TV column for Tuesday, June 16


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“iZombie,” 9 p.m,, CW.

If you missed this
the first time around (hey, a lot of people did), don't fret. It will
be back this fall and it now is rerunning from the start.

Rose McIver -- a
terrific New Zealand actress who was Tinker Bell in ABC's “Once
Upon a Time” -- plays Liv, an intense medical resident with no time
for fun. She tries one party and, of course, confronts zombies; now
she is one. Working in the morgue, she acquires some of the traits of
the people she chomps ... and also learns hints of their murder. It
sounds goofy, but it's surprisingly well-done.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
Sports overload, 7:45 p.m. ET, Fox, and 9 p.m. ET, ABC.

This is a rarity –
two major events on broadcast networks on a Tuesday.

Fox has soccer, with
the Women's World Cup; the U.S. faces Nigeria, in its last game
before the elimination round-of-16 begins. And ABC has basketball,
with game six of the best-of-seven championship, preceded by Jimmy
Kimmel at 8 p.m. and a preview at 8:31. This one is in Cleveland; if
needed, the seventh will be Friday at Golden Stage.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Tyrant” season-opener, 10 p.m., FX.

When this began a
year ago, Barry Al-Fayeed was a Pasadena pediatrician, married to
another doctor, with two kids and a comfy life. He reluctantly
visited his homeland for the first time in 20 years. By the end of
the season, he was facing execution for trying to overthrow his
brother's corrupt regime.

That's where we
start, in an hour that's both bizarre and emotional. What began as a
shaky story, with overwrought characters, has deepened, with richly
layered people played with subtlety and skill.

Other choices
include:

“The Roosevelts,”
8-10 p.m., PBS (check local listings). Ken Burns splendid documentary
rerun (which concludes next week) reaches its peak point. Physically
deteriorating, Franklin Roosevelt rallies a nation that's unprepared
for world war.

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

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, a gifted Navy research scientist has been killed.
With Russians probing the same case, the team links with the FBI.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. This reruns the first crossover episode.
When a prisoner vehicle crashes, four prisoners escape. Pride (Scott
Bakula) needs information from Gibbs (Mark Harmon).

“Stitchers,”
9:01 p.m., ABC Family. Cameron's neighbor is the victim of a murder
that might have been intended for him. Now the team sets up a
stakeout at his apartment.

“I Can Do That,”
10 p.m., NBC. It's time to learn some more strange skills – the
puppetry of “Avenue Q,” the martial arts of Board Breakers and
the bizarre, shape-shifting dance skills of Pilobolus

“Proof” debut,
10 p.m., TNT. Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Jennifer Beals) has seen her life
crumble. Here teen son died, her marriage to another doctor (David
Sutcliffe) has broken up and there's a growing gap with her daughter.
Then a patient (Matthew Modine), who is a tech-billionarie, convinces
her to look into issues of the afterlife. In the opener, an
8-year-old says she met dead relatives during a coma.

TV column for Monday, June 15


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Whispers," 10 p.m., ABC.

Last week ended with
Claire (the FBI's child-psychology expert) facing a startling
possibility: The amnesiac “John Doe” -- the one manipulating
kids into tragedies – may be her husband, a military pilot who was
believed to be killed in a crash.

Now he has a doctor
at gunpoint, headed toward an unstated target. Claire's in pursuit,
alongside the guy whose affair ruined her marriage. Yes, it's
complicated; it's also a taut story, building well.

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

With its new “street
vs. stage” theme, this show has been off to a great start. The
Memphis and Detroit stops, in particular, have shown off great
street-dancers ... including styles that were created there.

Still remaining are
two towns where street- and stage-dancing both shine – Los Angeles
(where judge Paula Abdul got her start by choreographing the Laker
Girls and the Jacksons) and New York City. Tentative plans have Los
Angeles this week.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “UnReal,” 10 p.m., Bravo.

The first couple
weeks rippled with bad behavior by everyone at this fictional version
of a “Bachelor”-style show. Now we meet some of the back stories
that have it sort of make sense.

For Rachel (Shiri
Appleby) – brilliant, broke, alcoholic and manipulative – it's a
mother who's a rich and domineering psychiatrist. For Quinn
(Constance Zimmer), her boss, it's an unpromising affair with the
show's matrried producer (superbly played by Craig Bierko). With
their own lives in tatters, these people try to maneuver fragile
young women for ratings and profit.

Other choices
include:

“Texas Rising,”
1-11 p.m., History. Here's a chance to catch the full mini-series in
one gulp. The opener, which starts right after the Alamo, is at 1
p.m.; other reruns are at 3, 5, and 7. That leads to the finale at 9
p.m., a new episode with Sam Houston (Bill Paxton) pondering his
post-revolution life.

“Goodfellas”
(1990), 7-10 p.m., AMC. Martin Scorsese's Mob classic includes Robert
De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Breacco and Ray Liotta ... who also
narrates the docudrama that follows at 10 p.m.

“The
Bachelorette,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Before catching the fictional
version on “UnReal,” see the real show ... which is starting to
seem unreal. Last week, Nick Viall – who was runner-up last year,
then boasted about sex with the bachelorette – suddenly begged to
be added this year. Somehow, Kaitlyn Bristowe agreed; tonight, he's
confronted by the other men. Then the party moves to San Antonio.

“Scorpion,” 9
p.m., CBS. This rerun finds mild-mannered Walter arrested for a Las
Vegas robbery. Now the rest of the team must find a way to clear him.

“Major Crimes,”
9 p.m., TNT. The season-opener (rerunning at 8 p.m.) saw Rusty face a
decision from Raydor. Tonight, he tries to identify a victim; the
team tackles a tangled case of love and murder.

“Independent
Lens,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local listings). In 1975, a Boulder.
Col., county clerk, feeling that gay-rights and women's-rights were
linked, granted marriage licenses to gay couples. The federal
government disagreed and Tony Sullivan (an Australian) received a
denial – including a harsh slur-word for gays – to his
naturalization request. That launched a 40-year struggle, emotionally
told here.

“The Making of the
Mob” debut, 10 p.m., AMC. Over the next seven weeks, this docudrama
will trace the rise of the Mob in the U.S. Its story starts with
Lucky Luciano coming to New York.

“Odd Mom Out,”
10 p.m., Bravo. These rich folks fret about admission standards for
kindergarten AND for a cemetery. There's funny material here, but the
mistake is casting Jill Kargman as a perverse version of herself. A
better actress could have made this soar.

TV column for Sunday, June 14


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Game of Thrones” season-finale, 9 p.m., HBO (rerunning at 11:31)
and/or “Lord of the Rings” films, TNT.

Hollywood once
seemed to have only two modes – small-and-skillful movies or
large-and-loud-and-lame ones. Then a new generation of filmmakers
created smart epics; two examples arrive tonight.

If you have HBO,
you're probably planning on “Thrones”; Stannis' army is on the
march and Daenerys – fresh from her first dragon ride – is
surrounded by strangers. And if you don't have HBO, catch Peter
Jackson's “Rings” trilogy (8 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) and
his “Hobbit” (2012) at 8 p.m.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
Basketball, 8 p.m. ET, ABC.

Things return to the
Golden State home court, where the Warriors – in the finals for the
first time in 40 years – are hungry for a win. After having the
NBA's best regular-season record, Stephen Curry's team breezed
through the play-offs ... until colliding with LeBron James'
Cleveland Cavaliers.

That's preceded by a
Jimmy Kimmel special at 7 p.m. and a preview at 7:31.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Crimson Wing” (2008), 8-10 p.m., NatGeo Wild.

Tanzania's Lake
Natron might seem like a desolate spot; it dries up so quickly that
salt islands remain. Somehow, flamingos decide that's the perfect
place to court, to mate and to hatch their babies.

“Wing” is part
of Disney's splendid nature-film series, which finally has a TV home
with NatGeo. Each of the annual films is beautifully done; this one
is alternately gorgeous (an estimated million soaring birds), creepy
(predators stalk) and funny, with stick-legged creatures walking in
unison.

Other choices
include:

“Love Finds You in
Charm,” 3 p.m., UP. Fueled by Jane Austen romances, a young Amish
woman wonders about the outside world of “Englishers.” Visiting
Charm, Ohio, she meets two fine-looking Englisher specimens (played
by Trevor Donovan of “90210” and Tiffany Dupont of “Greek”).
“Charm” starts slowly and rushes its finish, but the rest is
likable and ... well, charming.

“Crash” (2005)
and “American Beauty” (1999), 6:30 and 9 p.m., Sundance. Here's a
chance to catch two best-picture Oscar-winners, each a portrait of
modern life; “Beauty” repeats at 11:30.

“The Simpsons,”
8 p.m., Fox. Lisa writes a town anthem; also, Homer's new cause is
“wide pride.”

“Southern
Uncovered,” 8 p.m., Ovation. On the next six Sundays, Matt and Ted
Lee will show a hip side to traditional Southern cities. In this fun
view of their home town of Charleston, S.C., they visit a graffiti
artist, a homestyle chicken place and a guy who ages wine underwater
in the harbor. We also see them finally learning (really) to dance
the Charleston in Charleston.

“A.D.,” 9 p.m.,
NBC. After a perilous start, this new Christian religion is making
progress. James strikes a compromise with Caiaphas, the Jewish leader
... Paul gains followers after he resurrects Tabitha ... and the
Ethiopian backer of the Zealot army converts to Christianity.

“CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation,” 10 p.m., CBS. This rerun – the apparent return of
the Gig Harbor killer – was the second with Patricia Arquette as
cyber-expert Avery Ryan. The character soon starred in “CSI: Cyber”
... which returns this fall, with Ted Danson moving there from the
cancelled “CSI.”

“American
Odyssey,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. Held captive in North Africa, Odelle is
forced to confront the effects of her recent past. In New York, Peter
reaches a low point, professionally and personally. Meanwhile,
Harrison is vacationing with Ruby, who originally had been scamming
him.

TV column for Saturday, June 13


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“AFI Life Achievement Award,” 10 p.m., TBS, rerunning at 11:30.

Any award or tribute
show is brightened when Steve Martin arrives as a presenter. Now
comes the ultimate, with Martin as the recipient; he'll speak last,
after lots of funny friends.

The ceremony was
held June 4, leaving the tough job of cutting it in half for this
slot. There were old-timers – Mel Brooks, 88, who hosted, and Carl
Reiner, 90, who directed Martin's early movies – plus Tina Fey, Amy
Poehler, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman and Dan Aykroyd. Martin Short
sang – so did Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah – and did 10 minutes
of Martin-mocking.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “In an Instant,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.

It was the middle of
a rush hour, in August of 2007, when an eight-lane Minneapolis bridge
collapsed over the Mississippi River. Thirteen people were killed and
145 were injured.

Now this rerun
offers the most elaborate of the excellent “Instant”
documentaries. Skillfully mixing first-person accounts, re-enactments
and brief news footage, it tells of crises – a woman trapped in her
car, 63 kids on a bus near a fire -- plus mistakes, heroics and
makeshift solutions.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” debut, 10 p.m.,
BBC America.

For a while, this
fanciful miniseries tells us, England forgot about magic. It was
1806, the Napoleonic Wars dragged on, and the land of Merlin was
magic-less. Then opposites emerged – the reclusive Mr. Norrell and
the charismatic Jonathan Strange. Their competition would stir
excitement and danger.

That story, from
Susanna Clarke's novel, is a seven-week tale in good company: It
follows the splendid “Orphan Black” and is directed by Toby
Haynes, who did “Wallander” and “Sherlock” films for PBS.

Other choices
include:

“The Lord of the
Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), 2:30 p.m., TNT. Sure, this
film has way too many endings; still, it was wrapping up a superb
trilogy from director Peter Jackson ... whose “The Hobbit” (2012)
follows at 7 p.m. The full trilogy runs Sunday, at 8 a.m., 11:45 a.m.
and 3:30 p.m.

Hockey, 8 p.m. ET,
NBC. It's the fifth game of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals,
with Chicago at Tampa Bay. That goes against baseball (varying by
region) at 7 p.m. ET on Fox.

“The Whispers,”
8 p.m., ABC. At first, this seemed like a supernatural tale – an
imaginary friend, telling kids to do lethal things. But this second
episode changed that: Maybe the amnesiac “John Doe” is talking to
the kids, through vents and stuff; maybe there's a reason this all
happens near Washington, D.C. Catch this well-crafted rerun, before
the third episode airs Monday.

“Elementary,” 8
p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a nurse whom Watson worked with wants help
finding a missing acquaintance ... leading to another missing person.
Also, Sherlock struggles with sobriety.

“CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation,” 9 p.m., CBS. Heading to a forensics conference in
this rerun, the women – Jorja Fox, Elisabeth Shue and Elisabeth
Harnois – are expecting poolside relaxation. Naturally, there's a
mass shooting that puts them to work.

“Power,” 9 p.m.,
Starz, rerunning at 10 and 11. Last week's season-opener (rerunning
at 7:55 p.m.) brought jolts for James “Ghost” St. Patrick. A
shooting left his nightclub temporarily closed and Holly (his
partner's girlriend) near death. He learned that his mistress is an
assistant district attorney probing drug traffic ... and that Simon
Stern is his new landlord. Now come more jolts, in a fairly good
episode.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. After seeing Martin Freeman star in “The
Hobbit,” we can see him host this rerun. Charli XCX is the music
guest.

TV column for Friday, June 12


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Defiance” season-opener, 8-10 p.m., Syfy.

Things are already
tough in this gritty town. The mine and the economy have collapsed;
with power dwindling, the protective fence has been turned off.
People are mad at Irisa for destroying New York City. (Hey, that
wasn't her fault.) Also, she and her adoptive dad were butried for
seven months.

Now things get
worse: A military siege aims to kill every human in Defiance ...
unless a fierce dad-daughter duo from the near-extinct Omec race does
it first. This is well-crafted but be warned: It's also nasty; many
characters (including series regulars) are killed or brutalized,
often in front of loved ones.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
Women's World Cup, 8 p.m. ET, Fox.

On the down side,
this is soccer (which many Americans dislike) and it's FIFA (which
many people worldwide now distrust). The good news is that it's
something Americans thrive at.

In the six previous
Women's World Cups, the U.S. has won twice (1991 and '99), finished
third three times and in 2011 barely lost a final shoot-out with
Japan. Now the round-robin has started. The U.S. beat Australia (3-1)
Monday on cable; it moves to Fox for games today (Sweden) and Tuesday
(Nigeria). Winning either one would basically ensure a spot in the
16-team final tournament.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
“Orange in the New Black” new season, any time, Netflix.

Few shows have
matched the cascade of praise and attention for this women's prison
series. Last season brought a Peabody Award, plus ones from
Television Critics Association (best new series) and the American
Film Institute. It brought lots of nominations ... some for comedy,
some for drama.

And it ended with
drama: The domineering Vee escaped, then was run down (and apparently
killed) by Rosa.Now the new season begins, with a fresh focus on the
tenuous relationship of the upscale Piper (Taylor Schilling) and the
re-confined Alex (Laura Prepon), the lover whose testimony doomed
her.

Other choices
include.

Romance movies, 5:40
p.m. and later, cable. If you're not into soccer or sci-fi or such,
don't fret. This is a splendid movie night, led by the great work of
Keira Knightley and director Joe Wright for “Pride & Prejudice”
(2005), at 5:40 and 8:45 p.m. on Oxygen. There's more, with “Dirty
Dancing” (1987) at 7:30 p.m. on ABC Family and the great fun of
“Princess Bride” (1987) at 8 p.m. on BBC America.

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Here's a quick rerun of Tuesday's
auditions.

“The Lord of the
Rings: The Two Towers” (2002), 8 p.m., TNT. This is the mid-section
of a beautifully made trilogy. The third film is at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, with all three on Sunday.

“The Messengers,”
9 p.m., CW. There's word of disloyalty among the messengers, with one
in danger.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. Here's a rerun of Carol Burnett's second appearance as
McGarrett's Aunt Deb. He's working a tough case – brothers
suspected of killing their parents – when she visits the island
with her new fiance (Frankie Valli).

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Frank (Tom Selleck), the police commissioner, faces a
public outcry when a cop's body camera apparently malfunctions during
an altercation. Meanwhile, Frank's son scrambles to protect a witness
and his daughter investigates a rape accusation on a prestigious
campus.

“Dark Matter”
debut, 10 p.m., Syfy. A spaceship's crew awakens with some problems:
Crew members can't remember who they are or what their mission is.