
lam, a young woman (Julianne Hough) stops at a pretty, waterfront
town, where she's befriended by a widowed dad. She's cute, he's Josh
Duhamel, there is room here for romance, mystery and danger.

The difference,
however, is that this one is directed by Lasse Hallstrom, a master of
classy subtlety. From “Gilbert Grape” to “Chocolat,” “Cider
House Rules” and “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hallstrom keeps
finding quiet human depth; here, he turns a so-so plot into a fairly
good movie.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATVE: “Project Runway Junior,” 9 p.m., Lifetime, rerunning
at 11:02 p.m.

Wasn't there a time
when teen-agers barely bothered to pick out their own clothes? Now
some of them are passionate and talented designers. This is the
second edition in which they compete.

You can watch the
entire first edition from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., then catch a rerun of the
second-season-opener at 7. It introduced one person who's the minimum
age (13), two who are the maximum (17) and nine who are in-between.
That debuted last week, after the “Project Runway” finale ...
which picked Erin Robertson as its 15th champione; now
“Runway” has a reunion at 8 p.m. today.

Other choices
include:

“Superstore,” 8
p.m., NBC. In a rerun, the employees come down with food poisoning at
the worst possible time – while preparing for the post-Thanksgiving
rush. Also, Amy fears it's morning sickness.

“The Great
Indoors,” 8:31 p.m., CBS. In a funny rerun, Jack (Joel McHale)
tries the new world of Online dating. Naturally, he's awful at it and
needs to be rescued by millennials.

“America's Got
Talent Holiday Spectacular,” 9-11 p.m. NBC. This reruns a special
that includes the show's current champion (12-year-old Grace
VanderWaal), a previous champ (magician Mat Franco) and a runner-up
(Jackie Evancho), plus the Clairvoyats, the Olate Dogs and Professor
Splash.

“Mysteries at the
Museum,” 9 p.m., Travel. The channel continues its icy-week theme.
Tonight, Don Wildmon probes the key elements that sank the Titanic;
on Friday, he views a North Pole expedition.

“Nothing Left
Unsaid,” 9-11 p.m. ET, CNN. Barring a late change – which happens
at CNN – this terrific documentary will rerun. Anderson Cooper
profiles a fascinating woman: His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, who went
from a rich and lonely kid to a vibrant lover of arts and people.

“Modern Family,”
10 p.m., ABC. It's definitely a good night when we get TV's three
best comedies in one night -- “Big Bang,” “Mom” and this one.
In a rerun, Phil has a real-estate segment on local TV.

“Fresh Off the
Boat,” 10:31, ABC. Is it time for some Halloween fun? In this
rerun, Louis obsesses on scaring Jessica ... who's busy trying to
write a horror novel.

TV column for Wednesday, Dec. 28


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“MacGyver,” 9 p.m., CBS.

In a week filled
with reruns, CBS is making sure everyone sees this first-season
ratings success. It repeats three episodes, each time with Mac
creating quick inventions.

On Sunday, he fixed
a train, using only an armrest, a curtain rod and a toothpick.
Tonight, he has to defuse a bomb at the United Nations, using a
wrench and a rope. And at 8 p.m. Friday, he must engineer a prison
break, using only batteries and salt. This guy really needs to get a
better tool belt.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “North by Northwest” (1959), 5:30 p.m. ET, Turner Classic
Movies.

This is a weak day
for TV shows, but a strong one for classic movies. TCM shows “Citizen
Kane” (1941) at 3:15 p.m. and this one at 5:30; the American Film
Institute puts them at No. 1 and 55 all-time.

When Alfred
Hitchcock was 6, his dad taught him a lesson by jailing him. It
turned out to be for five minutes, but it led to a lifetime of films
about the falsely accused. For “The Wrong Man” (1956), which TCM
has at 11 a.m., Hitchcock had a dark view and a true story. For
“North by Northwest,” he crafted a fun romp: A wrongly accused
Cary Grant eludes a plane and even climbs Mount Rushmore.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
Bowl games, all day.

Go figure this: Of
all the 40 bowl games this year, exactly one will get a primetime
spot on a broadcast network. A super-big bowl? No, it's the Foster
Farms Bowl, which has Utah (8-4 and ranked No. 19) and Indiana, which
is 6-6 (4-5 in conference play) and hasn't won a bowl game since
1991.

That's 8:30 p.m. ET
on Fox, alongside an ESPN triple-header. At 2 p.m. ET, the Pinstripe
Bowl has Pittsburgh (8-4, No. 23) and Northwestern (6-6). At 5:30,
the Russell Athletic Bowl has West Virginia (10-2, No. 16) and Miami
(8-4). At 9, the Texas Bowl has Kansas State and Texas A&M; both
are 8-4.

Other choices
include:

“Rambo” trilogy,
1:45 (1982), 3:45 (1985) and 5:45 p.m. ET (1988), BBC America,
rerunning at 8 and 10 p.m. and midnight. This starts with the
well-made but disturbing “First Blood,” then turns crowdpleaser
with two sequels. For more action, there's “The Fast and the
Furious” (2001) at 7:30 pm. and two 8 p.m. films -- “Speed”
(1994) on CMT and “Taken” (2008) on Lifetime.

“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 8 and 9 p.m., NBC. In a change, NBC has
back-to-back reruns. In the first, an athlete is the victim of a
sexual assault, but her secret double life complicates the case. In
the second, Wyclef Jean plays a record mogul, accused of an assault
on a transgender student.

“Expedition
Unknown,” 9 p.m., Travel Chanel. All week (through Saturday), this
channel is helpfully reminding us that things are much colder
somewhere else. Tonight, Josh Gates heads to the North Pole, South
Korea and Siberia, in search of DNA from a wooly mammoth.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. When Luke and Manny compete for senior-class president,
their parents get overinvolved. Also in this rerun, Martin Short
plays a promotion whiz who mentors Haley.

“Black-ish,”
9:31, ABC. This rerun finds the family going to Disney World.

“Match Game,” 10
p.m., ABC. With “Designated Survivor” waiting until March, Alec
Baldwin's show gets a fine time slot. New shows start next weekend;
first is a rerun with mostly comedy people; it has Leslie Jones, Jack
McBrayer, Leah Remini, Ike Barinholtz, Cheryl Hines and Josh Charles.

“Chicago P.D.,”
10 p.m., NBC. In a rerun, Platt is attacked after visiting her
father. Investigating the case, police soon find an even-more-brutal
attack.