TV column for Wednesday, July 18

Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

It's time for the first eliminations –
a complicated matter, with “Dance” trimmed to once a week.

The 20 contestants will again dance in
pairs and we'll learn which six people hit the bottom in last week's
viewer votes. They'll do solos and the judges – based on what
happened both weeks – will dump one man and one woman.

Yes, it's too tangled. Still, “Dance”
has talented, diverse people worth seeing, despite complications.

Family,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., ABC.

One of TV's best comedies again offers
a pair of reruns. This time, both center on Alex.

In the first, she's doing a paper on
family harmony. That's not easy with the family in disarray.

In the second, she prepares for her
first prom. Also, Gloria is needed as translator, as Mitchell and Cam
push their effort to adopt a second baby.

Crowd “(1957), 8-10:15 p.m., Turner Classic Movies.

Andy Griffith could have spent his
entire career playing sweet-spirited bumpkins. That's what he did in
his comedy routines and twice on Broadway, in a comedy and a musical.

Instead, he shifted here to Marlon
Brando turf. The same people who had crafted Brando's searing “On
the Waterfront” – director Elia Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg –
made this film, with Griffith as a homespun TV star who turns cruel.
One film critic (Leonard Maltin) calls the story “perceptive” and
“fascinating”; another (Robert Moses) calls it “savagely

Other choices include:

– More Griffith, cable. If you prefer
the sweet roles mastered by Griffith (who died two weeks ago, at 86).
there are lots of reruns. WGN has “Matlock” at 9 and 10 a.m.; TV
Land has “The Andy Griffith Show” at noon and 12:30 p.m.

– “The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC. The
kids face steep expectations in this rerun – Sue to be a
cheerleader, Brick to resist bullies, Axl to focus on his upcoming
SAT exams.

– “Up All Night,” 8:30 p.m., NBC.
“Saturday Night Live” people, present and past, fill this rerun:
Chris' friend (Will Forte) offers bad advice; Ava (Maya Rudolph) gets
a trainer (Fred Armisen).

– “America's Got Talent,” 9 p.m.,
NBC. Four more acts advance to the next round. There's still one more
batch of four coming next week; the final 16 compete after the

– “Dallas,” 9 p.m., TNT. Each
week, this becomes more wildly overheated,with soap-style excess.
That hits an extreme when John Ross confronts the fake Marta. Also,
Christopher's estranged wife (another fake) is pregnant and his
step-mom holds a secret. Flaws and all, this hour has a great closing

– “America's Lost Treasures,” 9
p.m., National Geographic. When this show debuted two weeks ago,
historians saw charming pieces of Texas' past. Tonight, Los Angeles
mas mostly bland choices.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
10 p.m., CBS. In this rerun, D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) finds his
second case is another odd one: Three separate people confess, each
with a different explanation.

TV column for Tuesday, July 17

p.m., ABC.

Jon Kuhfeldt seems to have the things
that matter – a warm relationship with his wife, son and
about-to-be-married daughter. What he need is a new liver; this hour
follows him and the transplant team.

Dr. Sebastian Schubl says he had it all
– a wife, job and city (New Orleans) he loved. All of that was
washed away after Hurricane Katrina; now he's living alone in New
York City. He's one of several attractive and likable hospital people
in this compelling hour; others include nurses Diana Costine and
Katie Duke, dealing with a bizarre bunch of patients.

Talent” and “Love in the Wild,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC.

One good thing about NBC's Olympic
coverage is that it forces the reality shows to speed up.

“Talent” has a dozen more acts
perform tonight, with viewers voting on the four survivors. Next week
– just before an Olympic break – the show add four more, completing its 16
acts for the next round.

And “Wild” is moving even quicker.
Tonight, its final three couples have an adventure and one is
eliminated. Next week, the champion couple wins an around-the-world

Detectives season-opener, 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

One person has a fanciful painting from
an artist (“FZ”) who might be Frank Zappa. Another has an
electric guitar (complete with hand-written lyric sheets) that might
be the one that drew boos for Bob Dylan. Brothers have what might be
Beatle autographs from their Miami hotel.

The total cost for all three was $5. (That's
for the painting, in a thrift shop; the guitar was found by Dylan's
pilot.) But are they real? The examination triggers an interesting stroll
through the lives of music masters.

Other choices include:

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. When a
Coast Guardsman is killed, the search produces a surprise – a
Lebanese family, hiding to seek refuge. Also, the guys seek the
perfect woman for Gibbs.

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Here's the start of a two-week rerun, with Kensi Blye (Daniela
Ruah) arrested in a case linked to her late father's sniper unit.

– “MasterChef,” 9 p.m., Fox. The
seven remaining contestants must prepare a Southern meal, from
ingredients chosen by Paula Deen. The winner pairs the others into
teams to prepare a Japanese meal.

– “Trust Us With Your Life,” 9
and 9:30 p.m., ABC. In the first half-hour, improvisational comedians
tackle the life of Mark Cuban, the former Internet mogul who owns the
Dallas Mavericks.In the second, they work on comedian Ricky Gervais.


– “American Gypsies” debut, 9
p.m., National Geographic. The Romani (or Gypsy) culture is built on
tradition. The Johns family runs psychic shops in New York; kids are
home-schooled and are told to avoid meeting – and, especially –
dating outsiders. This fairly interesting reality show starts amid
change: One guy secretly dates an outsider; two of his cousins want
to be actresses, not psychics.

– “Franklin & Bash,”10 p.m.,
TNT. This light-hearted law show can get way too silly; tonight's
main story, centering on a military trial, has absurd twists. Other
stories are better: One has Damien meeting a gorgeous young lawyer
from his past; another has Pundar's misadventure with a switchblade.

TV column for Monday, July 16

Bachelorette,” 8-10:02 p.m., ABC.

On Sunday's finale, viewers will see
Emily Maynard make her choice. She could go with Arie Luyendyk Jr.,
the race-car driver, or Jef Holm, an entrepreneur.

First, we pause to have the rejected
guys – most recently, Sean Lowe – reflect and grumble.

series-finale, 9 p.m., Syfy.

This began wonderfully five seasons
ago, with a tough cop and his rebellious daughter stumbling into a
town filled with eccentric geniuses. The result has neatly juggled
whimsy and adventure.

Now the Defense Department is closing
its project, just as lives – scrambled by time shifts – are
being mended. Holly has been brought back to life (it happens), but
can't remember her sweet romance with Fargo. Zane and Jo aren't sure
about their love in this dimension. Henry is trying to rescue Grace.

Long on sentiment and short on new
plot, this hour offers a fairly good ending to a great series.

Warriors,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

With their show being copied by cable,
the “Antique Roadshow” producers have made their own copy.

Each week, four likable experts will go
to a flea market with special assignment. Then we see who does the
best when things are re-sold at a Los Angeles auction.

The rules are too specific and some of
the people are no fun, using the Internet instead of instincts.
Still, there's a charm here, especially when an expert gets it very

Other choices include:

– “How I Met Your Mother,” 8
p.m., CBS. After assaulting the woman who was ruining Barney's
relationship, Robin faced court-ordered therapy. This rerun is the
episode that introduced Kevin the therapist; he's played by Kal Penn,
who once walked away from an acting career (including a regular role
on “House”) to spend two years in the Obama administration.

– “2 Broke Girls,:8:30 p.m., CBS.
Chestnut the horse needs a job and a home for the winter. Also in
this funny rerun: Peach, who hires Max as a babysitter, auditions for
a “Real Housewives” show.

– “Two and a Half Men,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Jake has a crush on his tutor … who has a crush on Walden.

– “The Closer,” 9 p.m., TNT.
After last week's intense season-opener (rerunning at 8 p.m.), things
get lighter. Trying to help his ex-wife find her wedding ring,
Provenza bumbles into offbeat situations.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Two former “Lost” stars are at the core, when Chin Ho (Daniel Dae
Kim) has startling news about Joe White (Terry O'Quinn). Meanwhile,
McGarrett works a smuggling case and Danny helps deliver his
ex-wife's baby.

– “Perception,” 10 p.m., TNT.
Last week's terrific opener showed that Pierce (Eric McCormack), the
brilliant neuroscience professor, leans on Natalie(Kelly Rowan), a
wise confidante. Then came the surprise: Natalie is only in his
imagination. She, and others, are how his sub-conscious feeds him
ideas. It's an intriguing notion, as he tackles a new case involving
mail-order brides..

– “Miss Advised,” 10 p.m., Bravo.
Hoping to break dating slumps, the women try detours. Amy Laurent
dresses casually, Emily Morse tries acrobatic yoga and Julia Allison
wants a prom-type date.

TV column for Sunday, July 15

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The Newsroom,”
10 p.m., HBO.

Somehow, this show's fourth hour is
even better than the first three – which were better than almost
anything that's been on television.

As usual, writer-producer Aaron Sorkin
is on the soapbox. He argues that the Obama administration has been
pro-gun; he traces an out-of-control rumor about the cost of a
presidential trip.

Still, Sorkin also shows he can craft
brisk, nimble romances. Maggie likes Jim, but is with Don; Will
loves Mackenzie, but is sinking into tabloid romances. Then comes a
sudden, stunning plot detour.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “The Simpsons,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., Fox.

We'd never suspected that Moe's bar rag
would speak with the sophisticated inflections of Jeremy Irons.

Then again, we'd never known the rag's
1,000-year past. Originally an ornate Medieval tapestry, it was
passed around by royalty, before coming to this land of immigrants.

The rag narrates this during the second
rerun. The first has bullies, when Jimbo's girlfriend likes Bart.

season-opener, 10 p.m., AMC.

Gus has been killed and Walt feels his
problems are over. Not even close.

His wife – both angry and frightened
– has the money; police have the key evidence. In a strong start to
the show's final 16 episodes, Walt and Jessie fashion a huge,
heist-type scheme to destroy the evidence.

Other choices include:

– “The Andy Griffith Show,” noon
to 9 p.m., TV Land. The tribute to the late Griffith continues.

– “Slumdog Millionaire (2008),” 8
and 10:30 p.m., Ion. This is a fine night for Dev Patel. As a British
teen, he went from a TV comedy to this terrific movie, which won
eight Oscars, including best picture. Now, at 22, he co-stars in
“Newsroom”; he provides comedy tonight, pushing a belief in

– “Leverage” season-opener, 8
p.m., TNT. For four years, this show has been filming in Portland,
Oregon, pretending it's Boston. Now it has the team move to Portland,
with a secret office that also requires running a brewpub. That part
brings some good laughs; then the main story – involving Howard
Hughes' “Spruce Goose” plane – stretches believability to the
breaking point.

– “The Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Will's freedom is at stake, as Wendy Scott-Carr (Anika Noni Rose)
begins the bribery trial. Also, Eli again faces Stacie Hall (Amy

– “Masterpiece Mystery,” 9-10:30
p.m., PBS (check local listings). A feminist lecturer (Julie Cox)
found early fame by insisting women don't need men. Years later, her
plaintive dating-service video was posted; when she died, some
assumed it was suicide. Inspector Lewis, of course, has his doubts;
there are plenty of suspects, in what is – by Lewis standards –
only a so-so mystery.

– “Political Animals,” 10 p.m.,
USA. Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver) was a First Lady with a
philandering husband; she ran for president, then became secretary of
state to the man who defeated her. Yes, that sounds familiar. This
six-week mini-series steals so much from Hillary Clinton's life that
each fictional detour is jolting. And in trying to be a Southerner,
Irish actor Ciaran Hinds reduces the ex-president to a buffoon.
Despite many such flaws, “Animals” gradually gets our interest.

TV column for Saturday, July 14

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

A treasure-hunter has been killed, in a
case that reflects a 1947 murder. Naturally, Castle figures the old
case must be solved first.

That triggers a flashback, with Castle
(Nathan Fillion) as a hard-boiled detective and Beckett (Stana Katic)
as a femme fatale. It's filmed sylishly by Chuck Bowman, who's been
directing TV for 34 years; his son, Rob, is a “Castle” producer
and directed the first “X-Files” movie.

Girl: McKenna Shoots For the Stars,” 8-10 p.m., NBC.

Hardly any dolls (Barbie excluded) get
their own movies. Still, the American Girl company has made five
previous ones, airing them on the old WB, on Disney and (for one) in
movie theaters.

Now the series moves to its first
broadcast network. Appropriately, it's NBC (the Olympics network),
for a story about a teen gymnast. Jade Pettyjohn, a relative
newcomer, stars; in support are former Olympian Cathy Rigby (as a
coach) and “Big Fat Greek Wedding” star Nia Vardalos.

10 p.m., HBO, and 11 p.m.,Comedy Central.

Lately, George Lopez has been a
situation-comedy actor, a talk-show host and even the host of a
summertime dating show. At the core, though, he's a stand-up; HBO has
his live special.

Afterward, switch to Comedy Central for
Matt Braunger. Much of this – including his pitch for “Lonelyman
Dinners” – is a moderately funny look at being socially awkward.
It ends with two true (and incredible) stories from his drinking
days; for a comedian, alcoholic excess can be productive.

Other choices include:

--”The Andy Griffith Show,” noon to
7 p.m., TV Land. The tribute to the late Griffith continues today and
from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Also, tonight from 10 p.m. to midnight,
Nicktoons has four “SpongeBob SquarePants” episodes featuring the
late Ernest Borgnine as the voice of Mermaide Man.

– “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)
and “Alice in Wonderland” (2010), 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., ABC Family.
Here's a stylish double-feature from director Tim Burton, Johnny Depp
and composer Danny Elfman.

– “NYC 22,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS.
Here are two new episodes, replacing the one that was scheduled. Both
center on Kenny and Ahmad; they search a block party for a rapist in
the first hour, then probe an Ivy League student who robbed his
mentor in the second. That first hour has Drena De Niro, daughter of
“NYC 22” producer Robert De Niro, as Irma, a Special Victims Unit

– “Mobbed,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox.
Tentatively scheduled are two new hours in which people use social
media to create “flash mobs” to surprise someone.

– “Merlin,” 9 and 10 p.m., BBC
America. Magic makes more mischief. In the first, a love potion could
disrupt the Camelot peace conference; in the second, Morgana is asked
to steal from the Camelot vault.

– “The Firm,” 10 p.m., NBC. This
should be a happy day for Mitch's little law office. His receptionist
(the talented Juliette Lewis) is marrying his brother (Callum Keith
Rennie), who's an ex-con and an investigator. Then a new enemy
disrupts things; also, the Patrick Walker case deepens.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. Melissa McCarthy hosts this rerun, with music by Lady
Antebellum – the country group whose booty-call anthem, “Need You
Now,” reached pop charts.