TV column for Monday, May 20

Masters,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Mel Brooks has no delusions of
sainthood. He grew up, he says in this breezy film, as “an
arrogant, obnoxious little (bleep)head.” He's always been the
loudest guy in the room, seizing attention.

He's also immensely talented. Brooks
wrote classic TV for Sid Caesar, then classic movies and musicals.
Filled with clips and laughs, this film captures the first 86 years
of a loud and funny life.

the Stars” performance finale, 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.

Athletes have thrived on this show. The
first 15 winners have included three Olympic champions and three pro
football stars; now they make up half the final four.

There's Alexandra Raisman, who
captained the gold-medal Olympic gymnastics team; and Jacoby Jones,
whose record-tying kick return sparked a Super Bowl win. They join
country singer Kellie Pickler and teen singer-dancer-actress Zendaya.
On Tuesday, we'll know the winner.

series finale, 10 p.m., Showtime.

Last week, Cathy (the terrific Laura
Linney) pushed the notion of going to a hospice. She didn't want her
son to think of their home as the place his mother died of cancer.

Now she's lingering. What if she passes
the number of hospice days her insurance allows? Stick around for a
closing hour that nimbly leaps from deep drama to moments of quirky

Other choices include:

– “The Voice,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC.
The final 10 perform; on Tuesday, two will be ousted.

– “2 Broke Girls,” 8 p.m., CBS.
Nudged ahead an hour, “Girls” reruns an episode that has
hilarious moments from Andy Dick, as a quirky street performer.

– :”Raising Hope,” 8 p.m., Fox.
Adding some summertime fun, Fox is bunching four comedies – three
reruns and “Goodwin Games” – on Mondays. That starts with a
funny episode that introduced Sabrina's mom (Melanie Griffith) and
late grandmother (Tippi Hedren, Griffith's real-life mom).

– “The Goodwin Games” debut, 8:30
p.m., Fox. These siblings – a surgeon, an ex-con and a “mean
girl” – share little except a dad who is quirky and dead. Now his
will forces them in fresh directions.

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. With “2 Broke Girls” nudging up an hour, CBS fills the gap
with a rerun of TV's best comedy. Tonight brings a Halloween party at
the comic-book shop.

– “Mike & Molly”
season-finale, 9:30 p.m., CBS. Mike frets about a torndado and a
Renaissance fair.

--”Hawaii Five-0” season-finale, 10
p.m., CBS. The team helps the CIA hunt for a deadly terrorist.

– “Reckoning” season-finale, 10
p.m., Sundance. Last week's hour ended suddenly and sensationally. A
step-brother seemed to mock Daniel's 19 years on Death Row;then
Daniel choked him and the closing credits rolled. Now we see the
result; we also see that many people in this town remain convinced
that Daniel killed his girlfriend. It's a so-so finish to what has
been a very good first season.

– “Motive” debut, 10:01 p.m.,
ABC, This Canadian drama shows us who did a crime, then follow cops
tryig ti figure out why it happened. After tonight, it moves to its
regular spot on Thursdays.

TV column for Sunday, May 19

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Billboard Music
Awards,” 8-11 p.m., ABC.

Tracy Morgan hosts a night stuffed with
performances. They range from young stars (Justin Bieber, Taylor
Swift, Selena Gomez) to Prince, who is getting the Icon Award.

Other performers include Christina
Aguilra, Bruno Mars, Pitbull, Miguel, Kacey Musgraves, The Band Perry
and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Superstar Summer Night,” 9-11 p.m. Sunday,CBS.

This is a night of musical overload.
ABC and CBS have overlapping specials, with some performers –
Taylor Swift, Pitbull, The Band Perry – in both.

McGraw hosts this one, working with his
wife (Faith Hill) plus lots of other country people – Keith Urban,
Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum and Florida
Georgia Line. Viewrs who aren't interested in Nashville can catch
John Fogerty, Ne-Yo and Pitbull.

Zero” debut, 10 p.m., National Geographic

“I don't think I'd do well in a
cubicle,” one man says. “My office is 100 million acres of

He's one of a handful of fascinating
people we meet above the Arctic Circle. Most are transplants to a
world where the temperature can reach 70 below zero; one woman
fidgets during medical recuperation in Fairbanks, eager to return
“home” to her life of being alone.

We also meet a native. Her husband, not
born there, is fairly fearless on the ice. She's more cautious; her
mother, her brother and her brother's girlfriend all died plunging
through the deceptive surface.

Other choices include:

– “The Cleveland Show,” 7-10
p.m., and more, Fox. Here are hour-long editions of three of the
cartoons. First, it's Cleveland at a low-rider convention … at 8
p.m., “The Simpsons” has Homer heading to Iceland to retrieve his
share of a lottery win … at 9, Stewie's time-machine goes crazy.

– “Call the Midwife”
season-finale, 8 p.m., PBS (check local listings). There are signs of
joy now: Chummy is back … Fred's daughter and grandchild are
visiting ... Jenny has a potential romance. Still, a rebuilding
project in the neighborhood endangers the convent itself.

– “Masterpiece Theatre,” 9 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). The first season of the splendid “Mr.
Selfridge” concludes with tragedy striking on the day that polar
explorer Ernest Shackleton is visiting the store. Another celebrity
may visit; also, Harry and his wife see a shocking play.

– “Celebrity Apprentice” finale,
9-11 p.m.,NBC. The big guys have prevailed. Penn Jillette (6-foot-7)
and Trace Adkins (6-6), both massive, are the finalists; each
organizes a charity event.

– “North America” debut, 9-11
p.m., Discovery. A seven-hour documentary series begins with some of
the continents most impressive inhabitants – whales, wolves, bears
and mountain lions.

– “The Borgias,” 10 p.m.,
Showtime. The pope's children are asserting themselves now. Lucrezia
has her son back, now that the man who banned him (her father-in-law)
was secretly killed by her bodyguard. And in a strong episode, Cesare
startles his dad wth a surge of military and political power.

TV column for Saturday, May 18

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Saturday Night
Live,” 10 and 11:29 p.m., NBC.

First is a rerun of last week's
episode, with Kristen Wiig hosting and Vampire Weekend as music
guest. Then a good (if erratic) season concludes with Ben Affleck
hosting and Kanye West as music guest.

That could bring some strong moments:
Affleck may now be a member of the “five-timer club” of hosts,
usually a big deal. Also, it's the final regular gig for Seth Meyers
and Bill Hader. After brilliant years as head writer and “Weekend
Update” anchor, Meyers will take NBC's late-night slot in February,
when Jimmy Fallon moves up to Jay Leno's spot.

Specal Victims Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC.

There's no “Smash” tonight; that
show has its two-hour finale May 26. But there's an “SVU” rerun
that flips things around: Olivia, the cop, wants help from Bayard
Ellis, the defense attorney.

A new crime makes her feel there may
have been extenuating circumstances involving a convict (Mike Tyson)
on Death Row. She wants Ellis (Andre Braugher) to intervene.

season-finale, 8 p.m., BBC America.

This show was old – ancient, by TV
standards – before its stars were born. It's 50; Matt Smith and
Jenna-Louise Coleman are 30 and 27.

Smith is the 11th person to
play The Doctor. Under the writer-producer Steven Moffat, he's

With his friends being kidnapped, The
Doctor heads to the fields of Trenzalore. Mysteries will be solved …
possibly including the ultimate one – the real name of The Doctor.

Other choices include:

– “Finding Normal,” 7, 9 and 11
p.m., GMC (formerly Gospel Music Channel). A big-city, big-money
doctor (Candace Cameron Bure) tries to zip through Normal, a North
Carolina town of 332. Arrested for speeding, she's sentenced to
community service; don't be surprised if lives transform.

– “Elementary,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a
rerun, the body of a hotel manager is found in the laundry machine.
Sherlock Holmes suspects foul play.

– “Grimm,” 8 p.m., NBC. Who knew
that the academic-team world turns violent? This rerun centers on the
murder of a young decathlete.

– “Orphan Black,” 9 p.m., BBC
America. With a richly detailed plot and a superb star, this show has
been a solid surprise. Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) is a small-time crook
who suddenly learned she's a result of a cloning experiment. Tonight,
her actions endanger the others.

– “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” 9
p.m., HBO. Here's the hall's annual induction ceremony. There are
performances by Heart, Rush, Public Enemy and Randy Newman (the
newest inductees, along with the late Albert King and Donna Summer),
plus Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Foo Fighters.

– “Indiana Jones and the Last
Crusade” (1989), 9-11 p.m., Spike. After a great start and an OK
middle,the original Indiana Jones trilogy concluded beautifully.
There are great injections from River Phoenix as young Indy and Sean
Connery as his dad.

TV column for Friday, May 17

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Raiders of the
Lost Ark” (1981), 7 p.m., Spike.

On a night overstuffed with reality,
cable offers scripted fun. That's led by this classic and its sequel.

George Lucas created “Raiders,”
giving the hero the first name of his boyhood dog (Indiana). Tom
Selleck was cast, but a TV deal intervened; Lucas ended up with
people from his “Star Wars” films – actor Harrison Ford, writer
Lawrence Kasdan, composer John Williams. Steven Spielberg directed,
making “Raiders” a wonderful swirl of action, adventure and
occasional humor.

season-finale, 8 and 9 p.m., ABC.

The first hour shows how different
entrepreneurs can be. One man is a self-described geek, doing
made-to-order furniture; two women use their Army and West Point
backgrounds to inspire jewelry. Other proposals range from a luggage
pick-up service to re-imagining scones.

Then the second hour adds a whimsical
bit: Dr. Doofenshmirtz – the villain from the “Phineas and Ferb”
cartoon – pushes his latest evil invention.

Performances,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Maybe this is appropriate: CBS has just
canceled “Vegas,” set in 1960s Las Vegas. Now – in exactly the
same time slot – PBS inserts an opera set in 1960 Vegas.

Verdi's “Rigoletto,” based on a
Victor Hugo play, was set four centuries ago; now it has a new time
and place. Director Michael Mayer (a Tony-winner for “Spring
Awakening”) gives it a wonderfully brash, early-Vegas look;
Rigoletto is a comedian whose sweet daughter is loved by a casino

Other choices include:

– “Home Alone” (1990) and “Home
Alone 2” (1992), 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., ABC Family. The same lad
(Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally abandoned twice – yes, his
parents are sheepish – and out-thinks some dim crooks. The sequel
is OK; the original neatly mixes big sight gags and small bits of

– Real-life overload, all night, NBC,
CBS and ABC. There are still six days left in the TV season, but you
can't prove that by these networks; none has a scripted show. NBC has
two hours of “Dateline” and one of “Rock Center”; ABC has two
“Shark Tank” and “20/20.” Even CBS – the steadiest Friday
force – has two hours of “Undercover Boss” and (in the “Blue
Bloods” spot) one of “48 Hours.”

– “Nikita” season-finale, 8 p.m.,
CW. Amanda's scheme could force Nikita to choose between saving
Michael or saving herself.

– “Bones,” 9 p.m., Fox. While
turning Mondays into a summertime comedy night, Fox slides”Bones”
reruns to Fridays. Tonight, a corpse is stuck in glue.

– “Da Vinci's Diaries,” 9 p.m.,
Starz, repeats at 10:05. This richly crafted drama keeps sticking
Leonardo da Vinci into the brashest dramas of the Renaissance era.
Now comes a dilly – confronting Vlad III … who was later called
Vlad the Impaler and inspired the legend of Dracula.

– “Indiana Jones and the Temple of
Doom” (1982), 9:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Spike.This sequel is only
half as good as “Raiders” – which still makes it a zesty bit of

– “Merlin,” 10 p.m., Syfy. A
wounded druid turns out to be Kara, Mordred's former love. Soon, he's
helping her … and she tries to kill Arthur. Now Mordred could
become an enemy of the crown.

TV column for Thursday, May 16

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

Eleven-plus years after Kelly Clarkson
was its first winner, “Idol” returns to that mood.

The winner, like Clarkson, will be a
young Southerner, nimbly leaping between music styles. She'll also
end the five-year string of guys – bland ones, sometimes –

Candice Glover, 23, is from an island
off South Carolina; she reflects its Gullah traditions one moment,
sings stylish jazz the next. Kree Harrison, who turns 23 Friday, is
from small-town Texas; she leans to country, but with a tinge of
blues and rock.

9-10:15 p.m., NBC, with retrospective at 8.

After nine seasons of clever, quiet
comedy, “The Office” says farewell. We don't expect any
aftershocks, just a gathering of amiably odd characters.

The occasion is a wedding, months after
a documentary finally aired. NBC says we can expect a few past
characters – Kelly (Mindy Karling), Ryan (B.J. Novak) – but not
Michael (Steve Carell), the origina boss. There will be some pranks
and some solved mysteries.

season finale, 9:01-11 p.m., CBS.

All season, we've known that Sherlock
Holmes is a broken soul. Recovering (barely) from drug addiction, he
has a dead lover (Irene Adler) and a live nemesis (Moriarty).

Now he learns that she's alive; Adler
is played by Natalie Dormer, who is Margaery in “Game of Thrones”
and was Anne Boleyn in “The Tudors.” We see flashbacks of his
descent into addiction … and we see that Moriarty is here, looking
to kill Sherlock and Joan Watson.

Other choices include:

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 8 and
8:31 p.m., CBS. The final week of the official TV season starts with
two episodes of the best comedy. First is a new one, the season
finale; Leonard's success and overseas job offer brings jealousy to
Sheldon and confusion to Penny. Then a funny rerun has Wolowitz
returning home, without the astronaut-hero's welcome he expects.

– “Risky Business” (1983),
8-10:30 p.m., Independent Film Channel. Three decades ago, Tom Cruise
was a young unknown, starring as a teen whose life turns perverse one
weekend. The result is a delight.

– “Three Amigos” (1986), 8-10
p.m., TV Guide. Mistaken for real cowboys, three actors – Steve
Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short – must save a Mexican village,
in fun comedy..

– “Beauty and th Beast”
season-finale, 9 p.m., CW. Vincent (the “beast”) isn't the only
troubled soul. Tonight, we learn more about the family of Catherine
(the beauty).

– “Grey's Anatomy” season-finale,
9 p.m., ABC. With a storm sweeping through Seattle, the emergency
room is packed. For many people – including one of the doctors –
it's a life-and-death situation.

– “Scandal” season-finale, 10:02
p.m., ABC. The identity of the mole has almost been uncovered,
putting Olivia's team in trouble. In the White House, Cyrus is
shattered by the latest crisis.

– “Hannibal,”10:15 p.m., NBC. A
gory killer seems interested in attracting Hannibal Lecter's
attention … and then in killing him. Meanwhile, a troubled Will
turns to romance with Dr. Alana Bloom.