TV column for Tuesday, April 23


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “New Girl” and
“The Mindy Project,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., Fox.

It's a possible turning point for
“Project,” as Mindy fumes about her medical partners and decides
to be her own boss. Before that is a “New Girl” rerun, with
romance being tattered in hilarious ways.

Jess tries to shrug off the fact that
Nick kissed her, but grants that “I saw through space and time for
a moment,” Now she tries to hide this from her handsome boyfriend
Sam.

Also, Cece goes to a marriage
convention for people who share her East Indian roots. Schmidt –
not even remotely East Indian – goes there to win her back.

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

Ziva (Cote de Pablo) has been on a
personal mission to catch the man who killed her father, the head of
Israel's Mossad force. Now she believes Bodnar (Oded Fehr) is in
Berlin; she heads there with Tony.

That's in an hour that also has
flashbacks to her early years with her dad. Also, a Mossad operative
has been killed in the U.S.; the NCIS team tackles the case amid
international repercussions.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Dust
Bowl,” 8-10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

A week after Ken Burns' compelling
“Central Park Five,” PBS starts a rerun (on two Tuesdays) of a
Burns classic with a much different time and tone.

The setting is the American prairie.
Lured by speculators, outsiders bought so-so farm land and were
encouraged by the government to plow it up. Then the winds. The
stories – of moving on or of withstanding a decade without money or
hope – are deeply moving.

Other choices include:

– “The Voice,” 8 p.m., NBC. This
is the last of the “battle rounds,” with dueling duos. Next week,
the “knockout “ rounds begin.

--Basketball, 8 and 10:30 p.m., TNT. In
the weeks ahead, the pro play-offs will take up large chunks of
cable. Tonight's double-header has the second game in two
best-of-seven series; it's the Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks,
then the Golden State Warriors at the Denver Nuggets.

– “16 Wishes” (2010), 8:30 p.m.,
Disney. Before getting her own series (“Jessie”), Debby Ryan was
the likable lead in this light (and fairly funny) film. On her 16th
birthday, wishes start to come true.

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m.,
CBS.After a task force killed a drug-cartel boss, his body was
stolen. The NCIS people search for a leak … and for the body. Kensi
and Deeks head to Mexico.

– “Golden Boy,” 10 p.m., CBS.
Clark has been secretly dating a reporter. Now he's accused of
leaking information in the latest case, about the murder of an
aspiring model.

– “Frontline,” 10 p.m., PBS
(check local listings). Americans have invested $10 trillion toward
their retirements … but are the financial institutions really on
their side? This probe looks at fees, kickbacks and “self-dealing”
schemes.

– “Body of Proof,” 10:01 p.m.,
ABC. A teen-ager has been killed at a mental institution and another
patient says she saw the killer emerge from a heating vent.
Meanwhile, Megan persists in trying to prove her dad didn't commit
suicide; she wants her mother to approve exhuming the body.

TV column for Monday, April 22


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: :”Brain Games,”
9 and 9:30 p.m., National Geographic.

The mind, it seems, is easily misled.
It will tell us one object is bigger (or brighter or faster) than
another, even if they're identical. It will focus on one thing and
lose the rest.

Magicians use these quirks, scientists
study them and now TV turns them into fun. Jason Silva is the
enthusiastic host, with magician Apollo Robbins offering surprises
and illusions. This is a bright, play-along show; occasionally,
viewers will get something right.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The
Following,” 9 p.m., Fox.

A week from the finale of this taut
season, the forces are ready to collide.

Aided by the FBI's Parker and Westen,
Ryan (Kevin Bacon) prepares to raid the compound of serial-killer Joe
Carroll and his followers. Meanwhile, some of the followers have
infiltrated the town's evacuation center, creating a distraction …
and a kidnapping.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Rectify”
opener, 9-11 p.m., Sundance.

Daniel Holden (Aden Young) spent 19
years on Death Row. Then the sentence was vacated on a technicality;
DNA evidence suggest his innocence, but some people want a new trial.

Now he's in a world he doesn't know.
The family business is run by his mother's new husband, whose son
also works there. Only Daniel's sister backs him energetically.

Tonight's first hour is filled with
eloquent pauses. In the second hour, Daniel has two remarkable
dialogs that show this six-hour mini-series could be special.

Other choices include:

– “Curious George Swings Into
Spring,” 8 a.m., PBS (check local listings). Here's an hourlong
special.

– “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood,”
11 a.m., PBS (check local listings). The amiable cartoon character –
son of one of Fred Rogers' puppets – has his first Earth Day
special, cleaning the neighborhood park. Some PBS stations also have
holiday episodes of “Barney & Friends,” “WordGirl” and
more.

– “An Apology to Elephants,”
7-7:40 p.m., HBO. Elephants have great emotional depth, narrator Lily
Tomlin tells us. They nurture together, mourn together. Often,
however, humans confine them to zoos or use fear to teach them circus
tricks. Using vivid clips, “Apology” ranges deftly from joy to
rage.

– “Dancing With the Stars,”
8-10:01 p.m.,ABC. This has been a tough year for dancing comedians.
Last Monday, D.L. Hughley and Andy Dick tied for the lowest totals
from judges. Once viewers' votes were added in, Hughley was ousted,
with Victor Ortiz at second-low.

– “The Voice,” 8-10:01 p.m.,
NBC. The “battle round” continues today and Tuesday.

– “2 Broke Girls,” 9 p.m., CBS.
In a rerun, Caroline expects an intimate cabin vacation with Andy.
Then Max comes along, making things awkward.

– “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). The Republic of Maldives seems like a
tropical paradise. Only one-tenth of its 1,200 islands are populated,
with less that 330,000 people overall. But the islands are less that
five feet above sea level and could be swallowed if the Indian Ocean
continues to rise. This Earth Day film sees the Maldives president go
to the Climate Summit.

– “Lost Girl” season-finale, 10
p.m., Syfy. This packed episode starts with Bo desperate to save
Tamsin … who is crucial in saving the caged Dyson. There's much
more, including a fierce crash.

-- "Castle," 10:01 p.m., ABC. In a late switch, ABC is inserting an episode with Ioan Gruffudd. He plays a charming man whose business parter was killed. Castle is eager to wrap up the case, before Beckett falls for the guy.

TV column for Sunday, April 21


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Remember
Sunday,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.

Gus (Zachary Levi) is a jewelry-store
worker, a bright and likable guy whose brain aneurysm left him with
no short-term memory. Molly (Alexis Bledel) is a waitress with big
dream and bad luck.

The story may sound contrived, but it's
done with all the skill we expect from “Hallmark Hall of Fame”
films. Barry Morrow (“Rain Man”) wrote a neatly nuance script and
Jeff Bleckner, a two-time Emmy-winner, directed beautifully, getting
great work from the stars.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Bletchley
Circle,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listing).

During World War II, these women
cracked codes and saved lives. Now they've settled into quiet lives …
until one feels she's detected a serial killer's pattern.

This launches a three-week series that
has one flaw (one-dimensional men) and many pluses. There's a smart
plot with twists and surprises; there's also a superb lead
performance by Anna Maxwell Martin.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Game of
Thrones,” 9 p.m., HBO.

Here's the hour that the season's first
three episodes pointed to. Several stories peak, one powerfully.

That involves Daenerys, who's buying an
army to go along with her young dragons. She's dealind with a foul
man whose insults are covered up by his translator. Tonight,
negotiations conclude spectacularly.

Other choices include:

– Once Upon a Time,” 8 p.m., ABC.
Belle has troubles in both worlds with Rumplestiltskin and his modern
persona, Mr. Gold. In our world, he tries to jog her now-cursed
memory; in fairytale land, he forces her to join a mission to find
and kill the thief she freed.

– “Lovestruck: The Musical,” 8-10
p.m., ABC Family. A magic potion helps a mom turn young and secretly
meddle in her daughter's romance. It's a fairly fun story, spiced
with music, dance and the rarity of Jane Seymour sharing a role with
young Chelsea Kane.

– “The Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS.
Alicia has complications at home (Peter wants to renew their vows)
and work (she takes a case as a favor for her mom). Also, Kalinda
pits two sides against each other.

– “Masterpiece Contemporary,” 9
p.m., PBS. Selfridge's affair with Ellen Love has crumbled badly. Now
she turns to pills and he goes out for a drunken drive.

– “Nurse Jackie,” 9 p.m.,
Showime, reruns at 9:30. On Jackie's birthday, she's clean-and-sober,
but still troubled. Her best friend has left the country, her boss
has memory lapses, there's a custody fight and the attractive new
doctor manipulates guys. It's a busy and involving hour.

– “The Borgias,” 10 p.m.,
Showtime. The plots to poison the pope and kill his family have
failed. Now he starts his retribution … unaware of plans for one
more fierce attack

– “Veep,” 10 p.m., HBO. The
vice-president juggles family crises, a hog roast and a hostage
crisis. This may be the best episode to contain the line: “Move the
veep away from the pig.”

– “The Client List,” 10 p.m.,
Lifetime. With bills piling up, Riley gets a chance to make big
money. She mopes a lot and cries some, in an exceptionally bad
episode.

-- "Ice Cold Gold" debut, 10 p.m., Animal Planet. Here's an unexpected effect of global-warming: For the first time in centuries, prospectors might be able to reach valuable minerals in Greenland's imposing terrain. This interesting series follows an American team which has about two months to try to strike it rich in a fierce setting.

TV column for Saturday, April 20


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Call Me Crazy,”
8-10 p.m., Lifetime.

“Five” was one of the best TV film
in recent years, brilliantly entwining five short films about cancer.
Now the same producers have made an even better film on mental
illness.

These shorts were directed by actresses
Ashley Judd, Laura Dern, Bonnie Hunt and Bryce Dallas Howard and
director Sharon Maguire. Each packs great visual and emotional
intensity.

The performances – including one that
connects three of the films – range from quietly inward (Brittany
Snow) to spectacularly outward (Melissa Leo, Sofia Vassilieva). Each
is perfect.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Mary and
Martha,” 8-9:45 p.m., HBO.

In an odd quirks, two of the best films
of this season (or any season) air simultaneously.

Martha O'Connell is based loosely on a
British woman who campaigns for international malaria aid. Her story
links with a fictional one of a rich American. As played (superbly)
by Oscar-winners Brenda Blethyn and Hilary Swan, they are delightful
opposites, linking together.

In the past, Richard Curtis has written
lots of light fun, from “Bean” to “Love, Actually” to “Pirate
Radio.” Still, he's passionate about rich nations helping others;
he propelled “Idol Gives Back,” preached in “The Girl in the
Cafe” and here has written a quietly moving movie.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE:“Castle,” 9
and 10 p.m., ABC.

Here's a rerun of a solid two-parter
that adds an emotional kick.

When a rich girl is kidnapped, Richard
Castle realizes his daughter was also taken. Soon, Alexis Castle
finds herself on a European rooftop. Fortunately, she has her dad's
knack for quick-thinking.

Other choices include:

– “NCIS: Los Angeles,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. After an ambush attempt on Jada Khaled, the team tries to find
the culprit. That forces Sam to meet Jada for the first time since he
returned from the Sudan.

– More movies, 8 p.m., cable. Here's
some variety, alongside the great dramas mentioned above. There's a
popular Disney cartoon – “Tangled” (2010), on ABC Family –
and one of the all-time best adventures, Steven Spielberg's “Raiders
of the Lost Ark” (1981) on Spike.

– “Vegas,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a late change, CBS has replaced a "Mentalist" rerun with this new episode: Savino (Michael Chiklis) must decide what to do with a gambler's body that was found in a suite of the hotel.

– “Smash,” 9 p.m., NBC.
“Bombshell,” the Marilyn Monroe musical, is finally opening on
Broadway. All is fine … except the star (Megan Hilty) has an attack
of nerves … the producer (Anjelica Huston) has a troubled
relationship with an arts editor … and the former star (Katharine
McPhee) has a rocky time with her boyfriend. They're doing another
show together and he opens up about his troubled past.

– “Orphan Black,” 9 p.m., BBC
America. Sarah (the drifter) now knows she's one of many clones …
including one who's trying to kill the others. Impersonating Beth
(the dead cop), Sarah was attacked by the killer, then lied and said
it was a man. Tonight's strong hour brings another confrontation.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 10 and
11:29 p.m., NBC. First is a rerun of last week's episode, one of the
few disappointments in an excellent season. There were some good
sketches – memory-lapsed actors, weak gun control – but Vince
Vaughn's improvised opener was lame; so, surprisingly, were both
“Weekend Update” guests. Then Chrisoph Waltz hosts a better rerun
with music from Alabama Shakes.

TV column for Friday, April 19


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Happy Endings,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC.

A week before the season-finale of this
erratic-but-fun show, Max has no job and few hopes. In the opener,
friends are tired of him sponging; in the second, an old nemesis
(Mark-Paul Gosselaar) wants to sabotage his life … then decide it's
already so low that it's “un-sabotagable.”

Also in the first episode, Penny –
fresh from calling off her wedding with Pete – dates the “car
czar.”

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Chasing Ice,”
8 p.m., National Geographic; reruns at 9:30.

James Balog set up 26 time-lapse
cameras in the most unforgiving parts of Greenland, Iceland, Alaska
and Montana. They could provide specific proof of global warming and
glacial decline.

“Ice” spends much of its time –
too much – following the preparations. Still, it gives us enough
gorgeous pictures to balance its grim tidings. The loveliest moments
come during the closing credits, with still photos accompanied by
part of an Oscar-nominated song, sung by Scarlett Johansson.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The Dark
Knight” (2008), 8-11 p.m., TNT; or “Da Vinci's Demons,” 9 p.m.,
Starz, rerunning at 10.

David Goyer competes with himself, with
two projects offering epic stories and visuals.

Goyer wrote “Batman Begins” and set
the basic stories for this sequel – which has Heath Ledger's
superb, Oscar-winning work as Joker – and a third film.

His “Demons” turns Leonardo da
Vinci into superhero type who can also paint. Goyer overemphasizes
torture, impossible odds and philosophy just this side of
mumbo-jumbo. Once you're past that, you have a visually and
emotionally strong hour with an explosive scene that wraps things
neatly.

Other choices include:

– “When in Rome” (2010) and “You
Again” (2009), 7 and 9 p.m., AFC Family. Kristen Bell is a terrific
actress who ran into a stretch of so-so movies; that happens. The
first one adds pretty settings and Josh Duhamel, the second adds
Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver, but both are merely so-so.

– “Return to Nim's Island”
(2013), 8-10 p.m., Hallmark. Bindi Irwin – whose late father was
Steve Irwin, the “crocodile hunter” – has spent most of her 14
years around nature. She's at ease in this adequate family film about
two teens trying to save their island from bad guys.

– “Live From the Lincoln Center,”
9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). Classical meet Broadway, in the
intimacy of the Allen Room. Stephanie Blythe, a mezzo-soprano, does
the music sung by Kate Smith, including “We'll Meet Again,” “Look
For the Silver Lining” and, of course, “God Bless America.”

– “Grimm,” 9 p.m., NBC. More
trouble looms for Portland: A volcano may cover it with lava.

– News special, 9 p.m., CBS. In a late change, CBS is inserting this Boston overview. The "Vegas" episode that would have aired here has moved to Saturday .

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 10 p.m., CBS. Here's another late CBS change. This rerun replace the "Blue Bloods" one that was schduled.