TV column for Tuesday, March 24


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

In its second
episode, this show hints at the great potential ahead. Last week, a
diligent medical resident inavertently become a zombie. She got a job
in a morgue because of its convenient food supply – then found that
while digesting people's brains she was absorbing memories that could
help solve murders.

Now there's more:
After munching an artist, she wants her apartment (and her life) to
be more colorful. She also becomes more lustful. Rose McIver has
jumped from “Power Rangers” and Tinker Bell (on “Once Upon a
Time”) to this showcase role, letting her leap into new emotions
each week.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Justified,” 10 p.m., FX.

Powerful forces seem
headed for a final collision. Raylan feeds false news to Boyd ...
whose response may be true or false or true-pretending-to-be-false.
And between them is Ava, who is Boyd's lover and his brother's killer
and Raylan's ex-lover and current informant.

This would be one
dandy series finale ... except that's still three weeks away. For
now, we get more trickery, more detours and a final twist that proves
“Jusified” never stops surprising and jolting.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work,”
8:30-10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

The son and grandson
of rich Houston lawyers, Baker got advice from his dad: “Work
hard, study, stay out of politics.” Then he went political, running
campaigns for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

But his real success
was as chief of staff and secretary of state. This was, narrator Tom
Brokaw says, “a time before compromise was a dirty word.” Baker
managed to link Democrats and Reagan, Soviets and Americans, Arabs
and Israelis. He sometimes erred, this fairly solid film says, but
made things work.

Other choices
include:

“The Avengers”
(2012), 7-10 p.m., FX, and/or “Agents of SHIELD,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Marvel continues its TV takeover, with shows competing against each
other. Cable has a movie linking Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain
America. And “SHIELD” finds team members reeling from internal
treachery.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. McGee works with his girlfriend Delilah, when the Defense
Department joins a case involving a thief's body found in a Marine's
house.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. Three murder cases seem unrelated ... until
the names of all three victims are spotted on a mural.

“Undateable,” 9
p.m., NBC. Last week's season-opener had some clever moments, during
a fake trial. Still, it virtually ignored the new character, a
waitress played by Bridgit Mendler, a former Disney star who could
counterbalance this show's runaway cynicism. Tonight, she introduces
her boyfriend.

“One Big Happy,”
9:30, NBC. Last week's debut was way too broad and blunt. This
episode is better, which makes it nearly adequate; Lizzy (Elisha
Cuthbert) reluctantly makes room (in her home and her life) for the
bride of her best friend – the guy who is the sperm donor for her
pregnancy.

“Forever,” 10
p.m., ABC. Henry, the guy who never stays dead, gets a tough memory
jolt: A murder case leads him to the ship where he was killed for the
first time.

“The Late Late
Show,.” 12:37 a.m., CBS. On his second night, James Corden's guest
is Chris Pine, who starred with him in the “Into the Woods”
movie. Also, there's music from Modest Mouse.

TV column for Monday, March 23


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Late Late Show With James Corden” debut, 12:37 a.m., CBS.

If Jimmy Fallon had
a British cousin, it would be Corden. Both men bring a puppy-dog
enthusiasm – light years from the reserved Letterman/Carson
approach. Both have done music, movies, sketch comedy and more, all
skillfully.

In England, Corden
co-wrote a comedy series (“Gavin & Stacey”) and was part of a hit song,
He hosted specials and did a stage role, winning a Tony when it
reached Broadway. He's also starred in the “Into the Woods”
movie; Reggie Watts, the “Comedy Bang! Bang!” music sidekick, has
the same role here.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“The Voice” (NBC) and “Dancing With the Stars” (ABC), 8-10:01
p.m.

“The Voice” is
getting serious now, with the “battle rounds” beginning. Two
teammates each choose a song and sing, with one advancing to the next
round. Nate Ruess, of Fun, advises all of them.

Meanwhile, “Stars”
is ready to oust its first dancer. Last week, judges gave the lowest
scores to model-actress Charlotte McKinney and to Redfoo – the
singer-rapper-DJ whose dad, Berry Gordy, started Motown Records. Top
scorers were Rumer Willis, Riker Lynch and Nastia Liukin, the gymnast
blessed with perpetual winner Derek Hough as her partner. Now, with
viewer votes added, someone will go.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Returned,” 9 p.m., A&E.

Camille should stay
hidden at home, her family feels; people might not accept the fact
that she quietly returned home, four years after being dead and
buried. But no one who's 15 (or 19, her twin sister's age) wants to
stay home; tonight, she finds a way to mingle.

There's much more,
in this terrific adaptation of a French mini-series. We glimpse the
back story of Julie, who has a silent boy hiding in her apartment.
And we get the quietly powerful moment when Rowan realizes she did
NOT imagine her conversations with her late fiance Simon.

Other choices
include:

“The Following,”
8 and 9 p.m., Fox. First, Mark and Daisy plan an attack on Ryan. Then
things go wrong on the day of a trial, spurring a crucial manhunt.

“2 Broke Girls,”
8 p.m., CBS. Fresh from a one-week break (and from news that it and
“Mike and Molly” will be back next season), this show sees a
handsome guy return Max and Caroline's cat.

“The Fosters,” 8
p.m., ABC Family. Mariana should focus on her fun moment – a
contest to see which dance team can represent the school. Here life
is complicated, though, now that her troubled (and pregnant) mom is
staying there. There's more in this final episode until summer,
including a tragedy.

“Mike &
Molly,” 8:30, CBS. In real life, Billy Gardell (who plays Mike) has
lost 70-plus pounds. In the show, Mike meets a weight goal ... then
risks it by taking a slice of pie.

“Scorpion,” 9
p.m., CBS. Once again, these computer guys must become action heroes.
This time, a helicopter crash puts them inside a raging wildfire.

"It's Me Hilary," 9 p.m., HBO. At 88, artist Hilary Knight retains the child-like quality of the most famous character he drew -- little Eloise, princess of the Plaza Hotel. Here's a charming portrait. 

“Strange
Inheritance,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., Fox Business. In the second
epiosode, a woman inherits a fading wildlife refuge in Florida. In
the first, a man inherits a barren Badlands ranch, then finds it has
an alternate source of income – dinosaur fossils.

“Bates Motel,”
10 p.m., A&E. “I just want to feel normal now,” Norma Bates
insists. Sorry, that ship has sailed. Her life will never seem
normal, with her son atttacted to troubled women who sometimes die. A
body has been found in the water and it may be the motel patron (a
professional escort) who's been missing for days. There's much more,
including a new look for Emma, Norman's sorta-girlfriend.

TV column for Sunday, March 22


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Last Man on Earth,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., Fox.

Phil (Will Forte)
had kind of accepted the notion that he might be the only surviving
human. He ate and drank and burped and broke things; he acted like
many guys do when they're on their own.

Then he met Carol
(Kristen Schaal) and reluctantly married her, as a step toward
re-populating the Earth. Except he soon met Melissa (January Jones),
who's prettier and less annoying. Phil began shaving and acting
dippy. In back-to-back episodes tonight, the three consider pragmatic
re-population.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Battle Creek,” 10 p.m. (or later with basketball overrun), CBS.

After promoting the
show during its high-octane basketball games, CBS could have been
tempted to air a fast, flashy episode. Instead, it has one that's
slow and sly and kind of clever.

Russ (Dean Winters)
probes the death of a rich man and the murder of an impoverished
waitress. He scrambles to find a connection ,,, while also trying to
pierce the too-perfect facade of Milt (Josh Duhamel), the FBI guy.
Some sharp twists in the final minutes make the hour worth catching.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Girls” season-finale, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO.

For a time there,
“Girls” drifted toward a familiar state – smart, but stagnant.
Locked in their New York attitudes, characters kept repeating
themselves. Then this fourth year shook things up wonderfully.

Hannah left for an
Iowa writing workshop; she soon quit, but by then she'd lost her
apartment and her boyfriend Adam. Also, her dad says he's gay, Marnie
is engaged and Shoshanna flubs job interviews. Now Hannah tries to
talk Adam's lover out of a home birth; Shosh ponders a job
opportunity.

Other choices
include:

Basketball, all day,
four channels. After starting the week with 68 teams, the NCAA
tourney will be town to 16 by the end of the day. CBS has today's
first three games, at 12:15 p.m. ET and about 2:40 and 5. Others are
on TNT (6 and 8:30 ET), TBS (7 and 9:30) and TruTV (7:30).

“The Simpsons”
and “Family Guy,” 7-7:30 p.m., 8-9 p.m., Fox. In both reruns,
characters from other shows visit Springfield. First, the “Futurama”
people warn the Simpsons not to ruin the future. Then the Griffins
bond with the family; Stewie gets a slingshot and Meg learns to play
the saxophone.

“Noah's Ark,” 7
p.m., UP, repeating at 9 and 11. What do you do if your dad or
husband insists he must build a giant boat ... in the middle of a
desert, where it hasn't rained in a year? This British film is
well-acted by David Threlfall and others, but odd. It's one-third of
the way through before Noah even gets the message, with lots of
dryness afterward. We won't give away the ending, but it does rain.

“Madam Secretary,”
8:01 p.m. or later, CBS. After barely surviving in Iran (where she
helped prevent a coup), Elizabeth frets about Amazon ecological
disaster ... and about her son's safety at his new school.

“The Good Wife,”
9 p.m., CBS. Peter gives an interview that could affect turnout for
Alicia's election. Also, Diane's out of her turf on a hunting trip
with Frank McVeigh and his conservative friends.

“Secrets and
Lies,” 9 p.m., ABC. Tonight's final minutes remind us how good this
show could be. There's a long monolog – beautifully written and
performed – by Ben's wife (KaDee Strickland), followed by a quick
jolt. Prior to that, however, the show continues its flaws. With
virtuallyt no evidence against him, neighbors (and an absurd police
detective) keep targeting Ben and his family.

“Looking,” 10
p.m., HBO. On the day he moves in with an attractive lover, Patrick
finds ways to sabotage it. “Looking” seems to inherits the bad
traits (overthinking, overtalking) that “Girls” shed.

TV column for Saturday, March 21


TODAY'S MUST-SEE:
Animated movies, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., ABC Family.

Kids don't want to
spend the weekend watching you scream at basketball players and
referees, right? Instead, you can cuddle in front of Disney films
that range from good to great.

At the core are two
classics -- “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) at 8:45 p.m. and
“Cinderella” (1949) at 10:30. They're surrounded by “Mulan”
(1990) at 3 p.m., “Princess and the Frog” (2009) at 5, “Little
Mermaid” (1989) at 7 and “Pocahontas” at 12:15 a.m.; Sunday
repeats everything, two hours sooner.

TODAY'S MUST-SEE II:
Basketball, all day.

OK, maybe you do
want to spend the day screaming. CBS has four straight NCAA
tournament games; the first is at 12:15 p.m. ET, with others at about
2:35, 5:10 and 7:30.

At night, there are
also doubleheaders starting at 6 p.m. ET on TNT and 7 on TBS. That's an
eight-game day, with eight more Sunday; at the end of the weekend,
basketball will have its “sweet 16.”

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Black Sails,” 9 p.m., Starz; rerunning at 10:02 and
11:05.

A week from the
season-finale – and two weeks from the “Outlander”
season-opener – this well-crafted pirate adventure still has some
big issues to settle.

Looming since the
start of the season is the Urca gold; now Rackham goes after it.
Meawhile, Flint and Miranda make peace with their past and he
prepares to enter Charles Town. And Eleanor declares war.

Other choices
include:

“Secrets and
Lies,” 8 p.m., ABC. On the eve of the next new episode, you can
catch up with the efforts of Ben (Ryan Philippe), who can't remembert
what happened the night a neighbor boy was killed. Tonight, he learns
what his daughter was doing; he also begins to suspect Dr.
Richardson's family.

“Backstrom,” 8
p.m., Fox. In the rerun of a fairly good episode, Backstrom and his
team have three days to rescue a kidnapped girl. Also, Sgt. Almond
(Dennis Haysbert) has another concern: His storefront church is three
months behind on the mortgage and could face foreclosure.

“Good Witch,” 8
p.m., Hallmark. Four years ago, a “Good Witch” movie introduced
Abigail. Like her distant cousin Cassie (Catherine Bell), she has
some magic powers, unlike her, she has little restraint. Now she
returns; the kids are soon charmed, but Cassie is hesitant.

“In an Instant,”
9-11 p.m., ABC. This series has gripping, first-person accounts of
survivial. Tonight, we meet a woman who was beaten, put in a garbage
can and locked in a wintertime storage shed.

“Sleepy Hollow,”
9 p.m., Fox. In a rerun, Nick Hawley confronts his former caretaker,
with the help of Ichabod, Abbie and Jenny. And Frank Irving, the
former sheriff, adjusts to his post-death life.

“Aloha Vet”
debut, 9 p.m., NatGeo Wild. This reality show focuses on Dr. Scott
Sims, a Hawaiian veterinarian who reaches his patients – wild and
domestic – via horse, plane or ATV.

“The Carbonaro
Effect,” 10 p.m. to midnight, TruTV; rerunning from 2-4 a.m. Once a
year, during early rounds of the basketball tournament, people
discover this channel (formerly Court TV). It has lots of odd shows
and a few good ones, led by this one: Michael Carbonaro is both a
magician and a charming actor who's skilled at improvising. He gives
hidden-camera shows a fresh, funny approach.

TV column for Friday, March 20


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Glee” finale, 8-10 p.m., Fox.

It's time to
celebrate a show that started hot and faded quickly. In its six
seasons, “Glee” has given us a zesty mix of vibrant music,
optimistic characters and perverse humor.

Tonight's first hour
goes back to 2009, when the glee club was being formed. The second
jumps to 2020, to see, among other things, whether Rachel (Lea
Michele) did become a Broadway star.

TODAY'S MUST-SEE II:
Basketball, all day.

Here are 16 more
NCAA tournament games, starting with one – Kansas and New Mexico
State – that could be a nasty mismatch. That's 12:15 p.m. ET on
CBS; more promising is the Georgia-Michigan State game at 12:40 p.m.
on TruTV; others start at 1:40 p.m. on TBS and 2:10 on TNT.

CBS starts its
evening at 7:10 p.m. ET with Duke in another mismatch, but follows at about 9:30 with
St. Johns and San Diego State. Other doubleheaders start at 6:50 p.m.
on TBS, 7:20 on TNT and 7:27 on TruTV.

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

Yes, “Glee” has
a great young cast, led by the amazing Lea Michele, 28. Still, this
terrific rerun (from 2004) looks back at one of the most gifted young
performer of all.

Judy Garland was 14
when she started co-starring with Mickey Rooney, 16 when she started
filming “The Wizard of Oz” and “Babes in Toyland,” 21 when
she started “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Her voice soared; her life
wobbled. This film makes extensive use of tapes she made for an
unpublished book.

Other choices
include:

Movie musicals, 7:30
p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. First is the 1955 “MGM Parade” TV
series, with clips of Garland, Bert Lahr and Gene Kelly. Then is a
Julie Andrews marathon -- “Darling Lili” (1970) at 8 p.m. ET,
“Star” (1968) at 10:30 and “Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) at
1:30 a.m.

“Grimm,” 8 p.m.,
NBC. Back from a five-week break, “Grimm” has a dark twist on the
“lucky rabbit's foot” notion: A human corpse's foot was removed.
Monroe and Rosalee go undercover to investigate.

“Last Man
Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC. There's excitement at first, when Mandy
gets a dream opportunity – an internship with a top designer. Then
there's confusion, when she says she can't go.

“Cristela,” 8:31
p.m., ABC. In Mexican-American tradition, the quinceanera
(celebrating a girl's 15th birthday) is big. Now the
family has been invited to one. For Cristela, that brings a flashback
to her first date; for her mom, it's a chance to impress, so she
wants Cristela to bring her law-office colleage Josh.

“iZombie,” 9
p.m., CW. Sure, this sounds silly: Inadvertently zombified, a medical
resident works in a morgue so she can munch brains ... then finds
she's temporarily absorbing memories of murder victims. Still,
there's wit sprinkled into the story; if you missed Tuesday's debut,
catch its rerun now.

“12 Monkeys,” 9
p.m., Syfy. The bad news is that “12” takes another detour – a
wildly unlikely step by Cole's friend Ramse that seems designed only
to prolong the show. The good news is an expanded role for Emily
Hampshire, who's having a great year here (as mad Jennifer Goines)
and in “Schitt's Creek.”

“Unlikely Animal
Friends,” 10 p.m., NatGeo Wild. A farm dog mothers an orphaned
fawn; a rat and cat become friends. Also, an autistic boy connects
with a flock of chickens.