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.

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.

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 6


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

For the 12 dancers, this is a crucial
week. Survivors will be on the top-10 tour, which was a 30-concert
spree last year; the two cut will go home to, perhaps,
semi-employment.

By coincidence, both of the people cut
last week were tap-dancers. Curtis Holland injured his shoulder and
couldn't do the “dance for your life” part; Alexis Juliano danced
beautifully and was still cut.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: Movies, 8 p.m.,
cable.

In a rare confluence, here are three
films that won the Academy Award for best picture.

“Slumdog Millionaire” (2008, IFC)
won eight Oscars, “One Few Over the Cuckoo's Nest” (1975,
Sundance) won five, Alfred Hitchcock's “Rebecca” (1940, Turner
Classic Movies) won two.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “”Extreme
Weight Loss,” 8-10 p.m., ABC.

Alyssa Stommen was 10 when her mother
lost control of the car and crashed into a tree. Her mom died; Alyssa
was transformed, especially by the constant arrival of food from
well-meaning friends.

Now we catch her at 22, 5-foot-6 and
414 pounds. Taking calls at a bank in Kalamazoo, Mich., she at first
doesn't recognize that the caller – just outside her cubicle – is
trainer Chris Powell; a year-long makeover is about to begin.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE II: “The Chase”
debut, 9 and 10 p.m., Game Show Network.

Three smart people take turns trying to
top one super-smart guy. Known simply as “The Beast,” he's big
(6-foot-7, 370 pounds), clever and British. They get a head start,
but only a small one.

The questions are fun and the host
(Brooke Burns) is sharp. Still, the all-or-nothing aspect mutes some
of the fun: If the Beast prevails in the final round, everything
preceding this is superfluous.

Other choices include:

– “How 'Jaws' Changed the World,”
7 p.m., Discovery. Shark Week continues, including this rerun,
showing the growth of the obsession after a 1975 Steven Spielberg
film.

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a
rerun, Gibbs works with his mentor, FBI Agent T.C. Fornell (Joe
Spano). That's complicated by the involvement of Diane Sterling
(Melinda McGraw), the ex-wife of both men.

– Pretty Little Liars” and
“Twisted,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC Family. What is it about TV
characters that makes them confess to murders they probably didn't
commit. Tonight, Mona claims she – not Hanna's mom Ashley – is
the killer; then Karen (Denise Ricard) says she – not her son Danny
– killed.

– More movies, 8 p.m., cable. If
tonight's three Oscar-winners are too serious, there's also fun.
Disney has the cartoon “Ratatouille” (2007); CMT has the Robin
Williams comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993). AMC's film – “O
Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) – is a Coen Brothers gem with
George Clooney.

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. This rerun has the team leaping into action, after cyanide kills
one Navy officer and hospitalizes another.

– “America's Got Talent,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. Twelve acts perform and viewers vote; four will advance.

– “Body of Proof,” 10 p.m., ABC.
This reruns the third of five episodes with Luke Perry as the city's
new health commissioner. Amid a rabies outbreak, some staffers even
fret about zombies.