TV column for Monday, June 10


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: King & Maxwell”
debut, 10-11:05 p.m., TNT.

Sean King (Jon Tenney) and Michelle
Maxwell (Rebecca Romijn), former secret-service agents, are
detectives. She's strong, stoic and lethal; he's a lawyer, a
recovering alcoholic and troubled.

They offer an appealing mix. One
moment, there's comedy, even silliness; the next, there 's serious
drama, with bursts of action.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Switched at
Birth” return, 8 pm., ABC Family.

Summer brings opposite times for the
two generations.

For the teens? Bay and Daphne find
transition – jobs, guys, more; Toby prepares for his wedding.

And the adults? Regina is back from
alcohol rehab and spreading her dark mood.

Those Regina scenes are clumsy, but the
rest works well. Vanessa Marano and Katie Leclerc give the girls zest
and contrast; a closing scene with Melody (Marlee Matlin) and her son
is a delight.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Mistresses,”
10:01 p.m., ABC.

“Whoa, whoa, you're over-reacting,”
one guy tells Karen. And overacting, too.

Karen's outburst – wildly out-of-sync
with everything preceding it – is one of many surprises tonight.
The pilot film's optimism has vanished, leaving an hour of regret.
Alyssa Milano has faded into a look drab enough to be elected head
librarian. It's a odd shift, but still leaves potential for a good
series.

Other choices include:

– “Major Crimes,” 11 a.m. to 10
p.m., TNT. The entire first season reruns, with “Crimes” smoothly
spinning off from “The Closer.” Raydor (Mary McDonnell) takes
over the unit, while also becoming the guardian for Rusty, a key
witness. Then the second season starts at 9 p.m. (rerunning at
11:05). The team is in top form on a murder case, while Raydor and
Rusty face new challenges.

– “The Voice,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC.
We're down to the final five now, with Blake Shelton's grip loosened.
He has two acts, after Holly Tucker's ouster last week; the other
judges have one apiece.

– “The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01
p.m., ABC. When did this romance show become an action-adventure?
Tonight, a dodgeball game puts one guy in the emergency room; also,
guys learn cowboy skills from a stunt man and a date that includes
enduring a wind storm. Meanwhile, someone is accused of cheating.
Eventually, Desiree Hartsock – in a gown she designed herslf –
trims the field from 16 to 13.

– “The Fosters,” 9 p.m., ABC
Family. In last week's opener, Callie – direct from juvenile
detention – reached this foster home; then Brandon skipped his
music audition, to help rescue her brother. Tonight, Brandon's
divorced parents argue over his punishment; also, Callie is suspected
of stealing pills.

– “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer,”
9-10:30 p.m., HBO. The protests were audacious – young Russian
women in colorful clothes and ski masks, singing punk-rock songs. But
then they broke into a church service and faced the possibility of
years in prison. This passionate film catches a rich controversy.

– “Anger management,” 9:30 p.m.,
Fox. A new episode of the show – usually Thursdays on FX – has
Brian Austin Green joining Charlie Sheen's therapy group.

--”The Winner Is,” 10:01 p.m., NBC.
This music competition, hosted by Nick Lachey, will settle into its
Thursday spot on July 11. It has advance episodes, however, on the
next two Mondays.

– “Last Call Food Brawl,” 10
p.m., Destination America. Each week, this high-energy, high-decibel
show goes to a different city, where late-night chefs compete. That
starts in New Orleans.

TV column for Sunday, June 9


 

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Tony awards, 8-11
p.m., CBS.

Expect a music-stuffed evening. There
will be production numbers from four of the best-musical nominees –
“Kinky Boots” (13 nominations), “Matilda” (12); “Christmas
Story” (3) and “Bring It On” (2) – plus most of the
musical-revival nominees, “Pippin,” “Cinderella” and “Annie.”

There's more. “Motown” – not a
best-musical nominee – will have a production number. Also featured
will be the casts of nine ongoing musicals, old (“Lion King”) and
almost-new (“Once”). Even “Spider-Man,” which boycotted last
year's show, will be included.

Neil Patrick Harris, a terrific host,
will be back for the fourth time in five years. It should be fun.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Game of
Thrones” (HBO) or “Falling Skies” (TNT), 9 p.m.

Some of cable's biggest shows intersect
tonight – one coming, the other going.

“Thrones” is concluding its third
season, with the return of Jaime Lannister, a mighty warrior until
his right hand was severed. Meanwhile, “Falling Skies” starts its
third, with a rag-tag human militia still battling the invading
aliens. In the two-hour opener, a nuclear expert has an idea.

Next week, “Skies” will be free of
“Thrones” … and will crash into the “True Blood”
season-opener.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The
Borgias,”10 p.m., Showtime.

This epic series is now a week from its
finale … even if it wasn't planned that way.

Filming had been completed, long before
the announcement Wednesday that there won't be a fourth season.
Still, there are huge stories, most centering on Cesare Borgia. He
feuds with his dad the pope (Jeremy Irons) ... prepares to attack
Caterina Sforza's castle … and fumes about the marriage of
Lucrezia, the gorgeous sister he's always loved in a sibling way and
once loved in a carnal way.

Other choices include:

– “Family Addition,” 2 p.m., UP
(formerly GMC) and “The Blind Side” (2009), 8 p.m., ABC Family.
At night, catch Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning work in a terrific
movie. And in the afternoon, see the real-life person she portrays.
Leigh Anne Tuohy heads a feel-good show about adoption and more.

– Basketball, 8 p.m ET., ABC. Here's
the second game of the best-of-seven championship series, with San
Antonio at Miami. A preview is at 7:31 p.m., with “Jimmy Kimmel
Live” at 7.

– “The Candidate” (1972) and “All
the President's Men” (1976), 8 and 10 p.m., Sundance. Robert
Redford stars in two brilliant political films, one fictional and one
not. Launching a great night, the channel also has “Network”
(1976) at 6 p.m.

– “America's Got Talent,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. Tuesday's season-opening auditions rerun.

– “Nurse Jackie,” 9 p.m.,
Showtime. Last week ended harshly, with teen Grace taking cocaine
with her boyfriend. It's a serious episode, with a tad of humor and
some odd-but-interesting closing twists.

– “Veep,” 10:10 p.m., HBO. This
wonderfully witty episode takes place in a couple rooms of the
vice-president's home, with two sides fretting. The VP (Julius
Louis-Dreyfus) wants a puffy interview; a reporter (Allison Janney)
wants to dig in. There's scheming, shouting and humorous chaos.

– “Family Tree,” 10:40 p.m., HBO.
Tom visits his rural relatives, in a droll (and semi-funny) episode.

TV column for Saturday, June 8


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Primeval: New
World” debut, 10 p.m., Syfy.

Vancouver seems like a recreational
paradise, but maybe not. A gleeful parachutist is snatched by a
pterodactyl; two cyclists zoom straight into a dinosaur. And that's
in the first few minutes.

“Primeval” was a British series,
with people and creatures using a portal between our world and
theirs. This fresh version has creatures crossing into modern Canada
… which apparently has only young, attractive people. It's a sharp
adventure, with good characters and great effects.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: Sports overload,
everywhere.

Three of the big-four networks are
consumed by sports tonight.

There's baseball on Fox (7 p.m. ET,
games varying by region), racing on ABC (8:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar) and –
barring a sweep – hockey on NBC (8 p.m. ET, Los Angeles Kings at
Chicago Blackhawks). And all of that is a day before ABC has the
second game of the pro-basketball finals.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Sam & Cat”
debut, 9 p.m., Nickelodeon.

Encased in black-leather, Sam is on the
move. “I'm goin' wherever my motorcycle takes me,” she says.

Dressed in pink, Cat is perplexed. “I
thought the person controls the motorcycle,” she says.

They have nothing in common except that
they're very short adults from other situation comedies. Sam
(Jennette McCurdy from “iCarly”) is terrific; Cat (Ariana Grande
from “Victorious”) is best confined to tiny bursts. Still, this
opener has two great sight gags and some decent verbal moments.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “In the Flesh”
finale, 10 p.m., BBC America.

The first two hours offered small
bursts of hope for Kieren, who returned home under medical
supervision. His best friend was back, a new girl was here; both are
zombies, as is he.

But now fresh crises build. Compelling
and sometimes wrenching, “Flesh” becomes a deep drama.

Other choices include:

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun of the season-opener, D.B.Russell's
granddaughter has been kidnapped. Now Russell (Ted Danson) and his
wife (Peri Gilpin) despair.

– “Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m.,
ABC. This show has been on the shelf for 10 weeks and might stay
there until fall. But here's a one-shot rerun, fitting into racing
night, because NASCAR's Tony Stewart guests, playing himself.
Meanwhile, Mike's wife (Nancy Travis) longs for her adventurous days.

– Movies, 8 p.m. cable. Here are two
great ones, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977, G4) and
“The Fugitive” (1993, IFC). Also, consider the witty little
“Juno” (2007, Oxygen) and two film-buff favorites – “Dog Day
Afternoon” (1975, Sundance) and “Breathless” (1960, Turner
Classic Movies).

– “Sinbad” debut, 9 p.m., Syfy.
Strong on ambition and weak on execution, this gives “Primevel” a
so-so lead-in. A thief, and a brutal fighter, Sinbad is hard to like.
Then a curse condemns him to life on the sea. The opening hour often
feels dark and distant.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. In a rerun of one of the show's lesser nights, Vince
Vaughn hosts and Miguel is music guest.

TV column for Friday, June 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “In the Flesh,”
10 p.m., BBC America; concludes Saturday.

 In Thursday's opener, we met Kieren,
part of a one-time rising of the dead. These people have been
re-defined –from zombies to “partially deceased syndrome” –
and mainstreamed. In his little town, however, hatred lingers; even
his teen sister hunts “rotters.”

Tonight, that story broadens with the
return of Kieren's boyhood friend and the discovery of an optimistic
zombie girl. It's a good hour, leading to Saturday's darkly moving
finale.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The
Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.

As this rerun of the show's second hour
begins, Joe Carroll is back in prison, but his plot builds.

One of his underlings commits mass
murder; another – sweet-faced Emma – has been his son's nanny and
now kidnaps the boy. She's a great character; one flashback, with her
mother, packs fierce power.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Da Vinci's
Demons” season-finale, 9 p.m., Starz; reruns at 10:05.

The Medicis felt peace was near:
Lorenzo's brother Giulino would have a marriage of political
convenience AND romantic lust; Florence would dominate.

Then it all crumbled. Giulino barely
survived Vatican attackers, only to be stabbed by Lucrezia, the
mistress/spy. That leads to tonight's cliffhanger and the biggest
sword fight you'll ever see in a church,.

Other choices include:

– “Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a
rerun, a pod washes ashore, containing the body of a crime-scene
clean-up specialist. Also, Cam seems to have a secret romance.

– “Killing Lincon (2013),” 8-10
p.m., National Geographic, reruns at 11. John Wilkes Booth, we're
told, was a handsome and articulate actor, consumed by hatred. This
skillful adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's book has Jesse Johnson (Don
Johnson's son) as Booth, with Tom Hanks narrating.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Some 38 years ago, George Takei of “Star Trek” played an
undercover cop on “Five-0.” This rerun has Takei, 76, back in a
different role, as Chin's uncle. Meanwhile, McGarrett faces a
carjacking and finds an endangered boy in backwood Oahu.

– “Family Addition” debut, 9
p.m., UP (formerly Gospel Music Channel), rerunning at 10 p.m. and 1
a.m. Leigh Anne Tuohy is a TV natural, a former cheerleader with
high-energy zest. “Addition” mixes two of her passions –
adoption and home makeovers. In the episodes we've seen (not this
one), Tuohy and Sue Mitchell – played by Sandra Bullock and Kathy
Bates in “Blind Side” – are immensely likable.

– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.
This rerun has Danny and Jackie probing the murder of a bride on her
wedding day. Then they're re-assigned to protect a visiting dictator.

– “Continuum” season-opener, 10
p.m., Syfy. Kiera the cop was whisked from 2077 back to 2012,
alongside terrorists. She joined the police, with the help of young
Alec (who would become a techno-mogul in her era) and scrambled. Now
come two bursts of violence – one involving the militants' power
struggle, the other involving the mayor. It's a good, if crowded,
start to a promising season.

TV column for Thursday, June 6


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Burn Notice,”
9 p.m., USA.

For six years, “Notice” has
delivered smart scripts, big explosions and, at times, convenient
escapes. Now it starts its final season with all of those.

Michael – the frequently framed
former CIA guy – is told he'll be freed if he takes a tough
undercover job. The explosions and plot twists follow. There's no
real ending tonight, but it's a strong start

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “”Men at
Work” season-finale, 10 p.m., TBS

Comedies thrive when they transport
everyone to a new situation, then let odd events collide.

In this case, it's the latest wedding
of the boss (J.K. Simmons), whose daughter is dating Neal. Her
too-perfect ex-boyfriend (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is there, plus some
romantic extremes for Gibbs. The humor builds, especially during a
morning-after when no one's sure who got married.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SE II: “Jimmy Kimmel
Live: Game Night,” 8 p.m. ET; basketball at 9, ABC.

This is Kimmel's big year – moving
his show to 11:35 p.m. and preparing for a face-off with another
Jimmy (Fallon) in February. First, we see him in his element.

Before each of the NBA-finals games,
Kimmel hosts a half-hour mini-show, leading into the game preview at
8:30 and the game itself at 9. That starts tonight with Will Smith,
comedy sketches and a shooting competition pitting Shaquille O'Neal
against 2-year-old “Trick Shot Titus” Ashby.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Graceland”
debut, 10-11:14 p.m., USA.

In real life, it seems, feds seized
California beach property and .used it for young undercover agents.

Now Jeff Eastin (“White Collar”)
has turned that into a series, focusing on opposites: Daniel Sunjata
(“Rescue Me”) plays the jaded Briggs; Aaron Tveit (“Les
Miserables”) is the wide-eyed Warren.

Eastin tries hard – too hard, often –
in this pilot, packing in humor, action, drama, exaggerated
characters and wild plot twists. It's all a bit much, but this could
settle into a strong series.

Other choices include:

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, a fight between Sheldon and Leonard sends them
retreating to their girlfriends' apartments.

– “The Hero” debut, 8 p.m., TNT;
repeats at 10. Dwayne Johnson – also known as “The Rock” –
issues heroic challenges to an interesting batch of contestants.
There's a cop, a wrestler, a cheerleader, an annoying weeping lady, a
doctor who was a real-life hero and more. The result is fairy
interesting

– “Two and a Half Men,” 8:31
p.m., CBS. In a rerun that was scheduled for last week and then
delayed, Walden has a fake identity, so he can find someone who's not
interested in his money.

– “72 Hours” debut, 9 p.m., TNT,
repeats at 11. Three teams of strangers tackle an epic adventure,
covering six Fiji islands. Like “Survivor,” this has gorgeous
production values; like the second “Survivor” season, it ceases
being fun when the contestants are too hot and miserable to continue.

– “In the Flesh” debut. 10-11:15
p.m., BBC America; continues through Saturday. First, “True Blood”
let vampires co-exist with humans. Now zombies – or those with
“partially dead syndrome” – get the same. Some people accept
them; others react fiercely, in a tale that works well as a serious
metaphor.