TV column for Tuesday, May 31


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “America's Got
Talent” debut and “The Voice,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC.

This is the combination NBC feels will
dominate summer ratings.

“The Voice” is wrapping up its
challenge rounds, with teammates competing in dueling duets. Some
will survive into the live episodes, which start next week.

“Talent” won't reach the live part
until July 12. Tonight, the long audition process begins.

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

This terrific – albeit erratic –
show starts over, rerunning its season-opener.

The glee club needs more people and has
two strong prospects. Sam (Chord Overstreet) is a handsome football
player with surfer hair; Sunshine (Charice) is a tiny Filipino with a
huge voice.

“Glee” stumbles with a bizarre
action by Rachel (Lea Michele), but redeems itself with great music.
Tonight, Charice and Overstreet each have a solo and the club does
“Empire State of Mind.” Charice has a duet with Michele, who
solos on a sensational rendition of “What I Did For Love.”

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Lee and
Grant,” 9-11 p.m., History.

Robert E. Lee grew up with little
money, but much gentility. The son of an ex- governor, he led his
class at West Point and soared in the military.

Ulysses S. Grant was, at times, the
opposite. He was in the bottom half of his West Point class; he left
the military with a drinking problem, failed in farming and real
estate, then re-joined for the Civil War.

There, he brought the Union its first
victory. Cautious (despite his reputation), he prevailed over the
bold, high-casualty attacks of Lee. This documentary isn't nearly as
good as History's “Gettysburg” (which reruns Thursday) or PBS'
“American Experience,” but has its moments.

Other choices include:

– “Great Performances,” 8-9:30
p.m., PBS (check local listings). PBS plans to pack the summer with
performances. On Wednesday is an opera (“Nixon in China”) and an
“American Masters” (James Levine); first, tonight has the 120th
anniversary of Carnegie Hall. Audra McDonald sings Gershwin tunes;
Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Gil Shaham link on a Beethoven concerto; the
orchestra also does Gershwin's “An American in Paris” and
Dvorak's “Carnivale Overture.”

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. Here's a
rerun of the episode that added Sarah Jane Morris (“Brothers &
Sisters”) as EJ Barrett. The case involves a former NCIS assistant
gone bad.

– “Body of Proof,” 9 and 10 p.m.,
ABC. In the first rerun, Megan suspects a murder in her old hospital;
the second has murder in her former high-society world. Also in the
first, Dr. Gross (Geoffrey Arend), a lab guy, falls for a corpse's
twin; she's played by Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Arend's
wife.

– “Million Dollar Decorators”
debut, 10 p.m., Bravo. You'll wince at the mega-spending here –
$40,000 for a photograph? – and arrogance, but admire the results.
These people create fresh, vibrant looks.

– “Love Handles” debut, 10 p.m.,
Lifetime. Grating and abrasive, this show has little appeal. Two
couples work on their weight with trainers and their emotions with
therapists. Tonight, some of these people (one of the couples, one of
the therapists) are hugely unlikable; the others are so-so.

 

TV column for Tuesday, May 31


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “America's Got
Talent” debut and “The Voice,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC.

This is the combination NBC feels will
dominate summer ratings.

“The Voice” is wrapping up its
challenge rounds, with teammates competing in dueling duets. Some
will survive into the live episodes, which start next week.

“Talent” won't reach the live part
until July 12. Tonight, the long audition process begins.

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

This terrific – albeit erratic –
show starts over, rerunning its season-opener.

The glee club needs more people and has
two strong prospects. Sam (Chord Overstreet) is a handsome football
player with surfer hair; Sunshine (Charice) is a tiny Filipino with a
huge voice.

“Glee” stumbles with a bizarre
action by Rachel (Lea Michele), but redeems itself with great music.
Tonight, Charice and Overstreet each have a solo and the club does
“Empire State of Mind.” Charice has a duet with Michele, who
solos on a sensational rendition of “What I Did For Love.”

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Lee and
Grant,” 9-11 p.m., History.

Robert E. Lee grew up with little
money, but much gentility. The son of an ex- governor, he led his
class at West Point and soared in the military.

Ulysses S. Grant was, at times, the
opposite. He was in the bottom half of his West Point class; he left
the military with a drinking problem, failed in farming and real
estate, then re-joined for the Civil War.

There, he brought the Union its first
victory. Cautious (despite his reputation), he prevailed over the
bold, high-casualty attacks of Lee. This documentary isn't nearly as
good as History's “Gettysburg” (which reruns Thursday) or PBS'
“American Experience,” but has its moments.

Other choices include:

– “Great Performances,” 8-9:30
p.m., PBS (check local listings). PBS plans to pack the summer with
performances. On Wednesday is an opera (“Nixon in China”) and an
“American Masters” (James Levine); first, tonight has the 120th
anniversary of Carnegie Hall. Audra McDonald sings Gershwin tunes;
Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Gil Shaham link on a Beethoven concerto; the
orchestra also does Gershwin's “An American in Paris” and
Dvorak's “Carnivale Overture.”

– “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. Here's a
rerun of the episode that added Sarah Jane Morris (“Brothers &
Sisters”) as EJ Barrett. The case involves a former NCIS assistant
gone bad.

– “Body of Proof,” 9 and 10 p.m.,
ABC. In the first rerun, Megan suspects a murder in her old hospital;
the second has murder in her former high-society world. Also in the
first, Dr. Gross (Geoffrey Arend), a lab guy, falls for a corpse's
twin; she's played by Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Arend's
wife.

– “Million Dollar Decorators”
debut, 10 p.m., Bravo. You'll wince at the mega-spending here –
$40,000 for a photograph? – and arrogance, but admire the results.
These people create fresh, vibrant looks.

– “Love Handles” debut, 10 p.m.,
Lifetime. Grating and abrasive, this show has little appeal. Two
couples work on their weight with trainers and their emotions with
therapists. Tonight, some of these people (one of the couples, one of
the therapists) are hugely unlikable; the others are so-so.

 

TV column for Monday, May 30


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Mad Love” and
“Two and a Half Men,” 8:30 and 9 p.m., CBS.

As summer settles in, we'll have to get
used to comedy reruns. Here's a perfect place to start.

“Mad Love” repeats its dandy pilot.
Two likable strangers (Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke) fall instantly
in love; their friends (Tyler Labine and Judy Greer) fall in dislike.
The humor is quick and crisp.

“Two and a Half Men” has been
wallowing; now it returns to its terrific season-opener, then repeats
shows in order. Tonight, Jake fumes after learning that his dad has
been sleeping with his friend's mom.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Platinum Hit”
debut, 10 p.m., Bravo.

Many shows dismiss contestants'
songwriting skills. This one, however, is about the writing.

It hedges its bets with 12 contestants
who tend to be good-looking and strong singers. Tonight, each has a
half-hour to come up with a song hook; in teams of three, they turn
the best hooks into songs, with top people – including Jewel and
Kara DioGuardi – judging. It's fun to watch and to hear.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Gettysburg,”
9-11 p.m., History.

April 12 marked the 150th
anniversary of the start of the Civil War. So today, Memorial Day, is
the day to remember one of the most brutal wars ever; it killed
618,000 soldiers, the History Channel says – 14.4 percent of the
Union troops, 20.8 percent of the Confederates.

Some of the most horrific moments came
on July 1-3, 1863, when units collided in Gettysburg, Pa. This film –
produced by movie directors Tony and Ridley Scott – acknowledges
the horrors; some people will want to skip it because of the graphic
re-enactments.

Still, it's beautifully filmed, with
vivid mini-profiles of key people. In three awful days, they would
make some smart moves and major mistakes, the kind that change
history.

Other choices include:

– “The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01
p.m., ABC, Ashley Hebert's first date on the show (with William in
Las Vegas) has spectacular moments, including a soaring water
fountain. Hebert, a dance teacher and dental student, also shows off
some great dance moves, when the guys must concoct routines to do
with Jabbawockeez in Vegas. Then she trims the field from 18 to 15.

– “The Secret Life of the American
Teenager,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC Family. As their wedding nears, Adrian
and Ben both have secret doubts about the quick marriage and the
impending parenthood.

– “House,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. The
first rerun involves a man re-enacting the crucifixion; the second
involves a hero who saved a stranger on the subway tracks. Both view
Taub's troubled marriage and other personal crises; in the second
hour, House tries to avoid Cuddy's mom (Candice Bergen).

– “Taking Chance” (2009), 9 p.m.,
HBO. Here's the perfect Memorial Day film, based on a real-life
account of escorting the body of a teen soldier to his Wyoming home
town. Filled with human warmth and dignity, “Chance” drew 10 Emmy
nominations, including best actor (Kevin Bacon) and movie.

– “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss
Edition” debut, 10:01 p.m., ABC. Rachel is an overachiever who was
valedictorian and homecoming queen. But at 21, she weighs 369 pounds
– a bad image for a gym teacher. For each of the next eight weeks,
we'll see Chris Powell guide one person through a weight-loss year.
Tonight's opener (with Rachel) feels familiar, but has ups and downs
along the way.

TV column for Monday, May 30


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Mad Love” and
“Two and a Half Men,” 8:30 and 9 p.m., CBS.

As summer settles in, we'll have to get
used to comedy reruns. Here's a perfect place to start.

“Mad Love” repeats its dandy pilot.
Two likable strangers (Jason Biggs and Sarah Chalke) fall instantly
in love; their friends (Tyler Labine and Judy Greer) fall in dislike.
The humor is quick and crisp.

“Two and a Half Men” has been
wallowing; now it returns to its terrific season-opener, then repeats
shows in order. Tonight, Jake fumes after learning that his dad has
been sleeping with his friend's mom.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Platinum Hit”
debut, 10 p.m., Bravo.

Many shows dismiss contestants'
songwriting skills. This one, however, is about the writing.

It hedges its bets with 12 contestants
who tend to be good-looking and strong singers. Tonight, each has a
half-hour to come up with a song hook; in teams of three, they turn
the best hooks into songs, with top people – including Jewel and
Kara DioGuardi – judging. It's fun to watch and to hear.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Gettysburg,”
9-11 p.m., History.

April 12 marked the 150th
anniversary of the start of the Civil War. So today, Memorial Day, is
the day to remember one of the most brutal wars ever; it killed
618,000 soldiers, the History Channel says – 14.4 percent of the
Union troops, 20.8 percent of the Confederates.

Some of the most horrific moments came
on July 1-3, 1863, when units collided in Gettysburg, Pa. This film –
produced by movie directors Tony and Ridley Scott – acknowledges
the horrors; some people will want to skip it because of the graphic
re-enactments.

Still, it's beautifully filmed, with
vivid mini-profiles of key people. In three awful days, they would
make some smart moves and major mistakes, the kind that change
history.

Other choices include:

– “The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01
p.m., ABC, Ashley Hebert's first date on the show (with William in
Las Vegas) has spectacular moments, including a soaring water
fountain. Hebert, a dance teacher and dental student, also shows off
some great dance moves, when the guys must concoct routines to do
with Jabbawockeez in Vegas. Then she trims the field from 18 to 15.

– “The Secret Life of the American
Teenager,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC Family. As their wedding nears, Adrian
and Ben both have secret doubts about the quick marriage and the
impending parenthood.

– “House,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. The
first rerun involves a man re-enacting the crucifixion; the second
involves a hero who saved a stranger on the subway tracks. Both view
Taub's troubled marriage and other personal crises; in the second
hour, House tries to avoid Cuddy's mom (Candice Bergen).

– “Taking Chance” (2009), 9 p.m.,
HBO. Here's the perfect Memorial Day film, based on a real-life
account of escorting the body of a teen soldier to his Wyoming home
town. Filled with human warmth and dignity, “Chance” drew 10 Emmy
nominations, including best actor (Kevin Bacon) and movie.

– “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss
Edition” debut, 10:01 p.m., ABC. Rachel is an overachiever who was
valedictorian and homecoming queen. But at 21, she weighs 369 pounds
– a bad image for a gym teacher. For each of the next eight weeks,
we'll see Chris Powell guide one person through a weight-loss year.
Tonight's opener (with Rachel) feels familiar, but has ups and downs
along the way.

TV column for Sunday, May 29


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “National
Memorial Day Concert,” 8-9:30 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Each year, on the eve of Memorial Day,
this offers an epic-scale concert – big crowds (on the Capitol
Lawn), big orchestra (National Symphony) and big voices. Pia Toscano,
the “American Idol” belter, should fit perfectly into a concert
that has gospel's Yolanda Adams and classical's Hayley Westenra, plus
Daniel Rodriguez, remembered as the singing cop who performed during
Sept. 11 memorials.

There's more, including blues great
B.B. King, “Idol” winner Kris Allen and comments by hosts Gary
Sinise and Joe Mantegna, plus Colin Powell and more.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Killing,”
10 p.m., AMC.

Last week's episode ended fiercely:
Stan Larsen brutally beat the teacher suspected of killing his
daughter – unaware that police had just realized their suspicions
were wrong.

Now lives are collapsing for the
Larsens and for Sarah Linden, the obsessed police detectivd. And now
Linden has a new suspect and a possible breakthrough.

This is another brilliant episode –
with richly layered characters and darkly gorgeous filming.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Real
Story,” 8 and 11 p.m., Smithsonian.

Each week, this well-made series looks
at the true stories behind movies. Tonight is “Jaws.”
This
documentary views a similar story – true-life attacks along the New
Jersey coast in 1916. It mixes re-creations and new scientific
studies of shark behavior.

We hear of a 1916 hero: Stanley Fisher
died while fighting a shark that attacked a 12-year-old boy. There
are random facts – worldwide, sharks only killed five people and
injured 60 last year – and an argument for a colorful world:
Studies show that 90 per cent of shark victims are wearing dark
clothes.

Other choices include:

– Oprah marathon, Oprah Winfrey
Network. The all-weekend event – timed to follow the last new
episode of Winfrey's talk show, – includes two movies she produced.
“David & Lisa” (1998), with superb performances by Lukas Haas
and the late Brittany Murphy, is at 2 p.m.; “Before Women Had
Wings” is at 4. A rerun of Gayle King's “after party” is at 6,
with a new “Behind the Scenes” at 8.

– Racing, 5:30 p.m. ET, Fox. Sorry,
there are no Fox cartoons tonight. Instead, we get the Coca-Cola 600,
the longest race in the NASCAR series.
– Animated movies, cable.
At 6 p.m., FX has “Madagascar 2” (2008) and The Cartoon Network
has “Shrek the Third” (2007). At 7, ABC Family has the fun “Bolt”
(2008). At 8 and 10, FX has “Kung Fu Panda” (2008). And at 9, ABC
Family has the sweetly poignant “WALL-E” (2008).

– “William & Kate” (2011),
8-10 p.m., Lifetime. Here's a rerun of an adequate film, depicting
Prince William and Kate Middleton as likable, lusty college students,
negotiating a complex courtship.

– “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004),
9-11 p.m., NBC. In this sequel, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still
being chased by hit men … and still doesn't know why. Much action
follows.

– “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,”
9-11 p.m., ABC. Justin Bieber entertains a family while its Texas
trailer is being replaced by a new home.

– “CSI: Miami,” 10 p.m., CBS. In
a rerun (following a pair of “Undercover Boss” reruns), a
sugar-refinery explosion reveals a surprise about one of the
employees.