TV column for Tuesday, June 10



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Fargo,” 10 p.m., FX.

Already fresh and unique, “Fargo” jolted viewers last week
by leaping ahead a year. After failing to convince anyone that Lester is the
killer; Molly and Gus had married. Lester (having framed his brother) had
thrived at work, married his assistant … then spotted foul Lorne at a Las Vegas
convention.


That’s where we are now. Lester’s comfy world has been
disrupted; we see how cruelly cunning he can be. Also, the failed FBI agents
(played by the Key-and-Peele comedy team) are back on the case. A week from the
finale of a great season, Molly suddenly has some believers.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: Basketball, 9 p.m., ABC.


For all of the Miami Heat starpower, the team hasn’t been
overwhelming this year. It had only the second-best record in its conference,
tied with two others for the fifth-best record overall.


Still, the Heat has LeBron James … and has two straight
championships … and stormed through the first three play-off rounds with a 12-3
record. And now it finally has the home-court advantage in the final round;
after two games in San Antonio, the best-of-seven series moves to Miami, tied
at a game apiece. That follows Jimmy Kimmel at 8 p.m. and a game preview at
8:31.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Chasing Life” debut, 9 p.m., ABC
Family.


April is pursuing a glitzy-ditzy version of the American
dream. At 24, she works (and flirts) at a Boston newspaper; she lives at home
with her semi-frantic mom (Mary Page Keller), her sneaky sister and her grandmother
(Rebecca Schull). It’s a bright life … suddenly jolted by a health crisis.


“Life” offers a truly absurd vision of newspaper work.
Still, we can partly forgive that because the star (Italia Ricci) is so good
and there’s potential for subjects that rarely reach youth-oriented shows.


Other choices include:


“America’s Got Talent,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. Auditions
continue.


“NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. This rerun finds aftershocks of the
drone attack. McGee is emotionally shaken; Gibbs uses clues from the attack to
trace the terrorist named Parsa.


“Pretty Little Liars” season-opener, 8 p.m., ABC Family;
reruns at 10. Last season ended with “A” shooting Ezra. As the only person who
can identify A (if he regains consciousness), he’s still in danger. The girls
guard him while Holbrook searches for them.


“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, one of the
NCIS people is endangered while probing the deaths of two military contractors.


“Royal Pains” season-opener, 9 p.m., USA. Last season ended
with Hank leaving the Hamptons. Now he’s back and his brother (having patched
up his marriage) tries to get him to stay. Divya has had her baby; Hamptons
life is changing … but we flash back to Mark’s life-changing events during his
time away.


“The Night Shift,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. OK, we were wrong when
we said last week’s episode packed every possible medical story into one hour.
That episode did NOT have a wild hog ambling through the hospital … or an
involuntary blood transfusion … or a patient pulling an arrow out of her chest …
or a surgeon idiotically endangering his hands. This overstuffed, overwrought
hour has all of that and more.


TV column for Monday, June 9



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Murder in the First” debut, 10 p.m.,
TNT.

From “Hill Street Blues” and “L.A. Law” to “NYPD Blue,”
Steven Bochco has produced brilliant TV drama. After a five-year gap, he’s back
with some of his best work.


Back in 1985, Bochco’s “Murder One” stretched a case over an
entire season. Now he tries it again, with a key difference – this will be 10
weeks, not 23; also, viewers are now accustomed to the form via cable. This
opener introduces great characters – a cop (Taye Diggs) whose wife is dying …
another (Kathleen Robertson) whose ex-husband wants money … and a tech boss who
must be guilty of something.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE (adjunct): “Major Crimes” season-opener,
9 p.m., TNT.


This is sort of the opposite of the show (“Murder in the
First”) it leads into: It solves a case every week, rarely visiting cops’
private lives. Solutions are sometimes too easy, but not in this complex opener.


While a sleek woman is at a conference, her husband and kids
disappear; suspicions bounce around. It’s a smart mystery, complete with an
ethical dilemma and lots of cops who care passionately.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE III: “24” (Fox) or “Hillary Clinton:
Public and Private” (ABC), both 9 p.m.


On one channel, you get the taut thrill of fictional intrigue.
After an intense shoot-out, Jack and Kate rush to save a key player; also, the
president deals with Margot, the leader of the fierce terrorist attacks.


And on another is non-fiction. This is the first in a flurry
of interviews with Clinton about her “Hard Choices” book. Diane Sawyer will ask
about politics and government, past and future.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Remembering the Artist, Robert De
Niro Sr.,” 9 p.m., HBO.


Here was a gifted painter, experts say. Critics praised him;
galleries displayed him. Still, this gorgeous little film says, his career
stumbled. He had the wrong style (abstract impressionism) for American
popularity in his era. He also had the wrong nature, distant and distrustful.


Now Robert De Niro, Jr. (the great actor) is reviving
interest in his dad’s life and work. Using interviews, old film and readings
from his journal, this portrays an artist with great talent and great problems.


Other choices include:


“The Bachelorette Special,” 8 p.m., ABC. The Clinton
scheduling has delayed the two-hour “Bachelorette” that was planned for tonight.


“Whose Line Is It Anyway?” 8 and 8:30 p.m., CW. A new
episode has comedian Jeff Davis; then a rerun has Keegan Michael Key.


“Beauty and the Beast,” 9 p.m., CW. In a rare move for them,
Vincent and Cat link with the FBI.


“Mike & Molly,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. The first rerun
has Molly arguing with her mom, then moving with Billy into his childhood room.
The second has Mike asking Carl to replace him in salsa dance classes.


“Mistresses,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. While one friend (April) finds
the joy of new love, others despair. Savi must share an office with a gorgeous
new co-worker; Karen must testify in the parole of Elizabeth Grey … an
uncomfortable situation for someone who was secretly romanced by Grey’s late
husband and late son.


TV column for Sunday, June 8



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: Tony Awards, 8-11 p.m., CBS.

Here’s a night stuffed with people who love musicals. The
host (Hugh Jackman) has already won two Tonys; the previous host (Neil Patrick
Harris) is nominated for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”


The “Inch” cast (and Harris) will perform, along with other
best-revival nominees – “Violet” (with Sutton Foster) and “Les Miserables.”
There will also be songs from the casts of the nominated new musicals – “Aladdin,”
“Beautiful,” “After Midnight” (joined by Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle and
Fantasia) and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” Also singing: Idina
Menzel, Sting, Alan Richman, and the casts of “Wicked,” “Rocky” and “Bullets
Over Broadway.” In between all, plays also get their prizes.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Cosmos” finale, 9 p.mge., Fox.


This has been a worthy venture, tucking a richly crafted
science show alongside Sunday cartoons. Now it wraps up with “The Pale Blue
Dot,” a meditation by Carl Sagan, creator of the original “Cosmos.”


Earlier in the hour, it tells the story of Fritz Zwicky, who
predicted supernovas. That led to an understanding of “dark energy,” which can
overwhelm gravity on a grand scale.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Wicked Tuna” season-finale, 9 p.m.,
National Geographic.


On the final week of the season, the competition isn’t
exactly tight. The leader (Tuna.com) has more than doubled the catches of each
of the next three ships … which have doubled the catch of last-place Tyler
Mclaughlin, last year’s champion.


What’s left to fret about? There’s a battle for second; also,
McLaughlin says he needs a catch “for my sanity.” You’ll see some big ones
tonight; at 10 p.m., these likable captains gather for a live follow-up.


Other choices include:


“Enlisted,” 7 p.m., Fox. One of the season’s better new
comedies has been dumped into awful time slots – first on Fridays and now here.
Tonight, a general is expected and Pete tries to push his ragged crew.


Basketball, 8 p.m. ET, ABC. San Antonio hosts Miami, in the
second game of the best-of-seven championship series. That’s preceded by Jimmy
Kimmel at 7 and a preview at 7:31.


Miss USA, 8-11 p.m., NBC. This show now has the time (expanding
to three hours) and the setting (Baton Rouge, La.) to include lots of music.
That will be by Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, Camila, Marc Broussard and the
Dirty Dozen Brass Band Horns. Giulana Rancic hosts.


“Game of Thrones,” 9 p.m., HBO. The Wall faces its biggest
challenge.


“Turn” season-finale, 9 p.m., AMC. Mary tries to adjust to
the realization that Abe is a spy. That’s followed by the second “Halt and
Catch Fire,” with the team trying to build a powerful computer.


“Nurse Jackie,” 9 p.m., Showtime. This episode’s memorial-service
scene is a gem.


“Californication,” 9:30, Showtime. A sudden crisis spurs
some emotional reflections and flashbacks.


“Veep,” 10 and 10:30 p.m., HBO. This oft-brilliant comedy
concludes its season with Selena (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) heading into the presidential
primary in New Hampshire.


TV column for Saturday, June 7



TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Blue Bloods,” 8 p.m., CBS.

On an extra-sleepy Saturday, CBS has reruns of its ratings
successes from other nights.


This hour finds seemingly random tragedies; Danny (Donnie
Wahlberg) scrambles to find a connection. Also, his dad (Tom Selleck), the
police commissioner, helps a friend come to terms with alcoholism.


 TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Power” debut, 9 p.m., Starz; repeats at 10:05 and 11:10.


James “Ghost” St. Patrick has gone far from his ghetto roots.
Now he has wealth, kids, a new nightclub and a gorgeous wife who – defying all
TV clichés – is fine with the fact that this is drug-dealer money.


What could complicate this? There’s his desire to go straight
… his yearning for the past … and fresh threats from both sides of the law.
Like other shows – from “Sopranos” to “Breaking Bad” – “Power” has a good man
in a bad business. And like other Starz shows, it has a sleek, stylish look
that keeps us watching as the story gradually unfolds.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “On the Waterfront” (1954), 8-10 p.m.
ET, Turner Classic Movies.


Here’s a new chance to see possibly the best-acted movie of
all time. Marlon Brando – as a dock-worker resisting corruption – won an
Academy Award; so did Eva Marie Saint. Others -- Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb and
Karl Malden -- were in a tangle, each nominated for supporting actor.


There were eight Oscars in all, including director Elia
Kazan and best picture. In 1997, the American Film Institute listed “Waterfront”
as the eighth-best movie of all time; its 2007 list dropped it to No. 19.


Other choices include:


Baseball, 7 p.m. ET, Fox. Varying by region, it’s Oakland at
Baltimore, Boston at Detroit, or the Yankees at Kansas City


“D-Day in HD,” 7-11 p.m., History. Here’s the full
documentary, going all the way to the liberation of Paris. The first half also
ran Friday, on the 70
th anniversary of D-Day.


Bet on Your Baby,” 8 p.m., ABC. So twin toddlers are told to
hold onto balloons until their dad arrives … except they’re near remote-control
cars. Can they resist? That’s s challenge we see tonight, in this light summer
distraction. Also, a mom tries to coach a kid on celebrity impersonations for
the dad to guess.


“Sing Your Face Off,” 9-11 p.m., ABC. In his regular job,
Landry Fields is a 6-foot-7 basketball reserve for the Toronto Raptors; tonight,
he transforms into Nicki Minaj. There are other gender switches, with actresses
Lisa Rinna and China Anne McClain becoming Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber.
Also, Field is Enrique Iglesias, Rinna is Katy Perry, McClain is Alicia Keys.
Sebastian Bach becomes Willie Nelson and Freddie Mercutry; Jon Lovitz is Billy
Idol and Meatloaf.


“Elementary,” 9 p.m., CBS. Before solving the murder of a
mathematician in this rerun, Sherlock Holmes must figure out what is so
important about the equation he was working on.


“Orphan Black,” 9 p.m., BBC America. Sarah considers a deal
with Dyad. Meanwhile, Felix panics after someone shows up at his door.


“Looking for Mr. Right,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark. A romance
novelist (Sarah Lancaster) is told to pretend her book is based on a true
story. Now she has to find a guy.


TV column for Friday, June 6



 

TODAY’S MUST-SEE: D-Day coverage, all day.

Seventy years ago
today, the world-changing invasion began. More than 156,000 men reached
German-held France that day; by the end of the month, the total was close to a
million.


Now, as veterans and world leaders (including Obama and
Putin) converge, we can expect coverage on the morning shows and newscasts;
CBS, for instance, has Mark Phillips and Bill Plante in Normandy. Coverage also
fills prime time: NBC has a Brian Williams special at 8 p.m.; History follows
with the first half of “D-Day in HD” from 9-11:02 p.m., then airs all four
hours at 7 p.m. Saturday.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Crossbones,” 10:01 p.m., NBC.


The opener was so-so, except for the scenes that had John
Malkovich in his delicious portrayal of the famed pirate called Blackbeard. Now
this hour has a smart script that focuses on him.


This is 1729, 11 years after history says Blackbeard was
killed. Instead, he’s running a secret island, calling himself The Commodore.
His men have captured a doctor (actually, a British spy) and pieces of a
longitude invention that could change the balance of power. Now the Commodore
launches his plan; it’s a clever one, backed by a performance of Malkovich-style
brilliance.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVES: Animated movies, 8 p.m., cable.


Tonight’s gem is “Up” (2009, on Disney), the Pixar classic.
The opening portion is gentle, gorgeous and heartbreaking; the rest is just
fun.


But there are other choices. FX has “King Fu Panda” (2008),
in which a cook dreams of heroics – then must defend the city against a fierce
leopard. Bravo has “Bee Movie” (2007) at 7:52 p.m.; Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote a
clever script and voices a college-grad bee who’s not interested in the honey business.


Other choices include:


“24,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a rerun of Monday’s hour, fresh
tragedies have created anger between the British prime minister and the
visiting U.S. president. Now Jack has a scheme to find Margot, the terrorist.


Movies, 8 p.m., cable. For beautifully drawn characters,
there’s “As Good As It Gets” (1997) on Lifetime Movie Network; Jack Nicholson
and Helen Hunt both won Oscars. And for first-rate adventure? Oxygen has “Speed”
(1994); AMC has “The Dark Knight” (2008), with Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning
work.


“Gang Related,” 9 p.m., Fox. Here’s a quick rerun of
Thursday’s episode – well-played, but terribly grim. Ryan Lopez is desperate to
protect a key informant; Javier Acosta, the crime-leader who has been Ryan’s
protector since childhood, wants the guy to be captured or killed by his men.


“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS. Fifteen years after his father’s
death, Chin faces Internal Affairs in this rerun. Questions involve whether his
relationship to Malia (Reiko Aylesworth) hurt the investigation.


“Marriage Boot Camp,” 9 p.m., WE. Last week’s entertaining opener
(rerunning at 8 p.m.) saw people from reality shows exploring their
relationships. Some seemed peaceful; one (Tanisha Thomas of “Bad Girls Club”)
exploded. She’s re-ignited tonight, when the couples argue literally inside a
ring of fire.


“Blue Bloods,” 10 p.m., CBS. This rerun finds the commissioner
pressured by protests over police violence pressure in this rerun; meanwhile,
his son is probing the murder of a Wall Street trader.