TV column for Monday, Aug. 29


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Bachelor Pad”
and “Castle,” 8 and 10 p.m., ABC.

OK, watching “Bachelor Pad” is
never a must. During the show, however, ABC will reveal the
contestants for the upcoming “Dancing With the Stars,” which
reclaims this time slot on Sept. 20.

And afterward, there's a key “Castle”
rerun. Searching for the killer of her old police partner, Beckett
heads to California. Castle comes with and visits the set of “Heat
Wave,” the movie based on his novel. Guest stars include Jason
George, D.B. Sweeney and (playing himself) Gene Simmons of Kiss.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “How I Met
Your Mother,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS.

Romance tends to be rocky on situation
comedies, as we see in these reruns.

First, Ted plans a romantic weekend
with Zoey, his former nemesis, Then things get complicated as
Valentine's Day nears; Barney prefers Valentine Eve, which he calls
“Desperation Day” for women.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Giuliani's
9/11” and “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview,” 9 and 10 p.m.,
National Geographic.

Imagine being in charge during a
crisis, amid lots of rumors and little information. That was the
situation a decade ago, after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Rudy Giuliani and his mayoral staff
found that cell phones weren't working; they scurried to find land
lines, then had to search for a way out of a building. George W. Bush
found a so-so phone connection aboard Air Force One. Both set up
press conferences to show the government was still in control.

Both documentaries link old footage
with fresh memories. The Giuliani one is much better, because so many
cameras were recording it all, but the Bush one (which debuted
Sunday) adds depth.

Other choices include:

– “Hell's Kitchen,” 8 and 9 p.m.,
Fox. Last week's episode reruns at 8 p.m., leaving six chefs at 9.

– “The Closer,” 8 and 9 p.m.,
TNT. First is a rerun of last week's strong episode, with the squad
racing to find a cop's kidnapped daughter. Then the investigation of
Brenda tightens.

– “Eureka,” 8 p.m., Syfy. Here's
an extreme in employee-privacy issues: Before being chosen for the
space-flight crew, people have their memories scanned.

– “Two and a Half Men,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Charlie rarely paid any attention to Rose, when she was stalking
him. Now, in a funny rerun, he thinks she's married and he obsesses
on her.

– “HGTV Design Star,” 9 p.m.,
HGTV. The final four contestants appear on Nate Berkus' show. Also,
Berkus is a judge when they each have $2,500 to decorate a studio
apartment.

– “The Lying Game,” 9 p.m., ABC
Family. When Sutton departed – asking the identical twin she'd just
met to impersonate her – viewers weren't sure they'd ever see her
again. Now, however, she finds a surprise in Los Angeles; back home,
Ethan – who figured out the twin switch – is invited to dinner.;

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 10 p.m., CBS.
In a rerun, Danny is exposed to a lethal neurological agent. It could
signal the start of a bio-chemical disaster.

– “Rizzoli & Isles,” 10 p.m.,
TNT. An old romantic interest of Maura – who has had many such
interests – returns, causing a riff between Maura and Jane.

TV column for Sunday, Aug. 28


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: MTV Video Music
Awards, 9 p.m., MTV.

MTV is doing everything it can to draw
am audience. It will have a new “Jersey Shore” episode at 7 p.m.
and will have the “Shore” people making predictions during the
red-carpet show at 8.

Then a Lady Gaga song opens the award
show at 9. Also scheduled to perform are Adele, Bruno Mars, Lil'
Wayne, Chris Brown and Young the Giant. The red-carpet show – with
Selena Gomez as guest co-host – includes music by Cobra Starship
and the debut of a Nicki Minaj video with Rihanna.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The Good Wife,”
9 p.m., CBS.

Now settled into its time slot for the
fall, “Good Wife” has a rerun with one of its favorite guest
stars.

This is Michael J. Fox's third guest
spot as Louis Canning, a sly lawyer who uses his disability to get
sympathy. The role has brought him his 13th Emmy
nomination; so far, he's won five times.

Tonight, Alicia's firm is suing a
company whose people, working in rough conditions, committed suicide.
The cunning Canning is on the company's side.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “George W.
Bush: The 9/11 Interview,” 10 p.m., National Geographic.

Sept.11 unfolded amid “the fog of
war,” Bush says in this in-depth hour.

Rumors were rampant and communications
on Air Force One were wobbly. Some aides pushed for him to declare
war – even though there wasn't a specific country to be at war
with.

The Secret Service kept insisting on
shuttling him to air bases, until he overruled them and insisted on
going home. Even that night, a mistaken belief the White House was
under attack sent George and Laura Bush and two dogs to a shelter,
wrapping up a foggy and historic day.

Other choices include:

– Football, 8 p.m., NBC. The New
Orleans Saints visit the Oakland Raiders, who have lost their first
two pre-season games, after going 8-8 last season. The Saints were
11-5, after winning the Super Bowl the season before. They've added
Mark Ingram to Drew Brees' offense and are 1-1 in pre-season.

– “The Simpsons,” 8 p.m., Fox.
Lisa becomes a magician's assistant, in an episode that includes
David Copperfield, Ricky Jay and Penn & Teller.

– “Masterpiece Mystery,” 9-10:30
p.m., PBS (check local listings). Next week, “Masterpiece” starts
a four-Sunday run of “Inspector Lewis” films. For now, here's a
rerun. Lewis – who finds crime amid the beauty of Oxford – probes
the murder of an academic who was also an amateur astronomer.

– “William & Catherine: A Royal
Romance,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark. Here's a second chance to see this
pleasant film, which offers appealing views of Prince William and
Kate Middleton. Even Prince Charles and Camilla (Victor Garber and
Jean Smart) are likable.

– “True Blood,” 9 p.m., HBO. Last
week ended fiercely, as the witches schemed to have the Festival of
Tolerance explode into intolerant bloodsheed. Tonight, Sookie needs
to rescue Bill.

– “CSI: Miami,” 10 p.m., CBS. In
a rerun, a college student is dead in a hot tub. Her roommates become
suspects, amid stories of jealousy and deceit.

– “Entourage,” 10:30 p.m., HBO.
Things have been crumbling – Ari's marriage, Drama's salary
hold-out and Vince's confidence, once he suspects he may really be a
shallow womanizer.

TV column for Saturday, Aug. 27


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: – William &
Catherine: A Royal Romance, 9-11 p.m., Hallmark.

Don't expect fresh insights; just
settle for pleasant portraits of likable people.

As played by an American (Dan Amboyer)
and an Englishwoman (Alice St. Clair), William seems easygoing and
princely, Kate Middleton seems bright, fun, pleasantly overwhelmed.
Their break-up – emphasized in a Lifetime film – is brief here;
their romance glows.

This was co-written and directed by
Linda Yellen, who once wrote a Charles-and-Di romance. It offers a
surprisingly warm portrait of Prince Charles (Victor Garber) and
Camilla (Jean Smart).

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

The British rule our TV sets tonight,
complete with the royal couple and Doctor Who. To round it off, Paul
McCartney is on this rerun.

He's the musical guest, with another
Paul (Rudd) hosting. It's a good episode.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Doctor Who”
mid-season finale (8 p.m.) and return (9), BBC America.

The first half of this season ended
sensationally, with an episode that reruns at 8. Amy Pond has been
abducted, as her baby nears; maybe she'll be saved by her husband …
or the enigmatic Doctor ... or the more-enigmatic River Song (Alex
Kingston of “ER”), a time-trekking archaeologist.

Written by Steven Moffat, this ends
powerfully. Then the second half of the season starts at 9, with the
Doctor meeting Hitler in 1930s Berlin.

Other choices include:

– More “Doctor Who,” all day, BBC
America. You can catch the entire first half of the season, from 2-9
p.m. The new “Who” reruns at midnight and 3 a.m., alongside “Best
of the Companions” (9:50 p.m. and 12:50 a.m.), “Best of the
Doctor” (11 p.m.) and “Best of the Monsters” (2 a.m.)

– “Inglourious Basterds” (2009),
7:25 p.m., Showtime; or “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004), 8 p.m., AMC.
Take your choice of Quentin Tarantino films. Expect action, violence
and stylish direction.

– Auto racing, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC.
Here's a NASCAR race from Bristol, Tenn.

– Football, 8 p.m. ET, CBS. Tom Brady
returns to Michigan, where he played college ball, when his New
England Patriots visit the Detroit Lions. Both teams are 2-0 in the
pre-season; the Patriots – with pro football's best record
regular-season record last year – even won big two weeks ago
without Brady.

– A Walk in My Shoes, 8-10 p.m., NBC.
This reruns a family-friendly film with Nancy Travis playing a
teacher. She's critical of her students' low-income parents – until
she gets a peek at one mother's life.

– “Sanjay Gupta Reports,” 8 p.m.,
CNN, repeating at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Here's another chance to see
this well-crafted documentary on heart-attack prevention, with Bill
Clinton as the prime example.

– “Law & Order: Special Victims
Unit,” 10 p.m., NBC. Colm Feore is the gifted Canadian actor who
has played many villains, including Rovere in “The Borgias.” In
this rerun, he's a billionaire accused of sexual abuse. His lawyer
(Robert Klein) manipulates the case.

TV column for Friday, Aug. 26


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Fringe,” 9
p.m., Fox.

For a few fine stretches – first with
“The X-Files,” then with “Battlestar Galactica” – Fridays
were ideal for science-fiction fans. Now we're back to that.

That's partly because of “Haven”
and (temporarily) “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood: Miracle Day.”
Most important, however, is “Fringe,” returning to what will be
its slot this fall.

Often overlooked, “Fringe”
deserves Emmy attention for its writing and for stars John Noble and
Anna Torv. In tonight's rerun, he struggles to remove William Bell's
consciousness from her body.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: Football, 8 p.m.
ET, CBS.

The good news: Two classic teams
collide, when the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers visit the
Indianapolis Colts – the 2007 champion and 2009 runner-up.

The bad news: It's just the pre-season,
something the Colts de-emphasize. They've lost their first two games,
with Peyton Manning on the sidelines, recovering from neck surgery.
The Packers are 1-1, with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn looking sharp
at quarterback,

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Doctor Who,”
5 p.m., BBC America.

A good series has become great with
Stephen Moffat in charge and Matt Smith and Karen Gillan starring.
Now we get a 28-hour marathon, leading into the return of new
episodes at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Some of this involves features about
the show. That includes “Best of the Monsters” at 6 p.m., “Best
of the Doctor” at 7 and a 15-minute “Doctor Who Confidential”
at 9, 10:15 and 11:30.

Still, there are also reruns of recent
episodes. At 5 p.m., the Doctor tries to save Amy's baby. He finds
himself in the Utah desert at 8 p.m., tries to help Apollo 11 at 9:15
and faces pirates at 10:30

Other choices include:

– “Friends With Benefits,” 8 and
8:30 p.m., NBC. In the first episode, Aaron has the liquid courage to
try something new in New Orleans. In the second, he fears he caused a
classmate to become a porn star.

– “Karaoke Battle USA,” 9 p.m.,
ABC. Here's the third round of this competition, gathering
contestants who will go to the karaoke finals in Los Angeles.

– “Juno” (2007), 9-11 p.m.,
Bravo. This smart film won an Oscar for Dablo Cody's wry script, plus
nominations for best picture, Jason Reitman's direction and Ellen
Page's work as a pregnant teen. .

– Tanked, 9 p.m., Animal Planet. Last
week's opener (rerunning at 8 p.m.) introduced two blue-collar guys
who build imaginative aquariums in Las Vegas. Tonight, they design
one for a diner; also, one tank has a hidden engagement ring.

– “Torchwood: Miracle Day,” 10
p.m., Starz. In the eighth of 10 episodes of this great mini-series,
Rex races to prevent civilization from collapsing. Also, Jack
confronts someone he thought had died.

– “Haven,”10 p.m., Syfy. Children
disappear mysteriously from a compound at the edge of town.

– “Strike Back,” 10 p.m.,
Cinemax. In the first two hours, British agents battled a terrorist
who outsmarted them. Now they chase his colleagues – a brutal
Irishman and a sexually vigorous beauty. Even compared to the
previous, macho hours, this one has ramped up its sex, violence and
brutality.

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 25


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Expedition
Impossible” finale, 9 p.m., ABC.

This Moroccan adventure started with 13
teams. Now four remain, in the ancient city of Marrakech.

Ending last week in first place were
the Gypsies, global adventurers who have combined to be in more than
40 countries. In second was Fab 3 – A.J. Gibson with his sister
Kari and his former partner, Ryan Carillo. In third were The Football
Players, three guys – Robert Ortiz, Rickey Sharpe and Abar
Gbaja-Biaila – who played at San Diego State and in the pros

And fourth is No Limits, a name that
defines one of its people: Erik Weihenmayer is blind and has climbed
to the summit of Mt. Everest.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Rising:
Rebuilding Ground Zero” (Discovery) or “Saving Private Ryan”
(1998, TNT), both 8-11 p.m.

Remember when Steven Spielberg was
known for light adventures? He went on to win an Oscar for directing
“Saving Private Ryan,” his World War II masterwork that stars Tom
Hanks.

Now he's produced “Rising,” a
documentary series on Thursdays, leading up to the 10th
anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Tonight's first two hours follow
the construction of the new World Trade Center; the third views the
National 9/11 Museum.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Wilfred,”
10 p.m., FX.

Sure, it takes a moment to buy into
this concept: His mind in a muddled state, Ryan (Elijah Wood) thinks
the neighbor's dog is talking to him. We see this as an Australian
actor in a scruffy dog suit.

Once you accept this, however,
“Wilfred” keeps getting better. Tonight brings a guest spot from
Dwight Yoakam, as a mystery figure – maybe real, maybe not – who
makes “Wilfred” even more odd.

Other choices include:

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m.
Thursday, CBS. Sheldon usually gets his way, with the help of the
roommate contract he had Leonard sign. Now, in a funny rerun, he
meets his match: Priya – Raj's sister, Leonard's lover – is a
sharp lawyer who digs into the contract.

– “Big Brother,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Brendon Villegas is starting to seem like a visitor who won't go
away. He was ousted on Aug. 4, returned to the house on Aug. 11 …
and was ousted anew on Aug. 18. That leaves his fiance Rachel Reilly
stranded, four weeks from the finale.

– “The Office,” 9 p.m., NBC. Talk
about going from bad to worse: After dumping Deangelo (Will Ferrell),
the office now has Dwight (Rainn Wilson) as its acting manager.

– Project Runway, 9-10:32 p.m.,
Lifetime. If we've learned anything, it's that designers aren't good
at foot races. They have one now, to choose captains; then they
create fashions to be worn with sneakers.

– “Rookie Blue,” 10 p.m., ABC.
Chasing a kidnapper with Swarek, Andy comes across a fierce auto
accident and decides to stay with the critically injured woman.

– “The Mentalist,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Here's a rerun of the season-opener, which found Patrick Jane unsure
of re-joining the team, after his confrontation with his wife's
killer, Red John.

– “Louie,” 10:30 p.m., FX. In an
hourlong episode, comedian Louis CK goes to Afghanistan.