TV column for Friday, June 13

(TV column for Friday, June 13)


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Great Performances,” 9-11 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).

For 76 years, Tanglewood has given the Boston Symphony a
scenic summer home, near the Bershire Mountains. Now here’s a rerun of the 75
concert, stuffed with talent.

The one weak spot was choosing James Taylor to do three
songs -- “Old Man River,” “Shall We Dance” and “Over the Rainbow” – that were a
stretch for him. Otherwise, here are some greats – violinist Anne-Sophie
Mutter, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianists Emmanuel Ax and Peter Serkin, with the
orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Andris Nelsons and David

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.

Some episodes keep Tom Selleck – as Police Commissioner
Frank Reagan – off to one side; this one, however, plunges him into the center
of the story.

Frank is having dinner with a friend (Chazz Palminteri), who’s
a Mob lawyer; the friend is killed and Frank barely escapes. Meanwhile, his son
Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) somehow is on the jury of a murder trial, becoming the
lone dissenter.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010), 8
p.m., FX, rerunning at 10:02.

On the day that its sequel opens in theaters, we get another
chance to catch the original on TV.

Hiccup is a Viking lad who can do nothing right … until he
befriends a dragon. Villagers dislike dragons (what with the fire and death and
destruction and all), so he must keep a fairly large secret. “Dragon” has
standard battle scenes near the end, but until then it’s an animated delight.

Other choices include:

More movies, 7 and 8:30 p.m., cable. For dead-serious drama,
Sundance has “Blood Diamond” (2006) at 7 and 10 p.m., with Leonard DiCaprio in
war-torn Sierra Leone. For fun, ABC family has “The Goonies” (1985), a
treasure-hunting delight with Sean Astin and Josh Brolin leading a likable
young cast.

“MasterChef” and “24,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. In a change, Fox
is simply rerunning its Monday shows here. First, the 20 remaining chefs must
feed 500 soldiers at a desert base. Then a deadly shoot-out leaves Heller (the
president) trying to confront Margot (the terrorist), while Jack and Kate race
to a rescue.

“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS. Danny has daddy trouble, when
Grace punches someone at school. Then this rerun brings a bigger problem: He
and McGarrett are kidnapped by an escaped convict who demands they prove him

“Whose Line Is It Anyway,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., CW. These reruns
have Jeff Davis and Wilson Bethel joining the comedy improvisation.

“Hart of Dixie,” 9 p.m., CW. In a rerun from early in the
season, Zoe is back in town and hoping to practice medicine without Brick
noticing; then she learns of a troublesome clause in her contract.

“Continuum,” 10 p.m., Syfy. An attack leaves Kiera and John
Doe in danger, Also, Alec frets that his invention is the reason for Jason’s odd

TV column for Thursday, June 12

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Sixties,” 9-11 p.m., CNN.

After a weak opener, this documentary series is into a
tough, deeply detailed stretch. Last week was the Cuban missile crisis, next week
is Vietnam; in between is this portrait of the John Kennedy assassination.

You’ve seen the specifics before. (Indeed, this documentary
aired previously, in advance of the 10-part series.) Still, it’s assembled here
in rich detail, including solid looks at conspiracy theories.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS.

Even in its seventh season, TV’s best comedy kept finding
ways to be fresh and funny. This rerun, from midway in the season, began to nudge
things in a new direction.

Penny has the best break of her struggling acting career, a
chance to play a flirty waitress on “NCIS.” Meanwhile, others try near-impossible
goals – Sheldon to learn about humor, Raj and Stuart to learn about talking to
women. Then the “NCIS” episode sends things on an important (and funny) detour.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Gang Related,” 9 P.M., Fox.

The first three episodes have piled up conflicts for Ryan
Lopez: He’s in a task force to crack down on Los Angeles gangs; he’s also
secretly working for Javier Acosta, the crime boss who protected his childhood.

Tonight diverts from that, with a new villain in town,
working a vile variation on human slavery. It’s a tough hour to watch, with lots
of sub-titled dialog and lots of brutality, but it brings powerful emotions. In
the backdrop are personal complications: One involves Ryan’s boss’ daughter (an
assistant district attorney); others involve Javier’s sons, a good-hearted
banker and a bitter paraplegic.

Other choices include:

“Hollywood Game Night,” 8 p.m., NBC. Two authoritative
reality-show people – Tim Gunn and Jeff Probst – join actor David Alan Grier
and actresses Poppy Montgomery, Leslie Bibb and Tiffani Thiessen.

“Mom,” 8:31 p.m., CBS. In a well-deserved break, this clever
comedy will spend some of the summer snuggled between “Big Bang” and “Two and a
Half Men.” This rerun finds Christy fuming about the disapproving father (Nick
Searcy of “Justified”) and mother of the guy who got her daughter pregnant.

“Undateable,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., NBC. In the first episode,
Justin accidentally says “love,” then sputters when Nicki’s only reply is “cool.”
What follows is often loud and lame, but the last five minutes are terrific.
That’s followed by an episode in which Brett, who is gay, is urged to ask
someone out.

Basketball, 9 p.m. ET, ABC. Miami hosts San Antonio for the
fourth game in the best-of-seven series. That’s preceded by Jimmy Kimmel at 8
and a game preview at 8:31.

 “Last Comic Standing,”
10 p.m., NBC.  Amy Schumer was a near-unknown
– 27 years old, only a few years into her comedy career – when she entered the
2007 edition of this show. She topped veteran comics and finished fourth,
propelling a career that has include two seasons of her own cable series. Now
she returns with Wanda Sykes, as mentors in the first half of the semi-finals.

“Elementary,” 10:01 p.m., CBS. This rerun has Sherlock learning
that it can be tough to be a sobriety buddy. Also, Watson finds that an
unsolved case is linked to fossils.

TV column for Wednesday, June 11

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The 100” season-finale, 9 p.m., CW.

Like most CW shows, this has cute kids in tough spots.
Unlike some, it has depth and a clever concept.

With resources running out on their space station, leaders
sent 100 teen prisoners to see if Earth – ruined 97 years earlier – is
habitable. It is, but there are problems – ranging from beasts to “grounders”
(human survivors) to teens in lust. Tonight, Bellamy gives his sister a tough
choice and Finn takes a risk.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Suits” and “Graceland” season-openers,
9 and 10:01 p.m., USA.

In some ways, these slick shows are opposites. One has
pretty people in suits, seeking wealth; the other has pretty people in a casual
clothes, seeking crooks.

On “Graceland,” federal agents work undercover in a seized
beach house; this season, they face a drug kingpin. On “Suits,” there’s been a power
shift: After year of lying about a law degree (with Harvey’s knowledge), Mike
has joined a high-end investment firm; Harvey may become his lawyer … or his
opponent. The result has lots of people it’s hard to care about, but is sharply
written and performed.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Melissa & Joey” and “Baby Daddy,”
8 and 8:31 p.m., ABC Family.

After many delays, it’s time for Melissa and Joey to marry …
almost. A new complication pops up.

That’s one of two comedies – both tending to be brash and
blunt -- that end their seasons next week. The other is “Baby Daddy”; Riley
takes a train ride to a family reunion, with Ben tagging along, hoping for romance.
After a rerun of the OK “Chasing Life” drama (at 9:02), the comedies rerun at
10 and 10:30.

Other choices include:

“So You Think You Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Here’s the
third of four audition weeks, again with Justin Bieber introducing two dance
crews. In Los Angeles, the guest judge is Christina Applegate; in Philadelphia,
the guests are Tony-winner Billy Porter and star ballerina Missy Copeland.

“The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC. A rerun finds Sue in the
unfamiliar position of having too many prom dates.

“The Goldbergs,” 8:30 and 9:31 p.m., ABC. The first rerun –
a particularly good one – has Adam getting a chance to take the family car … and
promptly getting in big trouble. The second has Murray (Jeff Garlin) expecting
the usual problems, when his brother (Dan Fogler) comes for Thanksgiving.

“Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC. Everyone seems intimidating in
this rerun: There’s a “mean girl” mom (Jane Krakowski), an eco-obsessed
neighbor (Jesse Eisenberg) and a therapist (John Benjamin Hickey).

“Guys Choice Awards,” 9-11 p.m., Spike TV. Matthew
McConaughey is “Guy of the Year” and Kevin Hart is “King of Comedy.” Mostly,
however, guys choose women. Awards include Rihanna (“Most Desirable Woman”),
Sandra Bullock (“Decade of Hotness”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Hot and Funny”) and
three Sports Illustrated models (“Holy Grail of Hotness”). Presenters include
Keanu Reeves and Cheech & Chong.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” 10 p.m., CBS. This rerun
finds the three women – played by Jorja Fox, Elisabeth Shue and Elisabeth
Harnois – going to a spa. You know, of course, that they’ll find a murder.

“Motive,” 10 p.m., ABC. A murder case gets personal for the
homicide team and Dr. Rogers (Lauren Holly), the medical examiner.

TV column for Tuesday, June 10

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Fargo,” 10 p.m., FX.

Already fresh and unique, “Fargo” jolted viewers last week
by leaping ahead a year. After failing to convince anyone that Lester is the
killer; Molly and Gus had married. Lester (having framed his brother) had
thrived at work, married his assistant … then spotted foul Lorne at a Las Vegas

That’s where we are now. Lester’s comfy world has been
disrupted; we see how cruelly cunning he can be. Also, the failed FBI agents
(played by the Key-and-Peele comedy team) are back on the case. A week from the
finale of a great season, Molly suddenly has some believers.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: Basketball, 9 p.m., ABC.

For all of the Miami Heat starpower, the team hasn’t been
overwhelming this year. It had only the second-best record in its conference,
tied with two others for the fifth-best record overall.

Still, the Heat has LeBron James … and has two straight
championships … and stormed through the first three play-off rounds with a 12-3
record. And now it finally has the home-court advantage in the final round;
after two games in San Antonio, the best-of-seven series moves to Miami, tied
at a game apiece. That follows Jimmy Kimmel at 8 p.m. and a game preview at

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Chasing Life” debut, 9 p.m., ABC

April is pursuing a glitzy-ditzy version of the American
dream. At 24, she works (and flirts) at a Boston newspaper; she lives at home
with her semi-frantic mom (Mary Page Keller), her sneaky sister and her grandmother
(Rebecca Schull). It’s a bright life … suddenly jolted by a health crisis.

“Life” offers a truly absurd vision of newspaper work.
Still, we can partly forgive that because the star (Italia Ricci) is so good
and there’s potential for subjects that rarely reach youth-oriented shows.

Other choices include:

“America’s Got Talent,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. Auditions

“NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. This rerun finds aftershocks of the
drone attack. McGee is emotionally shaken; Gibbs uses clues from the attack to
trace the terrorist named Parsa.

“Pretty Little Liars” season-opener, 8 p.m., ABC Family;
reruns at 10. Last season ended with “A” shooting Ezra. As the only person who
can identify A (if he regains consciousness), he’s still in danger. The girls
guard him while Holbrook searches for them.

“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, one of the
NCIS people is endangered while probing the deaths of two military contractors.

“Royal Pains” season-opener, 9 p.m., USA. Last season ended
with Hank leaving the Hamptons. Now he’s back and his brother (having patched
up his marriage) tries to get him to stay. Divya has had her baby; Hamptons
life is changing … but we flash back to Mark’s life-changing events during his
time away.

“The Night Shift,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. OK, we were wrong when
we said last week’s episode packed every possible medical story into one hour.
That episode did NOT have a wild hog ambling through the hospital … or an
involuntary blood transfusion … or a patient pulling an arrow out of her chest …
or a surgeon idiotically endangering his hands. This overstuffed, overwrought
hour has all of that and more.

TV column for Monday, June 9

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Murder in the First” debut, 10 p.m.,

From “Hill Street Blues” and “L.A. Law” to “NYPD Blue,”
Steven Bochco has produced brilliant TV drama. After a five-year gap, he’s back
with some of his best work.

Back in 1985, Bochco’s “Murder One” stretched a case over an
entire season. Now he tries it again, with a key difference – this will be 10
weeks, not 23; also, viewers are now accustomed to the form via cable. This
opener introduces great characters – a cop (Taye Diggs) whose wife is dying …
another (Kathleen Robertson) whose ex-husband wants money … and a tech boss who
must be guilty of something.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE (adjunct): “Major Crimes” season-opener,
9 p.m., TNT.

This is sort of the opposite of the show (“Murder in the
First”) it leads into: It solves a case every week, rarely visiting cops’
private lives. Solutions are sometimes too easy, but not in this complex opener.

While a sleek woman is at a conference, her husband and kids
disappear; suspicions bounce around. It’s a smart mystery, complete with an
ethical dilemma and lots of cops who care passionately.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE III: “24” (Fox) or “Hillary Clinton:
Public and Private” (ABC), both 9 p.m.

On one channel, you get the taut thrill of fictional intrigue.
After an intense shoot-out, Jack and Kate rush to save a key player; also, the
president deals with Margot, the leader of the fierce terrorist attacks.

And on another is non-fiction. This is the first in a flurry
of interviews with Clinton about her “Hard Choices” book. Diane Sawyer will ask
about politics and government, past and future.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Remembering the Artist, Robert De
Niro Sr.,” 9 p.m., HBO.

Here was a gifted painter, experts say. Critics praised him;
galleries displayed him. Still, this gorgeous little film says, his career
stumbled. He had the wrong style (abstract impressionism) for American
popularity in his era. He also had the wrong nature, distant and distrustful.

Now Robert De Niro, Jr. (the great actor) is reviving
interest in his dad’s life and work. Using interviews, old film and readings
from his journal, this portrays an artist with great talent and great problems.

Other choices include:

“The Bachelorette Special,” 8 p.m., ABC. The Clinton
scheduling has delayed the two-hour “Bachelorette” that was planned for tonight.

“Whose Line Is It Anyway?” 8 and 8:30 p.m., CW. A new
episode has comedian Jeff Davis; then a rerun has Keegan Michael Key.

“Beauty and the Beast,” 9 p.m., CW. In a rare move for them,
Vincent and Cat link with the FBI.

“Mike & Molly,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. The first rerun
has Molly arguing with her mom, then moving with Billy into his childhood room.
The second has Mike asking Carl to replace him in salsa dance classes.

“Mistresses,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. While one friend (April) finds
the joy of new love, others despair. Savi must share an office with a gorgeous
new co-worker; Karen must testify in the parole of Elizabeth Grey … an
uncomfortable situation for someone who was secretly romanced by Grey’s late
husband and late son.