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

“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

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).


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


TV column for Tuesday, June 3

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Fargo,” 10 p.m., FX.


With only three episodes left in what’s been a great season,
it’s time for key steps.

Mild-mannered Lester has fooled almost everyone. He killed
his wife, saw a stranger kill a cop … then framed his brother for both. Only
two deputies – Molly and (in another town) Gus – suspect him. They’re shy,
decent people who have a potential romance … event though he accidentally shot
her during a blizzard. It’s a casual, quirky story that tonight throws in some
key moments.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Famous in 12” debut, 8 p.m., CW.

Maybe you’ve wondered what a Kardashian is and why we care.
Maybe you’re perplexed by the modern variations on fame; if so, this reality
show could offer some clues.

It starts with a family of aspiring performers – a singer,
dancer, writer, model and DJ – who are telegenic and unknown. It whisks them to
Los Angeles and gives them 12 weeks to become famous, using Twitter, Facebook,
Instagram, YouTube and the people at the TMZ celebrity site

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Night Shift,” 10:01 p.m., NBC.

OK, we get the basic idea: This emergency room is in San
Antonio, near military bases; many of its doctors, led by TC, worked together
in the Army. The crises here and their responses will be big.

Even that can’t explain a night as furious as this: A
friend, bearing a deep personal link to TC, hovers near death, just as another
fierce case coincides. A mother and son cover up one secret; a beard covers
another. Then there’s the stereotype administrator and some “humor” (sort of),
involving the new guy. The result is occasionally moving, but more often just overstuffed
and overwrought.

Other choices include:

“Extreme Weight Loss,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. For Josh, food was a
quick answer to childhood pain after his dad left; he still has a box filled
with Happy Meal toys. Now, at 21, he’s 5-foot-7 and 345 pounds; his mom (5-2,
255) proposed that they lose weight together.

“America’s Got Talent,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. Auditions

“Riot,” 8 p.m., Fox. Andy Dick and Tom Green are guests in
this comedy-improvisation show.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun of a Christmastime episode,
the team probes a mysterious illness striking kids in military families. Also,
Vance (Rocky Carroll) struggle with the notion of forgiveness, when his
estranged dad (Ben Vereen) visits.

“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. This episode added Renee
Felice Smith as intelligence analyst Nell Jones. She’s called in after
kidnappers want military secrets in exchange for a Navy officer’s girlfriend.

“I Wanna Marry ‘Harry,’“ 9 p.m., Fox. Slyly, this show
manages to avoid outright lies, yet make the American women think they’re
dating Prince Harry. Tonight, the lookalike takes Kimberly on a date, which is
soon interrupted by a swarm of paparazzi.

“Celebrity Wife Swap,” 10 p.m., ABC. After a high-profile
marriage to Halle Berry, former baseball star David Justice has found a low-key
home life with his second wife, their three kids, her parents and lots of
games. Dweezil Zappa, the musician, has a more-modest, eco-friendly life with
his wife and stepdaughter; clotheslines are in, cell phones aren’t. Now the two
wives swap their opposite lives.

TV column for Monday, June 2

,TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “24,” 9 p.m., Fox; and “Longmire”
season-opener, 10 p.m., A&E.

This is more than we expect in the summer – two macho
adventures, airing back-to-back. One is as tense as a big-city crisis, the
other as casual as a Wyoming prairie, but both are well-made.

Less than halfway into its 12-hour season, “24” has already
had explosions and disasters; now Jack has a scheme to lure the leader of the
drone-takeover plan. “Longmire” is a droll, smart show about a quiet Wyoming
sheriff (Robert Taylor) and his big-city deputy (Katee Sackhoff); tonight, he
faces the aftermath of the arrest of Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Mistresses” season-opener, 10:01 p.m.,

We really can’t expect beauty and brains in one show, can
we? Sleek and stylish, “Mistresses” has great visuals and a plot that’s big
enough to choke a soap opera.

Last summer, Karen (a doctor), was loved by a married
patient and (after his death) by his son; the widow retaliated with a gun.
Also, Savi (Alyssa Milano) was pregnant – via her husband or her colleague –
before a car crash. Now someone has died, but it takes a few minutes to learn
who. More crises happen to Josslyn (Savi’s free-spirit sister) and April. It
all looks great, anyway.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Beauty and the Beast” return, 9
p.m., CW.

Three months ago, Vincent was suddenly arrested for murder …
just as the show was taking a break. Now it’is back for a six-episode summer
run, with Cat trying to free him.

She’s the beauty, he’s the beast (sometimes) and more
problems loom. The show will be back sometime next year; that’s progress for a
network that once lacked mid-season shows … or new summer shows.

Other choices include:

“The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Here’s the second
half of a tryst that began Sunday with Andi Dorfman taking the 16 remaining
bachelors to Santa Barbara, Cal.

“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic
Movies. A half-century ago, people assumed all rock movies would be dim-witted.
(This assumption is verified by “Go Go Mania,” the 1964 oddity that follows at
9:45 p.m. ET.) Then along came this wondrous little black-and-white  film, mixing Richard Lester’s stylish
direction with the charm of the Beatles’ music and attitudes.

“Mom,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. In a funny episode that reran
Thursday, Christy met a guy (Nick Zano) who looks great and drinks heavily. This
rerun finds her so smitten with him that her mom must do her chores.

“Mike & Molly,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. In a late change,
CBS is inserting these reruns. The first has Molly encouraging Mike to try
something new; the second has her trying something very new – operating a
forklift in Vince’s warehouse.

“Ladies of London” debut, 10 p.m., Bravo. OK, there are
plenty of “Real Housewives” shows with American women behaving badly; now it’s
time to see if Europeans throw drinks and tip over tables.

More summer series, 10 p.m., cable. If you missed the “Halt
and Catch Fire” opener Sunday, try it tonight on AMC; the early days of
computers are shown as a compelling and confusing battleground. Meanwhile, FX
has two more half-hours of the splendidly unpredictable “Louie.”

TV column for Sunday, June 1

TONIGHT’S MUST-TRY: “Halt and Catch Fire” debut, 10 p.m.,

As “Mad Men” takes its mid-season break, a similar show
steps into its spot. Again, we’re at an industry turning point; again, a
handsome man with a foggy past is a master of pitches.

This time, it’s 1983 and Joe (Lee Pace of “Pushing Daisies”)
wants to join two computer geniuses – a shy dad and a taut blonde with an
alternative attitude; they’ll scheme to take on IBM. The story is hard to
follow and Joe is hard to like; still, there’s a sleek energy and intelligence that
will hold us for a while.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Agents of SHIELD,” 8-11 p.m., ABC.

After a wobbly start, this show did well enough to be back
next season. Here are three key reruns.

First are episodes that ran consecutively in April. John
Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Antoine Triplett return to search for The
Clairvoyant; then the team is trapped, with a traitor in its midst. The third
episode jumps ahead to the season-finale, a battle against the forces of HYDRA.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Love Finds You in Sugarcreek,” 7, 9
and 11 p.m., UP; and/or “The Color of Rain,” 1, 9 and 11 p.m., Hallmark Movie

These feel-good networks insert key movies on the Sunday
when bigger networks are napping.

“Rain” is the true story of two widowed parents. Its flaw –
a massive one – is that viewers know exactly where the story is going; the lone
detour is late and lame. It makes up for that (partly) with solid performances
by Lacey Chabert and Warren Christie, the Canadian actor who co-stars in ABC’s

“Love” finds a depressed dad (Tom Everett Scott) stranded with
his son in a tiny town with a solid Amish community. It’s a simple story with
some giant plot holes; still, it has a good script, fine performances
(especially by Scott and Sarah Lancaster) and great visuals, with the real
Sugarcreek, Ohio, as backdrop.

Other choices include:

“The Simpsons,” 8 p.m., Fox. Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer)
returns in this rerun … and Lisa is astonished that she actually has some
things in common with him.

“Elementary,” 8 p.m., CBS. A transplanted rerun finds
Sherlock probing the murder of a man who ran a “Ponzi” financial scheme,
providing a surplus of suspects.

Movies, 8 p.m., cable. TNT has “The Town” (2010), the
praised film Ben Affleck directed and starred in before triumphing with “Argo.”
USA counters with “Safe Haven” (2013); beautifully directed by Lasse Hallstrom;
it has a young woman (Julianne Hough) on the lam.

“The Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS. This rerun finds both firms
fighting to continue representing a prized client, after he’s arrested on drug
charges … possibly from a leak in Alicia’s firm.

“Cosmos,” 9 p.m., Fox. The hour starts with a trip to Venus
… which is way too warm for our tastes. That launches a look at global warming
and at global solutions.

“Believe” and “Crisis,” 9 and 10 p.m., NBC. Both shows
continue with new episodes. First, Bo and Tate confront Skouras (Kyle MacLachlan);
then the FBI finds the location where the teens are held captive.

“Game of Thrones,” 9 p.m., HBO. Tyrion (Emmy-winner Peter
Dinklage) faces a verdict.

“Silicon Valley,” 10 p.m., HBO. At a massive computer
convention, the guys have their program – not quite ready – in a competition
that could determine their future. It’s a pivotal episode and a good one.