TV column for Sunday, July 20



TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Masterpiece Mystery,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).

Here’s the last of this season’s four “Endeavour” movies,
showing the early years of Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans), before he became the
all-wise Inspector Morse.


Tonight, he’s been probing three cases: A boy is missing, a
journalist is dead and someone has walked out of an open prison. Morse feels
they’re related and they point to a conspiracy among Oxford’s elite.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE II: “The Lottery” debut, 10 p.m.,
Lifetime.


Suddenly, inexplicably, the world has turned infertile. There
are six known 5-year-olds; no one has been born since then. Now – as word comes
of a possible breakthrough – we see desperate moves.


The government covets the few children … and covets some newly
fertilized eggs. Now the plots grow. “Lottery” has a plot that’s good enough to
partially overcome its so-so filming and adequate cast.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Strain,” 10 p.m., FX.


Like last week’s opener, this hour tries some precarious
juggling. It’s a sleek, slick adventure drama, beautifully written, acted and
filmed. It’s also a gory horror story.


An airplane landed with only four survivors – except,
unbeknownst to officials, the others have returned to life. Meanwhile, a giant
box was smuggled out, carrying something viral and nasty. Now a Centers for
Disease Control doctor deals with his own crumbling life, while trying to warn
of disaster.


Other choices include:


“The Simpsons,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., Fox. The first rerun, a
delight, finds Homer waking up and seeing that he and everyone else is suddenly
made of Legos. The second has Marge deciding to quit having friends.


“Unforgettable,” 9 p.m., CBS. It’s got to be tough to play
poker with someone who remembers everything. Tonight, Carrie admits to fellow
cops that she’s played it at an underground casino; then she goes undercover
there, to probe the murder of a city official.


“Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex,” 9 and 10 p.m., Showtime.
Both shows started their seasons last week, in transition. Now Ray returns his
wayward dad to Los Angeles and the Sully-shooting case is (temporarily) buried.
Then Dr. Masters starts his new job, with Virginia Johnson’s future uncertain.


“Game of Crowns,” 9:01 p.m., Bravo. Even by reality-show
standards, this is a surprisingly dim-witted episode. When one of the women
tries a beauty pageant, the others make a harmless bet. Her husband over-reacts
… they over-react to that … and general stupidity ensues.


“Reckless,” 10 p.m., CBS. Jamie and Roy must set their
differences aside, when combining to defend football players charged with
murder. Also, Preston apologizes after he’s spotted in the sex tape.


“Gunslingers” debut, 10 p.m., America Heroes Channel
(formerly Military Channel). An accidental lawman, Wyatt Earp seemed
inscrutable and unbeatable; even at the OK Corral gunfight, he was barely
touched. Still, he hung with brutal people, including his brothers and the
crumbling Doc Holliday. This is the first of six episodes, mixing rich commentary
and fairly good re-enactments.


TV column for Saturday, July 19



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

Kerry Washington of “Scandal” hosts, in a rerun that helped
change “SNL.” In the opening sketch, she’s supposed to portray Michelle Obama,
Oprah Winfrey AND Beyonce; then the show apologizes for having no black women
in its cast.


It’s a funny bit, but it also made an impact; the show soon
made Sasheer Zamata its first black female regular in seven years. There are
other good moments here, with Eminem as music guest.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “For Better or For Worse,” 9-11 p.m.,
Hallmark.


Wendy took over her late husband’s wedding-planning
business, helped by her friend. That provides a “Facts of Life” reunion, with
Lisa Whelchel and Kim Fields.


Complicating this is Marco, who moves his divorce-attorney
office next to Wendy’s wedding business. She’s unhappy about that …. and less
happy when his daughter plans to marry her son.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Blacklist,” 10 p.m., NBC.


At the end of last week’s rerun, we learned that Liz’s
husband really is a deeply planted spy. We also met the woman trying to
manipulate him.


Tonight, in a strong hour, their relationship peaks at the
same time that Liz’s colleague is involved in a fierce crisis: An escaped
prisoner is killing everyone jnvolved in his arrest.


Other choices include:


“Hell’s Kitchen,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. Instead of baseball,
Fox reruns the episodes that set up Thursday’s finale. First, five chefs make a
meal with leftovers; then the four survivors are trimmed to two.


“48 Hours,” 8 and 10 p.m., CBS. In a change, CBS has two
hours, sandwiching “Bad Teacher.”


“Sugarland Express” (1974) and “AFI Master Class,” 8 and 10
p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. First is Steven Spielberg’s big-screen debut,
with a woman (Goldie Hawn) trying to re-unite her family the hard way -- help
her husband escape from prison, then kidnap their son. That’s followed by a
look at Spielberg’s relationship with composer John Williams; it began with that
film and has lasted 40 years.


“Bad Teacher,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. In the first episode,
Meredith finds money in the school parking lot and uses it for a field trip …
then feels a tad guilty when she realizes it was the field-trip money that
Ginny lost. In the second, she argues with the parents of the best student,
then refuses to apologize.


“Mistresses,” 9 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Savi gets caught in a
lie and her sister, Joss, is troubled by her boyfriend’s plastic-surgeon work.
Also, April braces herself to confront Daniel.


“Power,” 9 p.m., Starz. Ghost has troubles on many levels: He
forgets his wife’s birthday; also, Angela – his high school girlfriend and now
a government lawyer, probing the drug business he dominates – has wired a
member of the Ruiz gang. Now Ghost and Angela discuss the reality of their
affair.


“Almost Royal,” 10 p.m., BBC America. The young royals –
actually, actors amiably pretending to be British royals – reach Washington,
D.C., where they meet a congressman and gun-toting women. That’s followed by a 10:30
rerun of their visit to Detroit, where they tried to be car mechanics.


TV column for Friday, July 18



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Movies, 8 p.m., cable.

If you have enough channels – and many people do – you’ll
have great choices tonight.


For families, the delightful “Rio” (2011, FXX) reflects its
Rio de Janeiro setting with vibrant animation and music. For grown-ups with
lots of time, “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962, Turner Classic Movies) – with a deep
personal story tucked inside an epic adventure – is 8 p.m. ET to midnight. Then
there’s, “Casino Royale” (2006) on BBC America; except for one flaw (a poker
plot), it’s first-rate James Bond.


 TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Hawaii
Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.


This hour – the middle of CBS’ three-drama-rerun night –
finds McGarrett with two imposing missions.


He must find the person who killed an undercover federal
agent. Also, he must take care of a baby, because his sister (Taryn Manning) is
sick. Daryl Hannah guests as a real-estate agent.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Crossbones,” 10:01 p.m., NBC.


For Jagger (Julian Sands), the obsession with Blackbeard (John
Malkovich) is growing. He visits an insane asylum, where one of the inmates may
be a key to winning.


Meanwhile, Lowe (Richard Coyle) fears Jagger will kill all
the people of Santa Compana while smiting Blackbeard. A possible solution:
Kidnap Blackbeard and deliver him to the English, but not to Jagger.


Other choices include:


“Say Yes to the Dress,” 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., TLC. This marathon
includes new half-hours at 9 and 9:30 p.m. and a new hour at 10, with a former
pro cheerleader getting more tense as her wedding nears.


“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” 8 p.m., CBS. During a reality-show
cooking competition, people unknowingly eat human flesh. They’re not happy about
it and an investigation ensues.


“MasterChef,” 8 p.m., Fox. This rerun starts with pure
Americana – contestants working at a busy Los Angeles diner. Those on the
losing team then compete by making red velvet cakes.


More movies, 8:30 and 9 p.m., cable. “Sleepless in Seattle”
(1993), a pleasant romantic comedy with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, is 8:30-11 p.m.
on ABC Family. “The Butler” (2013), the beautifully nuanced portrait of a White
House staffer over decades, is 9-11:15 p.m. on Showtime.


“24,” 9 p.m., Fox. This show finished its story Monday, but
here’s a second chance. The final two episodes rerun today and next Friday.


“Cold Justice,” 9 p.m., TNT. This well-made show has seen
two talented women -- a former prosecutor and a former crime scene investigator
– re-open cold cases in small towns. Tonight, they’re interviewed by John
Walsh, the “America’s Most Wanted” host.


“Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. Danny learns there’s a deadly
new type of heroin on the streets. He tries to find the distributor, while his
dad, the police commissioner, takes other steps.


“The Almighty Johnsons,” 10 p.m., Syfy. Last week’s amiable
opener saw Axl receive surprising news on his 21
st birthday: His
older brothers are Norse gods, he is, too … and he may be Odin, the mightiest
god. Now he must save his family by finding a goddess named Frigg.


TV column for Thursday, July 17



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Sixties,” 9 p.m., CBS.


The space race seemed basic, Tom Hanks recalls. “They were
the bad guys. And they were winning.”


For Hanks, this would be a lifelong passion. He starred in “Apollo
13” and produced “From Earth to the Moon.” And now this documentary series,
produced by his company, has its space-race chapter. It has memories from
astronauts and clips of CBS’ Walter Cronkite, called the consummate space nerd.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Satisfaction” debut, 10 to 11:23 p.m.,
USA.


Neil seems to have the American dream – a big-money job in
finance, a gorgeous house, a bright and beautiful wife, a clever daughter. He’s
also forlorn.


At first, “Satisfaction” is your usual tale of a mid-life
crisis – albeit a slick and stylish one. It becomes more when it flips the
story, taking the wife’s view. The result is a complex look at two lives in
transition.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: Reality debuts, 9-11 p.m., VH1.


First is “Dating Naked,” in which … well, strangers date
while naked. Then come lightweight shows.


Candidly Nicole” (10 p.m.) jaunts through Nicole Richie’s
world, with detours for her famous dad (Lionel) and friend; it feels contrived,
but entertaining. “LeAnn & Eddie” (10:30) visits country star LeAnn Rimes
and husband Eddie Cibrian; there are fun moments, amid too much grumbling about
tabloid rumors.


Other choices include:


“The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Penny
confronts Raj’s former girlfriend Lucy.


“Kids Choice Sports Awards,” 8-10 p.m., Nickelodeon. Here’s
the new off-shoot to the Kids Choice Awards. Michael Strahan – who went from
football to a talk show – hosts.


“Rush” debut, 9 p.m., USA. Streaking around in his sports
car, Dr. Rush has a cash-only practice for the rich and nasty. For much of this
hour, it’s difficult to care about him, his patients or the show.


“Welcome to Sweden,” 9:01 p.m., NBC. Last week’s opener was
a droll delight, with the quiet jolts of an American who quit his job to move
to his girlfriend’s Swedish homeland. Tonight has more of that – including a
dandy little guest shot by Will Ferrell – mixed with some blunt bits of sex and
potty humor.


“Working the Engels,” 9:30 p.m., NBC. A young lawyer has
inherited her dad’s ragged law practice. There are some pretty good moments
tonight, as she learns it sometimes helps to have a sexy, scam-y brother.


“NY Med” 10 p.m., ABC. This is the hour (a good one) that was
scheduled for July 3, then delayed. The focus is partly on the patients – a young
man needs heart surgery before his wedding – and more on the staff. We meet
Ziad Sifri, who grew up in Beirut and now treats victims of violence in Newark;
we also meet Diana Costine, a nurse who learns in her 20s that she needs a pacemaker.


“Married” debut, 10 p.m., FX. Russ has noticed his marriage
is missing something, which is sex. His busy wife suggests he just have an
affair; alas, he has neither the style, nor the luck to pull it off.


“You’re the Worst” debut, 10:30, FX. She’s the worst wedding
guest, stealing one of the gifts; he’s the second-worst, ejected after arguing
with the bride. They are strangers who share an acidic (and funny) view of
life. The result is a promising start to a comedy that is much better than one
show preceding it.


TV column for Wednesday, July 16



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Divide” debut, 9 p.m., WE; reruns
at 10:50.

Here is great television. The writing, directing and acting
are beautifully crafted and (at times) maddening well-layered.


The setting is a law office that defends people who may have
been incorrectly convicted. Still, clichés are flipped. The main character
(Marin Ireland) is living with a cop who likes to talk about feelings; the
defendant is vile. Unfortunately, this story stretches for 10 weeks;
fortunately, it’s worth the time.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “So You Think You Can Dance,” 8-10
p.m., Fox.


The eliminations began last week, in a tough night for
ballroom dancers. Two of them – Malene Ostergaard, from Denmark, and Nick
Garcia, from Miami – were ousted.


That still leaves four ballroom people, in an 18-dancer
field that has jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop and even two ballerinas.
Another ballerina, Misty Copeland, returns as guest judge. Also, Great Big
World sings “Say Something,” which caught on after backing a “Dance” piece last
summer.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: ESPY Awards, 9 p.m., ESPN, with
preview at 8.


After all the talk about LeBron James, you might guess he’ll
be named best male athlete. Not so: Kevin Durant – who topped James in the pro-basketball
finals – is nominated, alongside Peyton Manning, Miguel Cabrera and Floyd
Mayweather. Up for top female are skier Mikaeh Shiffrin, fighter Ronda Rousey,
and two basketball players, Maya Moore (pro) and Breanna Stewart (college).


There are plenty of other awards, presented by Jessica Alba,
Cameron Diaz, Jim Parsons, Jason Segal and more. Drake, the
actor-turned-rapper, hosts with music from Ozomati.


Other choices include:


“America’s Got Talent,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. Here’s an
audition rerun; next week, a “boot camp” begins.


“The Middle,” 8 and 9:31 p.m., ABC. The first rerun finds
the Hecks preparing for the Disney World vacation that Sue won. The second sees
them arrive there, amid troubles.


“Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC. In a rerun of the show’s 100th
episode, Cam’s sister visits. He frets about breaking the news that he’s
marrying Mitchell.


“Extant,” 9 p.m., CBS. Last week’s season-opener went far
beyond the basic plot of astronaut Molly (Halle Berry) getting pregnant during
a year-long solo mission. We also met her scientist husband and the robotized
son he created. And we learned that another astronaut had a breakdown during a
solo mission. Tonight, he she meets him; also, she has her pregnancy tested.


“The Bridge,” 10 p.m., FX. At the end of last week’s season-opener,
a new international murder surfaced. Now two cops -- Sonya (in El Paso) and
Marco (in Juarez) -- must again work together.


“The Linda Perry Project” debut, 10 p.m., VH1. Two decades
ago, Perry rocked in 4 Non Blondes. She went on to be a top producer (profiled
at 9 p.m. in “Behind the Music”); now we see her mold young acts, hoping to
sign one. It’s sort of like other reality shows, but with intensity and lots of
raw talent.


 “Taxi Brooklyn,”
10:01 p.m., NBC. Not considered the maternal type, Cat is surprised by her
fondness for the foster child of a murder victim. The case causes Leo to long
for his son, back in France.