TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 9


 

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Olympics, 8 p.m. to midnight, NBC.

Here's a favorite
for American viewers – the team finals in women's gymnastics. But
be warned: It's tape-delayed; try to avoid spoilers on the Internet
or on the news.

The U.S. has won a
team medal in six straight Olympics, a success matched only by
Romania. That includes gold in 1996 (when Kerri Strug landed on an
injured ankle) and 2012 (when Gabrielle Douglas soared). Douglas and
Aly Raisman are back from that team, now joined by emerging superstar
Simone Biles, plus Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“American Experience,” 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Few presidents have
been tested as quickly and fiercely as John Kennedy. Less than three
months into office, he had the Bay of Pigs debacle; 18 months later,
he had the Cuban missile crisis.

The first was a
quick (three-day) failure; the second was a slow success, with the
Soviets dismantling their missile sites. Those are key to the
conclusion of a two-night Kennedy film, which launches reruns of
compelling presidential portraits. Coming are Lyndon Johnson on
Wednesday and Richard Nixon on Thursday; next week are Jimmy Carter,
two nights of Ronald Reagan and then George H.W. Bush.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “High School Musical 2” (2007) and “3” (2008), 6
and 8 p.m., Disney.

Now for a pleasant
trifle, far removed from politics, sports or anything else real.
Beautifully directed by Kenny Ortega (who also did the original),
these helped show teens the joy of musicals.

Zac Efron stars as
good-guy Troy, with Vanessa Hudgens as his girlfriend and Corbin Bleu
as their friend. As “2” begins, spoiled Sharpay tries to lure him
away by getting him a summer job at the country club; he promptly
invites his friends.The story is OK; the music and choreography are
vibrant.

Other choices
include:

-- More Olympics,
all day. NBC also has live swimming finals in prime time; in other
times (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 12:35-4 a.m.) it's both live and
tape-delayed Meanwhile, its cable channels go live, starting at 9
a.m. ET on USA, Golf and NBC Sports Netwrk, 9:30 on Bravo, noon on
MSNBC, 5 p.m. on CNBC.

-- “NCIS,” 8
p.m., CBS. When a Navy office is killed, his wife and mistress each
accuse the other. Also in this rerun, Tony's dad (Robert Wagner)
helps a homeless woman who thinks he's her father.

-- “Brooklyn
Nine-Nine,” 8 p.m., Fox. As the networks juggle their summer
line-ups, you'll still find some comedy reruns. Fox has this one (the
captain's dog is missing) and then “New Girl” at 8:30: ABC nudges
“The Middle” and “Fresh Off the Boat” to 10 and 10:30.

-- “Bachelor in
Paradise: After Paradise” season-opener, 9 p.m., ABC. After a new
“Bachelor in Paradise” at 8 p.m., we see Chris Harrison chat with
pretty people about romances, good and bad.

-- “MadTV,” 9
p.m., CW. Debra Wilson and Aries Spears, from the original version of
the show, host this episode and join the new cast for sketches.

-- “Zoo,” 9
p.m., CBS. Jackson (James Wolk) wants to find his mother, who is
missing in Africa. First, however, he and others face a hostile force
on their plane. Also, Jamie learns a secret about Abraham.

-- “NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. Zoe McLellan feels the death of a sailor –
killed by a party bus – may be connected to her own sister's death.
Also in this rerun, people prepare for St. Patrick's Day.

TV column for Monday, Aug. 8


TONIGHT'S
MIIGHT-SEE: “Devious Maids” season-finale, 9 p.m., Lifetime.

As this season
began, Spencer (Grant Show) was charged with killing Peri, his flashy
and self-centered wife. He wasn't sure – he'd been drinking a lot –
but viewers knew he didn't do it.

Now Zoila (Judy
Reyes) finds a secret that shows what really happened. In another
troubled marriage, Adrian's news makes it a lot easier for Evelyn to
divorce him. Also, Carmen and Dani are in danger; Genevievce (Susan
Lucci) makes a new fried.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Mistresses,” 10 p.m., ABC.

Los Angeles has
plenty of people, but the ones in these shows keep having
intersecting relationships. Joss is with Harry, who is her sister's
ex-husband. This season, Harry's sister arrived from Australia,
looking for romance; tonight, people learn she's dating Joss'
ex-fiancee Scott.

Meanwhile, Harry has
trouble adjusting to his new fame. April's mom (Lynn Whitfield, who's
also the “Greenleaf” mom) has disapproved of April's boyfriend; a
medical crisis means she'll be staying longer.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
Olympics, all day, NBC and cable.

Now coverage settles
into its weekday pattern. NBC starts with “Today” in Rio de
Janeiro, then obsesses on the games from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 8 p.m. to
midnight and 12:30-4:30 a.m. Primetime focuses on swimming and on
diving and gymnastics for men and beach volleyball for women.

Parts of that are
live and parts are time-shifted. For the pure live experience,
there's cable. Starting at 9 a.m. ET are the USA Network, the Golf
Channel and the main NBC Sports Network. Bravo (focusing on tennis)
starts at 9:30 a.m., MSNBC and the USA Network arrive at noon.

Other choices
include:

“So You Think You
Can Dance” (Fox) or “Bachelor in Paradise” (ABC), both 8-10
p.m. One reality show has gone smoothly; tonight, it trims from nine
young dancers to eight. The other finds chaos; tonight, one guy is
ousted early, insulting host Chris Harrison on the way out.

“Mom,” 8 and 9
p.m., CBS. In the first rerun, Bonnie goes to extremes to keep a
secret from Christy. In the second, she accidentally meets a
potential boyfriend (William Fichtner). Also, with the restaurant
closed for renovations, Christy needs a job; she becomes the personal
assistant for her rich friend Jill.

“American
Experience,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. This show crafted some superb
portraits of presidents. Now it offers a string of reruns, starting
tonight with John Kennedty.

“The Odd Couple,”
9:30 p.m., CBS. In a funny rerun, the guys head to the wedding of an
old college friend. Oscar hopes to hook up with a former girlfriend;
Felix want to show his ex-wife he's changed.

“Scorpion,” 10
p.m., CBS. In this rerun, the team goes on the run with a key
witness; killers from a drug cartel are in pursuit.

“Unreal”
season-finale, 10 p.m., Lifetime. A surprise suddenly scuttles
Quinn's scheme for the show's final two contestants. Also, Rachel
wants to stop Coleman from exploring the show's manipulation.

“Making of the
Mafia: Chicago,” 10 p.m., AMC. As this well-made documentary starts
the second half of its eight-week run, two giants – Al Capone and
Elliot Ness – collide. Capone outsmarts the Treasury agent for now,
but – in a key move – an internal-revenue agent goes undercover.

TV column for Sunday, Aug. 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“BrainDead,” 10 p.m., CBS.

Yes, we know thaty
the big thing today – and two weeks after htat – is the Olympic
coverage; we'll get to that in a momenty. But if you've maxed-out on
Olympians, remember that the summer's best show offers it all –
satire, science-fiction, even a hint of romance.

Laurel (the terrific
Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has been one of the few people to realize
that alien bugs are invading the brains of our leaders in Washington,
D.C.; now, alas, she's under investigation. Also, Gustav and Rochelle
may have found a new way to communicate with people infected by the
bugs.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Masterpiece: Inspector Lewis,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

For almost 30 years,
with occasional gaps, we've had stories about these Oxford cops.
There have been 12 seasons of “Inspector Morse,” nine of
“Inspector Lewis,” even three of early Morse in “Endeavour.”

Now “Lewis”
begins its final, three-movie season. Rob (Kevin Whately) and
Hathaway (Laurence Fox) probe a body in the well and the death of an
artist. They try to find a connection.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Olympics, all day, NBC and cable.

The first Sunday of
the games has the cable channels stirring, with specialized events.
These are live, varying with each time zone; In the Eastern zone, NBC
Sports starrts at 6 a.m., Bravo at 9:30 a.m., USA at noon and MSNBC
at 2:30 p.m.

Then there's NBC,
which grabs the highest-interest events and does some time-shifting.
Today, it goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 p.m. to midnight and 12:35
to 4:30 a.m. In primetime, it focuses on swimming, diving and women's
gymnastics.

Other choices
include:

“The Walking
Dead,” 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., AMC. Over the next two Sundays, AMC will
rerun the two most-recent “Dead” seasons. That paves the way for
the second half of the “Fear the Walking Dead” season (starting
Aug. 21) and then some new “Dead” (Oct.23).

“The Simpsons,”
7 and 8 p.m., Fox. In the first rerun, Lisa helps a homeless woman
who's a great singer; the role is voiced by Kate McKinnon and sung by
Natalie Maines. In the second, Lisa volunteers for a one-way trip to
Mars.

“Legends &
Lies” season finale, 8 p.m., Fox News. The story of Alexander
Hamilton already fascinates people through books and a Broadway hit.
Now comes another look at it, focusing on Aaron Burr, the man who
killed Hamilton in a duel.

“$100,000
Pyramid,” 9 p.m., ABC. One ABC gameshow (“Celebrity Familty Feud”
at 8 p.m.) will retreat into reruns, but “Pyramid” is new. It has
Steve Schirripa of “Sopranos” facing Melissa Peterman and Teri
Polo facing Zacary Levi.

“Madam Secretary,”
9 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Elizabeth's India-Pakistan peace talks are
interrupted by a mysterious plane crash.

Cable shows, 9 and
10 p.m. One channel – TNT, with “The Last Ship” and “Murder
in the First” -- will simply rerun last week's episodes. There are
new episodes battling the Olympics, however, on HBO (“The Night
Of,” “Ballers,” “Vice-Principals”), Showtime (“Ray
Donovan,” “Roadies”) and Starz (“Power,” “Survivor's
Remorse”).

“Match Game,” 10
p.m., ABC. The panelists are Jack MacBrayer, Niecy Nash, Ellie
Kemper, David Alan Grier, Natasha Lyonne and Jerry O'Connell.

TV column for Saturday, Aug. 6


TODAY'S MUST-SEE:
Olympics, all day, NBC and cable.

The first full day
will have viewers navigating a blur of choices. Websites
(www.tvguide.com/listings,
www.nbcolympics.com) will
be helpful; nothing will be easy.

Cable stays live and
varies by time zone. The NBC Sports Network starts at 9 a.m. ET,
Bravo at 9:30, MSNBC at noon, USA at 3 p.m. and CNBC at 5. An easier
route is to stick to NBC, which juggles between live and tape. That's
8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 8 p.m. to midnight and 12:30 to 5 a.m.; prime time
is led by swimming, men's gymnastics and a women's beach volleyball
game with the U.S. and Australia.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Rush Hour,” 8 p.m. CBS or 8 p.m. ET, IFC.

You can choose your
silliness, old or new.

Cable has the
original pairing of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, in “Rush Hour 3”
(2007). CBS gives those same mismatched-cop roles to JonFoo and
Justin Hires. In a new episode tonight, they respond to a hostage
crisis in a concert hall.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Boston EMS,” 10 p.m., ABC.

Rob and Kim Stearns
link their work and their lives; married to each other, they also
share an ambulance, as emergency medical technicians. Tonight, they
pull a man from a frigid river.

Also, Zachary
Randall and Terry Mentele try to calm a 6-year-old who fractured his
arm falling out of bed. John Cotter responts to a fire that started
when someone forgot to extinguish a scented candle.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: Football Hall of Fame ceremony, 7-10 p.m. ET, ESPN.

Two great
quarterbacks – Brett Favre and Kenny Stabler – will be inducted,
plus Marvin Harrison, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Dick Stanfel, coach
Tony Dungy and owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

One sobering note:
After Stabler's death (at 69, of colon cancer), doctors found
substantial concussion-type damage to his brain. For a deeper look at
that issue, catch Will Smith's superb performance in “Concussion,”
at 6:55 p.m. on Starz.

Other choices
include:

“The Peanuts
Movie” (2015), 7 p.m., HBO. This leads a busy night for animated
movies. At 6 p.m., the Cartoon Network has “Alvin and the
Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” (2011) ... At 7, FX Movies has “Despicable
Me 2” (2013) ... And at 8, AMC has “Monsters vs. Aliens”
(2009).

“Wayward Pines,”
8 and 9 p.m., Fox. An intriguing season is getting a second run, this
time on Saturdays. Tonight, we learn why Jason Higgins was chosen as
the eventual leader of this contained community. Theo (Jason Patric)
tries to learn why he was chosen as the doctor. And Nurse Pam is
back.

“Last Man
Standing,” 8 p.m., ABC. When Kristen is employee of the month, Kyle
has trouble being happy for her. Also, Mike (Tim Allen, reflecting
his old “Home Improvement” days) builds a shed for his wife.

“Dr. Ken,” 8:31
p.m., ABC. Juggling laughs and sentiment semi-successfully, this
rerun has an old comedian who's desperate to do his next job despite
an illness.

“Criminal Minds:
Beyond Borders,” 9 p.m., CBS. In this rerun, a honeymoon in Belize
has gone badly. These two Americans (Autumn Reeser and Gil McKinney)
have been kidnapped.

“Speed” (1994),
10 p.m. ET, IFC. Here's a dandy romp – Keanu Reeves and Sandra
Bullock in a bus that will explode if it goes below 50 miles an hour.

TV column for Friday, Aug. 5


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Olympic opening ceremony, 7:30 p.m. to midnight, NBC.

It's time for sheer
size and spectacle – 12,000 athletes, 6,000 dancers, 109
projectors, lots of fireworks. Don't expect high-tech dazzle;
directors say the opening in hard-pressed Rio de Janeiro has a budget
one-tenth that of the 2012 ceremony in London. But do expect an
emphasis on warmth and fun.

There's a carnival
portion, of course. Music ranges from pop star Anitta, 23, to
singer-gutarists Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, 73 and 74. Matt
Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb are there for NBC.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS.

This rerun of the
season-opener offers a bigger-than-usual story. The team probes an
event centuries ago – a palace raid involving pirates, buried
treasure and a stolen painting that works as a map.

Meanwhile, Danny
worries about how McGarrett will react to the return of his former
lover Catherine (Michelle Borth). And Kono and Adam, captured by
Gabriel, are tortured the day after their wedding.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “On the Waterfront” (1954) and “A Streetcar Named
Desire” (1951), 8 and 10 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies.

Very simply, these
two black-and-white films may be the the best-acted movies ever.

At the core was Elia
Kazan directing Marlon Brando. Both won Academy Awards for
“Waterfront,” which also won won for Best Picture; “Streetcar”
had nominations for both men and best-picture. Also winning: Eva
Marie Saint in “Waterfront”; Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Karl
Malden in “Streetcar.”

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Jaws” (1975) or “Saving Private Ryan”
(1998), cable.

Here are two sides
of Steven Spielberg's brilliant career. We see his ability to thrill
... and to weave deep emotions into a broad, wartime canvas.

The latter film airs
at 8 p.m. and 12:03 a.m. on A&E. The former is in a marathon on
AMC, alongside sequels not directed by Spielberg. “Jaws,” “Jaws
2” (1978) and “Jaws 3” (1983) air at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30
p.m., then at 6:45 and 9:45 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. The fourth film
(1987) is at 2:30 a.m.

Other choices
include:

“MasterChef,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. In a rerun of Wednesday's episode, contestants must
make a three-layer birthday cake and then feed 100 hungry farmers.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 8 p.m., CBS. Nate Getz (Peter Cambor) has failed to check
in with Hetty, during his undercover mission. It turns out that he's
working with an infamous crime leader.

“Kitten Summer
Games,” 8-10 p.m.. Hallmark. In a variation on the “Puppy Bowl”
that competes with the Super Bowl, we see cute (and adoptable)
kitties doing gymnastics, vollyball and more. Mary Carillo, one of
NBC's Olympic people, will be there, alongside dog-show expert David
Frei and more.

“Killjoys,” 9
p.m., Syfy. On a night stuffed with reruns, this show is new. In its
search for the mysterious green plasma, the team is imperilled by an
eccentric collector.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Danny receives a chilling message from a possible
serial killer. Also, his sister considers running for judge; their
dad is accused by a mayoral candidate (Mary Stuart Masterson) of
secretly investigating her father.

“Rush Hour”
(1998), 10 p.m., TBS. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker play mismatched
cops, stirring action and comedy. The result brought two sequels and
a a series, which CBS airs on Saturdays.