TV column for Friday, May 6


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Adele in New York,” 8-9:30 p.m., NBC.

As this Radio City
Music Hall concert was about to begon, Jimmy Fallon called Adele “a
once-in-a-generation talent.” Usually, that's just hype; in this
case, it's an accurate assessment.

Adele started with
“Hello” -- logically enough – and ended with her sensational
“Rolling in the Deep”; in between were other hits, including
“Skyfall” and “Set Fire to the Rain.” Now the entire concert
reruns; this version is 30 minutes longer than the original, with
five extra songs.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Blue Bloods” season-finale, 10 p.m., CBS.

This solid drama
rarely mimics real-life events, but here's a strong exception. After
a grand jury clears a cop, someone leaks a tape that seems to show
him shooting an unarmed Hispanic man.

There's outrage from
the mayor and the public, putting pressure on the Reagans – Frank
(Tom Selleck), the police commissioner; his daughter Erin (Bridget
Moynahan), an assistant district attorney; and her brother Danny
(Donnie Wahlberg), a police detective pursuing what may have been a
revenge shooting.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Amazing Race,” 8 p.m., CBS.

A week from naming
its million-dollar winner, the race now has its final four ... and
has lost its most dominant duo. Brodie Smith and Kurt Gibson are
Frisbee stars and skilled racers who finished in first place during
many rounds; last week, however, they hit a double detour and were
eliminated.

Finishing first were
Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl, who have been friends since childhood.
They face two dating couples – dancers Matt Steffanina and Dana
Boriello, videogame people Burnie Burns and Ashley Jenkins – plus
the mother-son duo of Sheri and Cole LaBrant. Tonight, they all reach
China.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: More music, cable.

If you're skipping
the Adele rerun, there's a lot more music out there in other reruns.
You could go straight from Ariana Grande and other teen-pop stars at
the Radio Disney Music Awards (7-9 p.m., Disney) to Charlie Parker in
Ken Burns' “Jazz” documentary series, 9-11 p.m. on most PBS
stations.

Or you can try two
movies built around music: “Sister Act” (1993, 8-10:30 p.m., TV
Land) is a clever comedy with Whoopi Goldberg. “Selena” (1997)
has Jennifer Lopez in a moving portrait of the Tejano star who was
killed; the Pop channel has it at 10 p.m., two hours later than
originally scheduled.

Other choices
include:

“The Help”
(2011), 7-11 p.m., BET. A grim subject – racisim among the rich in
1960s Mississippi – is viewed amiably, with great work from Octavia
Spencer (an winning an Oscar) and Viola Davis.

“Think Like a Man”
(2012), 8-10 p.m., Fox. Last summer, Steve Harvey's “Celebrity
Family Feud” was considered a big ratings surprise; it will be
back. Right now, Harvey's “Little Big Shots” has become a bigger
surprise. (Maybe some day, networks won't be so surprised.) Now Fox
wisely inserts this comedy movie based on Harvey's advice book. He
has a supporting role, in a film that stars Taraji Henson, Kevin
Hart, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Chris Brown and many more.

More movies, cable.
Alongside the Fox and BET movies, there are some high-octane
adventures. At 8 p.m., try the deligtful “Back to the Future”
(1985) on CMT or “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) on TNT; at 9, TBS
has “Oz, the Great and Powerful” (2013).

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. A member of the “Five-0” team has a strong
connection to the young daughter of a woam who was killed in her
home.

“The Originals,”
9 p.m., CW. Klaus, Elijah and Freya are desperate to dispose of
Lucien, who has left their family shattered.

“The Story of
God,” 10 p.m., National Geographic. This excellent, six-hour
documentary series concludes at 9 p.m. Sunday. First, this rerun has
Morgan Freeman asking how religions view evil.

TV column for Thursday, May 5


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Mom,” 9:01 p.m., CBS.

This terrific comedy
thrives on its mother-daughter arguments. Tonight, that's pretty much
the whole episode; great actresses collide verbally ... and, in a
hilarious moment, physically.

Christy (Anna Faris)
has had a personal triumph; her mom (Allison Janney) can't seem to
compliment her. Soon, they're exchanging sharp dialog and then having
that fight scene. There's even a dandy dream scene that returns
Janney to “The West Wing,” where she won three of her (so far)
six Emmys.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Blacklist,” 9 p.m., NBC.

The season's final
three episodes will continue to search for the people responsible for
Liz's death. Tonight, Red traces a link to Susan Hargrave, who is
elegant, powerful and dangerous.

She's played by
Famke Janssen, the Dutch-born actress whom movie fans know as a James
Bond villain in “GoldenEye” and as Jean Grey, transforming into
Phoenix, in the “X-Men” movies.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Archer” (FX) or “Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy
Central), 10 p.m.

After the
traditional comedies on CBS, switch to cable for ones that are
offbeat, adult, erratic .... and sometimes very funny. Last week's
“Archer” (rerunning at 10:31 p.m.) saw the team guarding a
necklace worn by a faded movie star; now they're held hostage, in an
episode that reruns at 11:02.

Some of Schumer's
best moments involve satirizing gender stereotypes. Tonight
(rerunning at 1:01 a.m.) has “best-actress” nominations (in very
limited roles) and glasses that let you see what appeals to each guy.
There are other fairly funny bits, plus a warm talk with an activist
who has Down sydrome.

Other choices
include:

“Bones,” 8 p.m.,
Fox. In an uncharacteristic moment, Brennan punched a suspect; now
she faces a hearing that could bar her from working with the FBI.
Meanwhile, her husband Booth has ties to a suspect in the new murder
case. And Laura Spencer (Raj's sometimes-girlfriend on “Big Bang
Theory”) is back as Jessica, Aubrey's maybe-girlfriend.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. On Sunday, Christine Baranski will wrap up a
great drama run, with the series finale of “The Good Wife.”
First, she returns to her comedy duties, as Leonard's coldly
analytical mom; her daughter-in-law Penny struggles to make a
connection.

“The Odd Couple,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. Oscar finally has a romance with someone his age
(Teri Hatcher); now a new problem appears. Meanwhile, the Felix-Emily
romance was thriving ... until she regained custody of her pet; now
Felix must overcome his fear of dogs.

“Scandal,” 9
p.m., ABC. A week before the season-finale, we finally learn who will
be the presidential nominees. First, Olivia struggles to take down
Hollis Doyle, the evil oil lobbyist. And Edison Davis, her former
fiancee, feels he may have aligned with the wrong people, as Rowan
and Jake maneuver.

“Project Runway
All-Stars” finale, 9 p.m., Lifetime. First, we can catch the
previous four episodes, at 5 p.m. They sift the field to the final
three – Dom Streater of Philadelphia, Ken Laurence of Atlanta and
Kini Zamora, from Hawaii. Tonight (promptly rerunning at 10:32 p.m.),
they make New York-inspired fashions from the top of the World Trade
Center.

“Rush Hour,” 10
p.m., CBS. In the “21 Jump Street” style, cops go undercover in
high school. This time, however, the cop has been killed; Carter and
Lee go undercover as school administrators.

“Game of Silence,”
10:01 p.m., NBC. Returning to the juvenile-detention home where they
were brutalized, the guys start to understand Gil's ordeal. They also
learn more of the scheme led by the former warden ... whose political
campaign is being infilitrated by Jessie, who was Jackson's
girlfriend in their teen days and is now with Gil. It's a fairly good
hour, starting to put together some key pieces.

TV column for Wednesday, May 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Americans,” 10 p.m., FX.

Philip and Elizabeth
have always felt they're on the side of good. Deeply embedded in
1980s America, they're spies, reporting back to their Russian
homeland. Still, there's a dark side they can't duck: Often, they
take advantage of innocent people, ruining -- or even ending -- their
lives.

Now that peaks
doubly: Philip (Matthew Rhys) seduced and – using a false identity
– married Martha, an FBI secretary; he must send her to Russia
before her bosses find her. Meanwhile Elizabeth (Keri Russell) has a
quick crisis involving another contact. Lives are bent, in a
beautifully acted hour.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Empire,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Lucious' new video
might re-spark his career, with a deeply personal look at his painful
childhood and his troubled mother. But it also brings fresh questions
from his son, Andre – who is belatedly learning that his own
bipolar disorder is similar to his grandmother's; now a dark secret
brings trouble..

And all around
Andre, there are other emotional extremes: Both of his brothers have
secret affairs; also, his wife Rhonda is starting to remember who
pushed her down the stairs, almost killing her.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Underground,” 10 p.m., WGN America.

A week from the
finale of the first season, crises overwhelm these runaway slaves.
Sam was captured and returned to the plantation, Noah was injured and
a slave-catcher (Christopher Meloni) has Rosalee.

As Cato and Noah try
to free her, “Underground” has a flaw that hurts many dramas –
creating a situation so difficult that no solution would be
believable. If you can overlook that, then catch an
otherwise-excellent episode of a well-crafted series.

Other choices
include:

“Jurassic Park”
films, cable. You can catch all four films – but not in order. IFC
has the original – Steven Spielberg's action masterpiece (1993) --
at 6 p.m.; it precedes that with the second one (1997) at 1 p.m. and
the third (2001) at 4 ... then has the third again at 10 p.m..
Meanwhile, HBO has the fourth film -- “Jurassic World” (2015) --
at 2:50 and 10 p.m.

“Survivor,” 8
p.m., CBS. Two weeks from the finale, the former tribes are even.
“Beauty” lost Julia Sokolowski (a college student, 19), leaving
two people – the same as for “Brains” and “Brawn.”

“The Middle,” 8
p.m., ABC. In previous years, viewers have seen Mother's Day plans
crumble. This time, Frankie tells everyone not to bother ... but then
has a new idea.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. Both boys aren't sure how to ask for prom date. Luke get
advice from Mitchell and Manny from Cam ... who, of course, tends to
overdue things.

“Criminal Minds,”
9 p.m., CBS. For the finale of its 11th season, the show
tries a big story – Hotch (Thomas Gibson) has been arrested on
conspiracy charges – and two returning guest stars. Sheryl Lee
Ralph plays the ex-wife of Rossi (Joe Mategna); Frances Fischer plays
serial killer Antonia Slade.

“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC. John Munch is TV's most eternal
police detective. He started on “Law & Order,” then did 15
seasons on “Special Victims Unit”; the same character – always
played by Richard Belzer, now 71 – has done four other cop shows,
plus two Tina Fey comedies and “The X-Files.” Now, in his first
“SVU” in two years, one of his old cases re-opens.

“Nashville,” 10
p.m., ABC. When interviewed, Scarlett and Gunnar can't agree on their
own history as a music act. Also, Kelsea Ballerini plays herself and
sings “Peter Pan.”

TV column for Tuesday, May 3


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“American Masters,” 8-10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Janis Joplin's
short, passionate life is the perfect basis for a biography. It had
rich contrasts; “she was like a little-girl-lost and then she would
be as strong as a mountain lion,” one bandmate says in this
compelling film. It had huge highs, deep lows and powerhouse music.

That story is told
with extraordinary subtlety and warmth. There are great clips, of
course, rippling with Joplin's music. There are vivid comments from
her brother and sister, her friends and the people who helped mold
music in the late-1960s. And adding depth are the warm letters ths
Joplin sent home.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Person of Interest” season-opener, 10 p.m., CBS.

Once a
case-of-the-week show, “Person” turns its final season –
Mondays and Tuesdays for 13 episodes – into a fate-of-the world,
sci-fi epic. The all-knowing Samaritan is desperate to get the
machine; it tracks Finch and Reese (Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel)
and the hacker whiz Root (Amy Acker).

At times, the good
guys seem too omnipotent, the bad guys too inept. Still, credit
“Person” with saying farewell in a big way. This hour offers
Finch's deep emotion toward his fiancee (via flashbacks with
Emerson's real-life wife, Carrie Preston) and toward his machine. It
also has fierce, gun-toting action.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Grandfathered,” 8:30 p.m., Fox.

In a three-episode
stretch, the show confronts its biggest obstacle – making the
handsome and successful Jimmy (John Stamos) seem sympathetic.

That started last
week, with the news that his grumpy dad had died. Tonight, his
friends – including lovers current (a corporate mogul) and long-ago
(mother of his son) -- try to break through his unblinking surface.
It's a farily good episode that turns terrific in the final minutes.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “The Night Manager,” 10 p.m., AMC.

The first time AMC
tackled international intrigue, it bogged down. The mysteries of
“Rubicon” were stretched on endlessly; viewers weren't sure
anything would ever be resolved.

Here's the opposite
– a John le Carre novel (yes, with an ending), told in six fairly
brisk episodes. This one, the third, finds a loner and ex-soldier
(Tom Hiddleston) embedded in the secret operation of an arms dealer
(Hugh Laurie). We can grumble that things seem too easy, but this is
still a lushly filmed and intelligent tale that lets great actors –
including Tom Hollander as a top aide – collide.

Other choices
include:

“The Voice,” 8
p.m., NBC. On Monday, viewers heard the top 10 and voted. Tonight,
eight of them are safe; the other two perform for the judges, with
one surviving.

“New Girl,” 8
and 9 p.m., Fox. Jess is scrambling to fix Cece's wedding dress in
the first episode and meets her boyfriend's female friend in the
second. Meanwhile, Nick frets about inviting their former loftmate
Reagan to the wedding; Winston and Ally are finally together, but try
to keep it secret.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. It's a busy time for Gibbs: He questions a teen who stopped a
home invasion and he brings a Marine's wife to the White House to
meet Michelle Obama, as part of a program for soldiers' families.
Also, Vance and Fornell go to London, in the aftermath of the escape
of a British spy.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. A Navy man, visiting his family's
century-old restaurant in the French Quarter, is the target of an
explosion. That story offers a chance to view New Orleans vibrant
food culture; the hour includes three real-life chefs and music by
Guy Clark, Jr.

“Containment,” 9
p.m., CW. After starting powerfully – a deadly virus spreading from
an Atlanta hospital – the story has stagnated. A containment zone
was set up and re-enforced; efforts to amp up the drama are fairly
interesting, but seem to overemphasize bad behavior in time of
crisis.

“Frontline,” 10
p.m., PBS (check local listings). Two reporters visit dangerous turf.
Feras Kilani goes to Benghazi, birthplace of the Libyan uprising and
now torn by ISIS and warring militias; Safa Al-Ahmad views fighting
in Yemen.

TV column for Monday, May 2


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Big Bang Theory” and “The Odd Couple,” 9-10 p.m., CBS.

The bad news is that
“Supergirl” and “Scorpion” have ended their seasons early.
The good: For this month, at least, CBS revives its tradition of
four-comedy Mondays.

“Big Bang” is
the lone rerun in the bunch, but it's a good one: Amy goes on a date
with the socially clumsy Dave (Stephen Merchant) and Sheldon tries
Online dating.“Odd Couple,” which has been consistently funny,
has a new episode with key moments. Oscar continues trying to impress
his smart neighbor (Teri Hatcher); his manager (Wendell Pierce)
introduces his wife (Sheryl Underwood).
TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Mike
& Molly,” 8 and 8:30, p.m., CBS.

Over the next three
Mondays, this show will have its final six episodes.

Often quite silly,
it starts tonight by having noisy Vince quit a do-it-yourself
project. But then is a more-serious story that carries into episodes
ahead: Molly, who quit her teaching job, discovers that one of her
former students is pregnant and homeless.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Houdini & Doyle” debut, 9 p.m., Fox.

At first glance,
they were opposites. Conan Doyle was 15 years older and seven inches
taller than Harry Houdini. He was Scottish-born and Irish Catholic;
Houdini was Hungarian-born and Jewish.

Sharing fame,
intelligence and curiosity, they became real-life friends, despite a
huge gap: Doyle (the Sherlock Holmes author) believed in ghosts and
spiritualists; Houdini (the magician) debunked them. This series
imagines that they solved crimes together in 1901 London. Michael
Weston (the detective in “House”) and Stephen Mangan (“Episodes”)
star, in an hour with great visuals and a so-so story.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Jack Irish,” any time, www.acorn.tv.

Late in the first
hour, Jack asks what's going on here; we kind of know the feeling.
This is a sprawling story which the characters (and viewers) must
piece together gradually.

Australian fans
grasped the accents and had seen three Jack Irish movies; Americans
who persevere will find an agreeable blend of action, humor and
confusion. Two popular Aussies, Guy Pierce and Marta Dusseldorp, star
as Jack (a lawyer who became a private-eye and bill-collector) and
his girlfriend, a journalist. The first two episodes arrive today,
with the other four at one-per-Monday.

Other choices
include:

Interview, 3 p.m.
ET, Fox Business Network. Liz Claman talks to Warren Buffett and Bill
Gates, plus Charles Munger, vice-chair of Buffett's company
(Berkshire Hathaway), after its shareholders meeting.

“Dancing With the
Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Last week, one football player (Doug
Flutie) was eliminated and another (Von Miller) was tied for last
place. Miller, Ginger Zee and Kim Fields each had a 24 in judges'
votes, leaving them vulnerable on this double-elimination night. But
the third football guy, Antonio Brown, had a 27, topped only by Wanya
Morris (29) and Paige VanZant (28).

“The Voice,”
8-10:01 p.m., NBC. The top 10 singers perform and viewers vote.

“Reign” return,
8 p.m., CW. As the second half of the season – with seven new
episodes – begins, Mary may have to sacrifice her cousin's life to
save her own.

“Jane the Virgin,”
9 p.m., CW. Last week, Jane did the honorable thing, refusing to
write a rich kid's college essay for $1,000. Alas, Petra's scheming
twin has sent in an ad under Jane's name, announcing an essay-writing
service. Now the teaching-assistant job is in jeopardy.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 9:59 p.m., CBS. Sam's son and his classmates have been
kidnapped by extremists; the team races to San Francisco to rescue
them. That wraps up the show's season; “Person of Interest” will
debut Tuesday, then air its final episodes on Mondays and Tuesdays
for six weeks.

“Castle,” 10:01
p.m., ABC. After tonight, Stana Katic only has two more episodes.
Tonight, Beckett (Katic) and Castle probe the murder of a former
movie star who was trying theater.