TV column for Friday, Sept. 5


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Stand Up to Cancer,” 8 p.m, on ABC,
CBS, NBC, Fox, Ion and at least 26 cable channels, plus Hulu and Yahoo.

For the fourth time, Hollywood people combine to raise money
and awareness for fighting cancer.

We can expect lots of music, including Jennifer Hudson,
Ariana Grande, Dave Matthews, The Who and Lupe Fiasco linking with Common.
Other celebrities will be on-air (including Katie Couric and Pierce Brosnan,
who were widowed by cancer) or on phones. Instead of phoning pledges, people
can register at
to have a celebrity possibly call them this weekend.

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

Occasionally, this show departs from its island beauty and
tackles an international adventure.

This one sends Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and
Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth), both former Navy officers, to Afghanistan.
There, they try to rescue a boy whose family previously saved her life.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Masters of Illusion,” 8 p.m., CW,
and “Wizard Wars,” 10 p.m., Syfy.

For a brief summer stretch, it’s been possible to catch two
magic shows on Fridays. That ends now – Syfy debuts a zombie show next Friday –
so tonight is the final chance.

First, “Masters” has tricks Nathan Burton, Jonathan
Pendragon and more. Then “Wizards” has magicians devise with mismatched props;
in this rerun, that includes tarot cards and a pirate costume.

Other choices include:

“Grown Ups 2” (2013), 6:15 p.m., Starz; “Grown Ups” (2010),
8 and 10:30 p.m., FX. This was why techno-geniuses created cable? So we could
have our choice of Sandler-Spade movies?

“The Unauthorized ‘Saved by the Bell’ Story,” 8-10 p.m., Lifetime.
Here’s a repeat of Monday’s film, about an empty-headed teen comedy that became
a launching point for stardom.

“Whose Line Is It Anyway?” 8:30 p.m., CW. In a rerun, the
improvised-comedy team is joined by actor Gary Anthony Williams and by Mel B of
Spice Girls fame.

“America’s Next Top Model,” 9 p.m., CW. This rerun sees the
14 finalists move into their house.

“Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace,” 9 p.m., PBS (check
local listings). On the next two Fridays, PBS will portray painters (Wiley and
James Whistler) who may be opposites, but draw great praise. “Grace” watches
Wiley recruit ordinary people and transform them via designer clothes and

 “Bones,” 9 p.m., Fox.
A rerun starts with a rich girl’s body being found in a national park. She may
be the latest victim of the Ghost Killer and has a surprising connection to
another victim.

“Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. Danny finds a man wandering the
park, covered in his girlfriend’s blood and unsure what happened. Also in this
rerun, Danny’s brother Jamie is in trouble after helping an off-duty cop hide
the fact that he was drunk when catching an armed robber.

“The Knick,” 10 p.m., Cinemax. This 1900-era hospital often seems
drenched in one-note despair. The administrator is a body-snatcher … the chief
surgeon is a drug addict … his assistants are vile to the lone black doctor,
who deliberately puts a patient at risk. But at the end of this hour, the beefy
ambulance driver has a scene (at the paupers’ burial grounds) that resonates
with quiet beauty and emotion.

TV column for Thursday, Sept. 3

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Football, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC, with
preview at 7:3

Here’s a tradition, reminding us that pro-football is a big
deal: Three days before the other teams start, the annual opener with has two high-profile
teams and a celebration concert.

This time, Green Bay is in Seattle, site of a notorious game
two years ago. (The final-play call, a winning Seattle touchdown, drew so much
fury that the league promptly settled its referee strike.) First, Pharrell
Williams (who also joins “The Voice”) performs. Then Al Michaels and Chris
Collinsworth call the game.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS.

After tonight, we’ll have to accept the temporary notion of
no “Big Bang” on CBS’ Thursday. Starting next week, the network has a string of
eight pro football games.

“Big Bang” has already moved to Mondays (its temporary
home), but offers one more rerun here: Splitting from “string theory” physics,
Sheldon needs break-up comfort from Penny. Also, Howard feels humiliated after
he and Bernadette have a double date with Raj and Emily.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Honorable Woman,” 10 p.m.,

Nessa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has finally figured out the high
price her brother paid to free her from Gaza: Their wealthy family’s school
gave preferential admission to Israeli soldiers; it also let Israeli spies
monitor the entire phone system from Palestinian territories.

She explodes in some fierce scenes, but there’s more in
question: Who killed the school’s whistle-blower? And who knows that the boy born
in Gaza is the son of Nessa (via rape), not of her translator?

Other choices include:

“Dirty Dancing” (1987) and “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”
(2004), 6:30 and 9 p.m., ABC Family. This double-feature starts with the warm
tale of a teen learning about dancing and romance in the 1960s Catskills. Then
we see a similar story in 1958 Cuba. Jennifer Gray stars in the first film,
Romola Garai – a PBS and BBC America favorite – in the second. Patrick Swayze
is in both, the second briefly.

“The Quest,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. We’re now a week from the
two-hour finale of this show, which creates the ultimate adventure for
game-players. Tonight involves, among other things, a dragon’s lair.

“The Millers,” 8:31 p.m., CBS. When his dad (Beau Bridges)
announces he’s dating a much younger woman, Nathan (Will Arnett) does some
spying in this rerun, to see if she’s after his money.

“Bones,” 9 p.m., Fox. Medical crises play a big role here.
The murder victim had lupus; the marijuana clinic where she worked (and was
treated for pain) has suspects. Also, Wendell Bray returns to his lab work,
with disconcerting news about his cancer treatment.

“Project Runway,” 9-10:30 p.m., Lifetime. Contestants must
come up with avant-garde clothes that withstand rain and other elements. That’s
preceded at 8 p.m. by a shortened rerun from last week, with designs inspired
by jewelry and by a trip to the museum.

TV column for Wednesday, Sept. 3

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

In its first 10 seasons, “Dance” saw only one tap-dance
specialist reached its final four; none got further. Now there are two more.
Each is 20, each grew up far from the dance centers – Zach Everhart in
small-town Georgia, Valerie Rockey in the Indianapolis outskirts. Each leaps beautifully
into other styles.

They’re in tonight’s finale with two gifted 18-year-olds. Rickey
Ubeda, of Miami, has a pixie-like charm; Jessica Richens, of California, is
sometimes a mobile sex symbol. The votes are already in; before a winner is announced,
we’ll see the top 20, a dance crew and an Enrique Iglesias/Sean Paul song.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Extant,” 9 p.m., CBS.

Two weeks before the finale, this complex plot is starting
to come together.

Molly (Halle Berry) became pregnant during a solo space
mission. Now -- as the powers of her offspring grow quickly -- she grasps
Yasumoto’s scheme for eternal life. Meanwhile, Sparks has doubts about being
part of all this; if he backs off, however, Anya will take over.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The League” season-opener, 10 p.m.

Wednesday is the only weeknight that FXX doesn’t stuff with
“Simpsons” reruns. Instead, it offers a movie – “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012),
from 7-10 p.m. ET -- followed by a new “League” and an old “Ali G.” (Ali visits
the FBI; Borat goes hunting.) The latter two rerun from 11 p.m. to midnight ET.

In “League,” the fantasy-football season begins with Kevin
in double dismay: His wife is champ and Andre is confident. The trophy is named
Shiva (after an old nemesis); now the guys happen to join the mourning custom
of “sitting shiva.” They botch it, in an episode that’s often wild and
sometimes funny.

Other choices include:

“The Goldbergs,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. This four-rerun string ends
with an exceptionally funny episode at 9:30, as teen Barry takes the car on his
own. Earlier, Beverly meddles in the dating lives of her dad (George Segal) at
8 p.m. and her younger son Adam at 9. In between, Adam obsesses on “Goonies.”

“America’s Got Talent,” 9 p.m., NBC. Tonight, we learn who’s
in the second half of this season’s top 12. That follows an 8 p.m. hour that
recaps the acts that performed Tuesday.

“Modern Family,” 10 and 10:30 p.m., ABC. Here are two
chances to see Ty Burrell, who recently won his second Emmy as Phil. In the
first rerun, he’s supposed to help Gloria sell her old apartment; in the
second, he takes everyone to Australia, to scatter his mother’s ashes.

“The Bridge,” 10 p.m., FX. Last week ended powerfully, with
a drug lord hiring a hit man to get Sonya, the American cop who’s been probing
his dealings. Now she’s been captured and Marco scrambles.

“Hot in Cleveland,” 10 p.m., TV Land. Newly elected to the
city council, Elka (Betty White) is drunk with power. Joy (Jane Leeves) is
happy with Mitch (Tim Daly), but Simon (Craig Ferguson) is back.

“Taxi Brooklyn,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. One motorcyclist has
killed another. While Cat probes that case, Leo makes a startling discovery
after disputing an amateur basketball game.

TV column for Tuesday, Sept. 2

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Rizzoli & Isles” mid-season finale,
9 p.m., TNT, repeating at 11:02.

Cable’s most-watched summer, scripted show will take a few
months off after tonight. First. It has a fresh case … and a chance to leave Jane
(Angie Harmon) in mortal danger again.

Jamie Bamber, who was Apollo on “Battlestar Galactica,”
plays an assistant district attorney whose mistress is murdered. He becomes the
top suspect; Jane has doubts … and then has danger.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “NCIS,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS.

Three weeks before “NCIS: New Orleans” opens, here’s a rerun
of the two-parter that set it up: When a congressman is slain, Gibbs heads to
New Orleans, where, his friend (Scott Bakula) has an NCIS bureau.

With two assistants (Lucas Black and Zoe McLellan, a Northern
transplant), he has a tattered office that fits the city’s charm. They tackle a
fairly good mystery, helped by a wise coroner (CCH Pounder), Gibbs and Ellie Bishop
(Emily Wickersham); the other NCIS people work the Washington angles.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Story of ‘Frozen’,” 8-9 p.m.
Tuesday, ABC.

Just before Christmas in 1844, Hans Christian Andersen
published a story his Danish countrymen could relate to: “Snow Queen” had love
and treachery, in a land that became encased in ice.

Almost 170 years later, Disney’s turned that into a gold
mine. “Frozen: passed $400 million in the U.S. and Canada box office (the fifth
highest ever) and $1.2 billion globally. This special visits the stars (Kristen
Bell, Idina Menzel) and the husband-wife composers, who went from naughty
Broadway (“Avenue Q,” “Book of Mormon”) to Disney warmth. It also views the
landscape the animators studied.

Other choices include:

“Houdini,” 7-10:31 p.m., History. First is a rerun of the
opener, with Harry Houdini emerging from a tough childhood to become a master
showman. The finale, at 9, sees him among world leaders.

“MasterChef,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a change, Fox has a quick
rerun of Monday’s episode. It starts with the final six contestants running a
high-end restaurant … with Gordon Ramsay as their consultant.

“The Simpsons,” 8 p.m. to midnight, FXX. The marathon has
ended now, but these reruns will dominate this network’s prime time today,
Thursday, Friday and next Monday.

“New Girl” and “The Mindy Project,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., Fox.
Here are reruns of the season-finales. First is the romantic cruise that Nick
and Jess planned before their break-up; they’re going ahead with it, but
inviting their friends. Then Mindy reads a newspaper account of her own romantic

“America’s Got Talent,” 9-11 p.m., NBC. A dozen acts
perform; on Wednesday, half will survive.

“Bitchin’ Rides” debut, 9 p.m., Velocity. This has all the
standard reality-show elements, including fun co-workers and a bad beard. The
highlight tonight, however, involves three gorgeously restored vehicles – a 1934
Dodge (in one family for 80 years), a ‘48 Ford truck and a ’67 Impala, rigged
up so it can be quiet on the streets, but roar when the neighbors (and cops)
aren’t around.

“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 10:01 p.m., CBS. Sam was once on a
protection detail for a little girl. Now she’s 10 and missing … and someone has
stolen the software for a vital project her dad was lead engineer on.  

TV column for Sunday, Aug. 31

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “MDA Show of Strength Telethon,” 9-11
p.m., ABC.

At its peak, the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon was
huge. In 1976 – the year Frank Sinatra brokered an on-air meeting between host
Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, 20 years after their split – it stretched for 21-plus
hours on 213 stations, seen by 85 million people.

Lately, it’s been trimmed. This is the fourth without Lewis,
the second as a two-hour ABC special. The music -- taped in Nashville and Los
Angeles -- includes country (Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, LeAnn Rimes) and rock/pop
(Fall Out Boy, Jason Derulo, Bret Michaels, R5, Matt Nathanson, American Authors).

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Falling Skies” season-finale, 9 and
10:01 p.m., TNT.

For four seasons, Tom Mason and others have battled the
alien invaders. Now comes a key chance to attack the Espheri power core.

Naturally, there are complications. A new Espheri attack is
feared; Lexi – Tom’s part-alien, fast-growing daughter – is back and taking drastic
steps, with mankind’s future at stake.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Masterpiece Mystery,” 9-10:30 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings).

“Do you think life is always like this, playing tricks on
us?” asks Angela, a young nurse loaded with brains and ethics. It certainly is
in “Breathless,” a beautifully filmed three-parter filled with secrets.

In early-‘60s London, Dr. Powell has a wartime secret that
encompasses his rich wife, his forlorn colleague and a brooding police
inspector. Angela has a secret past with Jean … who has a marriage of mutual
deception with Dr. Truscott. Most of that is left elegantly in limbo, waiting
for next week’s finale.

Other choices include:

Marathons, all day. FXX continues its “Simpsons” marathon
until Monday night at midnight. AMC continues its habit of running “Breaking
Bad” on Sundays, from 5 p.m. to 1:05 a.m.; this stretch is from the third
season. And Spike has all the Indiana Jones films, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:12, 5:07
and 8:10 p.m.

“Heartbreakers,” 1-4 p.m., Investigation Discovery. The entire,
eccentric series reruns in one clump, with true stories of warped love, portrayed
by past TV stars. First, a preacher (Jack Wagner) has a long affair with the
wife of his finance chairman. Then a school secretary (Tracey Gold) lusts with
the principal (Christopher Knight) and the coach. In the third, a guy tells his
bride he’s secretly in the CIA.

“The Simpsons,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., Fox. Both reruns test Homer’s
honesty. In the first, he buys a valuable painting at his neighbor’s garage
sale. In the second, he’s a World Cup referee, getting bribe offers.

“Unforgettable,” 9 p.m., CBS. In the second new episode of
the weekend, Carrie disputes the notion that a bombing was terrorism. Homeland
Security is in charge, but she investigates on her own.

“Reckless,” 10 p.m., CBS. Here’s another one with two new
episodes this weekend. As Lee Anne’s sex-discrimination suit nears, her sex
tape – she says she was drugged – is leaked to the public.

“The Strain,” 10 p.m., FX. This powerhouse hour re-visits a
classic theme – a band of heroes, trapped in a small spot as monsters loom.
This time, it’s a convenience store; there’s some arbitrary dawdling to extend
the story, but it’s a mostly terrific episode, with the team adding two people
and losing one.