TV column for Friday, April 27


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS.

The “sweeps” ratings period started
Thursday, which is good – but temporary – news. Only four weeks
remain in the season; competition shows wrap up, scripted ones dump
reruns (except Saturdays).

Earlier this week, CBS had 10 straight
scripted reruns. Not any more; tonight, Danny protects a witness
against the Russian mob, while his sister Erin faces a career choice:
She's offered a job in the mayor's office – which would have her
keeping an eye on their dad (Tom Selleck), the police commissioner.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “In Plain
Sight,” 10 p.m., USA.

There are only eight episodes in the
fifth and final season of this solid show, so it all ends next week.

Mary finally found the dad who deserted
her (played by Stephen Lang, who's played taut leaders in “Avatar”
and “Terra Nova”), but troubles build. Now he's on the lam and
seeking vengeance.

The FBI tries to protect Mary and catch
him. She wants to slip the protectors and find him herself.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Magic City,”
7-11 p.m., Starz.

Here's a fresh chance to catch the
first three episodes, before a new one airs at 10. You'll meet Ike,
owner of a hotel in 1959 Miami, and his brutal, silent partner Ben
Diamond.

In that first hour, Ike asked Ben to
stop a strike. Now the labor leader (Ike's boyhood friend) is dead,
one witness has committed suicide and another is a target.

The new hour, at 10, brings more
murder, plus a sex scene – very explicit, very memorable – that
shows how depraved Ben is. It also has a final scene that hints at
bigger trouble ahead.

Other choices include:

– Football draft, 7 p.m., ESPN. Here
are the second and third rounds.

– “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”
(2008), 7:30-10 p.m., FX. Jason Segel wrote and starred in this
clever comedy, with good moments for others, especially Russell
Brand. Other key movies are “Speed” (1994), 8 p.m. on AMC, and
the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” (2008) at 9 on Bravo.

– “Who Do You Think You Are?” 8
p.m., NBC. Rob Lowe grew up comfortably in Dayton, Ohio (where his
dad was a successful lawyer) and Malibu. How far back does success
go? Tonight, he traces his roots to the Revolutionary War and George
Washington. He also learns of a rush to leave Germany.

– “Supernatural,” 9 p.m., CW. A
hacker seeks information on Sam and Dean; they race to stop her.

– “CSI: NY, 9 p.m.”, CBS. A
dismembered body was placed at an intersection, to frighten
neighbors.

– “Art in the 21st
Century,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). This hour starts with
an interesting portrait of artist Glenn Ligon and ends with a bizarre
one on Marina Abramovic; we hear her comments, as a camera simply
moves toward and away from her unflinching face. In between is
filmmaker Mary Reid Kelley.

– “Ghost Adventures”
season-finale, 9 p.m., Travel. There have been rumors of spirits
inhabiting the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. Now a party is held in
Frank Sinatra's old suite; it includes Bruce Westcott (Sinatra's
pianist), plus Vince Neil of Motley Crue and poker champion Jamie
Gold.

– “Catch Me If You Can” (2002),
10 p.m., TBS. A good movie night continues. Steven Spielberg directed
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks in the true story of a master of
false identities.

TV column for Thursday, April 26


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Community,” 8
p.m., NBC.

On a typical week, “Community: is
inconsistent, but clever. Then there are the special weeks like this.

A yam has been smashed in the biology
lab. What follows is a “Law & Order” take-off, complete with
theme music, introduction, “ching-ching” sound between scenes and
more. It all ends in the courtroom (well, biology-class court), where
Annie is a fierce prosecutor. This one is worth catching or taping.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Grey's
Anatomy,” 9 p.m., ABC.

This show began in 2005, with young
doctors starting their surgical residency in Seattle. Now comes a key
turning point: They head to San Francisco to take their oral exams.

Others also have crises. Owen and Teddy
have a heated argument. Richard – whose wife is in love with
another Alzheimer's resident – meets Catherine (Debbie Allen), the
ace surgeon who's interested in him.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Costco
Craze,” 9 p.m., CNBC; repeats at 10.

Costco stores hsbr concrete floors,
towering stacks and few signs. “It costs a lot of money to make
this look cheap,” joked co-founder Jim Sinegal.

That works. He has 600 stores and
averages $88 billion in annual sales, from $400 million in toilet
paper to $4.5 billion in meat. His plan has lots of categories –
from caskets to imported wine – with limited choices in each. In
the CNBS style, this is low-key, non-judgmental hour, with rich
details.

Other choices include:

– “American Idol,” 8 p.m., Fox.
We learn who's being ousted during Queen week; The Queen Extravaganza
(the official tribute show) performs “Somebody to Love.” Also,
Katy Perry sings “Part of Me” and Stefano Langone sings “I'm On
a Roll.” That's a good sign for Colton Dixon, ousted last week; he
finished No. 7 this year – just as Langone did last year and
Jennifer Hudson did in 2004.

– Football draft, 8 p.m., ESPN and
NFL Network. Here's the first round, starting with the Colts.

– “The Office,” 9 p.m., NBC. Now
unemployed, Andy crashes a fund-raiser, getting bigger problems.

– “Don't BeTardy For the Wedding”
debut, 9 and 9:30 p.m., Bravo. “Real Housewives of Atlanta”
viewers saw Kim Zolciak's romance with Kroy Biermann, who has spent
four years as an Atlanta Falcon defensive end, sometimes starting.
Here, Kim and Kroy, now 33 and 26, plan a wedding. It's a difficult
show to like, as she pushes a million-dollar affair, clashing with
his Montana values.

– “Parks and Recreation,” 9:31
p.m., NBC. As the city council election nears, Leslie has her debate.
There are some fairly funny moments there; better ones come as April
and Andy host a viewing party.

– “The Mentalist,”10 p.m., CBS. A
body is found outside a cabaret that had female impersonators.

– “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m.,
PBS(check local listings). For a time, people assumed the buffalo was
doomed; historians scrambled to bag the last ones, for their museums.
Lately, however, a comeback has begun. Yellowstone Park nurtures its
herd, worrying about disease and neighbors. Ranchers proclaim the
leanness of buffalo meat; tribes combine to have more than 15,000
buffalo. It's an interesting tale.

– “Scandal,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. The
president's affair with an intern has left a new crisis. Also, Quinn
is warned to quit dating a reporter. And she's startled to find Latin
American soldiers waiting at the office.

TV column for Wednesday, April 25


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “America
Revealed,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

On a steamy August afternoon in 2003,
power outages began to cascade. Soon, 55 million people in eight
states and Ontario were affected; some were unable to get home.

This fast-paced hour looks briefly at
what happened and then at the constant effort to maintain the power
grid and prevent outages. It's an action-adventure hour: rappeling
down a wind turbine, fixing power lines via helicopter and visiting
massive places – a coal mine, an oil tanker, a nuclear plant.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “American
Idol,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

The final six contestants sing songs by
Queen, possibly learning from the past.

On a Queen night in 2006, Bucky
Covington sang “Fat Bottomed Girls” and was promptly ousted.
Doing better were Ace Young (“We Will Rock You”), Kellie Pickler
(“Bohemian Rhapsody:) and the eventual top three – Taylor Hicks
(“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”), Katharine McPhee (“Who
Wants to Live Forever”) and Elliott Yamin (“Somebody to Love”).

We can expect those songs and more –
including “We Are the Champions” and “Another One Bites the
Dust” – by individuals or in a group medley with Queen members
Brian May and Roger Taylor.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Locked Up
Abroad” season-opener, 10 p.m., National Geographic.

A tough guy with a hero's face, Erik
Aude was getting small movie and TV roles. Some people knew him as
one of the muscleheads in “Dude, Where's My Car?”

In 2002, Aude, then 21, foolishly
agreed to go to Pakistan and get some leather coats, supposedly to
avoid import taxes. There was opium inside; a three-year prison
ordeal followed. Aude tells the story and plays himself in
re-enactments; it's an hour that is often brutal and sometimes
compelling.

Other choices include:

– “The L.A. Complex,” 8 p.m., CW.
If you missed Tuesday's amiable debut, catch this rerun. It's a
Canadian series about transplants in Los Angeles, grasping for their
show-business dreams.

– “North Country” (2005), 8-10
p.m., AMC. At the core is a real-life sexual-discrimination fight in
Minnesota mining country. That's fictionalized here, boosted by a
strong performance by Charlize Theron and evocative songs by Bob
Dylan, who grew up in northern Minnesota.

– “Modern Family,” 9 p.m. ABC.
This rerun has Greg Kinnear as Phil's new boss. Straining to make a
good impression, Phil doesn't seem to notice that the guy is flirting
with his wife.

– “Don't Trust the B in Apartment
23,” 9:31 p.m., ABC. After a slow start in New York, June now has a
job and a promising internship. Alas, she also has to clean up after
Chloe's latest scheme goes bad.

– “Revenge,” 10 p.m., ABC. Emily
finally learns who killed her father. That creates repercussions for
the people in Victoria's schemes. Meanwhile, Declan's testimony
brings trouble with Charlotte.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a slain rancher was a ballistics expert,
That brings federal agents, played by Matt Lauria (“Friday Night
Lights”) and Grant Show.

– “Total Blackout” debut, 10 and
10:30 p.m., Syfy. Groping in the dark, people must guess what they
find. Some things really are yucky; at other times, people scream at
a hairbrush or a teddy bear. Contestants range from stoic to absurdly
screechy. The result is moderately entertaining.

TV column for Tuesday, April 24


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

Right now, each episode is important.
There are only three left, prior to a May 15 finale that sees club
sing in the nationals and key characters graduate.

There are plot points to settle every
week; tonight, Will and Emma prepare for their wedding. And there's a
bonus: Tonight has the young singers tackling the music of Whitney
Houston.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The L.A.
Complex” debut, 9 p.m., CW.

It's a global impulse – go to Los
Angeles to seek stardom. This Canadian series offers its perspective.

Abby Vargas (Cassie Steele) is from
Toronto. She's an actress who has everything go wrong – from losing
her apartment to vomiting in front of a top director.

Others? There's a successful actor, a
spectacular-looking dancer, a picked-on music intern, an oddly inept
comedian. There's a once-successful actress, now passed over for
younger actresses.

She's played by Jewel Staite
(“Stargate: Atlantis”) who's all of 29. Steele is 22 and has
already done 10 years of Canada's “Degrassi” series; she brings
humor and vulnerability, giving “L.A.” a solid start.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Frontline,”
8:59-11 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Some of the best recent TV reporting
came with this show's look at the 2008 Wall Street failure. It showed
a system near collapse, a country near Depression, with leaders
scrambling.

Now comes the next step: Over four
hours on two Tuesdays, “Frontline” views the uneasy alliance of
government and business, trying to fix the damage. It views success,
failure, missed opportunities.

Other choices include:

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. A night of
CBS reruns starts with the team probing a murder and finding its
colleague E.J. Barrett, played by Sarah Jane Morris of “Brothers &
Sisters.”

– Romance movies, 8 p.m., cable. The
new ones – “Dear John” (2010) on FX, “Water for Elephants”
(2011) on HBO – might seem similar. Each was adapted from a novel;
a handsome guy (Channing Tatum, Robert Pattinson) fall for a pretty
blonde (Amanda Seyfried, Reese Witherspoon). Then there's “The Way
We Were”(1973) on TCM; Robert Redford is the pretty blonde, with
Barbra Streisand.

– “The Voice” (NBC) and “Dancing
With the Stars” (ABC), 9 p.m. “Voice” trims to its final eight,
“Stars” to seven. “Stars” also has a Motown medley and Boyz
II Men. It introduces a dance group that includes a “So You Think
You Can Dance” winner (Nick Lazzarini) and runner-up (Travis Wall).

– “New Girl,” 9 and 9:31 p.m.,
Fox. The first episode has Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jess' boyfriend's
ex-wife. That's followed (in a schedule change) by a rerun, with
Lizzy Caplan as Nick's hesitant girlfriend.

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. A dishonorably discharged Marine sergeant may have committed
murder – or may be the victim of an elaborate conspiracy.

– “Unforgettable,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Marilu Henner (“Taxi”) is one of the few people with the skill
this show portrays – remembering every detail of her life. She's a
consultant on the show and tonight plays Carrie's aunt, helping
Carrie re-probe her sister's murder.

TV column for Monday, April 23


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Smash,” 10
p.m., NBC.

Each week, “Smash” has great
characters, smart dialog and – especially – terrific song and
dance numbers. Now comes a bonus – a fantasy number in the style of
a “Bollywood” movie.

That involves Karen (Katharine McPhee),
who has twice lost the lead in a Marilyn Monroe musical – first to
Ivy (Megan Hilty), then to Rebecca (Uma Thurman), a movie star.

Now Karen is becoming Rebecca's new
friend – and has been drifting from her boyfriend Dev (Raz
Jaffrey), a City Hall bureaucrat. It's time for them to do a zesty
Bollywood number.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Eureka,” 9
p.m., Syfy.

Last week's terrific season-opener
(rerunning at 8 p.m.) saw the crew return, finding a shock: Four
years had elapsed and everything in Eureka had changed.

Then came the twist: None of that is
real: It's been planted in their minds, to harvest their idaes.

Tonight's “Eureka” juggles
realities. We're in the imagined world, with four years elapsed ….
and the real one, with four months elapsed as people desperately
seeking the missing ship. It's a great hour.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Dancing With
the Stars” and “20/20,” 8 and 10:01 p.m., ABC.

For seven years and 14 editions, this
has given ABC high ratings and headlines. Now “20/20” has a
report by Lara Spencer and former contestant Cameron Mathison. They
talk to other ex-contestants (Mario Lopez, Ricki Lake, etc.) and
Julianne Hough, who went from dance pro to country singer.

First, a new week of competition
begins. Last week,.Gavin DeGraw was ousted after finishing in the
bottom with Jaleel White. Now eight celebrities remain.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE II: “Hotel
Impossible,” 10 p.m., Travel.

You might expect the familiar steps,
with a host raging at the people in charge. Not tonight.

Anthony Melchiorri is fond of the
sweet-natured owners of a motel, 20 minutes from Miami's South Beach.
They're good people with bad luck; he reshapes and re-names a gem,
the Hotel New Yorker.

Other choices include:

– “How I Met Your Mother,” 8
p.m., CBS.A night of CBS reruns starts with a disturbing realization:
Each person's loved one is similar to one of his or her parents.

– “William & Kate” (2011),
8-10 p.m., Lifetime. Prince William and Kate Middleton are likable
young people, finding romance in college and beyond.

– “2 Broke Girls,” 8:30 p.m.,
CBS. Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) dresses up for Valentine's Day,
possibly looking too hot. Earl (played by Garrett Morris, 75)
promptly has a heart attack.

– “Two and a Half Men,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. To help Sophie relax, Walden tries Berta's special brownies.

– “House,” 9 p.m., Fox. Dreams
are key factors here: A boy wakes up from one and can't take in air;
also, Park has intimate dreams about her fellow doctors.

– “Mike & Molly,” 9:30 p.m.,
CBS. Mike hates Halloween and resists going to a party with Molly.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 10 p.m., CBS.
A crashed plane has a dead customs officer inside. Two former
“Heroes” co-stars are here – Masi Oka as a medical examiner,
Greg Grunberg as a customs supervisor.