TV column for Friday, June 10


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “CMT's Next
Superstar” finale, 9 p.m., CMT, reruns at 11 p.m., 2 a.m..

Back in 2006, Matt Mason was a
20-year-old Indiana kid competing in “Nashville Star.” Chris
Young – who really did become a Nashville star – won; Mason
finished fourth.

Now he's back, with five complex years
behind him. He's married, has two kids, has been through
alcohol-and-drug rehab. And he's got a shot at winning the first
“Superstar.”

The other finalist is Steven Clarkson,
29, a Georgian. In last week's episode (rerun at 5 p.m. today) they
each sang three songs and viewers voted; now we learn who won.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Flashpoint”
(8 p.m., CBS) and “Bones” (9 p.m., Fox).

First, Enrico Colantoni stars in his
series, a well-made Canadian cop drama with new episodes in the
summer. A crime boss escapes with his girlfriend – who happens to
be the informant against him.

Then Colantoni plays a security guard
in an above-average “Bones” rerun. Brennan frets that she has so
much in common with the murder victim – a smart doctor who had
little personal life.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Guys Choice
Awards,” 9 p.m., Spike TV.

The award categories sound like a
disturbing incursion into the male psyche. There's “Holy Grail of
Hot” and “Our New Girlfriend” and “Best Girl on Girl Scene.”
There's also “Outstanding Literary Achievement”; be warned that
the only nominees are Keith Richards and Snooki.

Richards also gets a sort of career
award. Others go to Jennifer Aniston, Jim Carrey and the cast of
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Other choices include:

– “My Babysitter's a Vampire”
(2010), 7 and 9 p.m., Disney Channel. A 13-year-old should be happy
that his parents hired a beautiful teen to watch him. Still, he's
bummed by this she's-a-vampire problem.

– Hockey, 8 p.m., NBC. The “Friday
Night Lights” episode – a good one, with the Lions starting to
crumble amid colliding egos – will have to wait a week. First, game
five of the best-of-seven series returns to Vancouver; that's where
the Canucks swept the first two games with the Boston Bruins.

– “Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution,”
9 p.m., ABC. On a broad level, Oliver is finally shown a way to cook
for an entire school, despite restrictions from Los Angeles
officials. On a personal level is a race – a busy single dad goes
out for “fast food,” while his sons and Oliver make healthy food
at home.

– “Lie to Me,” 9 p.m., Fox. In a
rerun, Lightman rescues a man from an angry mob – and uncovers a
secret that helps a mother and daughter begin to heal.

– “CSI: NY,” 9 p.m., CBS. A
department-store manager has been found dead in his Christmas display
window. You may have already guessed this is a rerun.

– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.
When a girl is kidnapped and held for ransom, Danny suspects her
drug-addicted girlfriend. Meanwhile, Danny's sister Erin goes further
in her office relationship.

– “Camelot” season finale, 10
p.m., Starz. A kingdom is wobbling now, as Arthur leads his men
against the mercenaries. His half-sister Morgan leads Sybil to
Camelot – and feels the throne can soon be hers. This is a fairly
good series but Starz will include a glimpse of a great one;
“Torchwood” starts July 8.

 

TV column for Thursday, June 9


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “So You Think You
Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

At times during the auditions, the
“Dance” judges were as giddy as the ones on “American Idol.”
They sent swarms of dancers to this Las Vegas round.

Now comes the tough part: Tonight, they
must trim that down to the final 20.

Next Wednesday, the finalists will
perform as 10 duos. The following night, one man and one woman will
be ousted; it they're from different duos, their partners will become
a team. That continues until “Dance” has its top 10, who will
then be paired with professional all-stars.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Big Bang
Theory” and “Rules of Engagement,” 8, 8:30 p.m., CBS.

Even in reruns, these shows offer fun.

First, TV's best comedy finds Leonard
in the rare position of being the one guy without a girlfriend. That
could change quickly; Sheldon wants to break up with Amy, who wants
him to meet her mother.

Then “Rules” continues the saga of
a penniless Russell (David Spade), whose rich mother cut him off.
Previously, he moved in with his classy and ill-treated assistant
Timmy, soon behaving badly. Now the utilities in Russell's own
apartment have been stopped; Timmy tries to teach him budgeting.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: Movies, 8 p.m.,
cable.

For sheer fun, there's “Crimes of the
Heart” (1986, TV Guide, rerunning at 10 p.m.), Beth Henley's witty
tale of Southern sisters. Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy
Spacek star.

For drama, “A Single Man” (2009,
Showtime) is a quietly moving portrait of a gay professor in the
1960s, mourning his lover. Colin Firth received a well-deserved Oscar
nomination.

And there's “Too Big to Fail”
(2011, HBO). It takes a richly detailed look at the frantic efforts
to keep the 2008 banking crisis from turning into a full-scale
Depression.

Other choices include:

– “Community,” 8 p.m., NBC.
Here's a rerun of one of the show's better (and stranger) episodes.
The study group is assigned to clean the school's space simulator …
soon stumbling into an adventure.

– “30 Rock,” 8:30, NBC. On a
winning streak, Jack decides to try an imposing task – fixing Liz's
love life. Also, in this rerun, Kelsey Grammer plays himself.

– “The Office,” 9 p.m., NBC.
Michael is required to get counseling from Toby, in a rerun.

– Basketball, 9 p.m., ABC. The finals
stay in Dallas for one more game, with the Mavericks hosting the
Miami Heat. That's preceded by Jimmy Kimmel at 8 and a pre-game show
at 8:30.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
9 p.m., CBS. Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”) plays a
police detective in this rerun, in which a student is killed after a
“Walking With Dinosaurs” show.

– “Parks and Recreation,” 9:30,
NBC. This rerun has some hilarious moments as the flu hits hard.
Chris (Rob Lowe), the health buff, is shocked; Leslie (Amy Poehler)
persists while her mind wobbles.

– “Love Bites,” 10 p.m., NBC.
Tentatively scheduled are segments including Michelle Trachtenberg
and (as parents hesitantly facing their son's relationship) Kurtwood
Smith and Frances Conroy.

– “The Mentalist,” 10 p.m., CBS.
You can tell this one's a rerun: It involves the murder of a Santa.

TV column add (night varies in each city)


Here's a TV-column portion that varies widely from city to city.

Officially, "Out in America" is listed for Wednesday, June 8. That, alas, is when PBS stations are busy with their pledge drives, so nothing is for sure.

For instance, the PBS stations in East Lansing and Cincinnati don't list "Out in America" for Wednesday. Both, however, list the third year of Eric Clapton's superb "Crossroads" concerts for 10 p.m. that night.

East Lansing has confined "Out in America" to 9:30 p.m. Saturday on WKAR World, 23.4 on the digital dial; Cincinnati doesn't list it at all. Anyway, here's that portion:

 

 

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Out in America,”
??? (INSERT TIME HERE) p.m., PBS.

There's an understated appeal to the
beginning and end of this documentary. The mid-section deals with
tough subjects – police, laws, AIDS – but the rest gently views
the everyday lives and loves of gays.

We meet a few celebrities – Chely
Wright, Andy Cohen, Armistead Maupin – and a lot of next-door
people. We meet a horseman, an Army officer, a teacher; we're charmed
by two retirees named Harold.

The Rev. Peter Gomes of Harvard (who
died in February, at 68) came out in 1991, after giving the prayers
at the inaugurals of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. “There
were many people,” he says, “who say, 'Well, if anybody as dull
as Gomes is a homosexual, it must be all right.'”

TV column for Wednesday, June 8


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: CMT Music Awards,
8-11 p.m., CMT.

Cable has the best summer parties. Just
three days after the MTV Movie Awards, it's CMT's turn.

This is country music, stretching for
crossover appeal. Kid Rock hosts; presenters include Justin Bieber
and champions from “Dancing With the Stars” (Hines Ward),
“American Idol” (Scotty McCreery, with runner-up Lauren Alaina)
and the Super Bowl (Clay Matthews).

Half the video-of-the-year nominees
will perform – Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Jason
Aldean and the Zac Brown Band. Also performing: Keith Urban, Toby
Keith, Luke Bryan, Big & Rich.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Middle,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., and “Modern Family,” 9 and 9:30, ABC.

We usually resent summer reruns, but
not when shows are this funny.

In the first “Middle,” Axl tries to
secretly make the biology teacher (Kristin Cavallari of “The
Hills”) the “hot chick” in his band's video; there are also
some great moments when Sue schemes to see an R-rated movie. In the
second, the parents try to break their kids' dominance of the house.

In the first “Modern Love,” Jay
finds himself on a “boys' night out” with Mitchell, Cameron and
their friend Pepper (Nathan Lane). In the second, Cameron directs the
school musical.

ALSO: Some PBS stations debut the excellent documentary "Out in America" tonight. However, this is pledge drive, so that varies widely from station to station. As a result, I'm running that portion separately; under "TV columns," it should appear right above this one.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Men of a
Certain Age,” 10 p.m., TNT.

Quietly meandering between drama and
comedy, this show has offered three guys approaching 50.

Now Terry (Scott Bakula) actually
reaches that age. It's a rough time for someone who's been in a
youthful bubble for decades – and who has just been dropped by his
girlfriend.

Bakula plays it beautifully; other
twists involving Joe (Ray Romano) are so-so. In the final moments,
we're reminded that Andre Braugher – as Owen, Terry's friend and
boss – is one of TV's best actors.

Other choices include:

– “So You Think You Can Dance,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. During auditions, hordes of dancers were advanced to
this Las Vegas round. Now come quick cuts; on Thursday, we'll see who
made it to the top 20.

– “America's Got Talent,” 9 and
10 p.m., NBC. Tonight's hockey game is on cable (the Versus network).
That means NBC – which will get the final three Stanley Cup games,
if necessary – can focus on its reality hit. Here, it shows
auditions in Houston and Minneapolis.

– “Franklin & Bash,” 9 p.m.,
TNT. After an OK pilot film, this show is skidding. This episode is
poor; the third (next week) is awful. “Bash” tries to have
outrageous cases; the brilliant David Kelley did that with “Boston
Legal,” but mere mortals shouldn't try. Tonight's case involves a
woman accused of killing her husband via excessive sex; there are
lots of detours, most defying credibility.

– “20/20,” 10 p.m., ABC. Barring
a late change, this will look at the success of reality shows.

– “Locked Up Abroad”
season-opener, 10 p.m., National Geographic. Henry Hill – portrayed
by Ray Liotta in “Goodfellas,” tells of a downfall that began
when he dealt dope against his boss' orders.

– “Through the Wormhole”
season-opener, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., Science Channel. Last season,
Morgan Freeman's show posed complex questions about the creation of
the universe. (Reruns today are 7-10 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.)
Tonight comes another big one: What happens after we die?

 

TV column for Tuesday, June 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “White Collar”
season-opener, 9 p.m., USA.

Even in its average weeks, this show
offers crisp characters and smartly tangled plots. Now comes a key
week, with bigger stakes.

Someone set an explosion, seemingly
destroying Nazi-stolen art work. Peter (the FBI guy) suspects that
Neal (the ex-con working for the FBI) took the treasure away before
setting the blast; we suspect that, too, except that “White Collar”
keeps adding fresh twists. Stick with this one.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “MasterChef,”
8 p.m., Fox.

Like Monday's opener, tonight brings a
rich variety of amateur chefs.

There's an intense lawyer, an angry
martial-arts instructor, a gentle pool boy. A hydraulic technician
mixes bacon, strawberry and garlic horse radish; an organic farmer
inexplicably decides to make ahi tuna with coconut – using nothing
from his own farm.

A single mom says she “grew up very
poor,” eating bad food. A deep-voiced trucker wants to “bring
culture food” to his “meat-and-potato community.” Along the
way, some chefs flub and some triumph. “I wish I had two mouths to
eat this,” one chef says; it's another good hour.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “America's Got
Talent” and “The Voice,” 8 p.m. and 9-11 p.m., NBC.

First is another audition round for
“Talent”; then “The Voice” moves on to its quarter-finals.

Tonight, the top singers perform live
and viewers vote to save some of them. The mentors – Christina
Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine – see which
ones will move ahead.

Other choices include:

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. A night of
CBS reruns starts with this one: When a teen is suspected of killing
his father, Gibbs is surprised to be called in to handle the
interrogation.

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. This wraps up a two-parter. The team scrambles to retrieve a
book of secrets, while other countries race to find it first.

– Basketball, 9 p.m. ET. ABC. The
Dallas Mavericks host the Miami Heat, in the fourth game of the
best-of-seven series. That's preceded by “Jimmy Kimmel Live” at 8
and a pre-game show at 8:30.

– “The Good Wife,” 10 p.m., CBS.
A cleverly complex episode has the firm needing an instant decision
on whether to represent a massage therapist who says she was
assaulted by a Nobel Prize-winner.

– “Covert Affairs” season-opener,
10 p.m., USA. The first few minutes are spectacular, in the aftermath
of the overseas shooting of Annie's lover, Ben. Then things fade with
a story about a Russian tennis star who doubles as a CIA contact;
there are some good moments, connected to a poor plot.

– “How the States Got Their
Shapes,” 10 p.m., History. Here's a visit to some fringe areas.
There's the little nub of Georgia that isn't shown in the state's
design for the quarter. There's Key West, which threatened to secede
from Florida. This hour views them, plus Nevada's controversial “Area
51” and a Kansas area where former missile bunkers have become
five-bedroom homes.