TV column for Friday, Aug. 30


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

Soon enough, most cop shows have an
episode in which an actor or filmmaker shadows the heroes.

In this rerun, it's a TV talk-show
host, played by Aisha Tyler … who's been great as a sexy voice on
“Archer” and (this summer) as host of “Whose Line Is It
Anyway?” She follows the “Five-0” people, facing danger when
they have an unexpected collision with Wo Fat.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE II: “Side by
Side,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

When “Slumdog Millionaire” piled up
its eight Academy Awards in 2009, one of them jolted people. It was
the first cinematography Oscar for a film shot mainly in digital.

So is this the era of filmless films?
There are strong arguments on both sides; this documentary talks to
our greatest filmmakers – Martin Scorsese, James Cameron,
Christopher Nolan, George Lucas, David Lynch, Steven Soderbergh and
more. It's a tad dull, but stick around; at 10 p.m., most PBS
stations rerun a “Live From Lincoln Center” concert with the
superb Audra McDonald.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: Movies, 8 p.m.,
cable.

For sheer variety, this is an amazing
movie night.

Want something light and breezy?
“Shrek” (2001, TBS) is an animated delight; “Puppy Love”
(2012, Hallmark) has a cute dog and a likable-enough romance.

Prefer adventure? “Red” (2010, TNT)
has action, wit and surprise twists.

Or music, maybe? “Footloose” (1984,
CMT) is a buoyant classic; “Teen Beach Movie” (2013, Disney) is a
modern variation, time-transporting current surfers into a 1960s
musical. In between is “Moulin Rouge” (2001, Sundance),
gorgeously filmed by Baz Luhrmann.

Other choices include:

– “Bones,” 8 p.m, Fox. A TV
producer has been killed, but the brainy crimesolvers have bigger
worries in this rerun. Brennan frets that her daughter might merely
be average; Hodges tries to use his lab skills to re-create Finn's
hot sauce.

– “Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m.,
ABC. Here's another “Home Improvement” reunion, with Richard Karn
guesting on Tim Allen's show. Earlier, he was upset when Mike (Allen)
didn't hire him, as usual, for an architecture job. In this reunion,
he's drunken and angry.

– “The Neighbors,” 8:31 p.m.,
ABC. Bethenny Frankel, the reality-show star who starts her own talk
show this fall, guests in this rerun. She revives Debbie's purse
business … which gets out of hand once Jackie (the neighbor from
outer space) gets involved.

– “The Following,” 9 p.m.,Fox.
You can switch between Kevin Bacons tonight – early (in
“Footloose”) and current (here). In this rerun, the local police
and sheriff complicate efforts to save a kidnapped boy.

– “Strike back,” 9-11:30 p.m.,
Cinemax. Here are the season's first three episodes, in a series that
keep getting better. Starting as pure action and sex, this British
commando tale has added key characters, long-term – Rhona Mitra as
an obsessive major, Robson Green as her boss – and temporary. Key
in these reruns are Lyne Renee as an Israeli agent and Zubin Varla as
a go-between with shifting loyalties.

– “Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. A
woman from a devout family has been killed in a cemetery. Danny soon
learns her family didn't know she was dating someone from another
faith.

– “Continuum,” 10 p.m., Syfy.
This time-travel thing is difficult for young Alec, who's endangered
by his old self, a techno-genius. Keira, the cop from the future,
tries to save him from himself … literally.

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 29


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

Any hour rippling with Stevie Wonder
music is worth trying. This rerun also has a couple major plot moves.

One introduces Katey Sagal as Artie's
mom; there's a potential big change for them. In another, Rachel (Lea
Michele) has survived her first round of “Funny Girl” auditions;
it's time for a callback.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE II: “Motive,”
8 and 9 p.m., ABC.

One of ABC's smarter moves was to line
up Canadian cop shows for the summer. They're smart, cheap and
well-acted; and tonight, they fill all of prime time.

Leading into “Rookie Blue” are the
season's final two hours of “Motive.” That's the show that
quickly tells us who is the killer and the victim, then has us guess
the motive and the method.

In tonight's first hour, there's a
surprising link between the victim and the killer, reflecting back to
an unsolved case. In the second (with Amanda Tapping of “Sanctuary”
and the “Stargate” shows as Dr. Kate Robbins), Det. Flynn races
to prevent a second murder.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Two and a
Half Men,” 8-9 p.m., CBS.

The bad news is that TV's best comedy,
“The Big Bang Theory,” isn't on CBS tonight.

The good: Its reruns abound on cable's
TBS, including 9-11 p.m. today, 8-11 p.m. Saturday and much of prime
time next week. And for its season-opener (Sept. 26), “Big Bang”
has two new episodes.

More good news? These reruns form a
two-parter, with Walden trying to find a love who doesn't know he's
rich. First, he convinces Kate that he's penniless and Alan owns the
beachhouse. Then Alan (using Walden's money) invests in Kate's
fashion line.

Other choices include:

– “America's Got Talent,” 8 p.m.,
NBC. Next Thursday, NBC has the pro-football opener. For now, it sort
of stalls and reruns Wednesday's results hour.

– “Hollywood Game Night,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. First is a rerun with lots of comedy people – Aubrey
Plaza, Molly Shannon, Kristin Chenoweth and Wilmer Valderamma –
plus Dominic Monaghan and Felicity Huffman. Then is the
season-finale, mixing a news person (Hoda Kotb) and drama types
(David Giuntolli, Emilie de Ravin) with Tom Arnold, Jerry Ferrara and
Terry Crews.

– “Project Runway,” 9-10:30 p.m.,
Lifetime. Last week's episode (rerunning in shortened form at 8 p.m.)
had the designers being told to use their camping-trip surroundings
for inspiration. This week says the clothes must be inspired by
shoes.

– “Looper” (2012), 9-11:05 p.m.,
Starz. This time-travel stuff gets awfully complicated … especially
when a hit man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his older self (Bruce
Willis) have opposite goals. Rian Johnson wrote a smart script –
winning awards from five critics' groups – and directed it
skillfully. “Looper” has great support from Jeff Daniels and
Emily Blunt and an ending that's jolting, yet logical.

– “The Mindy Project,” 9:30, Fox.
This rerun brings back Bill Hader for the first time since the pilot
film, when Mindy broke down at his wedding. This is the Halloween
episode, with Mindy obsessing over finding the perfect costume to
impress Josh.

– “Elementary,” 10 p.m., CBS. In
a rerun, an upscale hotel has a body in its washing machine.

– “Rookie Blue,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.
Crises intersect, after Andy learns Marlo had an unauthorized
investigation of a suspected pedophile who was then savagely beaten.
Swarek and Andy try to cover for her … but that complicates a major
drug sweep being supervised by Traci.

TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 28


TONIGHT’S
MUST-SEE: “Broadchurch,” 10 p.m., BBC America.

Leisurely paced and
richly crafted, “Broadchurch” is set in a serene, seaside town.
As the story digs deeper into the murder of an 11-year-old boy,
however, we find troubles everywhere.

The boy’s father
is having an affair; his mother is secretly pregnant. Tonight, we
learn that one of the townspeople has a major criminal conviction.
And we learn that the chief cop (David Tennant) on the case has had
deep personal problems, ever since botching a case elsewhere.

TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE
II: “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.

Cam is happy being
in the spotlight; Mitchell isn't. Tonight, however, Mitchell is
pressed into action when Cam – torn between a musical and a
save-the-tree protest – needs a tree-sitter.

Also in this fun
rerun, Jay struggles with games at a kids’ party; his wife shops on
“pregnancy brain.”

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Surviving Evil” debut, 10 p.m., Investigation
Discovery.

Life seemed easy for
Charisma Carpenter in 1991. She was 19 and beautiful; just named a
Charger cheerleader, she spent much of the summer on the San Diego
beach. She worried about an apparent stalker, but was oblivious to
the big news – a local rapist striking late-night on the beaches.

So she and two guys
went for a swim late one night. In the chaos that followed, three
people were shot.

Now Carpenter – a
TV star via “Buffy,” “Angel” and more – hosts this series.
It starts fairly well with her own story, told in diligent detail by
cops, Carpenter, one of the guys and a previous victim.

Other choices
include:

– “MasterChef,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. Things are getting serious now, down to the final
five.

– “The Middle,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. In the first rerun, Frankie starts setting up a
sort of “play date” for her husband. Also, Axl has worries –
first about keeping up withg his brainy girlfriend, then about not
getting a football scholarship.

– “America's Got
Talent,” 9 p.m., NBC. On Tuesday's show (rerunning in shortened
form at 8 p.m.), the semi-finals began with a dozen acts performing.
Now half of them will advance.

– “The
Neighbors,” 9:31 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Marty and Debbie want to
teach how to drive. Their daughter refuses … then has second
thoughts, when she gets an eccentric teacher Sandra Bernhart). The
neighbors, however, are eager; they piloted a space ship to Earth,
they figure, so this should be easy.

– “CSI: Crime
Scene Investigation,” 10 p.m., CBS. At a spiritual retreat, a body
has been found in the mud bath. Also in this rerun, Hodges has second
thoughts about marrying Elisabetta, the Italian bombshell.

– “The Bridge,”
10 p.m., FX. With the probe sputtering, Sonia wants to dig up an old
case and look for a connection. The other cops are skeptical.

– “Patrick
Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” debut, 10 p.m., Velocity. An actor becomes
a big-deal race driver? Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and James Garner
have all done it, we're reminded in the OK start of this four-week
series. Now we see Dempsey (“Grey's Anatomy”) build his team. He
makes some small driving flubs and faces one big problem: The car
company goes out of business, leaving few spare parts.

 

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 27


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The March,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

For months of rage in 1963, civil rights protests were a
regional matter. There were beatings, bombings, hoses and dogs. Then Martin
Luther King sensed support for a grand, national thrust.

On Aug. 28, an estimated 250,000 people marched in
Washington. King set aside his written speech to proclaim, “I have a dream.” History
was made; society changed.

Now, on the eve of the march’s 50th anniversary, old
film and new interviews are blended beautifully.

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

Tonight, we learn who will be the final four in next week’s
performance finale. Two gifted dancers, Jenna Johnson and Tucker Knox, were sent
home last week, but the surviving six are talented and varied.

The three women – Hayley Ernbert, Jasmine Harper and Amy
Yakima – lean to contemporary or jazz dance, but the men started the season
with varied speciaties. Aaron Turner did tap, Fik-Shun did hip-hop, Paul
Karmiryan did Latin ballroom; all three quickly leap into new styles.

Now each will be paired with an “all-star” from the past –
two champions (Joshua Allen and Melanie Moore) and two third-place finishers
(Neil Haskell and Kathryn McCormick), plus Witney Carson and Alex Wong. Jesse
Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family” is the guest judge.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Pretty Little Liars” and “Twisted,”
8 and 9 p.m., ABC Family.

These are “mid-season finales,” with both shows disappearing
for a while. They’ll be back … but first, “Liars” launches its spin-off, “Ravenswood.”

Now the girls visit Ravenswood, Pa. There’s a magic show and
someone disappears … without returning.

Then “Twisted” has an angry soccer-party confrontation
between Danny and Archie. Meanwhile, Lacey has to choose between helping Danny
and pleasing her popular friends. And a detective (soap star Stacy Haiduk) has
information that makes Karen’s confession seem iffy.

Other choices include:

Extreme Weight Loss, 8-10 p.m., ABC. Cassandra was a four-time
All-American athlete, ABC says, but turned to food after a messy divorce. At
45, she weighed 364 pounds; Chris Powell tries to encourage her with a
celebrity chef (Rocco DiSpirito) and promise of a whitewater rafting trip.

NCIS, 8 p.m., CBS. Fans who are bitter about Ziva (Cote de
Pablo) leaving the show can catch a rerun of one of her busier episodes. She
and Tony head to Berlin, in search of her dad’s killer.

NCIS: Los Angeles, 9 p.m., CBS. Aunjanue Ellis is back as
Sam’s wife. In this rerun, he frets when she reverts to her CIA cover, to find
missing nuclear weapons

“America’s Got Talent,” 9-11 p.m., NBC. The semi-finals
begin, but little has changed. As usual, a dozen acts perform; the difference
is that six (not four) will advance on Wednesday.

Body of Proof, 10 p.m., ABC. A schizophrenic teen has been
killed at a mental home and another patient insists the killer emerged from the
vent system.

“Perception” season-finale, 10 p.m., TNT. When Kate faces
criminal charges, the guys must link. Pierce (Eric McCormack) the professor and
crimesolver, works with Donnie (Scott Wolf), her ex-husband.

 

TV column for Monday, Aug. 26


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “2 Broke Girls,” 8:30 and 9 p.m., CBS.

On a night stuffed with eight comedy reruns – good ones,
mostly – these two are near the top. They catch the cupcake business at its
busiest and its shakiest.

First, there’s a mega-order to fill, requiring everyone –
even Ryan and Sophie – to help. Then the finances are wobbling; Caroline turns
to her uncharitable Aunt Charity for financing.

TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE:  “Teen
Mom 3” return, 10 p.m. to midnight, MTV.

For an opposites-attract tale, these two are perfect:
Mackenzie Douthit is a slender, blonde cheerleader; Josh McKee is a quiet
cowboy. “You are laid back and that’s what bothers me,” she says. “I’m hyper
and that’s what bothers you.”

They’d make an ideal romantic comedy … except they’re
raising their baby (she was pregnant at 16) and her major passion is
cheerleading. “You can’t cheer for the rest of your life,” someone suggests.
Her story, and three others, makes this fairly interesting.

TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “America vs. Iraq,” 9-11 p.m.,
National Geographic.

Separated from perplexing events by time and geography, this
British film offers fresh perspective.

There is Gen. Hussam Amin, admitting that Iraq had 85
missiles capable of reaching Tehran; it was working on nuclear, chemical and
biological weapons. Saddam Hussein had it all destroyed, he says, to avert a
U.S. attack.

Then an intermediary told the Administration that Iraq’s
foreign minister said his country was creating weapons of mass destruction.
Except that his CIA contact insists no such thing was said. Post-attack
confusion grew until even the White House was stunned that the Iraqi army was
being cut loose, giving the U.S. a mass of skilled enemies. It’s a large and
messy story, retold well.

 Other choices
include:

“How I Met Your Mother,” 8 p.m., CBS. Lily’s job offer would
take her away from Marshall for a year. Also in this rerun, the other guys
obsess over a woman who hides her great body under a puffy coat.

“Video Music Awards,” 8-10 p.m., MTV. Sunday’s spectacle –
from Lady Gaga’s opener to Katy Perry’s finale, reruns.

“Get Out Alive,” 9 p.m., NBC. Bear Grylls’ show has its
first-season champion.

“Mike & Molly,” 9:30 p.m., CBS. The newlyweds should be
focusing on thank you notes. Instead, this rerun finds them taking care of
Vince, who threw out his back.

“Under the Dome,” 10 p.m., CBS. It’s a time of discovery for
Julia, the newspaper editor. She learns why her husband left and learns some of
the town’s darkest secrets.

“POV,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings). In a Palestinian
village at the edge of an Israeli settlement, Emad Burnat kept filming pain and
protests. At times he and his cameras were smashed; his moving “5 Broken
Cameras” is hard to watch and impossible to enjoy.

 “Mistresses,” 10:01
p.m., ABC. By now, this tangled tale has endless woes. Savannah still hasn’t
opened the paternity-test results; her husband decides to see for himself. Her
sister Joss is drawn to two attractive people, one male and one female. One of
their friends, April, learned that her husband faked his death. Another, Karen,
is on trial for contributing to a death; tonight, a detective testifies.