TV column for Monday, July 2


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Elementary,” 10 p.m., CBS.

After starring in
“Fringe,” John Noble became TV's favorite relative. The talented
Australian, 69, has been Tanz's uncle in “Salvation,” Ichabod's
son (due to time travel) in “Sleepy Hollow” and Sherlock's father
in “Elementary,” where he returns tonight.

After a death in the
family, Sherlock and his dad – neither the warm-and-fuzzy type –
try to repair their relationship. Also, a murder – with an attempt
to mummify the victim – leads to Egyptian antiquities.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Salvation,” 9 p.m.., CBS.

By summer standards,
this is a terrific combination – two smart, full-budgeted shows
(“Salvation” and “Elementary”) back-to-back.

Last week's
“Salvation” season-opener changed everything. Earlier, Darius
Tanz (Santiago Cabrera) found his asteroid theories being dismissed;
now they're taken seriously ... and he's the country's
vice-president. Also, an ominous third-party force plunked some
missiles into a vacant spot in mid-America. Now Tanz must smooth his
rift with Grace (Jennifer Finnigan) to get international cooperation.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Bachelorette,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.

Last week's 2-on-1
date with David and Jordan went so badly that Becca Kufrin dumped
both of them. She also dropped John, leaving the nine guys that she
takes to Richmond, Va.

Yes, we're told,
Richmond can be fun. Her date with Jason includes the Edgar Allan Poe
Museum (well, semi-fun) and her date with Leo includes country singer
Morgan Evans singing “Kiss Somebody.” (They do.) The other seven
merely have a debate on the Capitol steps; then she chooses her final
six.

Other choices
include:

“So You Think You
Can Dance,” 8 p.m., Fox. Here's a rerun of the season-opener, which
had some great moments. Auditions are odd (a ballroom-dance
three-way) or serious (a skilled dancer who's had a prosthetic leg
since her toddler days) or both: A remarkably gifed Ukrainian dancer
is part contortionist and part performance artist, with a
skin-shedding finale.

“Running Wild With
Bear Grylls,” 8 p.m., NBC. Far from her glitzy Spice Girls days,
Mel B tries 200-foot cliffs along the Welsh coastline.

“Mom,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Marjorie, always the dependable one, has a grocery-store
meltdown, in this funny rerun. That causes Christy to consider
getting a new sponsor (Yvette Nicole Brown) ... and Bonnie to
experiment with the idea of being a supportive friend.

“Man With a Plan,”
8:30, CBS. In this rerun, Adam and Andi are hit with extra expenses;
now each decides to give up one luxury.

“American Ninja
Warrior,” 9-11 p.m., NBC. The “Jurassic World” dinosaurs show
up on the course of this Los Angeles qualifying round. Chris Pratt
and Bryce Dallas Howard, the film's stars, are also there.

“9-1-1,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. This Valentine-themed rerun includes a marriage proposal that
goes badly – so badly that the rescue squad is needed.

“POV,” 10 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). Here's a documentary that should get us
in the mood for the 4th of July: In Tultepec, Mexico,
we're told, three-fourths of the people work in the fireworks
industry. This film visits their 10-day National Pyrotechnic
Festival.

TV column for Monday, July 1


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Claws,” 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10.

Surrounded by noise,
Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes) has been ... well, quiet. She silently
absorbed setbacks even breaking up with her true love – a cop whose
job endangered Desna's crime empire.

What's really on her
mind? Tonight's episode is filled with her thoughts, usually by
voiceover and sometimes out loud, telling people off. That's in a
great episode with much more: In Ann's imagination, Jennifer's
Alcoholics Anonymous meeting offers a terrific musical interlude ....
Sheryl Lee Ralph is back as the mom of Desna's scheming boyfriend
.... And there's a stark and surprising ending.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Shades of Blue,” 10 p.m., NBC.

For all of her glitz
and glamor, Jennifer Lopez has become a talented, Emmy-worthy
actress. Tonight's episode – starting with her lover's funeral,
then turning fierce – offers more proof.

But while “Shades”
gives her deep and contrasting layers, it doesn't do the same for the
cops around her. Wozniak (Ray Liotta) is often drenched in one-note,
self-destructive behavior – hitting a new extreme in tonight's
final minutes. And now his colleagues have behavior that's downright
Woz-ish.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Weddings, all day, Hallmark.

Hey, the TV
landscape can't be all cops and crooks. Hallmark extends its June
wedding month by one day. It starts its romance movies at 7 a.m, with
its two most-recent wedding ones at 3 p.m. (“Wedding March 4”)
and 7 p.m. (“Yes, I Do”), sandwiching “Royal Hearts” at 5.

That leads to the 9
p.m. season-finale of “Good Witch” ... with, of course, a
wedding. Cassie is marrying Sam, the doctor next door; there are
fresh complications for her and her cousin Abigail.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Masterpiece: Endeavour,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS.

We'll credit this
“Inspector Morse” prequel for trying hard, anyway. Not content
with simply having well-acted mysteries with intelligent dialog, it
also tries to do big, visual stories. Tonight's is set in the sort of
gorgeous movie theater that still thrived in 1968 Oxford, with movie
people as suspects.

Still, the stories
themselves are so-so. Last week's was a grim, feel-bad affair; this
one takes the shaky route of introducing a suspect in its final
minutes; we expect better from “Masterpiece” mysteries.

Other choices
include:

“Happy Feet”
(2006), Nickelodeon and “Up” (2009), Freeform, both 6 p.m. These
animated gems start a strong movie night. They're followed by “Wonder
Woman” (2017) at 7:35 on HBO and Tim Burton's brilliant “Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory” (2005) at 8:10 on Freeform. Also, Turner
Classic Movies has James Dean's “Rebel Without a Cause” and “East
of Eden” (both 1955) at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. One game has the families of Jeff Dunham and
Ming-Na Wen. The other has the families of Taye Diggs and Caroline
Rhea.

“American Jail,”
8-10 p.m., CNN. Growing up in in a tough Easton, Pa., neighborhood,
Roger Ross Williams says, he was a teen crook. His friends stayed
with that, but Williams went on to be a filmmaker, the first black
winner of an Academy Award for short documentary. Now he probes why
so many lives are consumed by the prison system. It's a long, slow
and, eventually, involving film.

“Instinct”
season-finale, 9 p.m., CBS. Throughout this first season, we've seen
Whoopi Goldberg as the literary agent of Dylan, the crimesolving
professor and author. Now her protege has been killed.

“Detroit: Comeback
City,” 9-10:03 p.m., History. The Michigan Central Station provides
the core of this documentary. Splendid when it opened in 1914,
crumbling after it closed in 1988, it's now being revived by Ford as
an innovation hub. That symbolizes the rise, fall and maybe-comeback
of Detroit.

“Salvation,” 10
p.m., CBS. On the eve of the second episode, here's another chance to
see the season-opener. It's a strong one, with the double danger of
Russian missiles and an asteroid.

TV column for Saturday, June 30


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Taken” finale, 8 p.m., NBC.

Here was one of
those good ideas – well, semi-good ones – that never quite caught
on. The three “Taken” movies – with Liam Neeson as an old CIA
guy, battling to rescue loved ones – were taut thrill rides. In the
series, he'd be younger (Clive Standish), hired after finding revenge
for his slain sister.

The first try
sputtered, but the show fired everyone except Standish and Jennifer
Beals (as his boss, Hart), adding Adam Goldberg and Jessica Camacho.
The new version also failed, so here's the end: Hart is in danger;
the others must stop a dark scheme to kill a senator and spark a war
with terrorists.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Ransom” season-finale, 8 and 9 p.m., CBS.

Eric is a master
negotiator, but that involves people; now comes the trickier matter
of dealing with coyotes. In rural Canada, they've surrounded everyone
– kidnappers, hostages and Eric ... who may have a tough time
talking his way out of this one.

That's followed by
the season-finale, with nemesis Damien Delaine trying to force Eric
to help with a negotiation. His leverage: He brainwashed Eric's teen
daughter and threatens to make her do a murder.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Animals Doing Things,” 9 p.m., NatGeo Wild.

Here's some odd fun
for summertime Saturdays – a loose array of animal videos and Howie
Mandel commentary, varying wildly. The season-opener had a hilarious
panda montage, assembled by the Toronto zoo; the next episode
included the inane “Chef Cat” ... which was merely a cat in a
chef's hat.

That one reruns at
10 p.m., preceded by the third episode, which includes a very funny
“mail dog” segment: When anything – bills, checks whatever --
slides through the mail slot, a dog mangles it.

Other choices
include:

“A Country
Wedding” (2015), 7 a.m., Hallmark. There are zero surprises in the
plot, but plenty in the fact that Jesse Metcalfe turns out to be a
first-rate country singer. That's followed by more wedding-movie
reruns, leading to last week's “Wedding March 4” at 7 p.m., with
Jack Wagner and Josie Bissett.

“The LEGO Movie”
(2014) and “Up” (2009), 4:05 and 6:35 p.m., Freeform. Two
animated gems run back-to-back. “LEGO” ripples with wit, in its
script and its songs; “Up” has some sweet moments.

“America's
Funniest Home Videos,” 8 p.m., ABC. People videos, like animal
ones, can be quite funny. In this rerun, nine such videos compete for
a $100,000 prize.

“Daddy's Home”
(2015), FX; or “Talladega Nights” (2006), Bravo, both 8 p.m. Take
your choice of broad Will Ferrell comedies.

More movies, 8 p.m.,
cable. There are plenty of entertaining ones, led by “Cinderella”
(2015) on TNT and “Iron Man” (2008) on USA. But for a superb,
Oscar-nominated performance (in a fairly good movie), catch Denzel
Washington's “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” (2017) on Starz.

“Yes, I Do,”
9-11 p.m., Hallmark. Well, she keeps almost saying “I Do,”
anyway. In this film – wrapping up a June marathon of wedding
movies – she's left the same guy at the altar three times.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. It's been a big year for Tiffany Haddish,
who's won at least nine awards –including ones from MTV and the New
York Film Critics Circle – for her “Girls Trip” work. She hosts
this rerun, with music by Taylor Swift.

TV column for Friday, June 29


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Magic night, 8-10 p.m., CW.

Magicians keep
getting better, sharper, more entertaining ... but the big networks
remain disinterested. Fortunately, CW fills the gap each summer.

First, it has two
“Masters of Illusion” episodes – the season-opener (with seven
acts packed into a half-hour) and then a rerun from last season. And
stick around at 9 for the first minutes of “Penn & Teller: Fool
Us.” A rerun of Monday's season-opener, it begins with brilliant
comedy magic from Matt Marcy, then has good work from The
Sentimentalists, Andrew Evans, Dom Chambers and Penn & Teller.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Quantico,” 8 p.m., ABC.

For a while, this show has the hour to itself. NBC's With CBS' “MacGyver” loaning its spot to a reality show, "Quantico" is the main
action-series choice.

Tonight, an American
weapons contractor is believed to have a deadly deal with another
country. Alex (Priyanka Chopra) goes undercover ... and soon finds
her ife in danger.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “12 Monkeys,” 8-11 p.m., Syfy.

A mega-adventure –
four seasons, 47 hours, centuries of time-travel – will conclude
next week.

Tonight, Dr. Jones,
the inventor of time-travel, sends her daughter back to 2007 on a
personal mission, In the second hour, the team is back to the Middle
Ages, trying to climb the steps and ring the bell. And at 10 p.m.,
Cassie and Cole – the scientist and the time-trekker – start
their final mission.

Other choices
include:

“The Lion King”
(1994) and “The LEGO” movie (2014), 5:20 and 7:30 p.m., Freeform.
Separated by two decades, these are two of the all-time great
animated films – “Lion” with the lush beauty of its music and
art, “LEGO” with its great wit.

“Undercover Boss:
Celebrity Edition,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Gabby Douglas – the
Olympic gold-medalist – goes undercover. Only 22, she disguises as
a middle-aged woman who wants to own a gym.

Athletes everywhere,
8 p.m. CBS has those gymnasts, Fox has three-on-three basketball and
NBC has an “American Ninja Warrior” rerun. CMT counters with two
of the all-time great baseball movies -- “A League of Their Own”
(1992) at 8 p.m. and “Field of Dreams” (1989) at 11.

“She” (1965), 8
p.m ET., Turner Classic Movies. Ursula Andress launches a night of
fierce women. That's followed by “Prehistoric Women” (1967) at
10, “Tarzan and the Amazons” (1945) at 11:45 and then, at 1:15
a.m., by “Queen of Outer Space,” with Venus (appropriately) ruled
by Zsa Zsa Gabor and others.

“The Great British
Baking Show,” 9 p.m., PBS. Here are some tarty challenges -- tart
tatins, then treacle tarts, then “the tart of all tarts,”
suitable for window display. The results bring what passes in England
for strong emotion. “I'm really, really cross with myself,” one
person says. “Really cross.”

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. This rerun involves the murder of an FBI agent who was
cracking down on gangs. McGarrett promptly orders that every
gang-related criminal on the island be rounded up.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Erin, an assistant district attorney, has two worries
in this rerun: Her daughter is taking the police exam and her
investigator, Anthony, has been shot. Now her brother Danny, who
dislikes Anthony, is trying to learn who did it.

TV column for Thursday, June 28


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Take Two,” 10 p.m., ABC.

We had some doubts
about last week's opener. It was a little too cute, a little too
lightheaded, a LOT too much of a copy of “Castle.” But as “Take
Two” settles in, it definitely offers summertime fun.

Eddie is the tough
one, a private eye. Sam is (like Rick Castle) the hanger-on; she's an
actress who did a cop show and did rehab. Played by the 6-foot-2
Eddie Cibrian and the 5-foot-2 Rachel Bilson, they offer a great
contrast, visually and emotionally. She talks too much, but also has
an actor's instinct for people. This week, she's the only one who
believes their client (Jonathan Silverman) isn't a killer.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
All night, ABC.

Flick around the TV
tonight and you might forget it's summer. Here are eight new hours on
the broadcast networks and more (including three-and-a-half hours of
new, scripted shows) on cable.

Leading the way is
ABC, with three new hours. At 8 p.m., Mike Myers (in character as
Tommy Maitland) hosts “The Gong Show”; last week's season-opener
was an offbeat delight. At 9, “Match Game,” hosted by Alec
Baldwin, includes Anthony Anderson and Jenifer Lewis, who play Dre
and his mother in “Black-ish.” Then comes “Take Two,”
wrapping up a silly summer night.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Queen of the South” and “Shooter,” 9 and 10
p.m., USA.

If you want the
opposite of the ABC silliness, here are two tough shows. Be warned
though: “Queen” is brutal, propelling TV's obsession with
torture; it also strains credibility. Would you really threaten the
guy who just saved your life? And can you have a wild, shoot-out
chase without attracting any police?

“Shooter,” by
comparison, is solid, involving and believable. Ryan Phillippe plays
a former military sniper, grasping to learn who killed his dad 30
years ago. Sub-plots give us lots of tough characters, plus the
refreshing contrast of Jesse Bradford as Downey, a bureaucrat who's
far out of his depth.

Other choices
include:

“The Four,” 8-10
p.m., Fox. Last season had constant churn; by the end of the second
episode, all four original singers had been replaced by a challenger.
Not so this time: In last week's episode (the third), all four
challenges were unsuccessful. Two of the original four, James Graham
and Sheraya J, remain.

“Little Big
Shots,” 8 p.m., NBC. Steve Harvey meets a 9-year-old log-rolling
champion and a 5-year-old librarian, plus gymnasts, a country singer
and experts on dinosaurs and Rubik's Cube.

“Cloak &
Dagger,” 8 p.m., Freeform. Things are getting confusing for these
teens ... and for us. When Tyrone touches people, he feels their
fears; when Tandy does, she feels their hopes. He can also be
transported – a messy thing during a basketball game. Then there's
the crooked cop who killed his brother and the honest one probing
him. It's all perplexing, but skillfully written and performed.

“Big Brother,” 9
p.m., CBS. This is the new summer routine, with “Big Brother” on
Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. To pave the way, there are two
funny “Big Bang” reruns: Sheldon visits a scientist's secluded
cabin at 8 p.m.; Raj takes credit for a star that Penny discovered at
8:30.

“Marlon,” 9 and
9:30 p.m., NBC. Now that they're no longer married, Marlon and Ashley
decide they needn't tell polite lies to each other. In the second
episode, Marlon and Stevie disagree about what to do when they see
Yvette's fiance cheating on her.

“Crossroads,” 10
p.m., CMT. Country singer Luke Combs links with R&B's Leon
Bridges, in an outdoor concert. That follows a new “Nashville” at
9, with Ronny Cox as Deacon's estranged dad.

“The Detroiters,”
10:30 p.m., Comedy Central. Set entirely at Sam's family picnic, this
episode has some funny moments. They would be funnier, however, if
Tim Robinson would quit overacting.