TV column for Saturday, July 13

Hathaways” debut, 8:30 p.m., Nickelodeon.

Needing a fresh start, a frazzled mom
moves to New Orleans with her daughters – a cute teen gymnast and
her offbeat, little sister. The new home has their pie shop on the
main floor, their home on the second … and disapproving ghosts in
the attic.

It's a good concept, aiming for the fun
of Disney Channel's “Wizards of Waverly Place” and its Halloween
movies. The best lines, alas, are given to the two youngest actors,
who aren't skilled at verbal comedy. Still, “Haunted” has enough
sight gags and surprises to keep us amused.

Avenue” finale, 9 p.m., ABC.

Slickly and stylishly filmed, this show
never found an audience. Here's its 13th and final

Things started with a husband and wife
(Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor) moving into Manhattan's elegant
Drake … unaware of its grip on lives. Now he gets an eerie warning;
she learns what happened to her mother at the Drake long ago … and
sees her father try to remove her by gunpoint.

Be warned, however, that this episode
is “Lazarus: Part 1”; there is no Part 2.

Girl: Saige Paints the Sky,” 8-10 p.m., NBC.

For films based on dolls, the “American
Girl” movies have been quite ambitious.

They've been on the CW, the Disney
Channel and NBC; one was in movie theaters, another went straight to
video. Some had substantial stars (Abigail Bresin, AnnaSophia Robb,
Shailene Woodley) and directors (Martha Coolidge, Patricia Rozema);
three were produced by Julia Roberts.

Now NBC has its second turn. Saige, 9,
faces two crises: Albuquerque is planning to eliminate art from its
schools; her grandmother (Jane Seymour) is to sick to ride her horse
in the parade.

Other choices include:

– “Zero Hour,” 8 p.m., ABC. Hank
(Anthony Edwards) and his wife race to the Faroe Islands, in search
of the True Cross. They're with Beck, the FBI agent who feels her
husband may be alive.

– “Elementary,” 8 p.m., CBS. In
an excellent rerun, Sherlock is on his best bad behavior on two
fronts – a Wall Street murder case and Watson's hesitant return to

– “Sinbad,” 9 p.m., Syfy. Sinbad
falls for a mysterious woman, unaware of her real identity.

– “Do No Harm.” 10 p.m., NBC.
Jason, the good-guy doctor, faces two problems. Dr. Young (Phylicia
Rashad) feels he tampered with her daughter's medical charts. Also,
he's trying to help a patuent; his evil alternate-persona Ian would
rather leave the patient unchanged.

– “Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious”
debut, 10 p.m., Oprah Winfrey Network. Each week, Sykes will
introduce stand-up comics and sketches; tonight includes Brooke

– “Being Human” season-opener, 10
p.m., BBC America. Alex, the ghost, searches for her drowned body,
in hopes of passing over. Ian ducks a plea to turn someone into a
vampire … then faces a crisis.

– “Primeval: New World,” 10
p.m., Syfy. Some clever little dinosaurs are staked out in a store.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. Zach Galifianakis hosts this rerun, with music by Of
Monsters and Men.

TV column for Friday, July 12

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Winter's Bone”
(2010), 10 p.m. to midnight, Lifetime Movie Network.

Filmed on a micro-budget, this would
have gone unnoticed except that it's brilliantly crafte.

Debra Granik co-wrote a superb script
about a teen who must find the father (dead or alive) who put up the
family home for bail; it creates a gritty Ozarks world with a very
specific code of conduct.

She also directed beautifully, using
real places, clothes and more. And she got perfct performances from
Jennifer Lawrence, then a sitcom kid (“The Bill Engvall Show”)
and now an Oscar-winner (“Silver Linings Playbook”). The result
drew four Oscar nominations, including best picture.

10 p.m., CBS.

The entire Reagan clan gets involved in
this rerun.

Linda overhears a victim talking to a
priest, telling the identity of a shooter; she passes it on to her
husband Danny, the cop. Henry, the retired police commissioner, is
mugged at an ATM; Jamie – a cop who is Henry's grandson and
Danny's younger brother – rages while tracking the assailant.

9 p.m., Starz; repeats at 9:50 and 10:40 p.m.

Fresh from a one-week hiatus, “Magic
City” swirls with schemes in 1960 Miami.

Ben Diamond wants legalized gambling.
Ike Evans wants to stop it; he also wants to dump Ben as the silent
partner in his Miami hotel and wants to run Havana casinos. Officials
want to arrest both men and stop the arms deals to prospective Cuban
revolutionaries. And Ike's youngest son – working for the lawmen,
dating the sister of a revolutionary – is caught between it all.

You'll see much fretting – and then a
big finish, spectacularly merging music, dance and violence.

Other choices include:

– “Cult,” 8-10 p.m., CW. This
complex series, about a TV show tied to a cult, ends its 13-hour run.

– “Camp” (NBC) and “Summer
Camp” (E), 8 p.m. Just to confuse us, here are reruns of the
openers of two shows with similar names. NBC has a scripted
comedy-drama that debuted at 10 p.m. Wednesday; E has a reality game
show – adults returning to camp – that debuted at 8 p.m. Thursday
on USA.

– “Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. A rerun
finds Brennan – usually cool and logical – drifting into fantasy.
In critical condition after being shot, she has visions of her

– “The Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.
In this rerun, Joe Carroll pushes for a transfer to a different
prison. Ryan suspects he has more in mind; viewers suspect that, too.

– “American Masters,” 9-10:30
p.m., PBS (check local listings). To some people, Elia Kazan was
defined by the moment he gave names that led to the blacklisting of
Hollywood colleagues. Beyond that, however, was a brilliant career
that included Oscars for directing “On the Waterfront” (possibly
the best-acted film in history) and “Gentleman's Agreement.”
Martin Scorsese – who gave Kazan an honorary Oscar in 1999, despite
protests – created this 2010 documentary and tribute.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Violence erupts, amid complaints that a tour company is endangering
Hawaii's shark population.

– “Continuum,” 10 p.m., Syfy. For
a cop, it's helpful to secretly be from the future. Kiera uses her
historical knowledge to find a serial killer; now Carlos wonders how
she gets her hunches.

TV column for Thursday, July 11

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Big Brother,”
9 p..m., CBS.

With its recent schedule shift, CBS
tightens its young-viewer dominance of summer Thursdays.

The change moved “Big Brother” to
Thursdays, a night already ruled by Sheldon and Sherlock (on “The
Big Bang Theory” and “Elementary”). And this is the week's key
episode, with an ouster.

Last week, David Girton, 25, a San
Diego lifeguard, was the first person ousted; now 15 remain.

Half Men,” 8:31 p.m., CBS.

Even in it 11th season,
“Men” has varied from a few dim-witted episodes to this hilarious

Last week, we briefly saw Jake's new
girlfriend; now he brings her for a visit. She's sleek, sexy and
tattooed, zestully played by Jaime Pressly, 35; he's semi-clueless,
drolly played by Angus Jones, 19. His dad is startled, Walden is
amused and Jake is, for now, euphoric.

Is,” 8 and 9 p.m., NBC.

After a couple of “sneak preview”
hours – one of them rerunning at 8 – this show settles into its
regular slot for its final five weeks.

Things start with two singers (or
groups) competing and 101 sorta-experts voting. Then both sides have
a tricky choice: Take some money and leave, or stay in hopes of
winning it all. One of the six people will be tonight's champion …
thrust into the finals with five others, eying a million-dollar
prize. Confidence and pragmatism collide, in a moderately
entertaining mix of music and human psychology.

Other choices include:

– “Hell's Kitchen,” 8-10 p.m.,
Fox. Down to its final five chefs, the show gives tough challenges:
First, compete with a team of previous winners; then prepare gourmet
burgers for dining professionals.

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Sheldon shares a woe familiar to many science-fiction fans – a
TV series that's canceled before it wraps up its intriguing concept.
Amy – familiar with dashed dreams – tries to comfort him. Also in
this rerun, Raj learns a secret about his new girlfriend.

– “Summer Camp” debut, 8 p.m.,
USA. On Wednesday, NBC introduced its scripted “Camp”; now USA
(its sister network) has a reality variation: Adults go to camp,
competing in the games of summer.

– “Motive,” 9 p.m., ABC. A
health-food mogul has been killed. Viewers are promptly told who did
it, but not how or why.

– “Rookie Blue,” 10 p.m., ABC.
Looking forward to a long weekend, Andy finds a teen boy bound and
gagged in a car trunk. It is, we're told, a case of young love gone

– “Hollywood Game Night,” 10
p.m., NBC. Let's credit NBC for summertime effort. This is its third
show to debut this week; in all, “America's Got Talent” is joined
by seven other non-reruns – two scripted, three reality and this
game show. Jane Lynch hosts teams that include former “Friends”
stars Matthew Perry and Lisa Dudrow, plus Kristen Bell, Martin Short,
Alyson Hannigan, Daniel Dae Kim … and a couple of ordinary folks,
playing with the stars.

– “Showville,” 10 p.m., AMC. Each
week, “Showville” holds a small-town talent competition. Now it
visits the spot that often symbolizes Americana. Mount Airy, a North
Carolina town of 10,000, was the home of Andy Griffith and seemed to
be the prototype for the fictional worlds he inhabited.

TV column for Wednesday, July 10

debut, 10 p.m., FX.

This is truly an international case: On
the bridge between El Paso and Juarez, a body is found; it's been
assembled from two murdered women, one American and one Mexican.

To American cops, this is a priority, a
slain judge; to Mexican cops, it's one of 250 young women killed in
Juarez in the past year. This is a dark and difficult story, with
some English sub-titles. But it's also beautifully made; like “The
Killing,” it turns a Scandinavian series into an America gem.

“Secrets of the Dead,” 8 and 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local

Amid Egypt's current political chaos,
we can step back into that land's glory days.

“Nova” tests the theory that
Egyptian chariots had revolutionary designs that led to battlefield
victories; teams re-create and test two of them. Then “Dead”
takes a detailed look at King Tut – the successes of his nine years
as “boy king” … the possible reasons for his death at 18 ...
the reasons his tomb alone was unscathed … and the possibility that
the tomb and death mask were planned for someone else.

debut, 10:01 p.m., NBC.

On its own, this is an almost-adequate
comedy-drama, with Rachel Griffiths as the co-owner of a struggling
summer camp. At first, it strains too hard with broad, sexual humor;
gradually, it settles in for some fairly good character moments.

The problem comes with comparisons.
“Camp” is no match for the depth of FX's “Bridge” (debuting
at the same time) or for “Huge,” the excellent fat-camp show that
only had one season on ABC Family.

Other choices include:

– “Big Brother,” 8 p.m., CBS. The
original plan had this as an eviction night. That changed, however,
after CBS juggled its summer plan; now the live eviction hour starts
at 9 p.m. Thursdays.

– “The Middle,” 8 p.m., ABC.
Frankie tries some Facebook manipulations, to make her daughter seem
more popular. Also in this rerun, Mike's dad (Jerry Van Dyke) has
read “Tuesdays with Morrie” and wants to share his own
long-winded stories with his son.

– “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
In a rerun, things go badly for Phil on Career Day.

– “The American Baking Competition”
finale, 9 p.m., CBS. This series started with 10 amateur bakers.
Tonight, one of them wins $250,000 and a contract for a cookbook.

– “Royal Pains,”9 p.m., USA.
Danny Pudi (Abed in “Community”) plays a radio guy with a
shock-jock approach. Now he's more shocking than ever and there may
be a medical cause.

– “The Neighbors,” 9:31 p.m.,
ABC. In last week's rerun, aliens pondered our odd customs concerning
sex. Now they face another oddity – the fact that Earthlings die.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Hodges is fretting as his wedding nears.
Also, the team probes the death of a famous Cuban singer.

– “Necessary Roughness,” 10:01
p.m., USA. Dani had enough trouble when most of her clients were
football players. Now her patient is a self-help guy who resists

TV column for Tuesday, July 9

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

A profound change has quietly encased
American life. Blue-collar jobs have faded in quantity and quality;
many people find that being hard-working and diligent is no longer

This project that has put human faces
on that trend: Twenty years ago, Bill Moyers began tracing two
Milwaukeee families – one black, one white – smacked by hard
times in the industrial North. He's returned periodically to those
families; here's his latest look.

Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS.

On one hand, tonight's line-up nudges
toward the fall. CBS has switched “Big Brother” from Tuesdays to
Thursdays; that lets three shows – “NCIS,” “NCIS: LA” and
“Person of Interest” – air reruns in the same Tuesday spots
where they'll have new episodes in September.

On the other, tonight doesn't reflect
next season at all. This episode – which concludes next Tuesday –
was the pilot for a rejected series. John Corbett, Kim Raver and
Scott Grimes play leaders of a mobile crime team that works out of
giant trucks.

History,” 10 p.m., Comedy Central.

Think back to all the times people told
you about history. Chances are, most of the people were sober.

Now events are related by actors
pretending to be drunk. True stories – Watergate, John Wilkes
Booth, Elvis-and-Nixon – get the off-center approach of the tipsy.
The re-enactments include Jack Black as Elvis and Stephen Merchant
(co-creator and co-star of the British “The Office”) as Lincoln.

This lacks the wild humor of the Drunk
Uncle bits on “Saturday Night Live,” but has its own quiet wit.

Other choices include:

– “So You Think You Can Dance,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. Last week, Brittany Cherry and Carlos Garland were
the first people eliminated. Now the other 18 contestants dance; Erin
Andrews – a sports reporter who finished third on “Dancing With
the Stars” – is guest judge.

– “Extreme Weight Loss” 8-10
p.m., ABC. Surrounded by slender people at the ballet school where
she work, Jami felt bad about her 292 pounds. Over a year, Chris
Powell works on her weight loss and also on her emotions, taking her
back to Chile to meet her birth mother.

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a
rerun, a hacker could lead to a cyber-terrorist.

– “Off Their Rockers,” 8 and 8:30
p.m., NBC. The second episode is the season finale, linking “Mary
Tyler Moore Show” greats – Ed Asner, 83, and Betty White, 91. He
has seven Emmys; she has five.

– “America's Got Talent,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. Auditions continue. Add CW's “America's Next Top Model”
and the five broadcast networks have four reality shows. They had
five, until CBS switched.

– “Rizzoli & Isles,” 9 p.m.,
TNT. In Jane Rizzoli's tangled life, even a baptism gets messy. She
finds a body in the church; she also finds that her troubled brother
Tommy faces a tangled custody fight. Now she could be accused of
mis-using her police privileges to help him.

– “”Person of Interest,”10 p.m.
CBS. In a rerun, the key person is an old gambler in Atlantic City.

– “Body of Proof,” 10 p.m., ABC.
This rerun has a man escape from a prison transport van, then beg
Megan to prove his innocence.