TV column for Tuesday, July 19

“Containment” finale, 9 p.m., CW.

Flaws and all, this
has given us a high-stakes drama in the midst of summer silliness.
With a virus racing through central Atlanta; a containment zone was
set up. Inside, people scramble to keep order, to profit from
disorder, or to escape. Outside, they argue and look for solutions.

Lex now knows that
this was triggered by an accident at a federal lab, with Dr. Lommers
(Claudia Black) in charge. Still, he must join her in preventing
escapes ... unaware that his girlfriend is one of the people trying
to get out. Inside the cordon, Jake tries to protect Dr. Cannerts and
a possible cure.

II: “Shooter” debut, 10 p.m., USA.

Like the “Mr.
Robot” debut on USA last summer, “Shooter” has an opening
segment that beautifully describes its central character. Unlike
“Robot,” it follows with so-so moments.

We're not convinced
that the Secret Service would need a master sniper to guard against
an enemy sniper .... or that it would fail to respond to his call on
the crucial day. Especially unconvincing is the TV-style squabbling
among law agencies. That's a shame, because “Shooter” has
established a deep and interesting character, solidly played by Ryan
Phillippe; let's hope it has better things for him.

MUST-RECORD: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars
More” (1965) and “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” (1968); 8 and
9:45 p.m. and midnight ET, Turner Classic Movies.

Cowboy films are
filling TCM's Tuesdays and Wednesday this month, but not usually like
this. These three linked the brash style of director Sergio Leone
with the innovative music of Ennio Morricone. Don't expect much of a
story; do expect visual touches that directors have tried to match
ever since.

Oh yes, star Clint
Eastwood has also gone on to do well. He's even become a great
director, but not in the Leone style; for proof, catch his “American
Sniper” (2014), at 7:45 p.m. on Cinemax.

ALTERNATIVE: Republican convention, 10 p.m. ET, ABC, CBS, NBS, PBS
and cable.

The formal
convention is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.; cable news networks
will be there, but the broadcast guys will wait until 10. That's when
Republicans are expected to have their main speakers.

They will reportedly
include Trumps (Tiffany, Donald Jr.), governors (Scott Walker of
Wisconsin, Asa Hutchinson of Arkasas) and a senator (Mitch
McConnell), plus Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former Attorney General
Michael Mukasey and Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting

Other choices

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. George Lopez joins the panel and has the
“golden buzzer” that can send an act straight to the final 36.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, a murder charge against a petty officer has been
tossed out for technical reasons. That doesn't clear his name,
though, so he wants to face a court martial.

“Fresh Off the
Boat,” 8:30 and 9 p.m., ABC. After being bumped by game shows last
week, ABC's comedies are back. These reruns find Eddie's dad making
more mis-steps: He leaves his wife to deal with the lice problem
alone; also, he plans their wedding-anniversary celebration at the
car dealership.

“Zoo,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. On the run, Jamie finally gets to Caraquet with Logan ... only
to find it isn't the refuge she'd hoped for. Meanwhile, others try to
re-unite the team there.

“Guilt,” 10
p.m., Freeform. Things only get worse for Grace, the American
suspected of killing her roommate in London. After a tough night at
police headquarters, she's chased by paparazzi and “rescued” by a
stranger who may not have good intentions. Now her sister searches
for her.

“The Daily Show,”
11 p.m., Comedy Central. Over the next four nights, the show will
originate from Cleveland, focusing on the Republican convention. Next
week, it does the same from Philadelphia, with the Democrats – a
how-we-got-here special Monday and onsite episodes through Friday.

TV column for Monday, July 18

Republican convention, 10 p.m. ET, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and cable.

The big networks
have been semi-snubbing conventions, giving them only an hour
nightly. As a result, pack their key speakers into that spot. Early
reports say this opener will include two Benghazi survivors, two
senators (Jodi Ernst and Tom Cotton), Rudy Giuliani and Melania

But this year,
ratings have soared for election coverage. Cable news channels will
obsess on the convention; PBS will start coverage at 8 p.m. ET.
Newscasts will be in Cleveland; so will “The Daily Show” (11
p.m., Comedy Central), which tonight has a “how we got here”

“Scorpion,” 9 p.m., CBS.

In a very late
switch, CBS has pushed the delightful “BrainDead” to Sundays. It
will take the 10 p.m. slot there, beginning July 24.

That lets “Scorpion”
stay at 9 p.m. Mondays for now, taking the 10 p.m. spot after the
conventions. Tonight's rerun finds the team going to Cuba, to help a
woman from Cabe's past catch a former Serbian war criminal. Alana De
La Garza returns as the head of Homeland Security.

II: “The Bachelorette,” 8-10 p.m., ABC.

This tends to be one
of the highlights of each “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” season
– a chance to visit the home towns and families of the final four.
Now JoJo Fletcher, 25, has her turn.

Chase McNary, 27, a
sales rep, is in the running; so is Luke Pell, 31, a former West
Pointer and Army officer (including Afghanistan) who has a country
band. They face former athletes: Robby Hayes, 27, was an
honorable-mention All-American swimmer at Florida State; Jordan
Rodgers, a quarterback (like his brother Aaron) led Vanderbilt to two
bowl games, then was on two pro teams' practice squads.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Making of the Mob: Chicago,” 10 p.m., AMC.

Speaking of
officials, there was a sort of tithing in 1920s Chicago, this film
says: Mobsters devoted about 10 percent of their money to bribes.
That ended when an honest judge, William Dever, becane mayor; Al
Capone moved his operation to nearby Cicero, where he strong-armed
the election process.

Capone had other
problems – including (really) a deadly florist. Dean O'Banion
“probably killed 32 people with his own hands, but he loved
flowers,” actor William Forsythe says here. From his floral shop,
O'Banion's Irish mob had a tenuous treaty with Capone's Italian mob.

Other choices

“10 Years”
(2011), 8-10 p.m., CW. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum, married
in real life, star in this movie about a 10-year class reunion.
Ironically, he plays someone who's hesitent to propose to her,
because his high school mate, Rosario Dawson, is there.

“So You Think You
Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Last week, viewers got their first
chance to see the top 10 and vote. Tonight, those 10 will dance again
and one will be sent home.

“Mom,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Often propelled strictly by sharp dialog and great characters,
this rerun adds some dandy sigh gags here. Bonnie has a scheme to
illegally import maple syrup from Canada; soon, her daughter Christy
and two of their AA friends are involved.

“2 Broke Girls,”
8:30 p.m., CBS. In this rerun, people are interested in making a
movie about Caroline's descent from wealth. Max accompanies her to

“12 Monkeys”
season-finale, 9 p.m., Syfy. Just as Cole was ready to settle for
life in the past, a mysterious woman tells him he must keep trying to
save the world from its upcoming tragedy.

“Rizzoli &
Isles,” 9 p.m., TNT. In the show's 99th episode, the
killer has imposing science skills.

“Major Crimes,”
10 p.m., TNT. Sanchez's reaction to a gruesome scene – body parts
found in a barbecue pit – seems to damage his efforts to become a
foster parent.

TV column for Sunday, July 17

News and “60 Minutes,” 6 and 7 p.m., CBS.

On the eve of the
Republican convention, CBS goes all-out. Scott Pelley expands his
newscast to an hour, from the convention floor in Cleveland; “60
Minutes” is expected to include related reports.

There's much more
elsewhere. Showtime, for instance, continues “The Circus: Inside
the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” at 8 and 8:30; and Turner
Classic Movies has two gems” “The Best Man” (1964, 8 p.m. ET),
beautifully written by Gore Vidal, is set at a convention; “Medium
Cool” (1969, 10 p.m. ET), superbly filmed by Haskell Wexler,
includes footage of the '68 Democratic convention.

New shows, 9-11 p.m., HBO, Showtime and Starz.

If you have any of
the premium channels, this is a good night for you. If you have all
of them, your recording device might explode.

Season openers? It's
“Power” (a hard-edged drug drama) at 9 p.m. on Starz (rerunning
at 10 and 11) and “Ballers” (a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
comedy) at 10 on HBO. Debut? Danny McBride (“Eastbound & Down”)
is back, now battling Walton Goggins in “Vice Principals,” at
10:30 on HBO. Ongoing are HBO's “The Night of” (9 p.m.) and
Showtime's “Ray Donovan” and “Roadies” (9 and 10).

ALTERNATIVE: “Kids Choice Sports 2016,” 8 p.m., Nickelodeon;
repeats at 9:30.

What's left for Kobe
Bryant' to win, after five NBA championships (four times being named
the finals MVP) and two Olympic gold medals? Now he gets the third
annual Legend Award (after David Beckham and Derek Jeter), in a show
that has clips, fun and host Russell Wilson.

Stephen Curry leads
with three nominations including best male athlete, facing his
nemesis LeBron James, plus Cam Newton, Bryce Harper, Kyle Busch and
Cristiano Ronaldo. The female nominees are

Serena Williams,
Alex Morgan, Jamie Anderson, Katie Ledecky, Lydia Ko and Elena Delle

Other choices

“The Simpsons,”
7 and 8 p.m., Fox. Both reruns eye generation gaps. First, Homer is
separated from Marge and dating someone in her 20s; then Apu's son
turns the store into a hip health-food spot.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. The first half-hour has host Steve Harvey
dealing with professional boxers. The second has the families of
Joely Fisher and skateboard star Tony Hawk.

“Mighty Ships”
season-opener, 8 p.m., Smithsonian. If you think you've had tough
moving days, try moving an entire oil rig. This hour views the ship
that does it. It's followed at 9 p.m. by “Hell Below,” a six-week
documentary tracing submarine warfare in World War II.

"Legends & Lies," 8 p.m., Fox News. After spending several episodes with American heroes, this show heads in the other direction: Tonight, it profiles Benedict Arnold.

Inspector Lewis,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). On Aug. 8,
the final “Lewis” season will begin. First, however, we go back
to the start of the previous season: As Lewis tries to retire,
Hathaway faces his first case as inspector, a tricky one involving
neurosurgery and animal rights.

“The Last Ship,”
9 p.m., TNT. Having saved the world once, Chandler (Eric Dane) hopes
to do it again, as his plan reaches its crucial point.

“Match Game,” 10
p.m., ABC. Host Alec Baldwin works with his old “30 Rock”
colleague, Jack McBrayer, and others. The emphasis may be on humor,
with Leslie Jones and Ike Barinholtz.

“Roadies,” 10
p.m., Showtime. Kelly Ann (Inogen Poots) loves music and is perplexed
by anything else; Reg (Rafe Spall) knows nothing about music and
little about life. These are wonderful characters – opposites, yet
sharing a social naivity. When a rock-tour superstition throws them
together, the result is a subtle delight. There's more fun in a
separate story, involving a search for the wayward bass-player.



TV column for Saturday, July 16

“Toy Story” (1995) and its sequels (1999, 2010), 5, 7 and 9 p.m.,
At first, Pixar was a special-effects shop, dabbling
with animated shorts. Then came its grand idea -- turning ordinary
toys into characters. The rest was done first-rate: Tom Hanks and Tim
Allen starred; the script and the Randy Newman music received Academy
Award nominations.

There have been two
sequels (a third is set for 2018), some TV specials, a Buzz Lightyear
series and endless products. And there's been a giant quake in the
movie business, with clever animated movies – from Pixar and others
– dominating. These originals will also be at 3, 5 and 7 p.m.

“Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.

At first, people
rarely did double-duty on the show. When Paul Simon hosted, he often
had someone else as music guest. Justin Timberlake has done the same;
Mick Jagger and Madonna have reversed it – music guest, but not
host. But now we get two straight – Drake and Miley Cyrus –
hosting and singing.

Both were child
actors; Drake was big in Canada (under the name Aubrey Graham) for
about 150 “Degrassi” episodes. This time, “SNL” varies its
hilarious “Black Jeopardy” sketch. Previous times had a perplexed
white contestant; now we have a black Canadian, baffled by talk in
urban America.

ALTERNATIVE: “Hell on Wheels,” 9 p.m., AMC, rerunning at 11 p.m.
and 1 a.m.

A great project –
the trans-continental railroad – concludes tonight and a great show
is a week from its conclusion. Over five seasons, we've seen Cullen
(Anson Mount) go from railroad worker to the man in charge. Now he's
in a mad rush to get to the finish line, where the prize is
mineral-rich Ogden, Utah.

But is the race
really decided by might and muscle ... or by backroom deals? And can
Cullen – shattered physically and emotionally – find any joy.
This terrific hour takes us through the extremes.

ALTERNATIVE II: “Concussion,” (2015), 9 p.m., Starz.

Remember the fuss
over this year's all-white Academy Awards? Now we can try two
overlooked films.

Some people feel
“Straight Outta Compton” (8 p.m., HBO) should have been a
best-picture nominee. And many felt Will Smith deserved a nod for
“Concussion.” Smith is quiet perfection as the real-life Nigerian
native who exposed football's concussion crisis. Maybe he wasn't
nominated because his work was so subtle, or maybe because it was a
great year for actors. Either way, this is worth catching.

Other choices

“Mr. Robot,”
9:30-11:30 a.m., USA. Here's one more chance to catch the riveting,
two-part opener, before the next episode airs at 10:01 p.m.

(1984) and “Ghostbusters II” (1989), noon and 2:30 p.m.,
Sundance, rerunning at 5 and 7:30 p.m. and at 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
After plenty of airings on AMC, this moves to a sister channel.

“Angel From Hell,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS. How long was this show delayed after its early
ratings troubles? Tonight, we get the Thanksgiving episode. In the
second episode, we learn that even guardian angels need money; when
Amy can't pay her rent, Allison tries to fined her a job.

Sports, 8 p.m. ET,
Fox and NBC. Fox has boxing, with heavyweights Deontay Wilder and
Chris Arreola. NBC counters with speed – from skateboard to BMX –
in the Nitro Circus World Games.

More movies, 8 p.m.,
cable. Two weeks before the new Jason Bourne movie arrives, four
related channels will air the original “Bourne Identity”; that's
on Bravo, USA, E and even Syfy. Also, Disney has “Up” (2009); and
at 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies has the delightful “Odd Couple”

“In an Instant,”
9-11 p.m., ABC. Four years ago, Kelli Groves found herself barely
hanging on. A 36-year-old teacher, she'd been driving with her
daughters, 10 years and 10 months, when a truck failed to make a turn
and ran over her car. Now the car was hanging over a guardrail, 100
feet above the burning truck. The crisis is recalled here, including
elaborate footage of the rescue.

“The American
West,” 10 p.m., AMC. This excellent chapter catches old West
violence at its peak. Jesse James returns from two years of hiding
... Billy the Kid shoots a sheriff in revenge and somehow escapes an
army ambush ... And Wyatt Earp fumes when a killer uses influence to
go free.

TV column for Friday, July 15

“Secrets of 'The Force Awakens,'” 8 p.m., ABC.

A lot can change in
40 years: Chewbacca got younger and shorter. That's what people
learned in the theater version of this documentary about the “Star
Wars” film; now, slightly shortened, it reaches TV.

Peter Mayhew
returned as Chewie, but he's 72, with bad knees; mostly, his double
-- 29 and 7-foot (two inches less than Mayhew) took over. Little BB-8
had two versions; he was sometimes remote-control, but more often a
rod puppet. Also: John Boyega auditioned nine times ... Malala (the
teen Nobel laureate) visited the set ... and director J.J. Abrams
flew 9,000 miles to attend parents' night at school.

II: “Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.

Often underemployed
here, Chi McBride gets some focus in this rerun: Lou Grover (McBride)
returns to Chicago, to finally get a confession from the man (Mykelti
Williamson) who killed his wife.

Back on the island,
there's another crisis: Chin and Kano (Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park)
are held at gunpoint, by killers who don't realize they're cops.

ALTERNATIVE: Magic shows, 8-10 p.m., CW.

TV used to love
magic acts – mostly because they were easy to televise. Ed Sullivan
had magicians back in 1949 and 1950; he got a huge audience for
Fantasio in 1966 – possibly because the Beatles were also there.
Nowadays, magicians have much better acts ... and much less TV time.

Now CW uses them as
summer diversions. At 8 p.m., a new “Masters of Illusion” has
Michael Grandinetti, Greg Gleason, Murray SawChuck, The Shocker and
Sittah. That's followed by reruns of “Illusion” at 8:30 and of
Wednesday's terrific (except for the last bit) “Penn & Teller:
Fool Us” at 9.

Other choices

“The Avengers”
(2012) and “Thor: The Dark World” (2013), 5 and 8 p.m., FX. The
Marvel heroes give us an action double-feature. Other movie choices
include the excellent “Die Hard” (1988) at 8 p.m. on IFC, the
pleasant “You've Got Mail” (1998) at 8 p.m. on CMT and the rather
silly “Blades of Glory” (2007) at 8:44 p.m. on Comedy Central.

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. This rerun goes back to the first stage,
with acts auditioning and each judge holding one “golden buzzer”
that allows instant advancement.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 8 p.m., CBS. Someone has shot extensive surveillance
footage of Sam's family. While the family is whisked to a safe house
in this rerun, Sam and Callen try to find who's responsible.

“Rosewood,” 8
p.m., Fox. In a rerun, Rosewood gives too good a talk at a pathology
conference. Someone may have used his information to commit a murder;
he and Villa go undercover to solve it.

“MasterChef,” 9
p.m., Fox. This reruns Wednesday's hour, with 15 chefs feeding 101
military veterans.

“Cesar 911”
return, 9 p.m., NatGeo Wild. Truffle is small, fluffy, cute ... and
sometimes quite nasty. John Henry is fine at home; when he's brought
to work, however, he scares clients and delivery guys. Cesar Millan
handles both dogs in his usual, calm way, in a standard, OK episode.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Frank worries about a book that's been written by his
first police partner. Also in this rerun, Frank's son Jamie and his
partner head out on a call; their response will sharply affect their
careers and their relationship.