TV column for Monday, June 19


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Super Human,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Last week,
basketball ruled the world; the final playoff game (on ABC)
obliterated the start of a terrific Fox duo that will fill Mondays
this summer. Now we can spend two hours admiring amazing talent.

At 8 p.m. is “So
You Think You Can Dance,” back to grown-ups – some of them
dazzling – after last year's junior edition. At 9 is this show,
with Kal Penn introducing people who have impressive mental skills.
One guy does math faster than a computer, another remembers every
playing card in order; a woman can tell every country by shape, even
when fakes are mixed in. These humans really are super.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Bachelorette,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.

This is the good one
in the shaky “Bachelor” universe. Yes, “Bachelor in Paradise”
(set to follow it in August) suspended production to investigate
whether sex was non-consensual because a woman was impaired. But
“Bachelorette” is the show with brainy Dallas lawyer Rachel
Lindsay in control.

After its one-week
basketball break, it returns to a cocktail party that had the guys
arguing with each other; now Lindsay makes a decision that surprises
all of them. Then, after a rose ceremony trims the field, the shows
moves to Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina, where she hopes for a
fresh start.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Loch Ness” debut, any time, www.acorn.tv.

In a gorgeous town,
a body has been found at the base of a cliff; a local cop expects to
be in charge, but then an outsider takes over. So far, that's the
“Broadchurch” plot, recycled. But this mini-series benefits from
its setting – the cop's family toys with the “Loch Ness monster”
myth -- and from deep characters.

We meet a convincing
bunch of suspects for two smart female detectives to probe. Focusing
on British shows, Acorn is a pay service (after a free trial period)
that usually lets people binge a series instantly. This time,
however, the six episodes are coming one per week; they're worth
waiting for.

Other choices
include:

“American Ninja
Warriors,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. This show is definitely glad that
basketball season is over. Now has the action audience to itself; its
team spin-off, “Spartan,” follows at 10.

“Shadowhunters,”
8 p.m., Freeform. Fearing a Downworlder uprising, the Institute goes
to extremes.

“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. This show and “Life in Pieces” remain on Thursdays, but also
add quality to the weaker Monday line-up. Tonight, friends worry
about Jill on the anniversary of her mother's suicide.

“Stitchers,”
9:01 p.m., Freeform. When a high-profile divorce attorney is killed,
there's an abundance of suspects. Also, Linus learns what the
neurosync problem has been, affecting Kirsten and Cameron.

“Life in Pieces,”
9:30, CBS. It's time for some memories. We learn about John (James
Brolin) expecting chaos when the year 2000 arrived. Also, we see the
honeymoon of Jen and Greg ... when she realized how involved his
mother was in his life.

“Scorpion,” 10
p.m., CBS. After a busy week (with three reruns), the show is back to
one. Tonight, Paige's estranged mother (Lea Thompson) has found a
nuclear reactor on the verge of exploding.

“Still
Star-Crossed,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. After that basketball breaks, we
return to Verona after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Now her cousin
Rosaline is supposed to marry Benvolio, to create the illusion that
the two families are at peace. Prince Escalus suggests a public
ceremony (Charles-and-Diana style) to make them seem madly in love.
But a conspiracy tries to stir the families' feud.

TV column for Sunday, June 18


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Masterpiece: Grantchester” season-opener, 9-10:30 p.m., PBS.

So far, Sidney
Chambers' life has been a quiet compromise. He's a small-town vicar,
a decent (and handsome) chap, but he's been alone, since his love
Amanda married a rich man.

Now Amanda has left
her husband; pregnant and disowned by her family, she wants to be
with Sidney. That peaks during a busy Christmas season – his
assistant, directing the pageant, is into absurdism -- and a
complicated murder case. The result is a rich blend of mystery,
romance and even some humor.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Claws,” 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10.

Last week's opener
had lots of empty flash and sass – then turned serious in the final
minutes. Angry about money, Desna almost killed her lover; he
attacked her ... and was killed by dim Virginia.

Now Desna must
dispose of the body, calm Virginia ... and act like a widow. “Claws”
is flawed but interesting; Niecy Nash frolics as Desna and Harold
Perrineau is superb as her brother. Dean Norris – usually a cop or
soldier – goes way too far as the mob boss ... until a great moment
in the final minutes.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “American Gods” season-finale, 9 p.m., Starz, reruns
at 10:02, 11:04.

Writer-producer
Bryan Fuller thrives with mainstream shows (he's molding the upcoming
“Star Trek” series) and bizarre ones (“Pushing Daisies”).
This one is clearly on the bizarre side, with Mr. Wednesday rounding
up old gods to battle the new ones – Tech and Media and
Globalization and such.

He needs one more
god, which brings the focus to Kristin Chenoweth, the former
“Daisies” co-star. She's Ostara, previously known as Easter,
Goddess of the Dawn. Tonight, she has a “date” on her namesake
holiday and is asked to bring a polite dead woman back to life; she
can do that, you know.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “My Mother and Other Strangers” debut, 8 p.m.,
PBS.

World War II brought
profound changes for the tiny towns on the British coasts. Air bases
sprang up; soldiers and civilians entwined, as we've seen in “Home
Fires,” “Foyle's War” and now this.

Our narrator recalls
when he was 10 in 1943 Ireland. His dad grew up in this little town,
where he has a pub, a farm and a store; his mom is an English
transplant. His sister is 16, sweet-faced and studious. She
inadvertently attracts airmen and townsmen, setting up some solid
drama tonight.

Other choices
include:

Golf, etc., 11 a.m.
ET, Fox. This is new for Fox, which added golf two years ago. The
final round of the U.S. Open leads into a “Family Guy” rerun at
8:30 p.m. and a new “American Grit” at 9.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. Hispanic stars bring their families for the
battle, with George Lopez vs. Eva Longoria. Also, another battle has
Ashley Graham and Yvette Nicole Brown.

“Funderome,” 9
p.m., ABC, Now Steve Harvey's ABC shows are back-to-back. Tonight's
entrepreneurs include solutions for pesky problems – drying dogs
and shaving bald heads.

“Fear the Walking
Dead,” 9 p.m., AMC, rerunning at 11. A mysterious stranger becomes
tied into the search for a key resource.

“$100,000
Pyramid,” 10 p.m., ABC. Here are two of the 'N Sync guys, Lance
Bass and Joey Fatone, plus Bobby Moynihan and Sasheer Zamata, who
have just ended their “Saturday Night Live” runs.

“I'm Dying up
Here,” 10 p.m., Showtime. Alongside some good stand-up comedy,
“Dying” keeps offering a cascade of despair. The first episode
had suicide ... the second had mutual defecation in each other's cars
(really) ... the third has a painful scene with Goldie's old friend.
Also, there's laughter.

TV column for Saturday, June 17


 

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“In an Instant,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.

On the day before
Thanksgiving in 2014, six inches of snow hit Newburgh, NY. Papito
Martinez, 11, and Jay Rivera, 9, went out at 7 p.m.; when they hadn't
returned at 10, a frantic search began.

The cousins had been
building an epic snow fort when a plow driver unknowingly dumped more
snow on top of them. It was after 2 a.m. before they were located and
pulled out. “Instant” -- a well-made series mixing re-enactments
and first-person accounts – talks to the boys and the cop who found
them.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Orphan Black,” 10 p.m., BBC America.

For some of the
clones – superbly played by Tatiana Maslany – the goal is to
overthrow the steel-willed Rachel. Sarah, however, simply wants to
get her daughter to freedom.

But how can she do
that? And what if the girl doesn't want to go? This is a disturbing
(and sometimes brutal) episode of an excellent series that has just
started its final season.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Turn,” 9 and 10 p.m., AMC, rerunning at 11 and
midnight.

To catch up, you can
see the final five episodes of the third season, from 7:30 a.m. to
12:30 p.m.; then the fourth and final season begins at 9, with George
Washington's spies in deep danger.

As a British
general, Benedict Arnold is relentless in searching for them; still,
Abraham (Jamie Bell) and his dad, the judge, have pulled off a double
life. Tonight's first episode is excellent; the second however,
descends into TV's obsession with torture. That reaches a brutal
extreme, in an hour to skip.

Other choices
include:

“To Tell the
Truth,” 8 p.m., ABC. Since humans really don't fly, it's good to
meet one who got the furthest; one contestant holds the record for
longest flight in a wing suit. Also in this reruns are a sea
survivor, the person who taught Miley Cyrus to twerk and twins whose
restaurant is staffed by twins.

“World of Dance,”
8 p.m., NBC. The third and final round of auditions ranges from
soloists to a 19-member troupe. This rerun also includes
Jabbawockeez, the first “America's Best Dance Crew” winner.

“Scorpion,” 8
p.m., CBS. In a rerun, the team is blackmailed into a nasty
challenge: Break into the United Nations and help kill a menacing
arms dealer.

“Criminal Minds,”
9 p.m., CBS. A dozen bodies have been found along a creek bed. Also
in this rerun, Damon Gupton joins the cast as Stephe Walker, a
veteran profiler.

“Doctor Who,” 9
p.m., BBC America. The story of the Ninth Roman Legion drifts
somewhere between history and legend. Some 5,000 soldiers reached
Britain, then disappeared from record books. Were they defeated by
skilled rebels ... or merely transferred ... or something else? This
hour prefers the more exotic routes, as the Doctor, Bill and Nardole
search for an answer.

“Hell on Earth,”
9 p.m., National Geographic, rerunning at 10:45. Tackling a sprawling
story, Sebastian Junger (“Restrepo”) manages to explain the chaos
of Syria and ISIS, while providng rich human detail.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Scarlett Johansson hosts this rerun, with
music from Lorde.

TV column for Friday, June 16


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Reign” finale, 9 p.m., CW.

Let's stop, for a
moment, and admire the real-life story behind this series: At 6 days
old, Mary became queen of Scotland ... At 16, her husband became king
of France ... At 18 and widowed, she returned to her Scottish throne
... but was the choice of Catholics to also become queen of England.

Now the fourth and
final season concludes. Facing the rage of England's Queen Elizabeth,
Mary ponders a drastic action to save her nation and her newborn son.
From the beginning, “Reign” has been inconsistent in quality;
still, it does have quite a story to tell.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Truth and Lies: Watergate,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.

The first two
editions stuck with famous murder cases – the Manson family and the
Menendez Brothers. Now “Truth and Lies” moves to the foggier
world of political intrigue.

It interviews the
reporters who broke the Watergate story (Carl Bernstein and Bob
Woodward) and the daughter of Mark Felt, their “Deep Throat”
source. It meets the burglars and the officers who arrested them,
plus such key White House and party officials as John Dean, Alex
Butterfield, Hugh Sloan and bookkeeper Judy Hoback Miller. Also
included are home movies shot by presidential advisors.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Great British Baking Show,” 9 and 10 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).

The British Isles
sent their crabbiest cook (Gordon Ramsay) here and kept all the
pleasant ones. This show has no screaming and such; one host
implores: “We want sumptuous drizzle, please.”

Judges also want to
see jaffa cakes and mirror cakes, from a likable batch of home chefs.
There's a clergyman, a hair stylist, two students, a retired
headmistress and more. Interestingly, the judges are often harsher
and more specific than Ramsay; they just make it sound so classy and
British.

Other choices
include::

“Home Alone”
(1990), 7:30 p.m., CMT. This sight-gag delight leads a mostly fun
movie night. At 8 p.m., AMC has Steven Spielberg's “Jurassic Park”
(1993) and IFC has “Revenge of the Nerds” (1984). At 8 and 10
p.m. ET, BBC America has Rob Reiner's jaunty “Princess Bride”
(1987).

"America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Here's a quick rerun of Tuesday's
auditions

“The Originals,”
8 p.m,, CW. This is the opposite of “Reign”; it's a story that
(we really hope) has no roots in real life. In New Orleans, Marcel
has ruled a world of werewolves, witches and vampires. But then came
The Hollow, who is the spirit of an American Indian witch and gets
others to do her dark deeds. Setting up next week's season-finale,
Vincent and Marcel both have schemes to stop her.

“MacGyver,” 8
p.m., CBS. The original series introduced the Colton family,
dangerous bounty hunters. This rerun brings them back, now with
Sheryl Lee Ralph as the matriarch.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. Chin races to Mexico, where his niece has been
kidnapped. This rerun has George Takei as his uncle and bounty-hunter
“Dog” Chapman playing himself.

“So You Think You
Can Dance,” 9 p.m., Fox. After offering golfers (U.S. Open, 6-9
p.m.), Fox shifts to some other remarkable talents. This reruns
Monday's season-opener, filled with dazzling moves.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Frank is frustrated when a priest refuses to divulge
information from a confession, even if it might help find a missing
boy. Also in this rerun, one of Frank's sons (Danny) probes the death
of a prominent socialite; the other (Jamie) goes to a wedding with
his police partner.

“Instant Jam,”
10 p.m., CMT. Country star Brett Eldredge recently had a surprsie
(well, semi-surprise) concert. Through social media, he said there
would be a free show in Las Vegas, then – on the day of the show--
pointed fans to the ticket spot. This special catches the build-up
and the show.

TV column for Thursday, June 15


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“AFI Life Achievement Award,” 10 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 11:30.

It was 40 years ago
in April that “Annie Hall” opened, with a role Woody Allen molded
around Diane Keaton. She won an Academy Award and has thrived,
ranging from comedies to “The Young Pope.”

Now Keaton is the
45th American Film Institute winner. Originally dominated
by men -- Bette Davis was the only female winner in the first 11
years – it has gradually discovered women. Tonight, we can expect
lots of clips, with the presenters offering humor (Steve Martin,
Ellen DeGeneres) and warmth (Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Reese
Witherspoon).

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Scorpion,” 10 p.m., CBS.

For CBS, Thursdays
remain a win-lose night. The comedies are TV's best, but the drama
attempts -- “Rush Hour,” “Pure Genius” -- have flopped. “Zoo”
will arrive in two weeks; while waiting, CBS has reruns of its
successful shows -- “Bull” last week, “MacGyver” next week.

This “Scorpion”
goes back to November of 2015, when Walter was scrambling for money,
hoping to find a way to cure his sister. Then comes a big-money offer
that involves aircraft at the secret Area 51.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Manchurian Candidate,” (1962), 3:15 p.m.; “North
by Northwest” (1959), 5:30; and “Rebel Without a Cause: (1955), 8
p.m.; Turner Classic Movies.

Even for a channel
with “classic” in its name, this is extraordinary – three great
(and opposite) films.

“Manchurian” is
propelled by a thickly layered plot and John Frankenheimer's stylish
direction. “North” is Alfred Hitchcock at his most entertaining
-- Cary Grant as an ordinary guy on the run, with classic scenes
involving a small plane and Mount Rushmore. And “Rebel” brings
rich depth from young actors James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.

Other choices
include:

Golf, all day. Over
the next four days, the U.S. Open will take up a large chunk of the
time on Fox and its cable channel. Tonign's opening round will be 11
a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, on Fox Sports1; then Fox takes over. It expects to
be done in time for “Love Connection” at 9.

“The Putin
Interviews,” 6-10 p.m., Showtime. If you didn't see the first three
hours of Oliver Stone's interviews with the Russian president, you
can catch them now. The final hour, at 9, is new.

“The Wall,” 8
and 9 p.m., NBC. This game show was a ratings success in its
10-episode winter run. Now it's back with two new episodes; next week
has one, leaving room for “Hollywood Game Night.”

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Last week's rerun had Raj finally decide to
forego his parents' financial support. Tonight's rerun has him
resorting to an extreme – putting Sheldon in charge of his money.
Also, Penny considers going to Comic-Con with Leonard.

“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. This follows up on last week's terrific rerun, in which we
learned that young Roscoe had been smoking pot. Now his mother and
grandmother feel overwhelmed.

“Nashville,” 9
p.m., CMT, rerunning at 10:03; also, 10 p.m., Nickelodeon. Damien
George, who was Scarlett's video director (and her lover), is back in
town, with big plans for her. Meanwhile, Maddie (the late Rayna's
daughter) and Clay (the street musician) are pulled over by a cop.

“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 10 p.m., NBC. Bonnie Somerville, most
recently of “Code Black,” plays a TV news anchor who says, on the
air, that her boss raped her.