TV column for Wednesday, Feb. 12

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Winter Olympics, 3-5 p.m., 8-11:30 p.m.,
12:05-1:05 a.m., NBC.

Pairs figure-skating – strong on crowd-appeal, weak on
American winners – wraps up. So do two events in which Americans do well –
women’s snowboarding halfpipe and men’s 1,000-meter speedskating, where Shani
Davis could be the first individual to go gold in the same skating event three

Also tonight are women’s Alpine skiing downhill and
(late-night) the luge doubles finals.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Beatles: The Night That Changed
America,” 8:30-11 p.m., CBS.

In a late switch, CBS offers a quick rerun of one of the
best TV specials ever.

The two surviving Beatles – Paul McCartney, 71, and Ringo
Starr, 73 – close the night, first individually and then together. Long before
that, however, this is already a superb night.

Current stars – Maroon 5, Katie Perry, Keith Urban, Usher,
Brad Paisley, Alicia Keys and more – race through the Beatles songbook, backed
by brilliant instrumentalists. There are clips from the Beatles’ American debut
on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” 50 years ago, and memories of the people who were

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Suburgatory,” 8:30 p.m., ABC.

This smartly offbeat show sat out the first three months of
the season, while ABC tried lesser comedies. Then it boomed back sharply with
this season-opener, rerunning tonight.

Abandoned (again) by her mom, Tessa returns home. Her dad
broke up with Dallas (whose daughter is fuming at Dallas); he also has grumpy
dog, drawing instant neighborhood disapproval.

Other choices include:

“American Idol,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Now that Fox has decided
not to bring “X Factor” back, “Idol” has the network all to itself. In two hours
tonight and one Thursday, it must trim down to its semi-finalists.

“Best in Show” (2000), 8-10 p.m., CW. Droll and dry, this
mostly improvised movie is set at a dog show. Christopher Guest co-starred and
directed his witty friends, including Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Michael McKean
and Parker Posey. The get few big moments, but many pleasant ones.

“The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC. This rerun finds Brick receiving
so much information on his iPad that he’s afraid of … well, everything. Dave
Foley is bask in his funny role as the school counselor.

“Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC. Phil finds that newly divorced
women are good for his real-estate work … and time-consuming. Meanwhile, Gloria
thinks the baby is cursed and Cam has a fake cat funeral.

“Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond,” 10 p.m., BBC America. Last
week ended with a dark time for Ian Fleming, long before he created James Bond.
The adventurous young woman he loved was killed in a bombing raid; Fleming
descended into a sometimes-sadistic relationship with a beauty who had both a
husband a lover. Tonight’s hour sees him frustrated, leading to a stronger
episode in next week’s finale.

TV column for Tuesday, Feb. 11

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Olympics, 3-5 p.m., 8-11:30 p.m.,
12:05-1:05 a.m., NBC; also cable.

On one side is pairs figure-skating; it tends to have
everything (style, grace, power) except American winners. On the other is
snowboarding; Americans win that one a lot.

Tonight, the men’s snowboard halfpipe concludes, with Shaun
White hoping for his third straight gold in the event; the pairs skating starts,
with the short programs. Also, women have their finals in ski jumping (normal
hill) and in free-style, slope-style skiing.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” 9:30 p.m., Fox.

Last week’s delightful episode saw the luckless Boyle
finally get lucky. He talked food (his only point of expertise) with a sexy
foodie, played by Marilu Henner.

Now his colleagues urge him not push the romance too fast.
Meanwhile, Holt (Andre Braugher) has a new opponent; also, Rosa and Amy have
trouble taking a costumed crimefighter seriously.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “American Experience,” 9 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).

When Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed a train or a
bank, they brought smarts, skill and dynamite. They were, however, in the end
of a Wild West era.

The Pinkerton detective agency – big and relentless – stayed
in pursuit. When the guys cockily posed for photos, the pictures ended up on wanted
posters; when they retreated to South America, a letter home was intercepted.
Here’s a fascinating hour, following an 8 p.m. rerun on Billy the Kid.

Other choices include:

“The Goldbergs,” 8-9:30 p.m., ABC. Here’s a sampling of
three reruns of this likable show, catching an eccentric family in the 1980s.
First, a father-daughter roller-rink tradition is in danger, now that Erica is
a moody teen-ager. Then her brother wants to do karate in the school talent
show. And at 9, their mother is stunned when she invites the new neighbors and
they don’t respond.

“Dads,” 8-9 p.m., Fox. This so-so show ends its first season
with two episodes. First, Camilla (Vanessa Lachey) demands everyone quit
drinking, after her father-in-law (Martin Mull) ruins the family couch. Then
Eli and his dad (Seth Green and Peter Riegert) bicker so much that one ends up
in the hospital.

“New Girl,” 9 p.m., Fox. Linda Cardellini, of “ER” and “Mad
Men” fame, plays Jess’ wild sister.

“Twisted” return, 9 p.m., ABC Family. Hiding from police,
Danny finally tells friends what happened years ago, when his aunt was killed.
He also gets a hint that his dad may be alive and searches for him; so does his
mother (Denise Richards) and her friend (Ivan Sergei). Also, Lacey has key
information about Regina. 

“Killer Women,” 10 p.m., ABC. Molly (Tricia Helfer) probes
the death of a basketball star.

“Justified,” 10 p.m., FX. Raylan seeks revenge – something
he’s good at – for the attack on Allison, the brainy social worker. Also, Boyd
is desperate to protect his wife Ava.


TV column for Monday, Feb. 10

TODAY’S MUST-SEE: Winter Olympics, 3-5 p.m., 8-11:30 p.m.,
12:05-1:05 a.m., NBC; also cable.

The games settle into their weekday mode. In the afternoon,
the men will have medals for 500-meter speedskating and the biathlon – the odd
mix of skiers with rifles.

And at night? Women have medals for super-combined Alpine
skiing, men for free-style moguls skiing and for the 1500-meter short track.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Intelligence,” 10 p.m., CBS.

After a strong start, this show wilted when it faced NBC’s
“Blacklist.” Now come a couple “Blacklist”-free weeks for audiences to find a
show that has action and … well, intelligence.

Josh Holloway stars as a soldier implanted with a computer
mind. Tonight, a deadly virus has broken out in Texas; he identifies Patient
Zero … then discovers fresh complications.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Brain Games,” 9:30 p.m., National
Geographic, rerunning at 11:30.

There’s a marathon from 4-5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.,
filled with amiable half-hours about the quirks of our minds and our perception.
Sandwiched in there is this Valentine-week special.

 We see if science can
predict which face we’ll be attracted to … or which couple is the most
compatible … or if opposites really attract. The result is slick and fun, while
leaving plenty of questions and doubts.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE II: “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).

In the late 1950s, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission
was created by the legislature. Its goal, Gov. James Coleman said, was
“preserving the segregation of the races in this state.”

At first, that simply meant jolly promotional films,
depicting contented blacks. Then things spiraled downward – spying on
civil-rights meetings and turning names over to law-enforcement officials, many
of them Ku Klux Klan members. Eventually, the commission was dissolved and the
records were sealed … but, fortunately, leaked to a Jackson Clarion-Ledger reporter.
He helps tell a disturbing story.

Other choices include:

“The Bachelor,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Juan Pablo Galavis has
dates with two of the women and gives the other six a double sampling of New
Zealand culture – a wild sport that puts them inside enormous balls … then a
party on the set of “The Hobbit.”

“Almost Human,” 8 p.m., Fox. This futuristic tale again
finds improve-on-nature plans gone wrong: Designer drugs are killing
genetically enhanced children.

“2 Broke Girls,” 8 p.m., CBS. It’s an all-rerun night for
the CBS comedies, mixing up the order. That starts here, with a rock-star story
providing bi business at the cupcake window.

“Mom,” 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. The first rerun, a good one,
has Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer as Christy’s new friend. The second has scowls
from the parents of Luke, who impregnated Christy’s teen daughter. Nick Searcy
(the “Justified” boss) plays Luke’s dad here and a general on “Intelligence.”

“Mike & Molly,” 9 p.m., CBS. In the season-opener, Molly
quits her teaching job. The result is hilarious … but
the character in a ways-too-silly process.

“The Following,” 9 p.m., Fox. Ryan and his niece try to stay
ahead of the FBI, which wants them to quit.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 10 p.m., ABC. This rerun is nudged into
primetime, with Kimmel talking to “Monument Men” stars, including George
Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray.

[i] n

TV column for Sunday, Feb. 9

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Night That Changed America,”
8-10:30 p.m., CBS.

Exactly 50 years ago -- at 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1964 – an “Ed Sullivan
Show” opened, nudging TV forward.  The
Beatles did five songs and 74 million people watched; pop music was no longer
on the fringe.

Now comes a night of Beatles music from Maroon 5, Keith
Urban, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and John Legend, plus Annie Lennox and Dave
Stewart re-uniting as the Eurythmics. The whole thing has been expanded by a
half-hour, adding a David Letterman interview with Paul McCartney and Ringo
Starr, who will also perform together, in a half-the-Beatles reunion.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: Winter Olympics, 2-6 p.m., 7-11 p.m.,11:35
p.m. to 12:35 a.m. NBC; also, cable.

At the summer Olympics, the team gymnastics event has been a
big deal, sometimes overshadowing the individuals. Now we’ll have the first
winner in team figure-skating. The pairs skaters have already wrapped up;
tonight the others – men, women, ice-dancers – do and we have an overall

Also, women will have their first gold for slope-style
snowboarding; men will have winners in Alpine downhill skiing and in K-95 ski

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Walking Dead” return, 9 p.m., AMC,
rerunning at 11.

The most-watched scripted show on TV booms ahead with the
second half of its 16-episode season.

Tonight, Rick finds a cabin in the woods; people in the
prison wonder if merely surviving is enough. It’s preceded by an all-day “Dead”
marathon and followed by a “Talking Dead” (including Greg Nicotero, the make-up
master who directed tonight’s hour) at 10:01 and “Comic Book Men” at midnight.

Other choices include:

“Wicked Tuna,” 8 p.m., National Geographic. A week before
the season-opener, here are past highlights.

“Masterpiece Classic,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Two semi-feuding relationships – between the dowagers and between Mary and a would-be
suitor – are nudged by problems … one health-related, the other pig-related.
It’s a good hour … and a rare chance to see a very muddy Lady Mary.

“True Detective,” 9 p.m., HBO. After a Super Bowl break,
“True” returns with a superb hour that sees lives flip-flop. One cop (Woody
Harrelson) crumbles; another (Matthew McConaughey) turns heroic.

“The Making of a Lady” (2012), 10 p.m., PBS (check local
listings). Adapted from a novel by “Secret Garden” author Frances Hodgson
Burnett, this movie has a penniless young woman, working as a lady’s companion
and hoping for more. Lydia Wilson stars, with Joanna Lumley and Linus Roche in

“Coast Guard: Cape Disappointment” debut, 10 p.m., Weather
Channel. The channel’s third Coast Guard show eyes four bases (including Cape Disappointment)
that protect the Northwest and the Pacific.

“The Millers,” 10:30 p.m., CBS. In a change (to make room
for the extra Beatles half-hour), here’s a rerun with Nathan and his mom
peeking at his sister’s diary.

“Episodes,” 10:30 p.m., Showtime. Here’s another great
return after a Super Bowl break. Among the odd twists: The former network chief
retaliates by stealing his blind wife’s valuable paintings.


TV column for Saturday, Feb. 8

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Winter Olympics, 2:30-6 p.m., 8-11 p.m.,
midnight to 1 a.m., NBC.

The first full day of competition will hand out gold. For
men, that’s in the new slope-style snowboarding, with Shaun White hoping to add
it to his previous half-pipe wins; for women, it’s freestyle moguls skiing.

Meanwhile, another new event -- team figure-skating –
continues. The women and ice-dancers have their short programs; pairs skaters,
who got an early start Thursday, do their full routines.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Rake,” 8 p.m., Fox.

If you missed this show’s jaunty debut, here’s a second
chance. Greg Kinnear plays a handsome lawyer who keeps digging himself into
trouble with gambling, lust and sheer foolishness.

One simple task – turning a giant tuna into cash – gets
complicated; another – watching a serial killer plead guilty – gets worse. It’s
a fun start, with Sam Raimi, who did the Spider-Man trilogy, directing.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006), 8-10:30
p.m., ABC.

This true store from the 1980a resonates powerfully in any
era when good jobs are scarce.

Chris Gardner is losing his money, home and family. He
grasps for hope, including an unpaid internship. This is tough to watch, but done
with subtlety and skill, especially by Will Smith and his son Jaden.

Other choices include:

More Olympics, cable. Unlike the NBC events, which are tape-delayed,
cable will be live. Given the time-zone differences, that means early starts
for the NBC Sports Network – including a 3 a.m. ET women’s hockey game between
the U.S. and Finland – plus MSNBC and the USA Network.

“The Walking Dead,” all day, AMC. The rerun marathon
continues, pointing to Sunday’s mid-season return.

“Two and a Half Men,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Walden dates
an injury-prone model.

Movies, 8 p.m., cable. On the serious side, HBO has the
solid “42” (2013), with Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford as Jackie Robinson
and Branch Rickey, breaking baseball’s racial barrier. On the fun side: “Red”
(2010) on TNT, “Crazy, Stupid Love” (2011) on FX, “The Devil Wears Prada”
(2006) on Oxygen,

“The Millers,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. In a so-so rerun, Nathan schemes
to get his parents back together by having them divide items with sentimental

“The Mentalist,” 9 p.m., CBS. This rerun goes back to the
Red John days, with four suspects confronted. Meanwhile, the team probes the
killing of a software engineer by drone strike.

“Black Sails,” 9 p.m., Starz. The pirates are still
landlocked, gathering men and ships to chase a grand treasure. Captain Flint
claims he knows the route … but it exists only in the memory of the scheming
John Silver. Eleanor Guthrie, a bisexual beauty, runs the pirate-refuge island
that includes her ex-lovers, Max (a prostitute) and Vane (a fierce captain).
Late in this hour, power shifts explosively.

“The Middle,” 10:30 p.m., ABC. Frankie and Mike think
they’ll have a romantic weekend watching her sister’s house … except they can’t
master the technology. Meanwhile, Sue tries to keep order at home.