TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “America’s Got Talent,” 9-11 p.m., NBC.
At last, the near-eternal preliminaries are wrapping up and
things are getting serious.
Tonight, we see the final batch of 12 acts that survived the
auditions; then viewers vote. On Wednesday, five acts will advance. After each
judge adds a wild-card choice, “Talent” will have its top 24.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Wizard Wars” debut, 10 p.m., Syfy.
Sure, some magicians spend months honing a trick; not these
contestants. Tonight, they’re handed Spam, playing cards and a Super Soaker water
gun … then told to work all of that into an act. The results – boosted by a
backstage magic shop – are quick, clever and entertaining.
The show’s flaw is cheapness; to win $10,000, a duo must win
this round and then beat experienced pros. Still, there’s a stream of great
illusions, including a mid-show moment with Penn and Teller. They’re judges
here and also show up Wednesdays and Fridays on CW, making August a magical
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: Paul Newman movies, all day, Turner
Newman was a marvel, forever finding the right mixture of
intelligence, intensity, sexiness and mischief. This marathon includes three of
his best-actor Oscar nominations – the brooding “Cool Hand Luke” (1967) at 5:45
p.m. ET, the buoyant “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969) at 10 p.m. and
Tennessee Williams’ brilliant “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958) at midnight.
He directed (but isn’t in) “Rachel, Rachel” (1968, 4 p.m.
ET), a best-picture nominee. At 8 is “The Left-Handed Gun” (1958), with Newman
as Billy the Kid … who, historians now say, was right-handed.
Other choices include:
“Doctor Who,” all day, BBC America. As it prepares for
Saturday’s arrival of the twelfth Doctor, the network is zipping through some
“Who” history. At 10 a.m., the Doctor (David Tennant) adds a medical student,
Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), as his companion. Her episodes continue, sandwiched
by specials with Catherine Tate (9 a.m.) and Kylie Minogue (midnight).
“NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, the team re-examines a
hit-and-run murder case. Also, McGee is increasingly suspicious of Tony’s odd
“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. This rerun finds al Qaeda
people pursuing a former Marine who embezzled money from Iraq. Hetty has Nell
(Renee Felice Smith) work with Deeks in the field.
“Below Deck,” 9 p.m., Bravo. Last week launched the second season
of this show, focusing on the crew of a 153-foot, $10-million yacht. Tonight,
we’re told, there’s grumbling about the attitude of Kat Held, 29, a stewardess.
At a beach bar, people probe her past dramas; the night ends with a scary
“Royal Pains,” 9 p.m., USA. Hank and Boris are back from
Argentina; Divya treats a sickly model.
“The Mindy Project,” 9:30, Fox. A policeman rages when Mindy
gives his daughter birth-control pills.
“Tyrant,” 10 p.m., FX. Last week’s powerhouse episode saw Bassam
(or Barry) take the first steps in an attempt to overthrow his explosive
brother Jamal and their uncle, the brutal military boss. Now we see the
dangers: Jamal lashes at his opponents; also, the rift between Barry and his
American wife grows.
“A Young Doctor’s Notebook” season-opener, 10 p.m., Ovation.
Mikhail Bulakov was a Russian doctor who used morphine to treat himself in
World War I. He kicked the addiction and became an acclaimed writer. This
series (adapted from his work) finds a 1917 doctor (Daniel Radcliffe) visited
by his 1935 self (Jon Hamm), as war and addiction conspire cruelly. It manages to
be both funny and deeply disturbing.