TV column for Friday, Aug. 7


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

A two-night rerun
streak begins, offering some interesting guest stars. Tonight is
Barkhad Adbi, an Oscar-nominee for “Captain Phillips”; he plays
a Congolese warlord who's assumed dead ... but actually is living in
Oahu. At 8 p.m. Saturday is Melina Kanakaredes (“CSI:NY”) as a
federal agent from California, helping track a serial arsonist who
targets couples.

Both episodes also
have personal problems for Danny (Scott Caan). Tonight, he
over-reacts when his daughter's Valentine-time texts show up on his
cell phone.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Killjoys,” 9 p.m., Syfy.

Any time the choices
are weak on Friday – yes, that's often – you can try the three
new scripted shows on Syfy. Tonight, “Killjoys” puts our
outer-space bounty-hunters in deep peril.

A black rain pours
down, stranding Dutch and D'avin onboard. John and Pawter take
shelter in the Royale ... which, alas, is currently overrun with
dangerous criminals.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Katharine Hepburn films, all day, Turner Classic Movies.

Yes, Hepburn was
superb in dramas. That doesn't show up here, however, until the end
of this marathon; in “The Lion in Winter” (1968) at 10 p.m. ET,
she spars fiercely with Peter O'Toole.

Instead, we see her
comedies, starting with “Quality Street” (1937) at 10 a.m. ET.
Two great Spencer Tracy pairings are back-to-back, with “Pat and
Mike” (1952) at 1:15 p.m. and “Adam's Rib” (1949) at 3. There's
much more, including a “Dick Cavett Show” at 6:45 p.m. and “Alice
Adams” (1935) at 8.

Other choices
include:

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. This reruns Tuesday's episode, with the
judges making the final cuts that leave 36 acts to perform live at
Radio City Music Hall.

“Elementary,” 8
p.m., CBS. Watson suddenly needs to contact Elana March (Gina
Gershon), the criminal she helped put in prison. Also in this rerun,
Sherlock probes a theft at a zoo.

“MasterChef,” 8
p.m., Fox. In a rerun, the home chefs tackle a flambe and then a
Southern dish.

“Gotham,” 9
p.m., Fox. This rerun finds a biology teacher harvesting the glands
of murder victims. Also, young Bruce Wayne takes a dangerous hike.

“Killers”
(2010), 9 p.m., TBS. Ashton Kutcher learns what most of us already
knew: Hit men don't really get to retire,

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. On a show filled with passionate cops from the Reagan
family, it's hard for Det. Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez) to get the
focus. In this rerun, a distraught man holds her hostage in the
interrogation room. Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg), her police
partner, tries to help.

“Dark Matter,”
10 p.m., Syfy. Crew members aren't sure whether to pursue Four, who
left the ship.

TV column for Thursday, Aug. 6


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Mom,” 8:31 p.m., CBS.

Back when this aired
in January, CBS programming chief Nina Tassler called it “one of
the best episodes of television anywhere this year.” Surprisingly,
she was telling the truth.

“Mom” has the
rare ability to leap from big, broad comedy to subtly moving drama.
Now it amps up the drama – there's a death – without losing the
laughs. Allison Janney – an Emmy-winner in comedy and drama – and
Anna Faris are superb, as a mother and daughter, each a recovering
alcoholic.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Project Runway” season-opener, 9-10:32 p.m., Lifetime; preview
at 8.

Sprawling across two
networks and 11 seasons, “Runway” has remained classy and, of
course, fashionable. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn even won an Emmy (best
reality host) two years ago; they're nominated again this year.

In tonight's
preview, Gunn will introduce the 14 contestants, ages 23 to 37. Then
the rush begins: At Madison Square Garden, each designer must quickly
grab four fabrics for the first project.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Republican presidential debate, 9-11 p.m. ET, Fox News.

This is billed as
the first official debate of the election season ... unless you count
one Monday on C-SPAN. Invited were the 10 candidates who ranked
highest in a national poll.

Barring any
decisions to skip it, that should mean some colorful forces will
collide – Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and
more. And to keep everyone happy, Fox has

a separate forum (5
p.m. ET), for candidates – as many as seven of them – not in the
top 10.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “The Daily Show,” 11-11:52 p.m., Comedy Central.

Jon Stewart ends a
brilliant run, choosing an ironic night to leave. There are all his
favorite targets – Trump, Fox, Republicans – in one lump; Stewart
– who tapes his show earlier in the evening – will leave before
he can mock them anew.

He's mocked plenty
of people, with wit and skill. Stewart has been anchoring since 1999;
in one stretch, “The Daily Show” won 10 straight Emmys as best
variety show. Now a rerun marathon starts at 9:20 a.m.; after a new
“Review” at 10 p.m., there's one more rerun at 10:30 and the
expanded finale.

Other choices
include:

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. After years of failed acting autitions, Penny
took a good-paying job as a drug rep. In this rerun, she's tempted to
drop that for one more audition.

“The Astronaut
Wives Club,” 8 p.m., ABC. JoAnna Garcia Swisher has had plenty of
upbeat roles, but now she's at the core of dark drama, taken from
real life. She plays Betty Grissom, whose husband Gus (her high
school sweetheart from small-town Indiana) died during an Apollo 1
test. Tonight she mourns ... then takes action after hearing this may
have been preventable.

“Mistresses,” 9
p;.m., ABC. Joss tries to get evidence against Calista ... who
schemes to put all the blame on her. Also, Karen gets shocking news
(again) from the doctor.

“Rookie Blue,”
10 p.m., ABC. Consumed by a sensitive missing-child case, Oliver is
oblivious to the fact that he's the prime suspect in the
evidence-room exposions. Sam and Andy scramble to clear him.

“Under the Dome,”
10 p.m., CBS. Christine (Marg Helgenberger) has increasing control
over the townspeople as she pushes a massive excavation project. Big
Jim, Julia and others form a resistance.

“Rectify,” 10
p.m., Sundance. After landing a job painting a swimming pool, Daniel
damaged the pool; now he tries to undo that. Meanwhile, the sheriff
intensifies the questions about his Florida trip

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“CMA Country Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock,” 8-11 p.m.,
ABC.

Each year, this
concert offers wall-to-wall music, with no time wasted passing out
awards. The music is uptempo, the mood is upbeat, the audience is
kind of giddy.

Little Big Town
repeats as host, with other groups – Lady Antebellum, Rascal
Flatts, Florida Georgia Line, Maddie & Tae, the Zac Brown Band –
on hand. Top individual stars are also there, including Carrie
Underwood, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean,
Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice, Chris Young,
Eric Church, Sam Hunt and (really) many more.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“America's Got Talent,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC.

This is another week
for “Talent” to celebrate itself. Tonight, it brings back Piers
Morgan, one of its original judges; on Wednesday, it's part of a
special eyeing versions of the show around the world.

Morgan holds
tonight;s “golden buzzer,” sending one act directly to the next
round. The judges will do the rest; by the end of the night, we'll
have the top 36 acts, which will start performing live next week.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Back on Board: Greg Louganis,” 10 p.m., HBO.

At his peak, Greg
Louganis brought a poetic perfection to sports. The world's greatest
diver, he won two Olympic gold medals in 1984 and two more in '88;
then his world crumbled.

Louganis
acknowledged in 1995 that he's gay, but before that the mere rumors
seemed to cost him most endorsement deals. He teetered near
foreclosure, faced a bad break-up ... then survived. At 55 (and 27
years after learning he's HIV-positive), Louganis provides a
compelling comeback story.

Other choices
include:

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Robert Wagner returns as Tony's dad. In this rerun, his scheming
past is helpful: He uses his black-market contacts to help trace
stolen artwork.

“Zoo,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Mitch and Chloe need to be rescued in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile,
the others are desperate to re-capture a convicted killer who fled
after a car crash, taking key evidence.

“JFK & LBJ: A
Time for Greatness,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). The movie
“Selma” depicted Lyndon Johnson slowing the rush to civil rights;
this documentary takes the opposite view. John Kennedy pushed a bold
civil-rights bill, it says, but lacked the political might to get it
tpassed. When Johnson became president, he provided passion and
power, changing history.

“Playing House”
season-opener, 10 and 10:30 p.m., USA. When her friend Emma (Jessica
St. Clair) divorced, Molly (Lennon Parham) moved home and moved in,
to help raise the baby. It wasn't easy, especially since the town is
the home of her eccentric mom (Jane Kaczmarek) and her former
boyfriend (Keegan-Michael Key); in a fairly funny episode tonight,
it's clear his wife doesn't approve.

“West Texas
Investors Club” debut, 10 p.m., CNBC. Michael “Rooster”
McConaughey isn't as famous as his little brother Matthew ... yet.
But he's apparently rich (via oil-field supplies) and eccentric. Now
he brings entrepreneurs to his ranch; then he and two friends ponder
investing in them.

“American Titans”
debut, 10 p.m., American Heroes Channel. Andrew Carnegie and H.C.
Frick were powerful figures who merged their companies into what
would become U.S. Steel. They also hated each other and hated the
labor unions. Their story launches this series on the former Military
Channel.

“Hollywood Game
Night,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. As host of “Geeks Who Drink” (11 p.m.
Thursdays on Syfy), Zachary Levi is quick and clever. Now he competes
in this fun show, alongside chef Curtis Stone and actors Gina
Rodriguez, Tom Arnold, Rex Lee and Yvette Nicole Brown.

TV column for Monday, Aug. 3


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The Daily Show,” 11 p.m., Comedy Central.

One of TV's greatest
runs is ending this week. For 16 seasons, Jon Stewart has anchored
“The Daily Show.” He's brought wit, passion, intelligence and
even a knack for funny voices. The results have been brilliant, at
one point winning 10 straight Emmys for best variety show.

Now Stewart starts
his final week, which ends Thursday. Reruns will follow, before
Trevor Noah – a clever young South African – takes over Sept. 28.
First are four more nights of a comedy master.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “The Odd Couple” return, 8:30 p.m., CBS.

From the beginning,
this show has drawn shrugs. Critics grumbled; CBS proclaimed that it
has the best ratings of any new comedy (a “Big Bang” lead-in
helped), renewed it, but kept it off the fall line-up.

That's odd, because
there's much to recommend “Odd Couple” -- a time-tested premise,
solid stars (Mathew Perry and Thomas Lennon) and scripts filled with
slick, sharp dialog. Tonight, Oscar is dating Felix's doctor (Erinn
Hayes), just as Felix's hypochondria hits overdrive.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERATIVE: Season finales, 10 p.m., cable.

Alert your
video-recorder, because three finales start simultaneously. One is a
half-hour; “Odd Mom Out” (Bravo) has Jill deciding between going
to a birthday bash or to a gala with a prime theme.

The other two are an
hour each. “Unreal” (Lifetime) finds a disruptive force visiting
the set of the “Bachelor”-type show; Rachel frets about her
future. “Making of the Mob: New York” (AMC) finds Vito Genovese
and Carlo Gambino making their move; Lucky Luciano must choose a
successor.

Other choices
include:

“Chasing Shadows”
conclusion, any time, www.acorn.tv.
Last week's opener introduced a cop with strong skills in detecting
and weak ones with people. Now he's working with a missing-person pro
(Alex Kingston), scrambling to find a link to several disappearances.
It's a dandy story with sharp twists; there's one more two-Monday
story and then all four parts will be on this streaming servie.

“So You Think You
Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox. Last week, Moises Parra and Burim “B1”
Jusuf were eliminated. As the 16 remaining people dance tonight,
we'll learn which ones are in the bottom six from viewer votes;
viewers will save two via Twitter, with judges then saving two and
ousting two.

“Bachelor in
Paradise,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. Here's the second half of the
season-opener that started Sunday, plunking 16 former “Bachelor”
and “Bachelorette” contestants into a Mexican resort.

“2 Broke Girls,”
8 p.m., CBS. A rerun sees Max and Caroline get a surprise, when a
handsome businessman returns their missing cat.

“Scorpion,” 9
p.m., CBS. This rerun finds the team protecting Cabe's ex-wife
(Jessica Tuck), after she finds signs of foul play.

“Chasing Life,”
9 p.m., ABC Family. As her wedding nears, April faces some “lasts”
-- last week of being single, last week of living in her family home
... maybe last chance to throw a wild party.

“Whispers,”
10:01 p.m., ABC. Claire still assumes that Dril – who talks kids
into deadly deals – is a new force. Now she meets someone who says
he met Dril 30 years ago.

“Running Wild With
Bear Grylls,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. In theaters now, Ed Helms is the
floundering “Vacation” dad. Here's a different side: Afraid of
heights, he climbs in the Colorado Mountains.

 

TV column for Sunday, Aug. 2


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Masterpiece: Poldark” season-finale, 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

We really don't
expect this on a summertime Sunday – an epic adventure, with a huge
emotional story backed by stunning visuals. Tonight, “Poldark”
delivers all of that and more.

Against the grand
vistas of seaside England, lives aere wobbling. Ross Poldark's plan
to revive the mines and save the economy is crumbling ... his wife's
efforts to aid the romance of his cousin's sister is bringing a
backlash ... and now there's a deadly illness. Storm clouds are
rumbling, figuratively and literallty. The first hour is a tad
soap-y, but the second is simply a flat-out terrific adventure-drama.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Bachelor in Paradise” season-opener, 8-10 p.m., ABC.

After dealing with
the serious matrimonial matters of “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette,”
ABC loosens up. Former contestants from both shows gather for some
fun and games and lust.

This
year's edition sprawls across Sundays and Mondays. It starts with
seven men (four from this summer's “Bachelorette”) and nine
women. That includes six women from the most recent “Bachelor,”
two from previous years (including Tenley Molzahn, Jake Pevelka's
controversial runner-up in 2010) and a “mystery woman” who
arrives late. Soon, two women are ousted and the dating begins.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Last Man on Earth,”
8:30 and 9:30 p.m., Fox.

On
summer Sundays, we can catch reruns of clever shows starring
“Saturday Night Live” alumni.

First
is Andy Samberg, a Golden Globe winner as Jake; tonight, he feels
someone is sabotaging his work. Then it's Will Forte in his
Emmy-nominated role as Phil, a survivor of a global plague. Tonight,
he asks God for a “do-over.” Two women (Mary Steenburgen and
Cleopatra Coleman) arrive, doubling the planet's known female
population; soon, Phil is scheming anew.

Other choices
include:

Movies, 6:55 and 7
p.m., cable. At 6:55, HBO has “Birdman” (2014), the
strange-and-stylish film that

won the Academy
Award for best picture. At 7, there are two large adventures --
“Hunger Games” (2012) on ABC Family and “Mission Impossible –
Ghost Protocol” (2011) on FX.

“Hollywood Game
Night,” 7 p.m., NBC. This rerun has people known in reality and
talk shows – Rosie O'Donnell, Kevin O'Leary, Nate Berkus, Rocco
Dispirto – plus actress Constance Zimmer and comic singer Weird Al
Yankovic.

“Welcome to
Sweden,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC. In a delightful episode last week,
Bruce (Greg Poehler) finally resisted his parents, insisting that his
wedding will be in Sweden where he and his fiancee live. Tonight's
second episode includes bachelor and bachelorette parties that get
out of hand.

“Saturday Night
Fever” (1977), 8 and 10:30 p.m., Sundance. Here's a true classic, a
deep character drama entwined with a pop-culture swirl of BeeGees
songs and disco moves.

“The Last Ship,”
9 p.m., TNT. Rachel tries to re-construct the lost formula and
Chandler tries to reverse the brainwashing on Michener.

“CSI: Cyber,” 10
p.m., CBS. Two networks shift their 10 p.m. shows. ABC inserts its
medical reality show, “Save My Life, Boston Trauma.” CBS has
pulled its original “CSI” show, replacing it with its newest one;
tonight involves the abduction of young women whose social-network
pages were updated.

“The Strain,” 10
p.m., FX. Eph and Nora – Centers for Disease Control doctors
working on their own – have been putting together a possible virus
that would spread among zombies. Now they test it.