TV column for Friday, July 5


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Blue Bloods,”
9 and 10 p.m., CBS.

This solid show usually focuses on the
men, especially Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), the police detective whose
dad (Tom Selleck) is police commissioner. Tonight's reruns, however,
follow the women.

In the first one, Jackie (Jennifer
Esposito), Danny's police partner, goes undercover; Erin (Bridget
Moynihan), his sisteer and an assistant district attorney, meets a
guy who shares her interests. In the second, she blames herself for
an informant's death and wants Danny's help finding the killer.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Bones,” 8
p.m., Fox.

TV's new goal, it seems, is to put
smart women undercover in the physical world of roller derby.

Last Friday, it was Catherine (Michelle
Borth) in “Hawaii Five-0”; tonight, it's Angela (Michael Conlin).
She's there after the discovery of a skater's dismembered remains.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Perfect
Boyfriend,” 8 p.m., Lifetime Movie Network (and more).

April (Ashley Scott of “Jericho”)
is newly divorced when she meets a guy who has looks, charm and
money. He's perfect … or so the title says.

This new film is surrounded by reruns,
each with “perfect” in the titles and imperfection at the core.
Dean Cain is convincingly creepy in “The Perfect Husband: The Laci
Peterson Story” (2004) at 10 a.m.. Then come the “perfect”
bride (1991) at noon, spouse (2003) at 2 p.m., marriage (2006) at 4
and wife at 6. “Boyfried” is at 8, with “The Perfect Roommate”
at 10. By then, we'll be wary of perfection.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE II: “Magic
City,” 9 p.m., to midnight, Starz.

The season's first three episodes of
this well-crafted series rerun, with new ones resuming next week.

In late-1950s Miami, Ike has worked his
way up from cabana boy to hotel co-owner. But his silent partner is
the brutal Ben Diamond, who has already had Ike's friend killed. Ben
wants to sweep Ike out and make a fortune if gambling is legalized;
he would kill Ike, if his boss (James Caan) let him.

And Ike? He's in jail on a murder
charge now, but his goal is to get control of casinos in Castro's
Cuba. It's a jolting ride, as you'll see in these three hours.

Other choices include:

– “The Walking Dead,” 1 p.m. to
2:48 a.m. AMC. The entire, 13-episode second season reruns in one
burst. Then the third season will be split over Saturday and Sunday,
wrapping up the zombie weekend.

– “Siberia,” 8 p.m., NBC. Her's a
rerun of Monday's debut. It's a fictional tale of 16 strangers who
start a reality show. Scary things start to happen at the site of a
1908 meteor landing in Siberia.

– “The Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.
In a rerun, Ryan (Kevin Bacon) learns more about Joe Carroll's plans
and decides the best hope might involve stirring distrust among the
three kidnappers.

– “Cleveland Orchestra in
Performance,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local listings). This was
taped in 2010, marking the 100th anniversary of Gustav
Mahler's death. It opens with the adagio from Mahler's 10th
symphony, then has mezzo soprano Magdalena Kozena and baritone
Christian Gerhaher.

– “Continuum,” 10 p.m., Syfy.
This whole thing – traveling back in time, trying to prevent
disasters – is starting to tear at Kiera. She breaks down
emotionally, triggering an automatic psychiatric program.

TV column for Thursday, July 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “A Capitol
Fourth,” 8 p.m., PBS; many stations (check local listings) rerun at
9:30.

Each July 4, this offers a passionate
blend of music, readings and fireworks.

This year is strong on youth. There's
the new “American Idol” winner (Candice Glover) and the 2011
winner (Scotty McCreery), plus Darren Criss of “Glee” and
soprano Jackie Evancho, 13.

There are also Broadway people (Megan
Hilty, the “Motown” cast) and more: Barry Manilow, John Williams
(conducting the National Symphony for his “Lincoln” music) and a
late addition: Neil Diamond, whose music was featured in Boston
after the bombing, will debut “Freedom Song (They'll Never Take Us
Down).”

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Macy's Fourth
of July Fireworks Spectacular,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC.

For once, Nick Cannon and his wife,
Mariah Carey, are work on the same show.

He hosts, she sings; so do Tim McGraw,
Taylor Swift, Cher, Selena Gomez and Pitbull. Then there's the New
York fireworks, with Usher producing the music. That's part of a
changing Fourth field; Boston has lost its national telecast (on
CBS), but Philadelphia (via VH1) is expanding.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS.

If you're skipping the Fourth concerts,
then go with CBS, which dropped the Boston Pops special.

Instead, it reruns some of its best
shows, starting with two guys far from their comfort zones: Sheldon,
who's no caregiver, tends to an ill Amy; Howard, not the
hunter-and-gatherer type, must fish with his imposing father-in-law,
played by Casey Sander, the former “Grace Under Fire” co-star.

Other choices include:

– “The Walking Dead,” 1 p.m. to 3
a.m., AMC. Actually, the entire four-day weekend is being turned into
a zombie fest. Today, the short first season runs twice, starting at
1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

– “Philly 4th of July
Jam,” 8-11 p.m., VH1. While Boston loses its national-TV link,
Philadelphia addsVH1 and an expanded line-up. Kevin Hart headlines
(the day after his stand-up comedy movie opens), introducing Demi
Lovato, Ne-Yo, John Mayer, Jill Scott, Grace Potter, J. Cole and
fireworks.

– Movies, 8 p.m., cable. The logical
4th-of-July diversion might be “The Music Man” (1962, Turner
Classic Movies), with it “76 Trombones” song and Americana feel.
Other networks, however, have popular, big-budget adventures –
“Avatar” (2009) on FX, “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) on HBO,
“National Treasure” (2004) on ABC Family and, appropriately,
“Independence Day” (1996) on A&E.

– “Two and a Half Men,” 8:31
p.m., CBS. Alan manages to upset Lyndsey yet again. She dates someone
else (played by Willie Gerson of “White Collar”); Alan communes
with Herb and Billy.

– “Motive” and “Rookie Blue,”
9 and 10 p.m., ABC. These well-made shows rerun their May 30 hours.
First, a mild-mannered clerk kills a brash limo driver; then Andy is
back from her undercover work.

– “Person of Interest,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. A kidnapper (Amy Acker) has Finch. Now the machine gives Reese a
cold case that may help find them.

– “Elementary,” 10 p.m., CBS. The
murder victim had been blackmailing the families of rape victims.

TVcolumn for Wednesday, July 3


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The Neighbors”
return, 9:31 p.m.

There seem to be exactly two views of
this show. It's fresh, funny and wildly original … or just stupid.

We'll go with the first choice,
savoring a show that stretches for big laughs. After a long lay-off,
it gets a great summer slot (behind “Modern Family”) for reruns,
with a rougher Friday one coming this fall.

Debbie and Marty (Jami Gertz and Lenny
Venuto) are the only Earthlings in a subdivision filled with people
from another planet. Now their wedding anniversary coincides with the
aliens' mating season.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Chicago Fire,”
10 p.m., NBC.

Bristling with adrenalin, then finding
late bursts of warmth, this hour provided a strong finish for the
first season. Now it reruns, before “Fire” gives its slot to a
reality show next week.

At a prison, there's a fire, a
black-out, a hostage and more. It's all high-octane, with a drama
backdrop.

Dawson works a perilous medical
procedure with her estranged boyfriend Mills. He frets about a
promotion, she frets about Casey, who is despondent. And Herrman is
in grave danger, while his wife faces the difficult birth of their
fifth child. Passions ricochet wildly.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Queen of
Versailles” (2012), 8-10 p.m., CNBC.

This began as a standard documentary
about excess. David and Jackie Siegel, now 77 and 47, had seven kids
and endless wealth. She had a $1-million-a-year shopping habit and
was getting a new home modeled after the Palace of Versailles, with
86,000 square feet, 10 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms.

Then his time-share business wobbled;
the film gets better as the Siegels adust to a new world. When she
gets a rental car, she assumes it comes with a driver; a cartoon-ish
figure starts to add depth.

Other choices include:

– “MasterChef,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.
Christine Ha was 28 and a business-administration graduate when a
disease took most of her sight. She went on to get a Master's degree
in writing and then, at 33, to be the “MasterChef” champion. She
visits tonight, before the field is trimmed from 13 to 11.

– “America's Got Talent,” 8-10
p.m., NBC. Some networks skip new episodes on a holiday eve. Here.
NBC brings back one from June 23, with auditions in San Antonio and
New Orleans.

– “Melissa & Joey,” 8 p.m.,
ABC Family. Tucker Wilkerson makes an appealing acting debut here. In
real life, he's 9 months old, the youngest of Melissa Joan Hart's
three children; here, he plays a tyke Joey brings home, to convince
Mel (Hart) not to stick with a guy who doesn't want kids.

– “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Phil and Claire meet two people who could be future versions of
themselves; they're not happy about the possibility. Also, Manny
plans a visit to an upscale school.

– “Being Mary Jane,” 9-10:30
p.m., BET. If you missed this movie Tuesday, catch it now. There's no
major plot closure – this doubles as a pilot for a series – but
it has great visuals and music, with a portrait of an upscale woman
(Gabrielle Union) surrounded by slackers.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a clergyman has been killed at Warrick's
grave site.

TV column for Tuesday, July 2


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “BET Awards”
and “Being Mary Jane,” 6:30 and 10:30 p.m., BET.

First is a rerun of Sunday's awards,
with performances by – well, almost everyone. There are rejected
“American Idol” judges (Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj), long-time
stars (Stevie Wonder, Charli Wilson) and newer ones – Justin
Timberlake, Chris Brown, India.Arie, T.I., Janelle Monae and more.

Then (after a new “The Game” at 10)
is a sleek and entertaining movie. Gabrielle Union plays an
overachieving talk-show host, surrounded by non-achieving family and
lovers. Don't expect stories with closure; do expect a slick mix of
music and visuals, embracing a character we like instantly.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Body of Proof,”
10 p.m., ABC.

Here's the second half of a grisly (but
involving) rerun.

Megan found that military veterans were
being killed and maimed. Now she learns why … and, with her
daughter kidnapped, must help the villains. It's a nasty plot that
strains credibility, but it gives us a fresh chance to see Dana
Delany as a smart woman in crisis mode.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Rizzoli &
Isles,” 8 and 9 p.m., TNT.

If you missed the season-opener, catch
it at 8. The story – the murder of someone who was taking over her
dad's political turf – is fairly good; the dramas with Jane's
family and friends are even better.

Then catch the new hour. A promising
student has been killed; also, Jane fumes about her new boss.

Other choices include:

– “So You Think You Can Dance,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. Last week, viewers had their first chance to vote,
after the top 20 danced. Now this show trims two people; then we vote
for next week's ousters.

– “Extreme Weight Loss,” 8-10
p.m., ABC. Former high school sweethearts, Jason and Rachel are 35
and 34, married, with 5-year-old twins. They're also profoundly
overweight, at 362 and 290 pounds. Now these South Lyon, Mich.,
people are the first couple on the show. We follow their year-long
effort.

– “Pretty Little Liars,” 8 p.m.,
ABC Family, rerunning at 10. A big-city cop arrives, describing her
mission succinctly: “Find out what it is about those four pretty
girls that attracts so many corpses.”

– “Big Brother,” 9 p.m., CBS. Now
the sweep is complete: At 9 p.m. Tuesdays, all five commercial
broadcast networks have reality shows. That includes “America's Got
Talent” auditions on NBC (9-11 p.m.), plus “Dance” on Fox,
“Weight Loss” on ABC and even a “Top Model” rerun on CW.

– “Twisted,” 9 p.m., ABC Family.
Danny's return brought quick aftershocks. Regina is dead; Danny's
friend (Jo) and mom are distrusted. Tonight, his mom (Denice
Richards) is confronted by Regina's mom; also, Lacey fumes when her
mom (Robing Givens) invites Jo to a sleepover.

– “Perception,” 10 p.m., TNT. Off
his medication, Pierce wobbles between his real lover and his
imaginary friend (both played by Kelly Rowan). There are some good
moments there, making up for an exceptionally lame crime story.

– “Inside Amy Schumer,” 10:30
p.m., Comedy Central. This clever show – mixing sketch, standup and
conversation – ends is first season with Schumer in your standard
situations: She's on a game show; also, she wakes up with two guys in
bed.

TV column for Monday, July 1


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “American Ninja
Warrior” and “Siberia,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC.

NBC is convinced we need an
action-adventure reality show, real or scripted. Here's one of each.

“Warrior” sends people through
obstacle courses that mix speed, strength and agility. Tonight's
season-opener has the first round of auditions, in Venice Beach, Cal.

And “Siberia”? In tonight's opener,
it pretends 16 strangers were dumped into Siberia. They don't know
it's the site of a historic, 1908 meteor crash; odd events follow,
with no one to help.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE II: “Mistresses,”
10:01 p.m., ABC.

Opposite stories – bright and giddy,
dark and dreary – co-exist clumsily.

On the turgid side is Savi (Alyssa
Milano), whose husband doesn't know she's pregnant, possibly from a
one-night stand. And there's Karen (Yunjin Kim), a therapist who had
an affair with her client.

Those stories – full of stony,
soap-opera moments – can be suffocating, but tonight's hour adds
some much-needed vibrancy. Josslyn, lustfully heterosexual, builds a
friendship with a lesbian client; April has a late scene in her
antique shop, reviving some of the fun of the “Mistresses” first
episode.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Gideon's
Army,” 9 p.m., HBO.

Back in 1961, Clarence Gideon couldn't
afford a lawyer; he was sentenced to five years in prison for
stealing $5 and a soda. His case went to the Supreme Court, which
established the right to defense.

But is it an equal defense? We see
public defenders racing from case to case, short on resources and
pay. One puts in $3 at the gas station, hoping it will last until pay
day.

Alongside involving portraits of some
of the lawyers, this focuses on two cases, bringing heartbreak and
joy. Too slow at times, “Army” eventually becomes deeply moving.

Other choices include:

– “The Fosters,” 3-7 p.m. and 9
p.m., ABC Family. Here are the first four episodes, as two women –
a cop and a vice-principal – expand their family to total five
teens, four of them foster kids. Then a new hour brings anger: Jesus'
romance with his twin sister's friend goes further than expected.

– “The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01
p.m., ABC. A trip to Barcelona covers the extremes – warmth in a
date with Drew … silliness, in an art session that Zak botches …
action, in a match against female soccer pros … and rage, as the
men accuse James of ulterior motives.

– “How I Met Your Mother,” 8
p.m., CBS. This rerun starts a two-parter (concluding next week),
with Ted not sure whether to tell Robin that Barney is planning to
propose to Patrice.

– “Battleground Afghanistan”debut,
9 p.m., National Geographic. This documentary series follows Marines
on a hunt for Taliban soldiers. Its strength is showing the men and
the artillery; its weakness is the enemy's elusive nature. “It's
like fighting ghosts,” one soldier says; ghosts don't make good TV.

– “Bizarre Foods” season-opener,
9 p.m., Travel. The search starts in Los Angeles, ranging from
pig-head tamales at a Watts food truck to steamed chicken Embryo in
Long Beach.

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 9:30
p.m., CBS. To boost “Under the Dome,” CBS again precedes it with
a “Big Bang” rerun (nudging “Mike & Molly” to 8:30). It's
a great one, with a battle over parking spots.

– “Under the Dome,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Last week's terrific opener had a dome suddenly encase a town. Now
people confront instant trouble: A house bursts into flames and fire
trucks are outside the dome.