TV column for Sunday, June 9


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Tony awards, 8-11
p.m., CBS.

Expect a music-stuffed evening. There
will be production numbers from four of the best-musical nominees –
“Kinky Boots” (13 nominations), “Matilda” (12); “Christmas
Story” (3) and “Bring It On” (2) – plus most of the
musical-revival nominees, “Pippin,” “Cinderella” and “Annie.”

There's more. “Motown” – not a
best-musical nominee – will have a production number. Also featured
will be the casts of nine ongoing musicals, old (“Lion King”) and
almost-new (“Once”). Even “Spider-Man,” which boycotted last
year's show, will be included.

Neil Patrick Harris, a terrific host,
will be back for the fourth time in five years. It should be fun.

Thrones” (HBO) or “Falling Skies” (TNT), 9 p.m.

Some of cable's biggest shows intersect
tonight – one coming, the other going.

“Thrones” is concluding its third
season, with the return of Jaime Lannister, a mighty warrior until
his right hand was severed. Meanwhile, “Falling Skies” starts its
third, with a rag-tag human militia still battling the invading
aliens. In the two-hour opener, a nuclear expert has an idea.

Next week, “Skies” will be free of
“Thrones” … and will crash into the “True Blood”

Borgias,”10 p.m., Showtime.

This epic series is now a week from its
finale … even if it wasn't planned that way.

Filming had been completed, long before
the announcement Wednesday that there won't be a fourth season.
Still, there are huge stories, most centering on Cesare Borgia. He
feuds with his dad the pope (Jeremy Irons) ... prepares to attack
Caterina Sforza's castle … and fumes about the marriage of
Lucrezia, the gorgeous sister he's always loved in a sibling way and
once loved in a carnal way.

Other choices include:

– “Family Addition,” 2 p.m., UP
(formerly GMC) and “The Blind Side” (2009), 8 p.m., ABC Family.
At night, catch Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning work in a terrific
movie. And in the afternoon, see the real-life person she portrays.
Leigh Anne Tuohy heads a feel-good show about adoption and more.

– Basketball, 8 p.m ET., ABC. Here's
the second game of the best-of-seven championship series, with San
Antonio at Miami. A preview is at 7:31 p.m., with “Jimmy Kimmel
Live” at 7.

– “The Candidate” (1972) and “All
the President's Men” (1976), 8 and 10 p.m., Sundance. Robert
Redford stars in two brilliant political films, one fictional and one
not. Launching a great night, the channel also has “Network”
(1976) at 6 p.m.

– “America's Got Talent,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. Tuesday's season-opening auditions rerun.

– “Nurse Jackie,” 9 p.m.,
Showtime. Last week ended harshly, with teen Grace taking cocaine
with her boyfriend. It's a serious episode, with a tad of humor and
some odd-but-interesting closing twists.

– “Veep,” 10:10 p.m., HBO. This
wonderfully witty episode takes place in a couple rooms of the
vice-president's home, with two sides fretting. The VP (Julius
Louis-Dreyfus) wants a puffy interview; a reporter (Allison Janney)
wants to dig in. There's scheming, shouting and humorous chaos.

– “Family Tree,” 10:40 p.m., HBO.
Tom visits his rural relatives, in a droll (and semi-funny) episode.

TV column for Saturday, June 8

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Primeval: New
World” debut, 10 p.m., Syfy.

Vancouver seems like a recreational
paradise, but maybe not. A gleeful parachutist is snatched by a
pterodactyl; two cyclists zoom straight into a dinosaur. And that's
in the first few minutes.

“Primeval” was a British series,
with people and creatures using a portal between our world and
theirs. This fresh version has creatures crossing into modern Canada
… which apparently has only young, attractive people. It's a sharp
adventure, with good characters and great effects.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: Sports overload,

Three of the big-four networks are
consumed by sports tonight.

There's baseball on Fox (7 p.m. ET,
games varying by region), racing on ABC (8:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar) and –
barring a sweep – hockey on NBC (8 p.m. ET, Los Angeles Kings at
Chicago Blackhawks). And all of that is a day before ABC has the
second game of the pro-basketball finals.

debut, 9 p.m., Nickelodeon.

Encased in black-leather, Sam is on the
move. “I'm goin' wherever my motorcycle takes me,” she says.

Dressed in pink, Cat is perplexed. “I
thought the person controls the motorcycle,” she says.

They have nothing in common except that
they're very short adults from other situation comedies. Sam
(Jennette McCurdy from “iCarly”) is terrific; Cat (Ariana Grande
from “Victorious”) is best confined to tiny bursts. Still, this
opener has two great sight gags and some decent verbal moments.

finale, 10 p.m., BBC America.

The first two hours offered small
bursts of hope for Kieren, who returned home under medical
supervision. His best friend was back, a new girl was here; both are
zombies, as is he.

But now fresh crises build. Compelling
and sometimes wrenching, “Flesh” becomes a deep drama.

Other choices include:

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun of the season-opener, D.B.Russell's
granddaughter has been kidnapped. Now Russell (Ted Danson) and his
wife (Peri Gilpin) despair.

– “Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m.,
ABC. This show has been on the shelf for 10 weeks and might stay
there until fall. But here's a one-shot rerun, fitting into racing
night, because NASCAR's Tony Stewart guests, playing himself.
Meanwhile, Mike's wife (Nancy Travis) longs for her adventurous days.

– Movies, 8 p.m. cable. Here are two
great ones, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977, G4) and
“The Fugitive” (1993, IFC). Also, consider the witty little
“Juno” (2007, Oxygen) and two film-buff favorites – “Dog Day
Afternoon” (1975, Sundance) and “Breathless” (1960, Turner
Classic Movies).

– “Sinbad” debut, 9 p.m., Syfy.
Strong on ambition and weak on execution, this gives “Primevel” a
so-so lead-in. A thief, and a brutal fighter, Sinbad is hard to like.
Then a curse condemns him to life on the sea. The opening hour often
feels dark and distant.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. In a rerun of one of the show's lesser nights, Vince
Vaughn hosts and Miguel is music guest.

TV column for Friday, June 7

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “In the Flesh,”
10 p.m., BBC America; concludes Saturday.

 In Thursday's opener, we met Kieren,
part of a one-time rising of the dead. These people have been
re-defined –from zombies to “partially deceased syndrome” –
and mainstreamed. In his little town, however, hatred lingers; even
his teen sister hunts “rotters.”

Tonight, that story broadens with the
return of Kieren's boyhood friend and the discovery of an optimistic
zombie girl. It's a good hour, leading to Saturday's darkly moving

Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.

As this rerun of the show's second hour
begins, Joe Carroll is back in prison, but his plot builds.

One of his underlings commits mass
murder; another – sweet-faced Emma – has been his son's nanny and
now kidnaps the boy. She's a great character; one flashback, with her
mother, packs fierce power.

Demons” season-finale, 9 p.m., Starz; reruns at 10:05.

The Medicis felt peace was near:
Lorenzo's brother Giulino would have a marriage of political
convenience AND romantic lust; Florence would dominate.

Then it all crumbled. Giulino barely
survived Vatican attackers, only to be stabbed by Lucrezia, the
mistress/spy. That leads to tonight's cliffhanger and the biggest
sword fight you'll ever see in a church,.

Other choices include:

– “Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a
rerun, a pod washes ashore, containing the body of a crime-scene
clean-up specialist. Also, Cam seems to have a secret romance.

– “Killing Lincon (2013),” 8-10
p.m., National Geographic, reruns at 11. John Wilkes Booth, we're
told, was a handsome and articulate actor, consumed by hatred. This
skillful adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's book has Jesse Johnson (Don
Johnson's son) as Booth, with Tom Hanks narrating.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Some 38 years ago, George Takei of “Star Trek” played an
undercover cop on “Five-0.” This rerun has Takei, 76, back in a
different role, as Chin's uncle. Meanwhile, McGarrett faces a
carjacking and finds an endangered boy in backwood Oahu.

– “Family Addition” debut, 9
p.m., UP (formerly Gospel Music Channel), rerunning at 10 p.m. and 1
a.m. Leigh Anne Tuohy is a TV natural, a former cheerleader with
high-energy zest. “Addition” mixes two of her passions –
adoption and home makeovers. In the episodes we've seen (not this
one), Tuohy and Sue Mitchell – played by Sandra Bullock and Kathy
Bates in “Blind Side” – are immensely likable.

– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS.
This rerun has Danny and Jackie probing the murder of a bride on her
wedding day. Then they're re-assigned to protect a visiting dictator.

– “Continuum” season-opener, 10
p.m., Syfy. Kiera the cop was whisked from 2077 back to 2012,
alongside terrorists. She joined the police, with the help of young
Alec (who would become a techno-mogul in her era) and scrambled. Now
come two bursts of violence – one involving the militants' power
struggle, the other involving the mayor. It's a good, if crowded,
start to a promising season.

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

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.

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.

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

– “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

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.

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.

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.

Fried Homicide” debut, 10 p.m.,Investigation Discovery.

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

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

– “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.