TV column for Sunday, June 8



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Tony Awards, 8-11 p.m., CBS.

Here’s a night stuffed with people who love musicals. The
host (Hugh Jackman) has already won two Tonys; the previous host (Neil Patrick
Harris) is nominated for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”


The “Inch” cast (and Harris) will perform, along with other
best-revival nominees – “Violet” (with Sutton Foster) and “Les Miserables.”
There will also be songs from the casts of the nominated new musicals – “Aladdin,”
“Beautiful,” “After Midnight” (joined by Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle and
Fantasia) and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” Also singing: Idina
Menzel, Sting, Alan Richman, and the casts of “Wicked,” “Rocky” and “Bullets
Over Broadway.” In between all, plays also get their prizes.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Cosmos” finale, 9 p.mge., Fox.


This has been a worthy venture, tucking a richly crafted
science show alongside Sunday cartoons. Now it wraps up with “The Pale Blue
Dot,” a meditation by Carl Sagan, creator of the original “Cosmos.”


Earlier in the hour, it tells the story of Fritz Zwicky, who
predicted supernovas. That led to an understanding of “dark energy,” which can
overwhelm gravity on a grand scale.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Wicked Tuna” season-finale, 9 p.m.,
National Geographic.


On the final week of the season, the competition isn’t
exactly tight. The leader (Tuna.com) has more than doubled the catches of each
of the next three ships … which have doubled the catch of last-place Tyler
Mclaughlin, last year’s champion.


What’s left to fret about? There’s a battle for second; also,
McLaughlin says he needs a catch “for my sanity.” You’ll see some big ones
tonight; at 10 p.m., these likable captains gather for a live follow-up.


Other choices include:


“Enlisted,” 7 p.m., Fox. One of the season’s better new
comedies has been dumped into awful time slots – first on Fridays and now here.
Tonight, a general is expected and Pete tries to push his ragged crew.


Basketball, 8 p.m. ET, ABC. San Antonio hosts Miami, in the
second game of the best-of-seven championship series. That’s preceded by Jimmy
Kimmel at 7 and a preview at 7:31.


Miss USA, 8-11 p.m., NBC. This show now has the time (expanding
to three hours) and the setting (Baton Rouge, La.) to include lots of music.
That will be by Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, Camila, Marc Broussard and the
Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns. Giulana Rancic hosts.


“Game of Thrones,” 9 p.m., HBO. The Wall faces its biggest
challenge.


“Turn” season-finale, 9 p.m., AMC. Mary tries to adjust to
the realization that Abe is a spy. That’s followed by the second “Halt and
Catch Fire,” with the team trying to build a powerful computer.


“Nurse Jackie,” 9 p.m., Showtime. This episode’s memorial-service
scene is a gem.


“Californication,” 9:30, Showtime. A sudden crisis spurs
some emotional reflections and flashbacks.


“Veep,” 10 and 10:30 p.m., HBO. This oft-brilliant comedy
concludes its season with Selena (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) heading into the presidential
primary in New Hampshire.


TV column for Saturday, June 7



TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Blue Bloods,” 8 p.m., CBS.

On an extra-sleepy Saturday, CBS has reruns of its ratings
successes from other nights.


This hour finds seemingly random tragedies; Danny (Donnie
Wahlberg) scrambles to find a connection. Also, his dad (Tom Selleck), the
police commissioner, helps a friend come to terms with alcoholism.


 TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Power” debut, 9 p.m., Starz; repeats at 10:05 and 11:10.


James “Ghost” St. Patrick has gone far from his ghetto roots.
Now he has wealth, kids, a new nightclub and a gorgeous wife who – defying all
TV clichés – is fine with the fact that this is drug-dealer money.


What could complicate this? There’s his desire to go straight
… his yearning for the past … and fresh threats from both sides of the law.
Like other shows – from “Sopranos” to “Breaking Bad” – “Power” has a good man
in a bad business. And like other Starz shows, it has a sleek, stylish look
that keeps us watching as the story gradually unfolds.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “On the Waterfront” (1954), 8-10 p.m.
ET, Turner Classic Movies.


Here’s a new chance to see possibly the best-acted movie of
all time. Marlon Brando – as a dock-worker resisting corruption – won an
Academy Award; so did Eva Marie Saint. Others -- Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb and
Karl Malden -- were in a tangle, each nominated for supporting actor.


There were eight Oscars in all, including director Elia
Kazan and best picture. In 1997, the American Film Institute listed “Waterfront”
as the eighth-best movie of all time; its 2007 list dropped it to No. 19.


Other choices include:


Baseball, 7 p.m. ET, Fox. Varying by region, it’s Oakland at
Baltimore, Boston at Detroit, or the Yankees at Kansas City


“D-Day in HD,” 7-11 p.m., History. Here’s the full
documentary, going all the way to the liberation of Paris. The first half also
ran Friday, on the 70
th anniversary of D-Day.


Bet on Your Baby,” 8 p.m., ABC. So twin toddlers are told to
hold onto balloons until their dad arrives … except they’re near remote-control
cars. Can they resist? That’s s challenge we see tonight, in this light summer
distraction. Also, a mom tries to coach a kid on celebrity impersonations for
the dad to guess.


“Sing Your Face Off,” 9-11 p.m., ABC. In his regular job,
Landry Fields is a 6-foot-7 basketball reserve for the Toronto Raptors; tonight,
he transforms into Nicki Minaj. There are other gender switches, with actresses
Lisa Rinna and China Anne McClain becoming Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber.
Also, Field is Enrique Iglesias, Rinna is Katy Perry, McClain is Alicia Keys.
Sebastian Bach becomes Willie Nelson and Freddie Mercutry; Jon Lovitz is Billy
Idol and Meatloaf.


“Elementary,” 9 p.m., CBS. Before solving the murder of a
mathematician in this rerun, Sherlock Holmes must figure out what is so
important about the equation he was working on.


“Orphan Black,” 9 p.m., BBC America. Sarah considers a deal
with Dyad. Meanwhile, Felix panics after someone shows up at his door.


“Looking for Mr. Right,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark. A romance
novelist (Sarah Lancaster) is told to pretend her book is based on a true
story. Now she has to find a guy.


TV column for Friday, June 6



 

TODAY’S MUST-SEE: D-Day coverage, all day.

Seventy years ago
today, the world-changing invasion began. More than 156,000 men reached
German-held France that day; by the end of the month, the total was close to a
million.


Now, as veterans and world leaders (including Obama and
Putin) converge, we can expect coverage on the morning shows and newscasts;
CBS, for instance, has Mark Phillips and Bill Plante in Normandy. Coverage also
fills prime time: NBC has a Brian Williams special at 8 p.m.; History follows
with the first half of “D-Day in HD” from 9-11:02 p.m., then airs all four
hours at 7 p.m. Saturday.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Crossbones,” 10:01 p.m., NBC.


The opener was so-so, except for the scenes that had John
Malkovich in his delicious portrayal of the famed pirate called Blackbeard. Now
this hour has a smart script that focuses on him.


This is 1729, 11 years after history says Blackbeard was
killed. Instead, he’s running a secret island, calling himself The Commodore.
His men have captured a doctor (actually, a British spy) and pieces of a
longitude invention that could change the balance of power. Now the Commodore
launches his plan; it’s a clever one, backed by a performance of Malkovich-style
brilliance.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVES: Animated movies, 8 p.m., cable.


Tonight’s gem is “Up” (2009, on Disney), the Pixar classic.
The opening portion is gentle, gorgeous and heartbreaking; the rest is just
fun.


But there are other choices. FX has “King Fu Panda” (2008),
in which a cook dreams of heroics – then must defend the city against a fierce
leopard. Bravo has “Bee Movie” (2007) at 7:52 p.m.; Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote a
clever script and voices a college-grad bee who’s not interested in the honey business.


Other choices include:


“24,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a rerun of Monday’s hour, fresh
tragedies have created anger between the British prime minister and the
visiting U.S. president. Now Jack has a scheme to find Margot, the terrorist.


Movies, 8 p.m., cable. For beautifully drawn characters,
there’s “As Good As It Gets” (1997) on Lifetime Movie Network; Jack Nicholson
and Helen Hunt both won Oscars. And for first-rate adventure? Oxygen has “Speed”
(1994); AMC has “The Dark Knight” (2008), with Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning
work.


“Gang Related,” 9 p.m., Fox. Here’s a quick rerun of
Thursday’s episode – well-played, but terribly grim. Ryan Lopez is desperate to
protect a key informant; Javier Acosta, the crime-leader who has been Ryan’s
protector since childhood, wants the guy to be captured or killed by his men.


“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS. Fifteen years after his father’s
death, Chin faces Internal Affairs in this rerun. Questions involve whether his
relationship to Malia (Reiko Aylesworth) hurt the investigation.


“Marriage Boot Camp,” 9 p.m., WE. Last week’s entertaining opener
(rerunning at 8 p.m.) saw people from reality shows exploring their
relationships. Some seemed peaceful; one (Tanisha Thomas of “Bad Girls Club”)
exploded. She’s re-ignited tonight, when the couples argue literally inside a
ring of fire.


“Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. This rerun finds the commissioner
pressured by protests over police violence pressure in this rerun; meanwhile,
his son is probing the murder of a Wall Street trader.


TV column for Thursday, June 5



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Sixties,” 9 p.m., CNN.

Last week, this documentary series opened with a relatively
weak hour; looking at television, it covered too much turf with too little
insight. Now comes the opposite approach, tight and compelling.


John Kennedy was to the right of Richard Nixon on
foreign-policy rhetoric, it points out. He had faith in his military leaders …
until the Bay of Pigs debacle. As the Cuban missile crisis grew, Kennedy was
almost the only key person to oppose a direct strike; he prevailed, as the
world teetered near war.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: Basketball, 9 p.m. ET, ABC; Jimmy
Kimmel at 8 and preview at 8:31.


After assembling his superteam in Miami, LeBron James has
partly fulfilled goals. The Heat has reached the NBA finals four straight
years; it lost once, but is now going for its third straight championship.


Still, this is no dominant team. Last season was the only
one in which it had the better regular-season record and the home-court
advantage; tonight, the best-of-seven series starts in San Antonio.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Gang Related,” 9 p.m., Fox.


This tough, taut show took a harsh spin downward when Ryan
Lopez set up an ambush that left Carlos Acosta sprayed with bullets from the
rival gang. Last week, we learned he had somehow survived; now we see his ordeal
adjusting to paralysis; we also see the vendetta started by his dad, Javier.


All of that weighs down on Lopez, who has been befriended by
Javier since childhood. Tonight, he faces the challenge of getting an informant
and his family to safety … with Javier urging him not to. It’s a brutal hour,
much of it excellent and some of it excessively nasty or (with a little girl)
almost ditzy.


Other choices include:


“Sixteen Candles” (1983) and “The Breakfast Club” (1985), 7
and 9 p.m., ABC Family. In tone, these films differ sharply – a
birthday/wedding comedy and a detention-day drama. Still, each is about teens,
has Molly Ringwald as a star and was written and directed deftly by John
Hughes. For more fun from that era, catch “Ghostbusters” (1984), from 8-10:31
p.m. on AMC.


“The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. This Christmastime rerun
finds Sheldon gone home to Texas. The others ponder how much he’s changed their
lives and what they would be like without him.


“Hollywood Game Night,” 8 p.m., NBC. Jenna Fischer revisits
Thursdays, the night where she had “The Office.” Also playing: Mario Lopez,
Darren Criss, Laura Prepon, Jason Biggs and Natasha Lyonne.


“Undateable,” 9:01 p.m., NBC. Justin really wants to be more
than a mere friend to Nicki, who works at his bar. Now Danny coaches him on
making the next move. It’s a so-so episode with a good ending, followed by a
second one in which things reverse and Justin gives dating advice to Danny.


“Two and a Half Men,” 9:01 p.m., CBS. Walden has already
become a tech billionaire. In this rerun, he wants to work for a beautiful
ex-employee (Odette Annable), in a start-up company in her garage.


“Last Comic Standing,” 10 p.m., NBC. After finishing auditions
from the 100 invited stand-up comics, judges trim the field for the
semi-finals.


“Elementary,” 10:01 p.m., CBS. This rerun has Paul Sorvino
as a suspected Mafia boss.


TV column for Wednesday, June 4



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: CMT Music Awards, 8-11 p.m., CMT.

Occasionally changing its name and its network, this has prospered
for26 years, with perfect timing: In June, most country stars are in Nashville
for what used to be called Fan Fair.


Carrie Underwood – who has won four of the show’s past seven
“video of the year” awards – will be there, to debut a duet with Miranda
Lambert. Blake Shelton, Lambert’s husband, will also perform; so will Luke
Bryan, Keith Urban, Jennifer Nettles, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, Dierks
Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and Little Big
Town. Kristen Bell hosts.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Melissa & Joey,” 8 p.m., ABC
Family.


With ABC comedies in rerun, you could switch to cable for new[MH1] 
ones on ABC Family (“Baby Daddy” is at 8:30) and, later, on TV Land. The night
starts with the wedding of this show’s two leading characters.


Things start with Joey (Joseph Lawrence) seeing Melissa
(Melissa Joan Hart) in her wedding dress. That’s supposed to be bad luck … as
proven with an injury at an impromptu bachelor party. Also, Melissa’s dad is
missing and there’s dangerous flirting among the wedding party.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE II: “Jennifer Falls” debut, 10:30 p.m.,
TV Land.


Maybe all cable sitcoms use the same plot. “Melissa &
Joey started with a big-deal business guy losing his job and becoming a nanny;
this one starts with a big-deal business woman losing her job, moving back (with
her daughter) back home, and working at her brother’s sports bar.


The show re-unites two “My Name is Earl” stars (Jaime
Pressly and Ethan Suplee as Jennifer and her brother) and two “Arrested Development”
co-stars (Jessica Walter, as her mom, and Jeffrey Tambor).


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: Hockey, 8 p.m. ET, NBC.


If you’re really not into this comedy stuff, don’t worry.
The final play-off rounds begin in two pro sports.


Tonight, it’s hockey and the Stanley Cup; after barely
surviving against the Blackhawks, the Los Angeles Kings host the New York Rangers.
On Thursday, ABC has basketball, with San Antonio hosting Miami.


Other choices include:


“So You Think You Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Here’s the second
week of auditions, this time in Chicago and Los Angeles. Also, two more dance
crews perform, with viewers tweeting for their favorite.


“The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Mike coaches Sue’s
soccer team and finds a shortage of intensity.


“The Goldbergs,” 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., ABC. Both reruns put
Pops (George Segal) into disputes. The first involves whether Barry should get
a car; the second finds Pops’ daughter meddling with his dating life.


“The 100,” 9 p.m., CW. The two-part season-finale starts with
Clarke and Finn facing a new enemy.


“D-Day Sacrifice,” 9-11 p.m., National Geographic. Two days
before the 70
th anniversary of D-Day, this documentary starts with preparations
and continues through the liberation of Paris.


More new shows, 10 p.m., cable. In the “Through the Wormhole”
(Science Channel), Morgan Freeman asks if genetic factors point to a likelihood
of wealth. In the “Untying the Knot” debut (Bravo), wealth goes bad; as a
couple tries to split amicably, appraisers ponder the value of a Paris
apartment.






 [MH1]