TV column for Monday, June 29


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Bachelorette” (ABC) or “So You Think You Can Dance”
(Fox), 8 p.m.

The dueling reality
shows are at interesting places in geography -- “Bachelorette” in
Ireland, “Dance” in Las Vegas -- and in their competitions.
“Dance” found terrific dancers at its auditions; now the
callbacks begin, creating the final “street” and “stage”
teams.

Meanshile,
“Bachelorette” trims from nine men to six, as the drama boils:
Shawn demands to know if Kaitlyn Bristowe is still in love with him;
it's a reasonable question, since she apparently had sex with Nick
Viall in last week's episode. The “Bachelor/Bachelorette” world
gets kind of messy sometimes.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Teen Wolf” season-opener, 10 p.m., MTV.

This is MTV's big
drama week, with “Scream” starting Tuesday and “Wolf”
returning tonight. If you're not up to date, don't worry; it reruns
all of last season from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Then the season
starts as Scott heading into his senior year of high school, with a
strong girlfriend (who has supernatural powers) and a weak
grade-point-average. His friend, who is a mere human, is dating
someone who isn't. Also, some newcomers are scarier than your normal,
everyday werewolves.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “POV,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Few documentaries
take the downward plunge of “The Overnighters.” It offers a hero
– Jay Reinke, a Lutheran pastor, providing sleeping spots for the
men who rushed to North Dakota, hoping for oil-boom jobs. We meet a
faithful aide, rebuilding his life after 16 years in prison, and a
lovable family.

Then, during the 18
months of filming, things crumble in Greek-tragedy style. Viewers are
left feeling wretched. If you watch it, take solace in the fact that
Reinke's life improved somewhat afterward. Also, appreciate being
able to visit this dark quagmire and then return to your own life.

Other choices
include:

“2 Broke Girls,”
8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, everyone helps Oleg move into Sophie's place
... until she starts rejecting his stuff.

“The Fosters,” 8
p.m., ABC Family. When her family visits, Lena hopes to end a long
dispute with her half-brother.

“Scorpion,” 9
p.m., CBS. In the show's third episode, rerunning here, team members
flunk a military test. They may be able to redeem themselves by
preventing a bomber from shattering the Internet.

“Larry Kramer in
Love and Anger,” 9 p.m., HBO. When “The Normal Heart” won its
Emmy for best TV movie, viewers saw lots of vibrant, Hollywood people
celebrating onstage alongside Kramer; then 79 and in poor health, he
was the hero of the moment. His play had described his frustration at
trying to make the world aware of the AIDS crisis; now this
documentary views Kramer's life.

“Cedric's Barber
Battle,” 9:30 p.m., CW. After a five-week break, this tries a new
night. In traditional-looking barber shops (tonight is Newark),
competing stylists try to create elaborate cuts. Cedric the
Entertainer keeps it fairly ... well, entertaining.

“The Making of the
Mob: New York,” 10 p.m., AMC. The third episode of this documentary
series finds Lucky Luciano taking control of the Mob in New York. To
get us in the mood, AMC reruns “The Godfather, Part II” (1974) –
Francis Coppola's Oscar-winning gem – from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

“The Whispers,”
10:01 p.m., ABC. Claire – the ace FBI interrogator – knows that
this amnesiac “John Doe” is really her husband Sean; the trouble
is that he doesn't know and she can't jar any memories loose.
Meanwhile, Wes heads back to Mali, where Sean's plane was found in a
bizarre crash site.

TV column for Sunday, June 28


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“BET Awards,” 8 p.m., BET, with red-carpet at 6.

A star-stuffed night
has music by Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj (who lead with six
nominations apiece), plus Ne-Yo, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and the
cast of “Empire.”

“Empire” also
shows up in the acting categories, with nominations for Taraji
Henson, Terrence Howard and Jussie Smollett; “Black-ish” has
nominations for Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, who are
tonight's hosts. There's much more, including special awards for
Smokey Robinson and Tom Joyner.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Masterpiece: Poldark,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Last week's splendid
debut introduced Ross Poldark, shakily lving in opposite worlds. His
instincts are blue-collar, but his family's crumbling estate means he
can mingle (barely) with the elite.

Now we get two
mismatched stories. One seems terribly soapy, involving the family of
Elizabeth (who married an affable fool when she thought Poldark was
dead), but the other packs depth and power: One of the last remaining
mines has been foreclosed, leaving workers destitute and desperate.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Glen Campbell ... I'll Be Me,” 9 and 10:48 p.m.,
CNN.

As Campbell faced
Alzheimer's disease, a farewell tour was planned; he would travel for
five weeks, with family and friends in his band. Audiences cheered;
the tour ran two years and 151 shows.

This Oscar-nominated
documentary is a warm portrait of Campbell, now 79, and his family,
but isn't sugar-coated. It includes his bad days; an amiable country
guy rages at the loss of a wonderful life.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Finales and near-finale, 9-11 p.m., Showtime.

A much-praised
series concludes, as “Nurse Jackie” ends its seventh and final
season. Edie Falco has had five Emmy nominations and one win ... to
go with her three “Sopranos” Emmys. This season, Jackie has
fought to get back her nursing license; she has it ... but now the
hospital is closing.

That's followed at
9:30 by the season-finale of “Happyish”; Thom (Steve Coogan)
ponders a big step at work, while Jonathan tries to change his mind.
At 10, “Penny Dreadful” (a week from its season-finale) finds
Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) in danger. Ethan (Josh Hartnett) and others
rush to battle Evelyn.

Other choices
include:

“Scream” (1996)
and its sequels, 12:45, 3:40, 7:08 and 9:30 p.m. Two days before
debuting its “Scream” series, MTV gives us one for chance for a
half-day screamfest.

Movies-with-music,
cable. Here are quick reruns of two films that debuted this weekend.
Hallmark's “A Country Wedding” (1 and 9 p.m.) is comfortably
adequate, with three excellent country songs from Jesse Metcalfe.
Disney's “Teen Beach 2” (8 p.m.) has 1960s-movie characters
invading modern life.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. One episode has football players, with
the AFC vs. the NFC. The other has the “Dancing With the Stars”
pros against “Bachelor”/”Bachelorette” contestants.

“Humans” debut,
9 p.m., AMC. In some future world, comfy families feel they need a
Synth – a near-human robot. We meet a family that has a new – and
dangerous? -- one and a widowed scientist (William Hurt) who feels
attached to his flawed old one. Adapted from a Swedish series, this
mini-series has already become a hit in England, where it was filmed.

“American Odyssey”
finale, 10 p.m., NBC. Odelle scrambles to get to neutral ground and
expose the officials who claimed she was dead. Back in New York,
Peter and Harrison face the aftershocks.

“Falling Skies”
season-opener, 10 p.m., TNT. Tom (Noah Wyle) succeeded in knocking
out the aliens' power core, but now he's drifting into space, his
life in danger.

TV column for Saturday, June 27


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

J.K. Simmons has
ranged from the silliness of insurance commercials to the fierce
intensity of “Oz” and “Whiplash.” So we shouldn't be
surprised that he stepped easily into hosting this rerun.

Simmons did a
version of his “Whiplash” character, berating drummers ... until
former “SNL” guy Fred Armisen showed some genuine talent. That
followed a weak opener (Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch on Super
Bowl eve), part of a mixed night. The lows were lame, the highs
included a “Teachers Snow Day” video and the hilarious Jebidiah
Atkinson (Taran Killam) attacking the Grammys.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “A Country Wedding,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark.

A country-music
singer (Jesse Metcalfe) is preparing to marry a gorgeous movie star.
First, he returns to sell his family farm, a place he hasn't been for
decades. Next door, his childhood friend (Autumn Reeser) has a rescue
ranch that's being foreclosed.

You can probably
guess the rest; Hallmark doesn't like surprises. The real surprise,
however, is Metcalfe. First known as the teen hunk on “Desperate
Housewives,” then the star of the new version of “Dallas,” he
emerges as a solid singer, debuting three excellent country songs.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Scream” marathon, 7 p.m., MTV.

On Tuesday, MTV will
launch its “Scream” series, with a new generation of teens being
scared and/or killed in Lakewood. First, however, we can revisit the
1996 original, which had Kevin Williamson's witty script, Wes
Craven's sharp direction and a terrific young cast.

That's followed by a
preview of the series at 9:30 p.m. and then the sequels at 9:38 p.m.
(1997), 1 a.m. (2000) and 3:30 a.m. (2011). If that seems too late
for screaming – it is, you know – then catch the four films
Sunday at 12:45, 3:40, 7:08 and 9:30 p.m.

Other choices
include:

“Teen Beach 2,”
11 a.m., Disney. Here's a second chance to see this film, which
debuted Friday (and also airs at 8 p.m. Sunday). The original film
had modern surfers somehow end up inside a 1960s beach musical,
altering its plot. In the sequel, the characters from the movie visit
them in real life.

“The Island” and
“American Ninja Warrior,” 8 and 9-11 p.m., NBC. Two macho shows
offer reruns. First is a June 1 episode in which the guys scramble to
find fresh water; then is a June 17 one, with “Ninja” try-outs in
Houston.

“BattleBots,” 8
p.m., ABC. In a switch, ABC has scratched its rerun of a fairly good
“Astronaut Wives Club” episode. Instead, it reruns Sunday's
opener of this battling-robot competition.

“CSI Cyber,” 8
p.m., CBS. In a rerun, nine planes that left from the same airport
face a Wi-fi attack.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. After their successful sting operation,
three FBI agents were killed in an explosion. In this rerun, the team
tries to find who's responsible.

“Power,” 9 p.m.,
Starz. James thinks his Miami trip – squelching an enemy and
frolicking with his mistress – was a success. Now come the
complications from his wife, her sister and the young driver they
both lust for. It's a fairly good hour, with some pivotal moments.

“Jonathan Strange
& Mr. Norell,” 10 p.m., BBC America. Trying to help the British
battle Napoleon's army, Strange finds some disturbing ancient magic.
The show, alas, no longer has its strong lead-in; “Orphan Black”
concluded last week and “Atlantis” returns at 9 p.m. today.

TV column for Friday, June 26


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“In Performance at the White House,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

For a rousing hour,
gospel voices soar. There are traditional greats (Shirley Caesar,
Rance Allen, Tamela Mann) and crossovers. Catch Lyle Lovett, Emmylou
Harris, Rodney Crowell, Darlene Love, Rhiannon Giddens (of Carolina
Chocolate Drops) and Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child).

The formal setting
can't catch the full power of gospel, but even half-wattage is
impressive. Then Aretha Franklin, a preacher's kid, wraps things up
powerfully. Some PBS stations follow with a rerun of a White House
country concert with Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, the Band Perry
and more.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Teen Beach 2,” 8-10 p.m., Disney.

The original “Teen
Beach Movie” was a big hit, with its blend of pop music and goofy
plot: Maia Mitchell (the terrific “Fosters” co-star) and Ross
Lynch (“Austin & Ally”) played Mack and Bradty, modern-day
surfers who were swept inside a 1960s movie, promptly altering the
romances in the film.

Now that story is
simply flipped, with the beach-movie characters showing up in the
nowadays world of Mack and Brady. This will rerun at 11 a.m.
Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday ... and probably much more.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Last Ship,” 8-10 p.m., CW.

Here's a rare
cable/broadcast crossover. TNT had this season-opener on an
overcrowded night last Sunday and has the second episode at 9 p.m.
this Sunday; now it borrows CW on a quiet Friday.

The first season
began with Eric Dane as captain of a Navy ship that was secluded from
a global virus. He tried to keep the ship safe, while a doctor (Rhona
Mitra) scrambled for a cure. She found one, but corrupt officials
stood in the way. Tonight, some of the crew members join an
underground effort.

Other choices
include:

Soccer, 7:30 p.m.
ET, Fox. With a Women's World Cup championship just three wins away,
the U.S. faces China. Don't expect a high-scoring thrill factor.
Three of China's four games have ended 1-0; the U.S. has only allowed
one goal in four games ... and that's been followed by 333 shut-out
minutes. The Americans have only totalled three goals in their last
three games, including a 0-0 tie on Fox.

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

Movies, 8 p.m.,
cable. Many choices are light, including “Bridesmaids” (2011) on
Oxygen, “Notting Hill” (1999) on Pop and the family fun of
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”
(2014) on Starz. But there's also “The Departed” (2006), Martin
Scorsese's richly layered Oscar-winner, on IFC, plus “Batman
Begins” (2005) on TNT and “Pirates of the Caribbean” (2003) on
FX.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, William Forsythe plays an old-school
private-eye, helping probe the murder of a young woman who secretly
worked for an escort service.

“True Detective,”
9 p.m., HBO. Here's another chance to catch last Sunday's
season-opener.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Long ago, someone killed a colleague of Henry (Len
Cariou). Now Henry's son (Tom Selleck), the police commissioner,
pushes for evidence to get a conviction.

“Lisa Lampanelli:
Back to the Drtawing Board,” 10 p.m., Epix. The problem here isn't
Lampanelli's harsh and abrasive language; in the right hands, that
can be very funny. The problem is that for the first half of the
show, she fails to accompany it with wit. There are eventually some
clever moments – her dog, she explains, is “as useless as a
Kardashian in a library” -- but they require a long wait.

TV column for Thursday, June 25


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Under the Dome” season-opener, 9-11 p.m., CBS.

Here's the show that
revived the notion of scripted, summertime series on the big
broadcast networks. It drew big ratings and another Steven Spielberg
summer show (“Extant”) followed. Others were encouraged; tonight
has eight scripted, non-rerun hours on the networks.

On “Dome,”
townspeople had hope for escaping via tunnels; now that plan triggers
more oddities. Also, we meet someone (former “CSI” star Marg
Helgenberger) who may have some explanations. And Eriq La Salle
(“ER”) plays the CEO of the energy company run by Dale Barbara's
father.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Rookie Blue” season-opener, 10 p.m., ABC.

Last season ended
with a bomb exploding in the police stations. The repairs, it seems,
provided a three-week vacation for these telegenic and sexually
charged cops. Andy (Missy Peregrym, the show's likeable star) and Sam
savored a rural retreat; Diaz found a hot-blooded (and married)
lover.

Much of that is soon
wiped aside. There's jolting news for Sam and a harsh surprise for
Diaz; a crisis for Andy soon has the entire precinct involved. This
is a serialized hour, leaving everything in limbo. But with one
exception – a flat, one-dimensional visiting detective – it's
solid and well-made.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Astronaut Wives Club,” 8 p.m., ABC..

It's easy to gripe
about this portrait of the wives of the first U.S. astronauts. The
view of journalism is absurd; a “crisis” – Marge Slayton fears
people will learn she's a divorcee – is hardly compelling.

Still, “Club”
remains interesting. Based on a non-fiction book, it's a
larger-than-life story, with interesting people. When Annie Glenn,
shy and stammering, tries to duck a meeting with the un-shy Lyndon
Johnson, we see the raw drama of an amiable average soul, caught up
in giant events.

Other choices
include:

“Boom” debut, 8
p.m., Fox. Tom Papa, the comedian who hosted Jerry Seinfeld's “The
Marriage Ref,” hosts tihis quiz show, which has a twist: A wrong
answer might bring syrup or slime or such.

“Big Brother,” 8
p.m., CBS. This is the second half of the two-night season-opener.
Next Thursday, “Big Brother” moves to 9 p.m. and has its first
eviction.

“The Crimson Wing”
(2008), 8 and 11:30 p.m., NatGeo Wild. Here's another chance to see
this beautifully filmed Disney nature movie, focusing on Africa's
annual million-flamingo convergence.

“Wayward Pines,”
9 p.m., Fox. Halfway through its 10-week run, this fascinating drama
rested last week, to make room for golf. Now it's back, with what
could be a key episode: Ethan (Matt Dillon) starts learning details
who these townspeopl are and how they came to Wayward Pines.

“Mistresses,” 9
p.m., ABC. Lasr week's two-hour opener managed to shift its identity
in its second half, turning lighter and more likabler. The
wet-blanket Savi fled (Alyssa Milano has left the show) and a lighter
character was added, with Jennifer Esposito as a rich woman who's
great at business and awful at spying on her husband. Tonight, Karen
playing a life-saving medical door.

“Aquarius,” 9
p.m., NBC. Last week ended, bizarrely with the fictional cop Hodiak
(David Duchovny) delivering a fierce beating to Charles Manson. Only
the intervention of a young cop (who was undercover, trying to
befriend Manson) prevented a murder. Now Hodiak sinks into despair;
some of these scenes might seem well-done, if they hadn't been inside
such a one-not, perpetual-growl show.

“Hannibal,” 10
p.m., NBC. Dr. Chilton (Raul Esparza) returns, obsessed with catching
Hannibal Lecter. Jack (Laurence Fishburne), distracted by his wife's
failing health, wants Will to abandon the search.