TV column for Thursday, Aug. 25

(or record): “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” 12:37 a.m.,

A Britney Spears
weekend gets a late-night start, when she jumps into Corden's
“Carpool Karaoke” segment. On Friday, Spears releases her album;
on Sunday, she sings at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Doing “Carpool”
puts her in classy company. Already stepping into the car have been
Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Carrie Underwood, Elton John and more
... including Michelle Obama, some Broadway stars and Adele, whose
segment has topped 120 million YouTube views.

“Rosewood,” 8 p.m., Fox, and “Code Black,” 9:59 p.m., CBS.

doctors just can't get along, at least in these reruns. That starts
with Dr. Rosewood (Morris Chestnut) and his dad (Vondie Curtis-Hall)
as opposing expert witnesses in a court case.

On “Code Black,”
Dr. Guthrie (William Allen Young) get his estranged son Cole (Cress
Williams) a job; soon, Cole clashes with Leanne (Marcia Gay Harden).
Also, Christa (Bonnie Somerville) has a confidence crisis, while
performing surgery on a baby for the first time since her son's

ALTERNATIVE: “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll,” 10 p.m., FX,
rerunning at 11:06.

Emotions here were
already raw. Ava and Flash had linked, leaving their ex-lovers
(Johnny and his daughter Gigi) stunned; Rehab kept fuming at Bam Bam
about what happened to his Broadway show.

And into this tangle
comes an intense character, played by Callie Thorne.

It's a revival of
the old “Rescue Me” pairing of Thorne and Denis Leary (who plays
Johnny), with emotions again full-throttle. The result is loud and
funny, throwing everyone into a massive fight scene.

Other choices

BET Awards, 10:35
a.m. to midnight, BET. On Sunday, BET will be simulcasting the MTV
Video Music Awards. First, it reruns its own shows from 2014 (10:35),
2015 (2:30 p.m.) and 2016 (7:30 p.m.) -- with a Prince tribute by
Sheila E, Alicia Keys, Maxwell, D'Angelo and Janelle Monae.

Football, 8 p.m. ET,
NBC. Now that the Olympics are done, networks are getting serious
about pre-season football. There are primetime games on NBC today
(Falcons at Dolphins) and Sunday and on CBS Friday and Saturday.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. This funny rerun brings a mismatch: Penny,
the straight-ahead Nebraska native, spends the day with her
over-analytical mother-in-law (Christine Baranski).

“Life in Pieces,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. Greg (Colin Hanks) isn't the macho type; he tries to
seem more masculine, after meeting his wife's handsome assistant.
Also, John (James Brolin), arranges a date between his dog and the
dog of his son's girlfriend Colleen.

“Beauty and the
Beast,” 9 p.m., CW. Now that they've lost control of their secret,
Cat and Vincent may have to go on the run.

“Bones,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. TV romances just aren't working out for Laura Spencer. On “Big
Bang” she's Emily, whom Raj sometimes jilts for someone new; here,
she's Jessica and her first kiss with Aubrey is delayed again.
Meanwhile, a felon in a halfway house has been killed and a suspect
has ties to Booth.

“Queen of the
South,” 10 p.m., USA. Teresa is in trouble everywhere. James hunts
her down; she tries a perilous trip with Maria, through the tunnel to

TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 24

“MasterChef,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

After two weeks of
Olympic-time reruns, this returns with nine home chefs and tough
challenges – especially for Brandi Mudd, a 5th-grade
teacher. The first involves high-end ingredients; she doesn't see
many in a town that has 1,181 people and one restaurant. Then: “I've
never fileted a whole salmon before,” she says. “I've never SEEN
a whole salmon ... seein' as how there are no oceans in Kentucky.”

That's all in the
first hour. The second sees potatoes ranging from simple fries to a
fancy dish. It's all fast and fun, with interesting people and quick

“The Night Shift,” 10 p.m., NBC.

Back from its
two-week Olympic break, “Night Shift” has the first half of its
two-part season-finale. Jordan and Scott (Jill Flint and Scott Wolf),
formerly engaged, find themselves in peril during a rescue mission in
the midst of a wildfire. Syd and TC (Jennifer Beals and Eoin Macken)
find tension during a humanitarian mission at the border of Turkey
and Syria.

Meanwhile, efforts
to find a buyer for the hospital sputter. So does Drew's effort to
adopt Brianne. Paul and Shannon argue about a treatment. And – amid
all the other trouble – medication is missing.

ALTERNATIVE: “Tyrant,” 10 p.m., FX; repeating at 11:16 p.m. and
12:45 a.m.

In its three
seasons, this show has seen an amazing transformation. At first, it
was the story of an honest American doctor, surrounded by evil when
he visits the land where he grew up. And now? As acting president,
Bassam (Barry, back in the U.S.) became hardened when his daughter
was slain.

Now comes pressure
on all sides: His wife – returning after rehab for depression –
urges war ... his lover urges peace ... his boyhood friend and his
former sister-in-law are both running for president. There are
explosive moments – literally and figuratively – in a powerfully
crafted episode.

Other choices

“Man of Steel”
(2013), FX; “Goodfellas” (1990), Sundance; or “Cast Away”
(2000), Freeform; all 7-10 p.m.. You can't top a night that starts –
even before prime time – with Superman, Scorsese and Hanks.

“The Goldbergs,”
8-10 p.m., ABC. Each season, this comedy – set in the 1980s –
finds a way to re-create moments from an '80s classic. It was
“Goonies” the first season, “Ferris Bueller” the second and,
in this rerun, “Dirty Dancing.” That finds Adam's mom being
enthusiastic, his dad hesitently learning to dance ... and his sister
re-creating Jennifer Grey's classic moves. Three more reruns follow.

“America's Got
Talent,” 8 and 9 p.m., NBC. The first hour is a trimmed rerun of
Tuesday's two-hour auditions. Then we learn the final people in the
semi-finals, which start next Tuesday.

National Parks,” 9 p.m., National Geographic and NatGeo Wild. This
new hour visits the Great Smoky Mountains park in Tennessee. On
National Geographic, that repeats at 11:05 p.m., alongside visits to
Saguaro (8 p.m., 1:05 a.m.) and Yosemite (10 p.m., 12:05 a.m.); on
NatGeo Wild, which changes with each time zone, it's 9 p.m. and
midnight ET (6 and 9 p.m. PT), with Tuesday's excellent Grand Canyon
film rerunning at at 8 and 11 p.m. ET (5 and 8 p.m. PT).

“American Gothic,”
10 p.m., CBS. The accomplice of the “Silver Bells Killer” has
struck again, spreading panic. Meawhile, Alice (once a prime mayoral
candidate) needs help from her brother-in-law (a cop) to clear her
name. And Cam must decide whether to dispute his wife's custody of
their son.

debut, 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Sundance. Fresh from it sweet-spirited
“A Word,” Sundance offers an opposite experience. It's a
six-week, 12-part Italian mini-series (with English sub-titles), with
lots of violence and visual style; even the protagonist is a crook,
albeit with a family and a conscience,

“Mr. Robot,”
10:01 p.m., USA. Darlene, Elliot's sister, continues to be intense.
Tonight, she acts on an old desire; also, her group (Fsociety)
releases a video. And there's trouble with Trenton and Mobley.

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 23

“America's Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC.

It's not often that
the the No. 1 show in the Nielsen ratings is forced to take a
two-week vacation. That happened here, as “Talent” faces an
Olympics pause.

Now it's back and
continues its live auditions. There are 12 acts scheduled, including
comedian Julia Scott, singing group Linkin' Bridge (four
tough-looking, sweet-sounding guys from Louisville) and Grace
VanderWaal, 12, the singer-songwriter who had the show's most-watched
audition ever.

“Better Late Than Never” debut, 10 p.m., NBC.

Four stars go far –
FAR – from their comfort zones, in Asia. William Shatner, 85,
climbs 800 steps to view a Japanese mountain. George Foreman squeezes
his giant frame into a “capsule hotel room” the size of a
refrigerator. Henry Winkler greets people; Terry Bradsahw sings a lot
and longs for steak.

All of this is quite
contrived – filmed like a reality show, but with one comedian as
one of the writers and another as the “sidekick.” At the best,
it's harmless and goofy; at the worst, it's a huge descent for men
who have won championships, saved planets and jumped a shark.

ALTERNATIVE: “Halt and Catch Fire” season-opener, 9 and 10 p.m.,

When this started,
Joe MacMillan was the protagonist, scrambling to get a piece of the
1983 computer business. In a remarkable transition, he's now the
spectre in the distance ... not showing up until late in the first
hour. With Jobs-like flourish, he seizes ideas and lives, turning
them into profit.

On the flip side are
Donna and Cameron, with a company that's gone from games to chat
rooms to big dreams. Donna's husband, Gordon, helps ... while fuming
that Joe stole his idea. Now new people emerge – including a
financier, played by Annabeth Gish – in a sharp, smart opener.

ALTERNATIVE II: “America's National Parks,” 9 and 11 p.m.,
National Geographic.

A new chapter offers
a fresh look at the Grand Canyon, focusing on wildlife. The narration
is so-so, but the footage offers vivid viewa of creatures that have
mastered life in rocky places.

That's surrounded by
reruns, visiting the Gates of the Arctic park in Alaska (8 p.m. and
1:05 a.m.) and the Olympic National Park in Washington (10:05 p.m.
and 12:05 a.m.). Also, NatGeo Wild, which varies by time zone, has
the Grand Canyon chapter at 9 p.m. and midnight ET, 6 and 9 p.m. PT.

Other choices

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, Gibbs is working again with his former mentor T.C.
Fornell (Joe Spano), after two British prisoners have escaped and
reached the U.S. Also, while apartent-hunting, MdGee tries to figure
out how Tony got such a lavish place.

“Pretty Little
Liars,” 8 p.m., Freeform. All season, the young women have been
bedeviled by the villain known as Uber. A week from the
season-finale, they try to prove it's rich-boy Noel Kahn.

“Zoo,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. With Jackson missing, Mitch and Abraham scramble to find him
before the bad guys do. Also, Jamie leads a desperate attempt to get
the Russians to drop out of the Noah Objective.

“Lucifer,” 9
p.m., Fox. This visit to our world gets uncomfortable for Lucifer. In
a rerun, he feels jealousy for the first time. Meanehile, Dr. Linda
(Rachael Harris) helps probe the murder of a therapist.

“Dead of Summer,”
9 p.m., Freeform. This really goes beyond the job description for
camp counselors. A week before the season-finale, they try an
exorcism, to rid the camp of its evil.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a Navy lieutenant has been
killed during a secret visit to a general's hotel room. There's a
request that Pride break protocol in the investigation.

TV column for Monday, Aug. 22

“Late Night With Seth Meyers,” 12:37 a.m., NBC.

The landscape of TV
satire – crucial during this political year – has been fractured.
Comedy Central suddenly cancelled “The Nightly Show”; beginning
tonight, “@Midnight” (which is no longer at midnight) takes over
the 11:30 spot on that channel; fans of political humor must look

The award-winning
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” is 10:30 p.m. Mondays on TBS.
This time, alas, it's rerunning a special that's merely fairly good.
“The Daily Show” (11 p.m., Comedy Central) is often brillint, but
also a rerun. But Meyers is new, with fresh material after a two-week
Olympic break.

II: “Mom,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS.

Bonnie's family tree
is filled with bad mothers. She's been a bad one herself, but at
least she stayed; tonight. we meet the mom who left her. The role –
if you're keeping track, a great-great-grandmother – goes to
Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn, 83; Oscar-nominee June Squibb, 86, also
gets some laughs.

That's in the second
of two terrific reruns tonight. In the first, Bonnie's daughter
Christy is determined to take her college test, despite being gravely

ALTERNATIVE: “The Syndicate,” any time,

An old British
estate – think of “Downton Abbey,” two generations later – is
wobbling. The earl (Anthony Andrews), his wife (Alice Krige) and her
son are deep in debt. Only five staffers remain; they're underpaid,
but still link with the gardener (Lenny Henry) who obsesses on the

Then come huge
shocks – involving the lottery, the earl and young Amy (Daisy Head,
the “Guilt” star). Unfolding is a superb mini-series. Throughout
the six parts, twists and surprises keep adding extra depth. A smart
script gets excellent performances from everyone and a brilliant one
from Henry.

Other choices

“American Ninja
Warrior,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Fresh from its 17-day Olympic spree, NBC
has shows that have scored well in summer ratings. Tonight, this one
airs the finals for Philadelphia try-outs; 30 people have qualified,
including four women, the highest female total for a city so far.

“So You Think You
Can Dance” (Fox) or “Bachelor in Paradise” (ABC), both 8-10
p.m. With the Olympics done, reality shows try to recapture viewers.
“Dance” is down to its final six; “Paradise” is far from
paradise and one woman insists on crying.

“Too Close to
Home” debut, 9 p.m., TLC, repeating at 11:02. The former network of
Gosselins, Duggars and Honey Boo Boo tries an upgrade, with its first
scripted show. Tyler Perry wrote, produced and directed this
eight-parter about a woman going from Southern poverty to Washington

“Rizzoli &
Isles,” 9 p.m., TNT. A mortician is found in a casket at his
mortuary. Foul play is suspected.

“The Odd Couple,”
9:30 p.m., CBS. In a funny rerun, Felix has a new scheme: His
girlfriend Emily should go out with Oscar, so the two can get over
their animosity.

“Running Wild with
Bear Grylls,” 10 p.m., NBC. Far from the comfort of her life after
“Friends,” Courteney Cox was dropped off along the Irish
coastline. She and Grylls must climb jagged peaks and descend cliffs
... nourished by maggots found on rotting sheep.

“The Making of the
Mob: Chicago,” 10 p.m., AMC. With no more Prohibition to profit
from, Joe Accardo turns to Las Vegas. A problem comes when Sam
Giancana angers young Robert Kennedy.

TV column for Sunday, Aug. 21

Olympics closing ceremony, 8-10:30 p.m., NBC.

Like the opening
ceremony, this is expected to be small in budget, but big in color,
sound and spectacle.

The ceremony will
celebrate Brazil's pre-history, including a rich heritage of wall and
cave-paintings. It will have music, including singer-songwriter
Lenine, winner of two Latin Grammys. And Pele – the soccer
superstar who missed the opening ceremony for health reasons – is
expected to be there. Also, stick around at 10:30 p.m., for a short
sampling of the upcoming “Voice” season.

“Inspector Lewis” finale, 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local

A 29-year tradition
concludes with a story that is – like its central character --
quiet and competent.. Kevin Whately has been playing Rob Lewis, off
and on, since 1987. This was Sgt. Lewis in “Inspector Morse”
tales, then an inspector. Widowed, he's now dating Dr. Laura Hobson,
the forensics leader.

Some of the
Morse/Lewis stories have been slow and plodding, but not this one. It
starts briskly with a bombing in academia, then adds affairs and
schemes, plus personal stories for both Lewis and his colleague
(Laurence Fox). “Inspector Lewis” concludes with quiet class.

ALTERNATIVE: “Chesapeake Shores,” 9 p.m., Hallmark.

The “Chesapeake
Shores” movie was a good one, in the standard Hallmark way –
pretty people and places, pleasantly predictable stories. But for the
series, “Shores” added writer-producer John Tinker.

Here is a throwback
to TV's prime, when Tinker's dad (Grant) ran NBC and his brother
(Mark) ran “St. Elsewhere.” John won an Emmy on that show, wrote
for “Chicago Hope” and others, co-created and produced “Judging
Amy” ... and then almost vanished. He brings intelligence to a
solid family drama.

Other choices

“Fear the Walking
Dead,” 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., AMC. After pausing for three months, this
starts showing the final six episodes of its second season. At 9 p.m.
(rerunning at 12:30 a.m.), Nick's dark past is revealed after he
enters a dangerous landscape. Before that, however, you can catch up
on everythig that's happened so far, starting at 7 a.m. with the
first signs of zombies in Los Angeles.

Olympics, daytime.
On the final day, most things will be live. Men's basketball has its
bronze game at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and gold at 2:15
p.m. on NBC; men's volleyball is 8 a.m. ET on USA for bronze, 12:15
p.m. on NBC for gold. NBC also has the rhythmic gymnastics group
finals at 11 a.m. ET; NBC Sports Network has men's boxing and
wrestling finals at 12:30.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. It's athletes against comics. Kristi Yamaguchi,
the Olympic-medalist figure-skater, and her husband, former hockey
pro Bret Hedican, face Tommy Davidson and family. Then basketball's
Jalen Rose and friends face Dave Foley and family.

“$10,000 Pyramid,”
9 p.m., ABC. One round has Yvette Nicole Brown and Fred Willard;
another has Joy Behar and John Michael Higgins.

“J.L. Family
Ranch,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. The good news
is that Hallmark diverted from its usual path; the bad is that it did
it poorly. Jon Voight plays an ex-sheriff, clinging to ranchland
sought by his enemy (James Caan); Teri Polo and Melanie Griffith
co-star. “J.L.” tries the slow verbal patterms of the prairie;
soon, however, it fades into a drab tangle of bureaucracy.

“BrainDead,” 10
p.m., CBS. There's animostiy between senators Wheatus (whose brain
was invaded by the alien bugs) and Healy (whose sister Laurel is
battling the bugs). Now Wheatus probes Healy history ... straining
the relationship between his staffer and Laurel.

“The Voice,”
10:30 p.m., NBC. The new “Voice” season won't start until Sept.
19, but NBC can't resist using this Olympics springboard. Here is a
half-hour look at auditions; we'll see Blake Shelton and Adam Levine
with their new colleagues, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys.