TV column for Monday, Jan. 27



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.

The first season’s finale saw a lighthouse burn with serial-killer
Joe Carroll inside. But the season-opener – which ran eight days ago and reruns
at 8 p.m. today – delivered some jolts.


Followers, wearing Carroll masks, committed subway murders.
One man told Ryan (Kevin Bacon) that the killer is still alive. And in a
closing scene, viewers saw a bearded Carroll.


So far, Ryan hasn’t told the FBI. Tonight, phone calls nudge
him toward a confrontation.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “How I Met Your Mother,” 8 p.m., CBS.


For eight seasons, “Mother” has been careful not to show us
Ted’s wife-to-be. But now – in the final season, in the 200
th
episode overall – she’s played by Cristin Milioti and gets the focus.


This episode takes her viewpoint. It shows how she met Ted
and what she’s been up to for eight years.


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


In July of 2010, a new Arizona law allowed police to demand
the papers of anyone who seems to be an illegal immigrant. Passions boiled.
There were protests and court challenges; the key state senator was recalled,
the most-visible sheriff was re-elected.


This documentary tries to tackle everything, recording people
on both sides. The result is thorough and fair, but chaotic; like the issue
itself, this film triggers a whirl of angry voices.


Other choices include:


“The Bachelor,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. The international portion
begins tonight. Logically, it finds Sharleen (an opera singer from Germany) on
a solo date with Juan Pablo Galavis, a former soccer player from Venezuela.
That’s in South Korea; the other women split into two groups of six – one for
pop music and dancing, the other for an offbeat night, ranging from karaoke to
a fish pedicure.


“2 Broke Girls,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. Deke invited everyone to
his home at the dumpster. Soon, Caroline learns something key about his
background.


“Mike & Molly,” 9 p.m., CBS. After a fight (about money)
with Molly’s mom, Mike and Molly move in with his acerbic mother.


“Mom,” 9:30, CBS. Christy’s dad (Kevin Pollak) has been
absent throughout her life. Now, however, she tries to get to know him – a project
that upsets her mom.


“The Blacklist,” 10 p.m., NBC. As Liz probes an adoption
agency, Red has a new mole suspect.


“Archer,” 10 p.m. FX. Things keep getting worse for our
hero, who traded real drugs for counterfeit money. Now he frets about both
sides – police and drug kingpins – in a sometimes-funny episode.


“Castle,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. Here’s a cops-and-robbers
variation on “The Devil Wears Prada”: The assistant to a tyrannical magazine
editor has been killed.


 

TV column for Sunday, Jan. 26



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Grammy awards, 8-11 p.m., CBS.


Known for its “Grammy moments,” this show tends to mix-and-match
splendidly.


Tonight has Sara Bareilles and Carole King, Stevie Wonder
and Pharell Williams, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons, Robin Thicke and
Chicago, Metallica and China Lang Lang, Pink and Nate Ruess of Fun, Def Punk
and Nile Rodgers of Chic. It links Blake Shelton, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson
and Merle Haggard, closing with Nine Inch Nails, Dave Groh, Lindsey Buckingham
and Queens of the Stone Age.


Separate performers include Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Keith
Urban, Lorde, Kacey Musgraves, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Hunter Hayes, John
Legend and the duo Macklemore & Robin Lewis.


TONIGHT’S ODDITY: “Masterpiece Mystery,” 10 p.m., PBS.


Nothing on TV can match “Sherlock” for whip-smart dialog.
It’s slick, smart … and sometimes excessive.


This is one of those times, as Watson (Martin Freeman)
marries Mary Morstan, played by Amanda Abbington, Freeman’s longtime life
partner. Refusing to acknowledge his mixed emotions, Sherlock Holmes plunges
into a case. It’s all quite witty … so much so that it virtually ignores the
case itself.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Girls,” 10 p.m., HBO; and
“Episodes,” 10:30 p.m., Showtime.


Put these two together and you have a reminder of how good
some pay-cable comedies can be.


“Girls” has Hannah (Lena Dunham) learning of a death. Her
thoughts are of career, not mourning; soon, there’s a brilliant view of our
varied responses to death.


Then “Episodes” has people adjust to the new network boss;
under his imposing exterior, he’s a self-described mess. Meanwhile, Matt dreams
of getting out of the show.


Other choices include


Grammy previews, cable. The red-carpet previews start at 5
p.m. ET on the TV Guide Network (including Chris Harrison) and 6 p.m. on E
(with Ryan Seacrest). E also has a Grammy preview at 4 p.m. and a post-Grammy
show at 11:30 p.m.; TV Guide simply reruns the red-carpet show at 8 and 11.


Pro Bowl, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC, with pre-game at 7. An already
meaningless game became more so when the NFL skipped conferences and went with
random teams chosen by two former greats. Jerry Rice’s team is led by Drew
Brees and Philip Rivers, Deion Sanders’ by Andrew Luck and Cam Newton.


“The Bachelor: Sean and Catherine’s Wedding,” 8-10:01 p.m.,
ABC. Amid a sea of busted engagements, “Bachelor” celebrates its rare
marriages. In November of 2012, Sean Lowe proposed to Catherine Giudici; here’s
their wedding live, plus preparation plans.


“Masterpiece Classic,” 9 p.m., PBS. “Downton Abbey” finally
resolves (sort of) its troubled Anna-Bates storyline. Meanwhile, a tenant issue
gives us a fresh picture of Robert, the estate’s patriarch.


“Castle,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. This transplanted rerun has two
competing teams, one with Beckett and the other with Castle, probing the death
of a former child star.


 

TV column for Saturday, Jan. 25



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.

Seth Meyers is wrapping up a great, eight-and-a-half year
run as “Weekend Update” anchor. Now he’s getting set to take over the weekday
late slot (12:35 a.m.) after the Olympics.


That means Meyers has only two more Saturdays at the desk,
before Cecily Strong (now his co-host) takes over. Tonight, Jonah Hill hosts,
with Bastille as music guest; another episode reruns at 10 p.m.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” 8-10
p.m., Lifetime.


Back in 1892, some people assumed murder was the exclusive
domain of thugs and brutes and … well, males. Then Borden – 32, from a wealthy
Massachusetts family – was accused of savagely axing her father and step-mother
to death.


No one knows if she did it; this film follows the historical
events, adds its own view near the end. What makes it worthwhile is its period
look, skilled direction and solid cast. Christina Ricci stars, with Clea DuVall
as her sister and Billy Campbell as a defense attorney facing steep odds.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Black Sails” debut, 9 p.m., Starz;
also 10:10 and 11:20 p.m. and 2:20 a.m.


Back in 1715, pirates still ruled the sea and controlled the
lawless New Providence Island.


Their world was changing, though, as the British Navy
grasped for control. First, Captain Flint tries for a big score. He links with
Eleanor Guthrie – who uses her father’s power to rule the island … and with a
scheming young sailor named John Silver. This series is a “Treasure Island”
prequel, tossing in all the touches – violence, strong visuals, strong women,
occasional sex – that modern audiences want.


Other choices include:


“The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather, Part II” (1974),
9 a.m. and 1 p.m., then 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., AMC. Two of all-time great movies
are show (twice) back-to-back.


“Flushed Away” (2006), 8-10 p.m., ABC. Life always seems
difficult when you’re flushed down a toilet and into the London sewer. That’s
what happens to a mouse in this animated film.


“Shaun White: Russia Calling,” 8 p.m., NBC. Desperately
needing stars for the Winter Olympics, NBC turns to White -- young (27), flashy
and a winner. He won snowboarding gold in the last two Olympics; he also has a
record 13 gold medals in the X Games, plus 10 ESPY awards. This documentary
(produced by White) watches him juggling his training, businesses and relationships.


“Mike and Molly,” 8 p.m., CBS. Mike makes the mistake of
storming off. Molly retaliates by shopping.


“Two and a Half Men,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. Jenny move in with her
grandmother (Holland Taylor) and grandma’s rich boyfriend (Carl Reiner).


“NCIS,” 9 p.m., CBS. Transporting a body from a crime scene,
Ducky and Jimmy disappear.


“School of Rock” (2003), 10:01 p.m., MTV. Jack Black plays a
floundering musician who schemes his way into a substitute-teaching job. The
result has heatr, humor and some dandy music.


TV column for Friday, Jan. 24



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Enlisted,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Buried in an awful timeslot, this fairly clever show went
largely unnoticed in its first two weeks. Now Fox has nudged it ahead a half-hour,
to benefit from a solid “Bones” lead-in.


To launch the new slot, Fox is setting aside the planned
episode – a pretty good one, with lots of pranks and sight gags – and going
with this one. Pete (Geoff Stults), the supersoldier, looks for a way to
distance himself from the rag-tag platoon that includes his two younger
brothers.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Dracula” finale, 10:01 p.m., NBC.


Flawed from the start, this series moved Count Dracula to
Victorian England, where he pretended to be an American mogul. Ratings have
been weak, but NBC has this hour may able to wrap up some things.


Grayson is ready for another attempt to demonstrate
electricity. Mina learns why he’s obsessed with her. And Lady Jane and her
huntsmen, trying to slay London’s vampires, collide with him.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Banshee,” 10 p.m., Cinemax.


Ever since “Romeo and Juliet,” opposite-world romances have
floundered. Now two teens – one from the reservation, the other from the Amish
community – try romance.


That sets off two brutal fight scenes and a compelling story
that will continue next week. So, perhaps, will another story: A stranger
arrives who could complicate the sheriff’s careful web of lies.


Other choices include:


“Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. It probably shouldn’t surprise us that
Sweets (John Francis Daley) is a skilled chess player. When a disliked champion
has been killed, he goes undercover.


“Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC. Boyd is supposed to
research his school’s namesake. His report – aided by others – sparks a drive
to rename the school.


“The Neighbors,” 8:30, ABC. Debbie has trouble returning to
school, especially when a professor flirts with her. Now Marty is home with
their daughter, who mourns a failed romance.


“The Real Mary Poppins,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Using footage from a 2002 documentary and the current “Saving Mr. Banks,” this
film profiles “Poppins” author Pamela Travers.


“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun from last season,
the body has been found of a girl who was kidnapped 10 years ago. Now another
girl has been kidnapped and the team races to find her.


“Raising Hope,” 9:30, Fox. Jimmy has a new way to ease
tension with Sabrina: They’ll try fencing. Meanwhile, his parents squabble
while nudging a romance with Maxine (Molly Shannon) and Barney.


“Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. This rerun has Danny (Donnie
Wahlberg) assigned, appropriately, to anger-management class. Meanwhile, his
dad, the police commissioner, tries to help a young Turkish woman.


“Music Makes the City,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
For 65 years, Louisville has commissioned classical compositions. Here is
vintage film plus new interviews, including composer Elliot Carter at 100.


TV column for Thursday, Jan. 23



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Rake” debut, 9 p.m., Fox.


Smart and handsome, Keegan Deane (Greg Kinnear) should be a
fine lawyer. Instead, he drinks excessively and gambles ineptly; now he has big
debts, an unpaid assistant and a high-profile case.


The result neatly juggles comedy and drama. That’s a
specialty of Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me”), who worked with Peter Duncan to adapt
Duncan’s Australian series


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 and 9:30
p.m., CBS.


TV’s best comedy offers a pair of excellent reruns.


First, Amy commits the ultimate sin – pointing out the one glaring
flaw in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” one of Sheldon’s favorite movies. Then Penny
and Sheldon share secrets, while waiting for Leonard to return from his
shipboard work.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Vampire Diaries,” 8 p.m., CW.


After 500-plus years, Katherine is dying. Acquaintances gather,
drain four whiskey bottles and recall the times she’s tricked, assaulted and/or
killed them. (Yes, it’s an odd show.)


This is the show’s 100th episode, so it pushes
hard, throwing characters into high-stakes situations. For new viewers, it’s a
tough show to watch -- especially when so many characters look the same. So
just settle back and enjoy it … then brace yourself for a bizarre finish.


Other choices include:


“American Idol,” 8 p.m., Fox. After three two-hour episodes,
“Idol” has an hour of auditions.


“Community,” 8 p.m., NBC. Troy is ready to leave the community
college. His friend Abed prepares an epic party that soon becomes a heated
competition.


“Parks and Recreation,” 8:30, NBC. Leslie and Ben argue
about shaky sales techniques at the farmers’ market. Also, Ann needs to vent
about the annoyances of being pregnant.


“Reign,” 9 p.m., CW. In a fairly strong episode, Mary
returns to the castle, where Francis – the future French king – remains determined
to marry her. His mother is just as determined to stop them.


“The Crazy Ones,” 9 p.m., CBS. This rerun has two
Emmy-winners: Brad Garrett is Simon’s partner, who demands he dump a long-time
client; Ed Asner is the client’s commercial spokesman, Mr. Finger.  


“Anger Management,” 9:30 p.m., FX. After being arrested,
Charlie (Charlie Sheen) is in the prison therapy group that he used to lead


“Parenthood,” 10 p.m., NBC. Crosby has mold in his home,
Julia has marital trouble in hers. Also, Sarah and Hank (Lauren Graham and Ray
Romano) start their project together.


 “Elementary,” 10:01
p.m., CBS. This rerun finds Holmes trying to learn who leaked a mountain of
classified information. Cyber-activists promptly attack him to protect the
leaker.