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.

TV column for Wednesday, June 5


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “How to Live With
Your Parents (for the rest of your life),” 9:31 p.m., ABC.

Let's give ABC credit for having
Wednesdays include alternatives to summer's reality-or-rerun blitz.
It has a news show (“The Lookout,” the primetime version of
“Nightline'') at 10 p.m., plus new comedies – “Family Tools”
at 8:30 and this fairly good series is at 9:31.

Polly (Sarah Chalke) is desperate to
have her daughter fit into her new town and new school. She arranges
a play date … only to have her own mother (Elizabeth Perkins) try
to steal the spotlight.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “CMT Music
Awards,” 8-10:30 p.m., CMT; red-carpet preview at 7.

These country-music awards have lots of
crossover appeal. That includes “American Idol” people performing
(Carrie Underwood), presenting (Kellie Pickler, Scotty McCreery) or
both (Keith Urban).

Other performers range from Hunter
Hayes to George Strait – who has his first hit 10 years before
Hayes was born. They include Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, Darius
Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town and
Jason Aldean, who hosts with actress Kristen Bell.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Law &
Order: Special Victims Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC.

Just as the revival of his “Arrested
Development” comedy gets attention, Jeffrey Tambor has this drama
rerun, playing an unbudging lawyer.

The case involves a young singer who
refuses to testify, after being brutally attacked by her boyfriend, a
hip-hop star. As the media attention builds, the lawyer remains firm.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Southern
Fried Homicide” debut, 10 p.m.,Investigation Discovery.

A 10-week series starts with what
author Will Trotter calls “the ultimate Southern Gothic horror
story.”

Susie Newsom was a classic belle from
Winston-Salem, N.C. – a debutante, a fraternity's sweetheart, then
a college student who romanced an athlete who would become a dentist.
They married and had two kids; then the bizarre detours began.

As told by survivors and investigators,
the story includes nine deaths, stark changes and a survivalist who
registered to buy 52 weapons in one year. The explosive (literally)
ending is jolting.

Other choices include:

– “MasterChef,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.
Contestants create healthy meals for 300 kids. Then comes cooking
from “mystery box”' ingredients … with Gordon Ramsay, one of
the judges, joining the challenge.

– “Melissa & Joey,” 8 p.m.,
ABC Family, repeats at 9:30. Things get tricky when Melissa and Joey
are dating two people who used to be married to each other. Then
there are the kids' problems: Ryder actually misses school; Lennox
wants a tattoo, because she was told not to get one.

– “Baby Daddy,” 8:30, ABC Family.
Riley's life gets complicated, when Ben tries to discredit her new
boyfriend and Danny accidentally reveals his true feelings about her
in a cell-phone message. Also, Wayne Brady plays the demanding new
boss of Tucker (Tahj Mowry).

– “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Mitchell tries to help Lily with a bully and Phil tries to teach the
kids fix-it skills. Also in this rerun, Claire and Cam need a
tie-breaker for their house-flipping project.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
10 p.m., CBS. In this rerun, members of the CSI team help do the
standard patrols on the Las Vegas strip. Naturally, they soon find a
body.

– “Paranormal Witness”
season-opener, 10 p.m., Syfy. After her husband died while working as
a New York firefighter, Jeanette Meyran felt their two daughters
needed a fresh start. She bought a Long Island house, before noticing
the satanic symbols in the basement and in the woods. Like other
paranormal shows, this requires us to simply accept people's say-so;
if you do, you'll find it gripping.

TV column for Tuesday, June 4


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

Here's the combination that nudges NBC
from spring loser to summer contender.

“Voice,” a ratings champ, continues
to June 16. Tonight, the field is trimmed from six – half of them
on Blake Shelton's team – to four.

That's followed by the season-opener of
“Talent,” now in its auditions stage. Howard Stern and Howie
Mandel are joined by two new judges – Mel B (Scary Spice of the
Spice Girls) and Heidi Klum.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Pretty Little
Liars,” 8 p.m., ABC Family.

Three years ago, we met four gorgeous
teens with an ugly problem: Their friend Alison had apparently been
killed a year earlier; now they were getting ominous texts from
someone simply called “A.”

A lot has happened since then – too
much to keep track of. Now we get a handy guide; this offers
highlights of the first seasons, to lead into next Tuesday's
fourth-season debut.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: All night, BBC
America.

At 8 p.m. ET, “Top Gear” reruns
highlight from its 2012-13 season. Afterward (at 9, 9:40 and 10:20)
are three episodes of “Bang Goes the Theory,” a science show with
amiable hosts and odd stunts.

That formula works well for “Gear”
(a car show), because it has the brilliant Jeremy Clarkson and an
ability to make scripted things seem natural. “Bang” has neither;
it also has an overload of British words (“quid,” “petrol”)
and pronunciations (“mee-thane”).

Still, there's a likability here. The
first episode views fuel, from plants to oil rigs to “fracking.”
The second ponders noise; the third considers computers' eternal
memory.

Other choices include:

– “So You Think You Can Dance,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. TV's best summer show continues its auditions.

– “Extreme Weight Loss,” 8-10
p.m., ABC. We meet a lifelong “Baywatch” fan who has always
wanted one of the sleek beach bodies she sees on the show; she has a
tattoo of “155,” the weight that will qualify her for
skin-removal surgery. Eventually, she meets former “Baywatch”
actress Nicole Eggert and plans to run a marathon with fitness
specialist Chris Powell.

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. Amid a
media frenzy over an unknown criminal, Gibbs' barber fears that his
son is a murder suspect. In this rerun, he asks Gibbs to look into
it.

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. A costume-wearing gang has committed a brazen heist. Also in
this rerun: With Deeks unavailable, Granger (Miguel Ferrer) insists
on teaming with a hesitant Kensi.

– “Body of Proof,” 10 p.m., ABC.
A mob boss may be starting a string of revenge murders.

– “Swamp Murders,” 10 p.m.,
Investigation Discovery. This six-part series debuts one day in front
of the 10-part “Southern Fried Homicide,” combining for a grisly
view of Southern comfort. Tonight starts with the discovery of a
teen's naked body. She'd been shot 27 times; big surprises follow.

– “Kathy Griffin: Calm Down Gurrl,”
10:30 p.m., Bravo. It's always fun to have Griffin around; here, she
does a stand-up comedy special.

TV column for Monday, June 3


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

Under that glutzy, soapy title, the
original version of “Mistresses” was surprisingly subtle. A
British show, it had four bright women trapped by mistakes, often
their own.

And the U.S. version? It's glitzier and
soapier; the opening minutes leap between sexy affairs. It's also
prettier, with a slickly gorgeous look. Alyssa Milano and Yunjin Kim
(“Lost”) play a lawyer and a therapist, with big troubles and
troubled friends. Likable people scramble with hectic lives.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Fosters”
debut, 9 p.m., ABC Family.

Nudged by circumstance, a cop and a
vice-principal (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) have five kids, four of
them foster or adopted. This story starts with the arrival of a
troubled teen (Maia Mitchell).

There are some major producers behind
this, including Benny Medina (whose own real-life adoption was the
inspiration for “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”) and Jennifer Lopez.
Tim Busfield, who directed the first two episodes, gives “Fosters”
a strong, sleek look that enfolds a solid story.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Voice,”
8-10:01 p.m., NBC.

Adam Levine used to boast that he had
coached the first “Voice” winner. Then came the Shelton surge.

Blake Shelton had the second winner and
both third-season finalists. Now he could repeat.

Last week, two of Levine's people
(Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons) were ousted. That leaves Shelton with
half the top six, with one each for Levine, Usher and Shakira; now
viewers pick the final four.

Other choices include:

– “The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01
p.m., ABC. Some of the guys have a tough volleyball game, leading to
an emergency-room visit; others try stunt-man moves, with the winner
getting a date with Desiree.

– “The Secret Life of the American
Teenager” series finale, 8 p.m., ABC Family. Five years ago, this
started with Amy (Shailene Woodley) as a pregnant teen. Now,
belatedly, is the high school graduation.

– “Rules of Engagement,” 8:30,
CBS. A night of CBS reruns includes this one, with Liz – Russell's
crazy neighbor (and, briefly, wife) – wanting him to father her
baby.

– “Mike & Molly,” 9:30, CBS.
In a funny episode, Molly thinks she'll get out of cooking
Thanksgiving dinner, because Mike is sick. Alas, Vince's brother is
coming, with high expectations.

– “Anger Management,” 9:30 p.m.,
Fox. Charlie Sheen's fairly funny show often goes unnoticed on
cable's FX. Now it visits Fox, for an episode in which he tries a
new therapist; Marion Ross guests.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Rumer Willis – the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore –
guests as one of the Victoria's Secret models Danny must protect.

– “Push Girls” season-opener, 10
p.m., Sundance. This excellent reality show – focusing on four
young women in wheelchairs – has its best moments tonight with
Tiphany Adams, a paraplegic since a car accident 13 years ago, when
she was 17. She rides a bull at a cowboy bar and meets a woman she
likes at a lesbian bar; she also learns just how difficult it is to
move into a solo apartmeent.

– “Revolution” season-finale,
10:01 p.m., NBC. Miles and Monroe battle, at the key point in the
world's long-ago power black-out. Miles' leadership skills and
Aaron's techno-skill become crucial.

TV column for Sunday, June 2


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Concert for
Change,” 9-11 p.m., NBC.

From a London stadium, this concert
will be beamed to 150 countries on six continents.

Beyonce plans to do a 45-minute set,
with others performing briefly. They include Jennifer Lopez, John
Legend, Florence and the Machine, Timbaland, Rita Ora, Laura Pausini,
HAIM and Iggy Azalea.

Alongside the music are messages about
women's empowerment and justice. Presenters include Madonna, Gloria
Steinem and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “The Good Wife”
and “The Mentalist,” 9 and 10 p.m., CBS.

As the summer reruns begin, both shows
offer episodes that had repercussions throughout the season.

On “Good Wife,” Will and Diane
scramble to keep the firm alive; Alicia has a promising (but risky)
offer to join a start-up firm. On “Mentalist,” Patrick Jane helps
Lorelei escape from prison, hoping he'll to follow her and find Red
John.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Killing”
debut, 8-10 p.m., AMC.

Few shows have matched this one's early
crescendos of praise, admiration and then disappointment.

Mireille Enos was perfect as a solemn
cop, tracking a teen girl's kidnapper. The moody and moving visuals
and scripts were superb; still, stretching one story over two seasons
was excessive.

Now comes the start of a third-season
and second story, with Linden (Enos) pursuing a serial killer.

Other choices include:

– “The Empire Strikes Back”
(1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983), 6:45 and 10 p.m., Spike.
Here's a truly great double-feature, with the second and third pieces
of the “Star Wars” trilogy.

– “Cinderella”(1950), 7:45 p.m.,
ABC Family. This is another movie classic, gorgeously animated.

– “The Bachelorette,” 8-10 p.m.,
ABC. Here's a second chance to see Monday's opener. Viewers will
instantly like Desiree Hartsock, 26, a stylist for a wedding salon.
The guys range from one wearing a suit of armor to another who
displays an impressive torso by not wearing a shirt.

– “The American Baking
Competition,” 8 p.m., CBS. Another reality show repeats its opener.
Jeff Foxworthy hosts 10 amateur bakers, ranging from a student to a
firefighter to a retiree.

– “Princesses of Long Island”
debut, 9 p.m., Bravo. No longer confined to high-maintenance
housewives, Bravo now give us six young singles. Most are in their
20s, all are into glitz and gloss.

– “Game of Thrones,” 9 p.m., HBO.
It's time for Edmure, Robb Stark's uncle, to marry.

– “Nurse Jackie,” 9 p.m.,
Showtime. Several key stories peak in this excellent episode. There's
the boss with memory problems … and the doctor who's beautiful, but
incompetent ... and the emergency-room chief who's competent, but
disorganized. Also: trouble for Jackie's romance and for her
daughter.

– “Motive,”10 p.m., ABC. Wrapping
up its all-rerun night, ABC offers a show worth finding. It quickly
identifies the killer and the victim, but not the method, the motive
or how police will prevail.

– “Family Tree,” 10:30 p.m., HBO.
This offbeat half-hour starts and ends with Tom's sister and her
monkey puppet. Their opening job audition is hilarious.