TV column for Tuesday, April 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“iZombie” season-opener, 9 p.m., CW.

At first, Liv was
almost alone, surrounded by non-zombies who were unaware. Now her
ex-fiance Major is also a zombie; others – her friend Peyton, her
mortuary boss Ravi, Clive the cop – know her secret. “Is it too
late to say I kind of like being out of the loop on some of this?”
Clive asks.

Probably; fresh
storylines start tonight. There are organized zombies, scheming to
seize the city ... and zombie-haters, spreading rumors ... and a nice
kid who was once Clive's neighbor. As usual, there's a mixture of
clever humor and deep despair. It's a fairly good hour, with a better
one next week.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC.

Three stories bounce
around this half-hour, with mixed results. The best is about the
curious dynamics of neighborhood guys; Mike Heck is accused of
poaching a plumber. Another has Frankie unable to accept the fact
that her daughter won't tell her about her secret crush.

The silliest story
has Brick finally getting to visit his brother in college. That one
is so-so, but leads to a big finish to a pleasant half-hour with the
Hecks.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Prison Break” opener, 9 p.m., Fox.

The good news is
that “Break” retains all the qualities it had when it started
11-plus years ago. There are intense characters, quick surprises and
a richly cinematic feel.

And the bad? This
fourth edition is a like Gilda Radner saying “Never mind!” After
all the agony of helping Linc escape, his post-prison life is a mess.
He's deep in debt, on the run and miserable. We won't spoil any
surprises from there, but this does make the previous editions seem
like a waste.

Other choices
include:

“Last Days of
Jesus,” 8-10 p.m., PBS. In the last 12 days of the Easter season,
we get fresh insights into what happened 2,000 years ago. As
historians study new archaeological finds and old histories, they
feel that power politics in Rome played a big part in the decision to
kill Jesus.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. A vice-admiral's computer has been infected by “ransomware.”
If McGee and others can't stop it in 34 hours, his personal and
professional files will be destroyed. Also, Alex (Jennifer Esposito)
must help her mother (Oscar-winner Mercedes Ruehl), after a “911”
text.

“New Girl,” 8
p.m., Fox. In the season-finale for this fun (and undernoticed) show,
Jess is finally ready to tell Nick she still has feelings for him.
Meanwhile, Aly helps Winston re-connect with someone and Cece and
Schmidt receive big news.

“Trial &
Error,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., NBC. So far, this terrific comedy has seen
a novice lawyer handling a big murder case on his own. Now his boss
arrives, creating chaos. The defendant (John Lithgow) takes things
into his own hands, with disastrous results.

“Imaginary Mary,”
9:30 p.m., ABC. The show's gimmick – the return of an imaginary
friend from childhood – is only a neat bonus; strip it away and you
still have a fun story. Alice (Jenna Elfman) has been living in a
child-free world; now her new boyfriend needs some quick help with
his three kids. Like the lead character in “The Mick” (8:30 p.m.,
Fox), she does some quick improvising.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. The team finds a link between a drug ring
and the New Orleans police. That means LaSalle must investigate his
former partner in the vice unit.

“Agents of
SHIELD,” 10 p.m., ABC. After two months on the shelf, this show
returns to find Hydra in control of a troubled world. Daisy and
Simmons, who uncover secrets, may be the only hope.

ALSO: If you missed
them Sunday, two shows rerun tonight. “The Kennedys – After
Camelot” (8-10 p.m., Reelz, rerunning at 11) starts a four-part
mini-series, with Katie Holmes and Matthew Perry as Jackie and Ted
Kennedy. “Black Sails” (9-10:14 p.m., Starz) concludes the epic
pirate series.

TV column for Monday, April 3


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Basketball, 9 p.m. ET, CBS.

The college
tournament started with 68 teams, high hopes and much commotion. Now
it's down to its final two; Jim Nantz calls the game for CBS, backed
by Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson.

There will be a
pre-game show at 8:30 p.m. ET and – to get us in a good mood – a
particularly funny “Big Bang Theory” rerun at 8. That episode –
which will run after the game in the Pacific time zone – has Amy
first moving in with Sheldon, after her apartment is flooded.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Quantico,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.

In a spy world in
which people avoid tangles, Clay Haas has plenty of them. His mother
is the president ... he heads the FBI-CIA task force ... and he's
engaged to a brainy beauty; she's played by Krysta Rodriguez, who
brings quirky charm to this drama and to NBC's “Trial & Error”
comedy.

Now large chunks of
his world go bad. It's an interesting hour, detoured by some verbal
overkill. In the final minutes, all the characters start sounding
like a psychology thesis. It's too much of a smart thing.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Independent Lens,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

For the second time
lately, “Lens” views a mass shooting without mentioning the
shooter. This time, it offers a deeply layered view of the survivors
of the Sandy Hook murders in Newtown, Conn.

We see the quiet
pain of some parents, outspoken anger of others. Some kids shrug off
life's horrors; some don't. We feel the mixed emotions of one mom;
her son survived, but his neighbor and best friend didn't. Mostly, we
see bright, caring humans, groping to deal with the inexplicable.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), 9:15 p.m. ET, Turner
Classic Movies.

A half-century ago,
this showed that a film about gun-waving bank robbers can also be a
high art form, with sharp dialog and gorgeous pictures. It received
10 Oscar nominations (winning for Estelle Parsons in support and for
cinematography) and a place in movie history.

The Oscars noted the
50th anniversary by having stars Warren Beatty and Faye
Dunaway as presenters; they promptly bungled the best-picture
announcement. Now we see a Dunaway interview (from last year's TCM
festival) at 8 and 11:15 p.m. ET; her “Network” is at `12:30 a.m.

Other choices
include:

Baseball, all day.
This is Opening Day ... again. Sunday brought an early start for six
of the teams; now the other 24 begin, including four national
telecasts. ESPN has Braves-Mets at 1 p.m. ET, Padres-Dodgers at 4,
Indians-Rangers at 7; ESPN2 has Angels-A's at 10.

“Dancing With the
Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Last week saw Chris Kattan in the bottom
two, alongside Charo. He was ousted, she survived ... but faces more
trouble. Her judges' score for last week tied with Nick Viall for
second-worst; only Mr. T was lower.

“The Voice,”
8-10:01 p.m., NBC. In the just-concluded “battle rounds,”
teammates competed while singing the same song; now the “knockout
round” has them working separately.

“24: Legacy,” 8
p.m., Fox. In mid-crisis, personal relationships bring complications.
Carter's wife questions his commitment to their relationship; Rebecca
gets a call that forces an important decision.

“APB,” 9:01
p.m., Fox. With his informant's life in danger, an FBI agent asks
Murphy (Natalie Martinez) for help. Gideon assists her ... and makes
a decision that could make or break his company.

“Taken,” 10:01
p.m., NBC. The team tries to help the defection of a Russian agent
... whose pregnant girlfriend makes things complicated.

TV column for Sunday, April 2


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Academy of Country Music awards, 8-11 p.m., CBS.

Generations of
country stars will perform. That includes current co-hosts Dierks
Bentley (who will rock with Cole Swindell) and Luke Bryan. It also
includes Reba McEntire, who hosted 14 times; she'll link with
contemporary-Christian star Lauren Daigle for “Back to God.”

There's much more,
solo (Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Maren Morris, more), groups
(Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, etc.) and collaborations. It's Tim
McGraw and Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett
and Maren Morris, even Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Masterpiece: Home Fires” season-opener, 9 p.m., PBS.

It's 1940 now and
the gloom is growing. Allied forces were crushed at Dunkirk, barely
escaping; a German invasion seems imminent. Life presses down on this
British village, including the Campbells.

He's a doctor,
suffering from cancer; she's a pharmacist. One daughter is already a
war widow, the other is being ostracized for her affair with a
married pilot. In this richly layered hour, events pile up quickly.
There's a marriage, a car crash, tragic news about local soldiers.
Good people grasp for strands of joy.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Black Sails” finale, 9 p.m., Starz; rerunning at
11:15.

For four seasons,
this show has tried to do it all. A pirate epic with sweeping action
and gifted actors, it fits into real history and works as a prequel
to Robert Louis Stevenson's “Treasure Island.”

Now – right after
“Missing” (8 p.m.) concludes its story -- “Black Sails” has
its series finale. Captain Flint makes a last push to defeat England.
Jack Rackham, the calculating pirate, confronts Woodes Rogers, the
Bahamas governor who's been determined to break the pirates' hold on
Nassau. And John Silver – that will be “Long John” some day –
seals his fate.

Other choices
include:

Baseball, 1 p.m. ET,
ESPN. It's Opening Day, a festive time for fans. Most teams start
Monday, but this tripleheader comes first. It's Yankees-Rays at 1,
Giants-Diamondbacks at 4 and Cubs-Cardinals at 8:30.

Figure-skating, 2:30
p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network. The world championships have concluded
in Helsinki and it's time for fun. Here's an exhibition with the
winners.

“Call the Midwife”
season-opener, 8 p.m., PBS. Filled with good intentions and
good-hearted souls, this convent still faces tough odds. It's now
1962, in an impoverished section of London; the idealistic nuns and
nurses have a stern new boss and old crises. Tonight, a young mother
faces a brutal husband; like many of the “Midwife” stories, this
is well-done, but painful to watch.

“Making History,”
8:30 p.m., Fox. Of all the good uses for a time machine, this is one
of the weakest: Go back to 1919 Chicago, claim you're Al Capone's
pals and bet against the Black Sox. The result is moderately funny,
setting up next week's crisis.

“The Walking
Dead,” 9-10:25 p.m., AMC. Here's the extended season-finale, with
high stakes and, one assumes, a high body count. If you need to get
in the mood, you can start with reruns. The first half of this split
season starts at 3:40 a.m.; the second half starts at 1:20 p.m.

“Shades of Blue,”
10 p.m., NBC, In the early minutes, Harlee (Jennifer Lopez) finds a
moral high ground. Alas, she can't stay there; past deeds and enemies
force her and Wozniak to go to extremes. Some of them strain
believability, in a good (but overwrought) episode..

“Wolf Hall”
(PBS) or “Billions” (Showtime), 10 p.m. Choose your century and
watch Damian Lewis collide with another gifted actor. The
slow-but-compelling “Wolf Hall” (starting its second run) is 16th
century, with Lewis as King Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as
Thomas Cromwell. The intense “Billions” is nowadays, with Lewis
as a scheming money man and Paul Giamatti as a prosecutor.

TV column for Saturday, April 1


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Basketball, 6 p.m. ET, CBS.

The long, loud
college basketball tournament is down to its final four, with some
surprises.

Fans expected North
Carolina and Gonzaga -- both seeded No. 1 in their quadrants – to
be here; they didn't expect Oregon (No. 3) or South Carolina (No. 7).
But now South Carolina faces Gonzaga at 6:09 p.m. ET, with Oregon
and North Carolina at about 8:49. The winners collide Monday.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Imaginary Mary,” 8:30 p.m., ABC.

If you missed the
show's debut, here's a quick rerun. It's has one offbeat gimmick, but
surrounds that with interesting characters and clever dialog.

In the TV tradition,
Alice (Jenna Elfman) is good at just about everything except
relationships. Now she's fallen for a great guy who has three kids.
This triggers lots of worries ... and brings back the imaginary
friend she hasn't seen since childhood. That's the gimmick part – a
clever piece of puppetry and special effects – but it's just a
bonus in a smart, fun show that now goes to Tuesdays.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Skating, all day, NBC and cable.

For many
figure-skating fans, the big draw is 8-10 p.m. on NBC, with the
women's finals of the world championships, from Helsinki. Be careful
to avoid spoilers, though; this is a delayed tape from Friday.

Other events are on
the NBC Sports Network. They include the finals for men and for dance
(12:30 and 2:30 p.m. ET today), plus an exhibition by the winners (2
p.m. ET Sunday).

Other choices
include:

“The Walking
Dead,” 6 p.m., AMC. Leading into Sunday's season-finale, AMC has
multiple marathons. The first half of this season reruns until 3:40
a.m. ... then re-reruns until 1:20 p.m. Sunday. That's when the
second half reruns, taking us to the 9 p.m. finale.

“The Goldbergs,”
8 p.m., ABC. This nostalgic comedy captures a seminal moment in the
1980s – a family's first answering machine. Murray and his dad
(George Segal) start leaving crazy messages.

“Bones,” 8 p.m.,
Fox. If you missed the series finale Tuesday, you can catch it here.
It begins after a bomb left the lab in shambles, with questions about
Angela's baby, Brennan's memory and more. The result is a moderately
good hour, wrapping up the show's 12th and final season.

“APB,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. In a rerun, Brandt goes undercover to find people selling
armor-piercing bullets.

“The Catch,” 9
p.m., ABC. Here's a rerun of the season-opener, which is slick and
sexy and kind of hard to like. The lead characters -- Alice (Mirielle
Enos) and Ben (Peter Krause) -- are cool and distant; partly making
up for that are Alice's employees and the arrival of her floundering
brother (T.J. Knight).

“The Axe Files,”
9 p.m. ET, CNN. Back in 2008, these men were on opposite sides: John
McCain was running for president; David Axelrod was running the
campaign of his opponent, Barack Obama. Now McCain discusses his
career and current issues in this hour, the first cablecast of
Axelrod's podcast.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Here's a rerun of one of the show's
most-watched episode in years, with Alec Baldwin hosting and Ed
Sheeran as music guest.

TV column for Friday, March 31


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Grimm” series finale, 8 p.m., NBC.

Some shows end with
a sigh and a shrug, but not this one. Right up to its final minutes,
the fate of mankind is teetering precariously. The hour has alternate
worlds, a magical mirror and much mayhem.

Last week, Nick was
protected by a little stick that's coveted by a nasty guy with a big
stick; now he's staring at the lifeless bodies of Hank and Wu. Nick
has many more battles ahead, all of them intense and one of them
(with his cousin Trubel) quite absurd. Then is the sort of big finish
that viewers covet.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“MacGyver,” 8 p.m., and more, CBS.

After a two-week
basketball break, the dependable CBS cop shows are back and new.
That start with this one, which is down to the final three episodes
of its first, successful season.

The guest star is
Aly Michalka, who's big on the CW. (She starred in its “Hellcats”
series and plays Liv's friend on “iZombie.”) Here, she's Mac's
friend, a scientist who faked her own death when someone was trying
to kill her and to suppress her research.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Great Performances,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

Like other great
conductors, Gustavo Dudamel can skillfully handle the work of dead
Europeans. But in this zestful night (taped in the Hollywood Bowl last
August), he revisits his South American roots.

Dudamel, 36, grew up
in Venezuela. This concert focuses on Argentine tango music, adding
dancers (Tango Buenos Aires) and guitar and bandoneon soloists. There
are interviews with the composers, including Lalo Schifrin, 84, a
six-time Oscar nominee best-known for the “Mission Impossible”
theme.

Other choices
include:

Figure-skating, 1
and 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network. These are the world championships,
from Helsinki, and you can catch the women in two ways – live at 1
p.m. today on cable or (try to avoid spoilers) tape-delayed at 8 p.m.
Saturday on NBC. Also today, the cable channel has the dance short
program at 8 p.m. ET. The finals for men and for dance will be 12:30
and 2:30 p.m. Saturday on cable.

“Murder, She
Baked: Just Desserts” (2017), 7-9 p.m., Hallmark. This
pleasant-enough film starts a night of light movies. Others include
“Mean Girls” (2004, 7 p.m., Bravo), “Ghostbusters” (2016,
7:01, Starz) and “The Help” (2011, 8 p.m., TNT). On the serious
side, Netflix debuts the teen drama “13 Reasons Why” and “Five
Came Back,” a documentary mini-series about Hollywood in World War
II.

“Last Man
Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC. Job-shadowing her dad, Mandy soon stirs
trouble. Also, her sisters take their mom to a kickboxing class.

“Dr. Ken,” 8:31
p.m., ABC. In real life, Ken Jeong was a doctor who became a co-star
of the “Community” series. Now that's mirrored here, with the
real “Community” creator (Dan Harmon) and co-star (Alison Brie)
playing themselves.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. William Forsythe is back, in one of his tough-guy roles,
is back. He's private-eye Harry Brown, working the case of a
kidnapped woman whose husband may have a secret.

“Sleepy Hollow,”
9:01 p.m., Fox. It's a grim night for fantasy fans – the end of
“Grimm” and then the season-finale (and, probably, series-finale)
of “Sleepy Hollow.” That comes just as Malcolm Dreyfuss -- the
businessman who sold his soul to the devil – nears the White House;
Ichabod tries to stop him.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Isaiah Washington, 53, guests as Police Chief Taylor
Daniels, who refuses to retire when he hits the mandatory age limit.
Also, an ex-cop goes missing, a day after she announced she would
make amends to someone she helped wrongly convict, years ago.