TV column for Sunday, Aug. 11


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Breaking Bad,” 9 p.m., AMC.

After an11-month break, “Bad” finally returns with the second half of its final season.

First, are reruns of the entire first half – eight episodes, from 1-9 p.m. Then the final push begins, with Walter White – former high school chemistry teacher – deep in the drug-dealing business.

There's also a bonus: “Low Winter Sun” (debuting at 10:04 p.m.) is a worthy companion. “Sun” started with a British tale about a cop who makes one lethal mistake, then is in charge of the investigation. It retained the British star (Mark Strong), but moved the show to Detroit, which offers a great backdrop.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Teen Choice Awards,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

A night of youthful exuberance includes music by Florida Georgia Line, Demi Lovato, One Direction and Paramore.

One host is Darren Criss, whose “Glee” is nominated for best comedy. It faces “Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family,” “New Girl” and “Suburgatory.”

The other host is Lucy Hale, whose “Pretty Little Liars” is up for best drama. It faces “Revenge,” “Nashville,” “Switched at Birth” and the long-departed “Gossip Girl.” There are plenty of other categories, plus presenters including Miley Cyrus, Gabrielle Douglas, Jim Parsons and Demi Lovato.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Eat, Drink, Love” debut, 9 p.m., Bravo.

Here is Los Angeles night life, sexy and seductive. But it's not movies or rock 'n' roll; it's food.

Waylynn Lucas is a beauty whose “flonuts” bakery seems to be thriving; fresh from a messy break-up with a celebrity chef, she vows to quit dating food guys. Kat Odell has a popular food blog … and a questionable habit of sleeping with people she writes about.

Then there's Jessica Miller, who admits she seems too young and slim to be a restaurant mogul. Also, private chef Nina Clemente and public relations person Brenda Urban. Sometimes too loud and too foolish, these women make food seem Hollywood-worthy.

Other choice include:

– Cartoon marathon, 3:20 p.m., ABC Family. Some great – and greatly entertaining – films fill this marathon. That starts with “Wall-E” (2008); “Cars” (2006 ) is at 5:30 p.m., with “Despicable Me” (2010) at 8 and 10.

– “Family Guy,” 7 and 7:30 p.m., Fox. The first half-hour marks the show's 200th episode, including interviews with the stars. The second has a drug company withholding the cure for cancer.

– “Secret Millionaire,” 8 p.m., ABC. Jay Deutsch has made a fortune by helping companies and sports leagues sell branded merchandise. Now, in honor of a slain friend, he goes undercover in a low-income part of Phoenix.

– “Unforgettable,” 9 p.m., CBS. The murder of a businessman is an enigma at first. Then Carrie starts to link it to a much larger plot.

– “The Mentalist,” 10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, the young star of a local theater production has been killed, on the eve of opening night.

– “Crossing Lines,” 10 p.m., NBC. It's important to know whom you're stealing from. Two young men make the maybe-fatal mistake of stealing from an Italian drug lord and kidnapping his daughter.

TV column for Saturday, Aug. 10


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The White
Queen,” 8 p.m., Starz; reruns at 9, 10:05 and 11:10.

It all starts simply enough, with
Elizabeth Woodvillw standing under an oak tree, waiting for King
Edward IV to ride past. She's a widowed mom, hoping to have her
land-ownership returned.

And then it becomes much more. Over 10
episodes, she'll be in a cauldron of schemes and betrayal.

A fictional piece based on real
16th-century people, “White Queen” is beautifully told. Max Irons
is excellent as the king; Rebecca Ferguson and Janet McTeer are
superb as Elizabeth and her mother.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.

One classic HBO show (“Sex and the
City”) has a teen prequel on CW, so why not another? This rerun's
best sketch offers Tony Soprano and his pals doing teen high-jinks.

Meanwhile, Adam Levine moves up a
notch: He's been music guest four times with Maroon 5; now he leaves
the music to Kendrick Lamar. Instead, he hosts and does sketches,
ranging from a nerdy gangster to a “Voice” contestant, with Jerry
Seinfeld, Cameron Diaz and Andy Samberg as judges.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNTIVE: “Hell on
Wheels” season-opener, 9 p.m., rerunning at 11.

As the Union Pacific tracks push
westward, lives keep changing.

Two years ago, we met Elam, a former
slave, and Cullen, a former slave-owner and Confederate officer.
Elam was a laborer, Cullen was a foreman, Doc Durant was a ruthless
railroad owner.

Last season (rerunning from 11 a.m. to
9 p.m.) that changed drastically. Now Doc's in jail, Cullen's in
charge, Elam has a badge … and the competing, east-bound tracks are
gobbling too much of the land.

Other choices include:

– “American Nina Warrior” and
“Get Out Alive,” 8 and 9 p.m., NBC. Two adventure-reality shows
rerun their Monday episodes. “Warrior” wraps up its Baltimore
try-outs; “Alive” has the remaining six duos travel by rope, 100
feet above the bottom of a gorge.

– “Motive,” 8 p.m., ABC. In a
rerun, Det. Angie Flynn has a tough day: She's probing the murder of
an upscale lawyer; her son has been arrested for vandalism.

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. Last
season ended with Callen shooting the Chameleon and Hetty resigning.
In this rerun of the season-opener, he's been suspended and she's
adjusting to a quiet life.

– “Cedar Cove,” 8 p.m., Hallmark.
This sweet-spirited town gets something new – a maybe-murder
mystery. A stranger has died at the bed-and-breakfast; the rumor mill
swirls, in an OK episode.

– “Bones,” 9 p.m., Fox. Brennan
is suddenly obsessing on basketball and on former Laker coach Phil
Jackson's approach to teamwork. She assembles five of her lab
interns, to solve a tough case.

– “Reading, Writing and Romance,”
9-11 p.m., Hallmark. With his career sputtering, an actor (Eric
Mabius) takes a job as a high school teacher. He soon likes his
students and (especially) a colleague.

– “Do No Harm,” 10 p.m., NBC.
Jason, the diligent doctor, faces a new problem: Surgery extends past
8:25 p.m., which is when evil Ian takes over his body.

– “Primeval: New World” season
finale, 10 p.m., Syfy. Evan confronts the creature (an albertosaurus)
that killed his wife.

TV column for Friday, Aug. 9


 

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Magic City”
finale and “White Queen” debut, 9 and 10 p.m., Starz.

These shows are opposites in many ways
– one rough and macho, the other warm (for now) and sweet. Each,
however, is a beautifully crafted period piece.

First, Ike's schemes – to gain
control of his Miami hotel and some Cuban casinos – are peaking.
Two mobsters (Danny Huston and James Caan) battle for control; the
result is explosive, literally.

Then we get an advance look at the
splendid “White Queen” mini-series, before it takes its regular
spot Saturday. Tonight, Elizabeth Woodville meet King Edward IV,
whose army killed her husband.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS.

This is turning into a good month for
“Five-0” reruns. TNT has just started airing early episodes (9
and 10 p.m. Thursdays); CBS has gone back to the start of the current
season.

Last Friday had the season-opener, with
McGarrett learning his mom is alive. Now she's missing again.

Meanwhile, an art-heist has turned
deadly. The team consults August March, an art crook; Ed Asner plays
the role, as he did twice before – last season and (on the original
series) in1975.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Strike Back”
season-opener, 10 p.m., Cinemax.

Maybe we shouldn't have said “Magic
City” is macho. Compared to this show, it's “Downton Abbey.”

The hour starts with an up-close
murder, then gains energy. The guys are on foot, on motorcycles and
finally in a frantic, riverboat shoot-out. The women have it tougher,
sometimes doing battle while in underwear or an evening gown.

These are tough, strong women (and
men). Don't expect much of a story – or a plot that wraps up in
this hour; do expect lots of high-octane work by commandos.

Other choices include:

– “Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a
rerun, the murder victim was an ex-Marine, obsessed with a coming
apocalypse. Now doomsday preppers are key suspects.

– “Off Their Rockers,” 8 and 8:30
p.m., NBC. In a change, Betty White's hidden-camera show moves its
reruns to Fridays. The first episode includes trainer Bob Harper; the
second has Nicole Richie.

– “Perfect Score,” 8 and 8:30
p.m., CW. This game show has people trying to win dates and cash by
guessing who will come closest to them on a compatibility test. The
first episode pits two bankers.

– “America's Next Top Model,” 9
p.m., CW. Last week, the show launched the first edition to include
men and women, finding some eccentric and interesting contestants.
Now – with some harness help – they must walk a vertical runway,
down the side of a building.

– “The Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.
In a rerun, Claire tries to adjust to life in the mansion held by
Joe's followers, while Ryan and the FBI desperately try to locate it.

– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Thrown from a moving car, a man is covered with rat bites. Danny
tries to figure out who might be trying to send a message. Meanwhile,
his dad the police commissioner tries to be diplomatic, when a
bigoted radio host comes to town.

– “Continuum,” 10 p.m., Syfy.
There's trouble for both sometimes-colleagues: Kiera is captured by
Julian's people; Alec, trying to find Travis, instead is hunted
himself.

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 8


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The Winner Is”
finale, 9 p.m., NBC, preceded by a rerun at 8.

Women have soared in this first season.
Four – Katie Ohh, Leah Grace, Amy Showalter and Sharde Bivans –
were weekly winners, alongside two groups (The LaFontaines, Senior
Sounds of Touch).

Now all six acts compete, with one
winning a million dollars. There are temptations along the way,
though: After each two-way battle, people have the choice of taking
money to leave. Indeed, two finalists (Grace and Showalter) got here
because their opponents took the money – before learning they would
have been the winners.

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

This rerun offers a solid spotlight for
the the late Cory Monteith as Finn.

He and Will (Matthew Morrison) have
been feuding; now, for the first time, glee-clubbers give them an
assignment. Meanwhile, Santana is suspicious of Brody's side job.

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

Here is “Big Bang” at its best,
mixing and matching its people in new ways.

Sheldon has become too much, so Leonard
moves in with Penny … who likes him a lot more as a visitor than as
a roommate. Also, Howard is away and Raj helps Mrs.Wolowitz.

Other choices include:

– “Teen Beach Movie,” 8-10 p.m.,
Disney. Already the second-most-popular movie in cable history, this
film airs again. The first showing drew 13.5 million viewers
(counting delayed viewing), trailing only “High School Musical 2”;
its story has a surfer couple transported into a classic beach movie.

– “Two and a Half Men,” 8:31
p.m., CBS. For a brief blip six years ago, Alan was married to the
hot Kandi (April Bowlby, now of “Drop Dead Diva”). In this rerun,
she returns and wants him back.

– “Big Brother”(CBS) and “Project
Runway” (Lifetime), both 9 p.m. This timeslot overflows with
reality results. At the same time that “The Winner Is” picks its
first champion, “Big Brother” has its sixth ouster; last week,
Howard Overby was the fifth. Meanwhile, Project Runway has its
contestants design with a bow tie as a key piece; a shortened version
of the previous episode reruns at 8.

– “Motive,” 9 p.m., ABC.An art
buff, young and beautiful, has been killed.

– “New Girl,” 9 p.m., Fox. This
rerun is full of identity crises. Jess pretends to be someone else; a
bar customer claims to be Nick from the future.

– “The Mindy Project,” 9:30
p.m., Fox. Ellie Kemper, one of Mindy Kaling's “The Office”
colleagues, is back. She's Heather, who ruined the Christmas party;
now she may move into the apartment building.

– “Rookie Blue,”10 p.m., ABC.
It's time for the wedding of Frank and Noelle. Except that the bride
has disappeared and the wedding guests deal with a big case, the
robbery of a bus full of seniors.

– “Hollywood Game Night,”10 p.m.,
NBC. Al Roker, the weather guy, plays the games alongside comedy
people – Jason Alexander, Nick Cannon, Niecy Nash, Josh Gad and
Will Sasso.

– “Elementary,” 10:01 p.m., CBS.
In a rerun, Sherlock is investigating an explosion that killed two
people. Then he finds evidence of a crime from years ago.

TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Broadchurch”
debut, 10 p.m., BBC America.

In a gorgeous seaside town, Ellie
Miller has a good job (police sergeant) and an attractive family. Her
big concern is that an expected promotion went to a charmless
outsider (David Tennant).

Then come the jolts: Her son's best
friend is dead; secrets emerge throughout town.

Their emergence is gradual, in a slow
but beautifully crafted, eight-week series.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “MasterChef,”
8-10 p.m., Fox.

So far, a dozen contestants have been
ousted. In tonight's second hour, they get a comeback chance.

First, they try to fry as many eggs as
possible; then the top two prepare salmon dishes for the judges –
and the current contestants – to sample blind. The winner is
brought back, as one of the final seven.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Modern
Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.

Jay has a perfect plan for New Year's
Eve. He'll take the other grown-ups to Palm Springs, while Haley and
Alex watch the kids.

Then this rerun has everything go
wrong. The hotel isn't what was promised; people scatter and Jay is
sad … until he meets Billy Dee Williams.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE II: “The
Bridge,” 10 p.m., FX.

Maria has been rescued from the desert,
but lives swirl in this strong hour.

She's in intensive care, barely able to
talk. Marco, the Juarez cop, saw his marriage shattereded by his
night with a rich widow. And Linder – simultaneously good, bad and
creepy – helps a woman go into hiding, then has a violent
confrontation.

Other choices include:

– “America's Got Talent,” 8 and 9
p.m., NBC. First are highlights of Tuesday's 12 performances. Then we
learn which four acts will advance.

– “The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC. This
rerun bounces back to the season's third episode, with the start of
the school year. Axl is a senior, Sue is a mentor, Brick is annoying
his dad. Meanwhile, their mom has lost her job and contemplates a new
career.

– “Suburgatory,” 8:30, ABC. This
Thanksgiving rerun finds Tessa heading to the city and George trying
to create a dinner. He's really not very good at it.

– “Top Ten Sharkdown,” 9 p.m.,
Discovery. As part of Shark Week, this re-visits 21st-century
attacks.

– “The Neighbors,” 9:31 p.m.,
ABC. Still learning the details of Earth life, Larry and Jackie get a
shock: On their planet, he's considered the pretty one; here, she's
considered beautiful. Now Larry wants a makeover and Jackie tests her
sex appeal in a night club called Hell.

– “Camp,” 10 p.m., NBC. In the
midst of a heat wave, Buzz prepares for his 16th birthday
party. Soon, his divorced parents are battling over a gift. Also, he
feels left out when he sees his friend Kip kissing mean-girl Chloe.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
10 p.m., CBS. Try not to invite a CSI guy to a a class reunion. In
this rerun, David Phillips goes to one and promptly finds that the
former prom queen has been killed.