TV column for Monday, Aug. 17


“So You Think You Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

After a busy week –
dumping four dancers, instead of two – this terrific show starts
its new phase. It has its top 10 dancers – five “stage” (one
tap, one ballet, three jazz or contemporary) and five “street”
(krump, freestyle, contemporary and two hip hop).

Now they'll be
paired with an “all-star” from a past season, dancing to songs
from the “Empire” soundtrack. Then two will be voted out.

“The Whispers,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.

We're two weeks from
the season-finale of what's been an intriguing tale.

It all started with
kids receiving deadly instructions from an unseen force called Dril.
Now they're getting sick, Dril may be fading and Wes proposes a plan
to the president: Take all of the kids who are affected and assemble
them in one safe zone, hoping that will cause Dril to disintegrate.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Detectorists,” anytime,

Americans make shows
about cops and crooks and doctors and such; the British have
concocted one about rural metal-detector enthusiasts. Really.

Mackenzie Crook
wrote and co-stars in this odd tale, with Toby Jones (a villain in
“Wayward Pines” and beyond) as his colleague and Rachael Stirling
(Diana Rigg's daughter) as his girlfriend. The result is terribly
slow, but oddly charming. All six episodes are available today on
this streaming service.

Other choices

(1980), 7:25 p.m., Starz. This great little comedy – followed by
its copycat sequel (1982) at 9 – leads a strong movie night.
There's action with “Jurassic Park” (1993) at 7:13 p.m. on Spike
and “Mad Max 2” (1981) at 8 on IFC, plus wit in “Hitchhiker's
Guide to the Galaxy” (2005), at 9 on Syfy.

“Bachelor in
Paradise,” 8 p.m., ABC. Slick-talking Joe is busy in the first hour
here; seemkingly, Samantha is in love and Juella and JJ are enraged.
Then people talk about it in “After Paradise” at 9:01.

“2 Broke Girls,”
8 p.m., CBS. Working at a high-end restaurant in this rerun, Max
quickly breaks the no-hookup rule for employees.

“The Odd Couple,”
8:30, CBS. A funny rerun poses a key question: Could the fussy Felix
really be a better athlete thatn sports-buff Oscar?

“Scorpion,” 9
p.m., CBS. David James Elliott (“JAG”) plays a former Secret
Service agent who has memory problems after an explosion. In this
rerun, hia memory is needed to stop a nuclear launch.

“POV,” 10 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). Slowly and painfully, this follows a
mandatory class for young Swiss immigrants. It's a difficult ride,
with English subtitles, but you'll soon root for a star student and
for a guy who must quickly repay $20,000 or his family will lose its

“Killer Instinct”
debut, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery. In Cleveland, 11 women
disappeared, most of them in a one-year stretch of 2008-9. Then,
following up on a rape charge, police raided the house of Anthony
Sowell, 50, who had spent seven years in the Marines and 15 in prison
for rape; they found the bodies. Chris Hansen – NBC's former
catch-a-predator man – hosts this series and does wrentching
interviews with neighbors, the victims' survivors and the one woman
Sowell allowed to leave.



TV column for Sunday, Aug. 16

“Teen Choice Awards,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

For one night, Fox
will overflow with youthful energy. That includes the hosts – Gina
Rodriguez, Josh Peck and Ludacris – and the music, with Little Mix,
5 Seconds of Summer, Flo Rida (with Robin Thicke), Rachel Platten and
“Empire” stars Jussie Smollett and “Yazz” Gray.

Also showing up as
presenters are stars from movies (Jack Black, Vin Diesel, Michelle
Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood), cable (Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Victoria
Justice) and beyond.

II: “Ed Sheeran: Live at Wembley Stadium,” 8-9 p.m., NBC.

Here's a second
music choice, maybe aiming a tad older. Sheeran is only 24, but his
music has crossed generations. His album reached No. 1 in 15
countries and drew six Grammy nominations.

In the U.S., his
singles reached No. 2 (“Thinking Out Loud”), No. 9 (“Don't”)
and No. 15 (“The A Team”). Now we see highlights from three
nights of sold-out concerts in a massive London stadium, before a
combined 240,000 people. That includes preparations and a duet with
Elton John.

ALTERNATIVE: “Show Me a Hero,” 8-10 p.m., HBO; continues for two
more Sundays.

These days, viewers
know HBO mostly by it series, from “Game of Thrones” to the
just-departed “True Detective.” Still, the network has a mastery
of complex, richly crafed movies and mini-series.

This one visits
real-life Yonkers in 1988, when a young mayor (Oscar Isaac) took
office, vowing to oppose public housing. He began to ponder
compromise; others – led by a strident councilman (Alfred Molina)
resisted. The result was an epic tale, told here by “Wire”
producer-writer David Simon.

Other choices

Gymnastics, 3-4:30
p.m. ET, NBC. The women got the primetime spotlight Saturday. Now the
men have their national-championship finals.

“Hollywood Game
Night,” 7 p.m., NBC. This rerun has familiar faces from reality or
talk shows – Rosie O'Donnell, Rocco Dispirito, Nate Berkus and
Kevin O'Leary. Wierd Al Yankovic is also there; the only person who's
mainly an actor is Constance Zimmer ... who plays a reality producer
on TV.

“Bachelor in
Paradise,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. The previous episode ended with Clare's
meltdown. Here's the rose ceremony that follows. Also, Juelia is torn
betwee three guys ... one of whom (Joe) soon heads on a date with a
newcomer. There's more, including – as ABC delicately puts it –
an “overnight date.”

Secretary,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Elizabeth hires a consultant,
after a congressional hearing zeroes in on corruption in her
micro-loan program.

season-finale, 9 p.m., repeating at 10, AMC Public opinion has
turned sharply against the near-human robots called “synths.”
Now only the Hawkins family can save them.

“The Strain,” 10
p.m., FX. Eph finally has his plan ready to make and use a biological
weapon against the zombies. Meanwhile, Gus and Angel form an unlikely

“Kevin From Work,”
10:30 p.m., ABC Family. If you missed Wednesday's pilot film, catch
this rerun. With the low-key charm of an indie movie, it traces a guy
whose bland life is brightened by an unrequited love for the buoyant
beauty in the next cubicle.

TV column for Friday, Aug. 14

“Matilda” (1996) and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
(2005), 6 p.m. and 8-11 p.m., ABC Family.

Roald Dahl wrote
stories that were for and about children ... yet had a grown-up's
dark wit. Several were turned into movies, including these two gems
from master directors.

Matilda (Mara
Wilson) is a sweet girl with awful parents (Danny DeVito, who
directed, and Rhea Perlman). Charlie is a bright boy who wins a
chance to visit the chocolate shop of Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp). The
result has the magical touch of director Tim Burton and composer
Danny Elfman.

“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.

Even the good guys
have dark histories here. In this rerun, that catches up with them:
Danny (Scott Caan) and Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) have been arrested.

Now McGarrett needs
help to clear them. He turns to Joe White (Terry O'Quinn), his former
boss, and Frank Bama (Jimmy Buffett), the former Vietnam pilot.

ALTERNATIVE: “Girl Meets World,” 8:30 p.m., Disney.

Here's a rerunion of
guys from “Boy Meets World,” which the same producers made two
decades ago.

Cory (Ben Savage),
the center of that show, is now a teacher; his brother Eric (Will
Friedle) is visited by an old friend, Jack Hunter (Matthew Lawrence).
Meanwhile, Cory's daughter ponders wether to go to the semi-formal
dance with her friend Lucas or with a classmate.

Other choices

Marx Brothers
movies, 4:30 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. Here's a chronological
tour of comedy classics. That includes “Cocoanuts” (1929) at 4:30
p.m. ET, “Animal Crackers” (1930) at 6:15, “MonkeyBusiness”
(1931) at 8, Horse Feathers (1932) at 9:30, “Duck Soup” (1933) at
10:45 and “A Night at the Opera” at midnight.

“Elementary,” 8
p.m., CBS. This rerun offers a variation on crime compensation: A
serial killer leaves envelopes of cash on each victim.

“Defiance,” 8
p.m., Syfy. Nolan is suddenly freed from the Votanis Collective; now
Irisa and others must save him from Kindzi. Also, there's a startling
sight in the mine.

“Annie” (2014),
8-10:05 p.m., Starz. The basic idea made sense: Take the jaunty
family musical and move it to modern New York. The result, however,
is low on magic and weak (surprisingly) on music. The cast is filled
with voices that are merely adequate.

“Gotham,” 9
p.m., Fox. In a rerun, Gordon takes the beautiful Dr. Thompson
(Morena Baccarin) to the circus; naturally, it's soon under attack.
Also, young Bruce Wayne plans a board-of-directors meeting.

“Killjoys,” 9
p.m., Syfy. The team is jolted when it learns why Khylen is in the

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. It's a father-and-son effort, as Frank and Danny (Tom
Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg) try to nail a felon who keeps eluding
murder charges. Also in this rerun, Donnie's sister considers private
practice, after meeting a former law-school classmate (Rebecca Mader)

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 13

MUST-SEE: “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll,” 10 p.m., FX.

fictional rock band seems ideal for group therapy. There's the
egotistical front man (Denis Leary), the grown daughter (Elizabeth
Gillies) he just met, the guitarist (John Corbett) whose wife he
cheated with and more. Now a wonderfully odd therapist (Griffin
Dunne) takes them all on.

result leaps deftly between individual sessions, then is hilarious
when throwing everyone together. A brilliant script gets big laughs,
yet also wraps up smartly.

MUST-SEE II: “Under the Dome,” 10 p.m., CBS.

good news is that this show has an endgame, after all. By the season
finale Sept. 10, CBS chief Nina Tassler promises, the dome will come
down; the show may or may not have a fourth summer.

this is going somewhere. Tonight, Big Jim and Julia (Dean Norris and
Rachelle LeFevre) battle Christine (Marg Helgenberger). Also, Hunter
probes the corporation that wants to profit from the dome.

ALTERNATIVE: “Rectify” season-finale, 10-11:10 p.m., Sundance;
reruns at 1:10 a.m.

great series ends its tiny, six-show season with big steps. In
exchange for avoiding more prison time, Daniel reluctantly signed a
murder confession and agreed to leave Georgia. Now he and his mom
take a road trip to Nashville, with a detour to the Georgia shore.

much more, including a confession about the original murder and an
arrest for a subsequent one. Daniel's sister Amantha has an
unexpected vistior; his sister-in-law Tawney returns home.

choices include:

8 and 8:31 p.m., CBS. “Big Bang Theory” gets the week off, but
don't fret; here are two splendid reruns. Last week, “Mom” reran
a gem, involving the death of Christy's dad; tonight's second episode
follows up on that, as Christy's mom (Allison Janney) falls apart.
Before that is a rerun of the season-opener, introducing Jaime
Pressley as a wealthy recovering alcoholic.

and the Beast,” 8 p.m., CW. As Cat and Vincent head out to catch
Liam, they find helpful information. Also, JT searches for proof that
he's serum-free.

Astronaut Wives Club,” 8 p.m., ABC. While the country seems to be
crumbling in 1969, the wives face personal change: Jo Schirra wonders
about her new role, after her husband retires from the astronaut
corps; Louise Shepherd worries when her husband undergoes dangerous

9 p.m., ABC. Joss is in jail, pondering what life would be if she'd
chosen Scott instead of Harry. Also, Harry's bitter that he can't
visit her in jail; and Daniel has a tape that could help her case.

Runway,” 9-10:32 p.m., Lifetime. Last week's season-opener
(rerunning in shortened form at 8 p.m.) saw designers rush to grab
four fabrics. Tonight, they do designs incorporating Hallmark cards.

Blue,” 10 p.m., ABC. With Oliver still the prime bombing suspect,
his colleagues try a risky plan to show that Commissioner Santana is
framing him.

10:33 p.m., FX. For Russ and Lina (Nate Faxon and Judy Greer), family
life is never easy. Tonight, they actually plan to take a vacation;
complications seem to appear.

TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 12

“Kevin From Work” debut, 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC Family.
Kevin is
an office drone, neat and unnoticed. His world is bland ... except
for Audrey in the next cubicle. She glows; she also, of course, has a
hunky boyfriend.

“Kevin From Work”
has the feeling of an indie movie, written and filmed with subltlety
and skill. It has the social-media details of modern life, but also
adds some timeless touches. At one point, Kevin is attacking a
mailbox, trying to retrieve a love letter. Naturally, he fails; love
rarely runs smooth.

“America's Got Talent,” 8 p.m., NBC.

Now that the
audition round has finished, Wednesdays are results nights. On
Tuesday, 12 acts performed; by the end of this hour, seven will
advance to the semi-finals.

There will be plenty
of complications, of course. Viewers can do an instant save, via the
Internet; also, NBC says there will be a surprise guest performance.

ALTERNATIVE: “Difficult People,” any time,

Julie Klausner has
mastered the art of pop-culture snark. From recaps and podcasts to
books and talk shows, she's sniped at “real housewives” and
unreal stars.

In this show, she
and her friend Billy Eichner portray exaggerated versions of
themselves. The Julie and Billy here seem to hate almost everyone
except each other. It's fun to see them snipe, but tonight that
rebound on them. New episodes appear on Wednesdays, for Hulu
subscribers; however, the first two episodes (which debuted last
week) are in front of the paywall.

Other choices

“MasterChef,” 8
p.m., Fox. These two challenges are opposite extremes – first
vegetarian, then a meal using cuts from an animal head.

“The Middle,” 8
p.m., ABC. After showing endless patience, Sue is finally enraged: In
this rerun, her brother Axl has failed to bring home the sombrero she
needs for a school photo.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m.,, ABC. Always eager to tackle sports, Jay agrees to sub for
Cam in a bowling league. He doesn't know it's an all-gay league.

“Mr. Robinson,”
9 and 9:30 p.m., NBC. Fresh from “America's Got Talent,” viewers
will bump into this comedy; it's not worthy. The show's few good
moments involve clever musical numbers; its many awful ones involve
Craig Robinson's school colleagues, especially the lunkhead who calls
himself Magnum. Tonight's first episode, with lots of Magnum, is
awful; the second, with more music, is OK.

“Ties That Bind”
debut, 9 p.m., UP; repeating at 10 and 11. In its first scripted
series, this feel-good network has Kelli Williams as a cop. After
putting her brother in prison, she takes his two teen-agers into her
home, with her husband and kids.

“Celebrity Wife
Swap,” 10 p.m., ABC. Hines Ward and Verne Troyer aren't mistaken
for each other. Ward is 6-foot, a football star with two Super Bowl
rings and all of the Steelers' receiving records; Troyer is 2-foot-8,
known for playing Mini-me. Now Ward's wife and Troyer's girlfriend
trade places.

“Twinning,” 10
p.m., VH1. Here's the fourth round for this fairly interesting
series, which started by pitting a dozen sets of young-adult twins,
some likable and some just loud. Living separately – a new
experience for some of them – they must guess each other's
thoughts. Tonight, a prank goes bad.