TV column for Friday, Aug. 10


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Fresh Off the Boat” and “Speechless” return, 8 and 8:30
p.m., ABC.

From “Brady Bunch”
to “Benson” to “Last Man Standing,” comedies have been ABC's
Friday tradition. Some were clever, some weren't, but most appealed
to a mixed-age audience. Then ABC dumped them for sci-fi shows, one
(“Inhumans”) truly awful. Now comedies are returning.

A year after ABC
cancelled it, “Last Man Standing” will move to Fox Fridays this
fall. ABC counters with these shows, giving them a head start tonight
with reruns: In “Fresh,” Eddie wants to impress his girlfriend by
playing football. In “Speechless,” a girl gets JJ to give her a
movie-premiere ticket.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“The Great British Bake Off,” 9 p.m., PBS.

For PBS viewers, a
six-year tradition is ending. The network's last “Bake Off” is
next Friday.

Tonight, the show
has its final four. At one edge of the age range is Brendan Lynch,
63, a semi-retired recruitment consultant who spends time cooking and
playing the cello. At the other are two students -- James Morton, 21,
a med student, and John Whaite, 23, a law student. In between is
Daniele Bryden, 45, an intensive-care specialist; tonight, two of
them will see their frasier cakes collapse.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Freaky Friday” musical debut, 8 p.m., Disney.

Disney keeps
remaking its best movies, sometimes with Lindsay Lohan as the new
star. It did that in 1998 with “Parent Trap” (7:50 p.m. today on
Freeform) and in 2003 with “Freaky Friday.”

And for the latter –
the clever tale of a mom and daughter switching bodies – there's
been more. There was a soon-forgotten TV movie in 1995 and a stage
musical in 2016. The musical never reached Broadway, but now it's
been remade for TV. Heidi Blickenstaff repeats her stage role as the
mother, with Cozi Zuehlsdorff, 20, as the teen.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Insatiable,” any time, Netflix, and more.

Debby Ryan used to
be a Friday-night star in the Disney Channel's “Jessie.” Now
she's competing with her old network; in this series, she plays a
once-fat teen who transforms into a vengeful beauty.

That's part of a
huge night for the streaming services. Netflix has another series
(the comedy “All About the Washingtons,” with Rev Run) and a
movie (“The Package,” about teens gone bad on vacation.) And
there are two new British mystery movies: Amazon Prime has Agatha
Christie's “Ordeal by Innocence”; Netflix has Lily James in “The
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”

Other choices
include:

“American Ninja
Warrior,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. This reruns Monday's Indianapolis city
finals.

“The Resident,”
8 p.m., Fox. After an accident, Conrad should be in the hospital as a
patient; instead, he's trying to treat his former med-school
professor. Also in this rerun, two maybe-shady doctors (Bruce
Greenwood and Melina Kanakaredes) are drawn closer together.

“The Orville.” 9
p.m., Fox. In a rerun, the crew is split between rescuing two ships.
One is drifting toward a star; the other is being attacked by the
Krill.

“Whistleblower,”
9 p.m., CBS. This is the new time for this show, which tells
real-life stories. Another summer series, “TKO,” has taken over
the 8 p.m. slot.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. This rerun has Danny probing the murder of a detective
who was about to give testimony. Meanwhile, Danny's sister Erin
brings in a confidential informant and their dad, the police
commissioner, personally investigates an attack on Garrett, his chief
of staff.

“Killjoys,” 10
p.m., Syfy. The trio is fully re-united at last. Dutch awakens from
her alternate-world journey, finding Johnny on the brink of madness
and his brother D'av on the brink of fatherhood.

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 9


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“America's Got Talent” and “Trial & Error,” 8-10 p.m.,
NBC.

Yes, this is merely
a “Talent” recap; it shows what's happened so far, leading to the
first live episode, on Tuesday. But that also helps provides a neat
lead-in to “Trial,” which is a comedy gem.

Josh is used to
disadvantages – a law office in a taxidermy shop, with inept
assistants and clients who tend toward self-incrimination. But this
time, he seemed to have proof that his client couldn't possibly have
had time to go from the party (at her home) to the murder scene.
Then, alas, his aide found a secret door connecting the two. With his
defense shattered, Josh must start over.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“MasterChef,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

Gordon Ramsay
already seems to have plenty to do – producing and starring in four
Fox shows, while running a restaurant chain. But he added another
duty, performing a wedding. (No, there's no vetting process that
eliminates foul-tongued clergy.)

In this rerun, he
performs the wedding for Shaun O'Neale, a previous winner. The 18
“MasterChef” contestants prepare the Malibu meal.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Odd Couple” (1968) and “The Fortune Cookie”
(1965), 5 and 7 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies.

Here, in reverse
order, is the start of a great duo. Walter Matthau was mostly
unknown, despite a Tony-winning stage career and lots of dramatic
little TV and movie roles. Then came “Fortune Cookie”; he played
a flamboyant lawyer who talked a mild chump (Jack Lemmon) into an
insurance scam.

Filmed in
black-and-white by the great Billy Wilder, this comedy is too somber
for many viewers. Still, it brought two great actors together. They
went on to make the delightful “Odd Couple” (which Matthau had
already done on Broadway) ... and nine more movies.

Other choices
include:

“Oz the Great and
Powerful” (2013), 5:30 p.m., Freeform. A terrific movie night
starts with this variation of “Wizard of Oz” ... leading into the
superb “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005) at 8:30. Other
films range from the strong, real-life drama “Marshall” (2017) at
7 p.m. on Showtime, to the not-real (one hopes) adventure “Jurassic
World” (2015) at 7:30 on FX.

“ATL” (2006) and
“The Grand Hustle,” 7:02 and 10 p.m., BET. It's an all-T.I.
night. We see him in his first movie role and then – a dozen years
later – ruling a reality competition show. Tonight, one contestant
is sidelined by a 9-1-1 call; others work on a fundraiser for Us or
Else.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a dandy rerun, Bernadette is overdue to go
into labor. Each friend tries to help; Sheldon's “help,” of
course, is questionable.

“Young Sheldon,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. Sheldon's mom has a part-time job at the church,
leaving the kids alone for the first time. The resulting rerun is one
of the show's best episodes.

“Black Lightning,”
9 p.m., CW. Tobias – played by the fascinating Marvin Jones III –
is back in town. In this rerun, his job is to capture, but not kill,
Black Lightning.

“Take Two,” 10
p.m., ABC. After experimenting with an 8 p.m. spot, the show returns
to 10. Tonight, Sam – the actress-turned-detective – probes the
death of the woman who starred in her first show.

“Snowfall,” 10
p.m., FX. Franklin tries to prop up his crew's loyalty. Lucia shows
some compassion that may be misguided. And Teddy's brother starts to
learn about his past sins.

TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 8


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“CMA Fest,” 8-11 p.m., ABC.

Once each summer,
ABC delivers a big-deal special, assembled from June mega-concerts in
Nashville. This one has lots of duets, Grammy-style – Keith Urban
and Julia Michaels, Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina, Dwight Yoakam and
Dierks Bentley, Morgan Wallen with Florida Georgia Line.

Kelsea Ballerini and
Thomas Rhett host and perform. Other performers include Carrie
Underwood, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton, Sam Hunt,
Jakee Owen and two Lukes (Bryan and Combs), plus Dustin Lynch, Carly
Pearce, Cole Swindell, Old Dominion, Dan + Shay and Midland.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Alone Together,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., Freeform.

Since life is never
fair, Benji's brother (Chris D'Elia) is tall, handsome, confident and
employed. Benji is none of those; neither is his sorta-friend Esther.

But now Dean is
bedridden. Is this a chance for Benji to help in the business ... or
for Esther to ignite a romance? This two-parter offers the clever,
self-deprecating humor of Benji Aflalo and Esther Povitsky.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Reverie” season-finale, 10 p.m., NBC.

Let's credit NBC for
at least trying a summertime fantasy drama, with a good cast and an
OK concept. At Onira-Tech, a virtual reality firm, Charlie (Dennis
Haysbert) hired Mara (Sarah Shahi), a former police negotiator, for a
tough task: Talk people out of the VR they're mired in.

Now everything is in
crisis. Onira-Tech could be destroyed, one of its people has been
kidnapped and Mara confronts the killer who destroyed her family.

Other choices
include:

“The Godfather”
(1972) and “The Godfather, Part II” (1974), 4 and 8 p.m., AMC.
Here's that rarity – a great movie that also has a great sequel.
Both won Academy Awards for best picture; the American Film
Instistute has them at No. 2 and No. 32 of all time; no other sequel
made the top 100.

“World of Dance,”
8-10 p.m., NBC. Here's the third edition of elimination duels.

“Burden of Truth,”
8 p.m., CW. Joanna (Kristin Kreuk) breezed into her old home town, as
a partner in her dad's big-city law firm. Her job was to limit a drug
company's losses, after teen girls kept getting ill. She soon found
the company wasn't at fault ... but someone had polluted the girls'
soccer field. Now on her own (but using the law firm's name for
leverage), she's trying to find who's responsible. Tonight, she gets
the reluctant permission of the mayor and hires a hydrologist.

“MasterChef,” 8
p.m., Fox. The first challenge involves deep-frying; the second is
citrus-based.

“24 Hours to Hell
and Back,” 9 p.m., Fox. Neatly situated on a pier in Hermosa Beach,
Cal., a family-owned restaurant has been failing. Using hidden
cameras, Gordon Ramsay finds a family feud.

“SEAL Team,” 9
p.m., CBS. After incessant promos for its noisy new game show, “TKO,”
CBS has quickly banished it to Fridays. Instead, this rerun slides to
9 p.m. -- Sonny is wounded during a dangerous daytime mission –
with a “Criminal Minds” rerun at 10.

“Yellowstone,”
10 p.m., Paramount. Last week's episode put one of the show's best
characters in limbo. Monica teaches on the reservation and lives
there with her husband Kayce ... whose dad, John, owns the
neighboring super-ranch. Trying to break up a fight between students,
she hit her head on a rock. Tonight, we learn if she survived. Also,
the plot tightens to get John's land away fom him.

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Frontline,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

It was a year ago
Thursday that a car crashed into people who were protesting a
white-power rally in Charlottesville, Va. One person was killed, 19
were injured and a national dialog began.

This compelling hour
starts with riveting footage of the events before that: Young thugs
pounded protesters, sometimes while police stood nearby. Then it
jumps to the time afterward and a tougher job – learning the
identities of suspected attackers. That includes guys in military or
defense-industry jobs.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Castaways” debut, 10 p.m., ABC.

It seemed so basic
when Robinson Crusoe or Tom Hanks did it: Wash up on a pretty island
and survive alone. But now we see what happens to a dozen people;
each is dumped into a different Indonesian islet, along with silent
camera people and odd things that strangers left behind.

The people vary
sharply. The first one we meet has food addiction and weights 390
pounds and has food addiction. The second, fit and brisk, spent seven
years in the military; “I always wanted to be part of a team,” he
says. Now he's alone, in a stylishly filmed opener.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Bachelor in Paradise” season-opener, 8-10 p.m.,
ABC.

On the day after we
saw Becca Kufrin's “Bachelorette: decision, we can re-meet some of
her rejects. In a resort setting, there is love, lust and games.

That includes at
least five guys whom Kufrin sent home -- John Graham, Jordan Kimball,
David Ravitz, Joe Amabile and Nick Spetsas. It also includes six
women rejected by Arie Luyendyke .... the “Bachelor” guy who
chose Kufrin, then changed his mind. Five other people are on the
initial list.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “The 100” season-finale, 8 p.m., CW.

Things never get
easy in post-apocalyptic life. This started with 100 teen prisoners
sent to a scorched

Earth, to see if it
was inhabitable. It was, but then came a nuclear disaster and a rogue
ship.

Now Octavia (Marie
Avgeropoulos) and Clarke (Eliza Taylor) have led their people to
battle the enemy. Even if they win, CW says, they'll see an even
darker threat to the only living valley on Earth.

Other choices
include:

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Here are the last judges' cuts, this time
with Chris Hardwick wielding the “golden buzzer.” There will be a
recap Thursday, with live shows starting next week.

“The Godfather”
(1972), 8 p.m. to 12:05 a.m.. AMC. Here's a fresh chance to see (or
record) one of the great films. The American Film Institute puts it
at No. 2, behind only “Citizen Kane.”

“The Bold Type”
season-finale, 8 p.m., Freeform. Things peak with Paris' fashion
week. Sutton is excited; Kat – fretting about making a social-media
impact there and about her wobbly romance with Adena – is wary.
Also, Jane has two guys with opposite ideas about her fertility
problems.

“Animal Kingdom,”
9 p.m., TNT, repeating at 10. Smurf plans a job that soon goes badly.
Also, her son Pope contronts the truth about Baz's murder and her
grandson J steps up for the family.

“Making It,” 10
p.m., NBC. Tonight, this amiable competition gives home-crafters
opposite tasks: First, think little, with a home town inside a
terrarium; then go big, with a kids' fort and toy.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. Isler, an FBI special agent, wants Pride to
help him with an off-the-books opioid investigation. That's a rerun;
so is “NCIS” (8 p.m.), which has the team scrambling to clear the
name of a retired Marine sergeant, accused of including cyanide in a
package to soldiers.

TV column for Monday, Aug. 6


TONIGHT'S BIG-DEAL:
“The Bachelorette” finale, 8-11 p.m., ABC.

It's time for Becca
Kufrin to decide which sales rep she wants to marry. She has two to
choose from -- Blake Horstmann, 28, and Garrett Yrigoyen, 29.

Kufrin, 28, a
Minneapolis publicist, knows how messy this can be. On “The
Bachelor,” Arie Luyendyke proposed to her, then changed his mind
and chose the runner-up. Tonight, we see her take both men to the
Maldives and decide. Then all three will sit down with host Chris
Harrison.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Better Call Saul” and “Lodge 49,” 9 and 10:05 p.m., AMC.

At 9 p.m. is the
season-opener of one of TV's cleverest shows. “Saul,” a “Breaking
Bad” prequel, finds Jimmy (the-Saul-to-be mourning his brother's
death.

Then “Lodge”
debuts. Dud (Wyatt Russell) is a scraggy surfer with a vague approach
to life. When he finds a ring, he tries to pawn it, without success.
Then he finds its home – a lodge where strangers greet him like
friends. What is this place? We don't know, but the start -- loping
at a surfside pace -- is both odd and interesting. “Saul” reruns
at 11:16 p.m. and 1:32 a.m., with “Lodge” at 12:21 and 2:37 a.m.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Life in Pieces,” 8:30 p.m., CBS.

OK, we don't really
need a Christmas rerun right now. This one, however, is particularly
good.

The show usually has
four separate stories, some clever and some not. This time, however,
it blitzes through a dozen tales. The first and last ones tie
together and there's a dab of warmth; it's the sort of Christmas we
don't mind having during an overheated summer.

Other choices
include:

“No Offence,”
any time, www.acorn.tv. At first
glance, this police unit seems ragged and tattered; so does its
leader Viv (Joanna Scanlon). Still, these people are smart, tough
cops: Last season, Viv figured out that her husand was crooked; she
burned the evidence and planned to kill him ... except someone else
did it first. In the second-season opener, a good one, she tries to
separate warring gangs.

“So You Think You
Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. On the past two Mondays, we saw the top
10 women and top 10 men. Now “Dance” -- one of TV's best
competition shows – shows its 10 finalists. “American Ninja
Warrior,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. Here are the Indianapolis city finals.

“Mom,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Jill is usually at her best when shopping. In this excellent
rerun, she has a department-store breakdown. Her friends try to help,
but Bonnis is shattered by a personal problem: To save money, she had
to give up cable-TV.

“Salvation,” 9
p.m., CBS. From the White House, Darius vows revenge on the hacker
activist group. Meanwhile, Harris discovers one dark secret and Grace
reveals another.

“Braveheart”
(1995), 9 p.m., BBC America. Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning epic leads a
good movie night. At 8 p.m., HBO has the terrific “Fugitive”
(1993), TNT has the fun “Transformers” (2007) and Pop has a
quirky choice: “Aloha” (2015) is quite lame, despite a top
writer-director (Cameron Crowe), location (Hawaii) and cast (Bradley
Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone).

“Elementary,” 10
p.m., CBS. A terrorism attack leaves Bell and Gregson locked down in
the precinct station – while the perpetrator might also be inside.
And Watson, formerly a doctor, must help her mother accept the extra
care required by Alzheimer's disease.