TV column for Thursday, June 11


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Wayward Pines,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Halfway through its
10-week run, this compelling mini-series finally offers an
explanation for what's been going on. It's an official one; but
people who saw the brilliant “The Village” (also from M. Night
Shyamalan) know that doesn't neccesarily make it true.

After car crashes,
people keep ending up in this odd town, where escape seems
impossible. Ethan (Matt Dillon) tried with his wife and son, even
killing the abusive sheriff; he was promptly made sheriff. Now he
tries a perilous escape, while the others stay home. The truth – or
some version of it – awaits them.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Beauty and the Beast” season-opener, 8 p.m., CW.

After disappearing
for 11 months, “Beauty” finally returns for a 13-week, summer
run. Vincent has finally stopped Murfield, the organization that made
supersoldiers (including him) and killed Catherine's mother. “We're
just getting used to being normal,” Catherine says.

Not too normal. Her
sister (preparing to marry) is one of the few people who know Vincent
is the beast. He wants to propose to Catherine, but she's a cop, busy
probing a murder by a superhuman being.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Women in Prison” debut, 10 p.m., Investigation
Discovery.

On the eve of
Netflix's “Orange is the New Black” season-opener, here's a
non-fiction view. Each week introduces two Indiana inmates, with
snippits of their prison lives and brief comments from others.

There are also
re-enactments of their early lives, with quick surpises tonight. In
South Bend, Alicia Brown was married to a firefighter; she coached
soccer, had a job and helped raise her baby and two stepkids. In
Goshen, Hannah Stone was a teenager, living with her mom and
respectful of her dad, a Methodist minister. Then – we won't spoil
the storytelling -- their lives plunged sharply.

Other choices
include:

Basketball previews,
8 and 8:31 p.m. ET, and game, 9 p.m. ET, ABC. The Cleveland Cavaliers
host the Golden State Warriors, in the fourth game of the
best-of-seven championship series.

“Bones”
season-finale, 8 p.m., Fox. While the team probes a copycat killer,
there are decisions to be made. Will Angela and Hodgins really move
to Paris? Will Brennan and Bones leave their jobs?

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Sheldon and Leanoard fight back, after an
Internet attack against their physics paper. Also in this rerun, the
women confront embarassments from their past.

“iHeart Radio Pool
Party,” 9 p.m., CW. Kelly Clarkson opens the show, which includes
music by Nick Jonas (who hosts), Shaggy (doing his past hit “It
Wasn't Me” and his new “I Need Your Love”) and Chris Brown.
Also, David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha combine for “Hey,
Mama.”

“Aquarius,” 9
p.m., NBC. The story that started this – searching for a
16-year-old girl who's been with Charlie Manson – reaches a turning
point tonight. So does a muder probe, but this remains a one-note
show, with characters all seeming to adopt minor variations on the
same weary dismay.

“Mom,” 9:01
p.m., CBS. This rerun has some great moments as Bonnie (Allison
Janney) – thoroughly unsuited for most jobs – seeks one.
Meanwhile, Christy tries to confront her daughter's despondence.

“Elementary,” 10
p.m., CBS. As Holmes searches for someone who committed murder to get
a rare map, Watson worries about his obsession with the romantic life
of his protege, Kitty. Mamie Gummer, Meryl Streeps daughter, guests
as an heiress.

TV column for Sunday, June 10


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Skin Wars” season-opener, 9 p.m., Game Show Network.

Slick, sleek and
sexy, this has quickly become one of TV's best competition shows. For
this second season, the 12 contestants range from a Utah preacher's
wife to a guy who savors his Miaimi setting. “It's a tropical
place,” he says. “Why not shed your clothes and get painted?”

Some contestants
grew up in Russia, Brazil and Israel. Some look next-door; others
have dyed their hair purple, violet or red-streaked. What they share
is great artistry at painting directly on bodies. Tonight, one
challenge involves picturing a favorite moment; another focuses on a
chess piece.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “The Goldbergs,” 8:30 p.m., ABC.

A strong night of
ABC comedy reruns includes this journey into the tricky matter of
accepting your sons' romantic choices. The mom is uneasy about Adam's
feelings for Dana; the dad discovers a deal-breaker about Barry's
girlfriend: Her dad roots for the Dallas Cowboys.

That sets up the
dilemma in a good episode: How much of a sacrifice is a dad expected
to make.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: CMT Music Awards, 8 p.m., CMT (with rerun at 10:32) and
TV Land.

On the rare times
when CMT remembers what its initials stand for (Country Music
Television), it can assemble great starpower. Tonight has music by
Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Kenny
Chesney, Jake Owen, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and the Zac
Brown Band.

There's more, on a
separate stage for emerging stars. They include Ashley Monroe, Jana
Kramer, Brett Eldridge, A Thousand Horses, Tyler Rhett, Frankie
Ballard, Chris Janson, Kelsea Ballerini and more.

Other choices
include:

“MasterChef,” 8
p.m., Fox. First, these home chefs must create crab dishes. Then they
make sweet or savory dishes, using corn.

“The Middle,” 8
p.m., ABC. You haven't had a really bad day until your kitchen sink
collapses. That happens to Frankie, who then must do dishes with a
garden hose. Also in this rerun, her daughter can't graduate unless
she masters a difficult dance; her younger son tries to scam his dad.

“Melissa &
Joey,” 8 p.m., ABC Family. Greer Grammer (Kelsey's daughter,
Spencer's half-sister) has some very funny moments as an inept
actress in who's cast in Lennox's short film. Meanwhile, Joey
explodes when he figures out the story behind Melissa's devil tattoo.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. This goes back to its season-opener. Mitchell and
Cameron are back from their honeymoon, Alex is back from a
humanitarian trip and the family dynamic is changing.

“CSI Cyber,” 10
p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a bomber is apparently trying to make a
statement about the overreliance on technology.

“Celebrity Wife
Swap,” 10 p.m., ABC. Two people who have known sports stardom –
one directly, one indirectly – briefly swap lives. Kerri Walsh
Jennings is in the beach-volleyball duo (with Misty May-Treanor) that
won 112 straight matches and three Olympic titles. Married to
volleyball-player Casey Jennings, she has three children; now she
swaps with Tami Roman (“Basketball Wives”), who had two children
with Kenny Anderson, her former husband and a former pro basketball
star.

“Ripper Street,”
10 p.m., BBC America. Set in 1890s London, this hour views
then-illegal abortions.

TV column for Tuesday, June 9


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Hell's Kitchen” finale, 9 p.m., Fox.

Last week, Gordon
Ramsay dumped people at the two extremes. Gone are Milly Medley,
towering and self-taught, and Michelle Tribble, tiny and confident.

That leaves Meghan
Gill, 28, an executive chef from Roanoke, Va, and T Gregoire, 31, a
line chef from Atlanta. Tonight, they start by making unique dishes
for five famous chefs; then they each lead a dinner service. The
winner gets a $250,000-a-year job as head chef at Caesar's Atlantic
City.

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

At times, Liv has
kept her new world from trampling her old one. Few people know she's
a zombie, chomping on victims' brains to gather their memories; most
think of her as an earnest medical resident.

Now that's tougher.
Her brother is inadvertently working for the bad guys; her former
fiance, newly convinced zombies are real, wants to kill all of them.
This episode skips the humor that has boosted “iZombie”; it's a
tough, violent hour that wraps up some things, while leaving others
for next season.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), 7-11 p.m., AMC;
repeats at 1 a.m.

Yes, Steven
Spielberg is the master of action, creating vibrant visuals. We can
see that today when “Jurassic Park” (1993) and its sequel (1997)
air at 6 and 9 p.m. on Syfy.

But Spielberg is
also gifted at subjects that are intimate and intense. This film
ranks alongside “Schindler's List” as one of his most serious ...
and one of his best. Tom Hanks leads a World War II team, trying to
extract a soldier (then-newcomer Matt Damon) whose brothers have been
killed.

Other choices
include:

“Nightingale”
(2015), 7:30-9 p.m., HBO. After being a tower of restraint in
“Selma,” David Oyelowo showed his immense range in this one-man
show. He offers a compelling descent into madness.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. David McCallum found American stardom more than a half-century
ago, with “The Man From UNCLE.” Now, at 81, he has the focus in
this rerun. When a case seems linked to his estranged childhood
friend, Ducky (McCallum) returns home to London. Flashbacks show his
past.

“Pretty Little
Liars,” 8 p.m., ABC Family, rerunning at 10. Freed from captiivity,
the girls feel the emotional aftershocks. Also, Alison is viewed
sternly by townspeople.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. This reruns one of the crossover episodes:
On liberty in New Orleans, a Navy officer dies of bubonic plague;
helping are “NCIS” regulars Tony and Abby.

“Stitchers,” 9
p.m., ABC Famiy. Last week's premiere introduced a young woman who
tries to solve crimes by talking to the dead. Tonight, someone has
died from a deadly new drug.

“Basketball,” 9
p.m. ET, ABC, with previews at 8 and 8:30. The best-of-seven
championship series moves to Cleveland, after the first two games
were at Golden State.

“I Can Do That,”
10:01 p.m., NBC. After the “America's Got Talent” auditions
(8-10:01 p.m.), we'll see stars train to duplicate Blue Man Group,
archer Ben Blacque and jump-ropers Double Dutch.

TV column for Monday, June 8


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

The last time this
show visited Detroit, it found a winner. Amy Yakima of Northville,
who audioned there, went on to be named the 10th season's
best female dancer.

Now, two years
later, “Dance” is back for a new round of Detroit auditions. That
sounds promising, especially with the new street-vs.-stage theme. It
got off to a terrific start in last week's opener; so did the new
judging panel -- Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo, joining creator Nigel
Lythgoe.

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

It's time for the
show to go on the road, starting in New York City, where the dates
vary widely. There's a rap battle with Doug E. Fresh, some “Aladdin”
music on the Broadway stage and a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of
Art.

That's sandwiched by
odd twists – Clint and JJ argue; Nick Viall (from a previous
season) shows up, wanting to be added to the pool now.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Odd Mom Out” debut, 10 and 10:30 p.m., Bravo.

In most worlds, Jill
Kargman would be the object of envy. She's a Yale grad whose dad was
president of Chanel. Her husband has his own company; her brother's
wife is Drew Barrymore.

At 40, she's written
several books and more than 200 magazine articles. But in her world,
she says, she's considered underprivileged; now “Odd” --
inconsistent, but with great moments -- mocks the superrich. Kargman
plays herself, with Abby Elliott as the wife of her husband's
mega-rich brother.

Other choices
include”

“Harry,” any
time, www.acorn.tv. Last week's
opener (also available on this streaming service) showed the immense
talent of Oscar Kightley, a Samoan-born actor-writer in New Zealand;
now the second of six parts goes deeper and darker. Still shaky from
his wife's suicide, Harry (Kightley) is haunted by murders; he has
the gunman (young, frightened and weak-witted), but needs the people
who led him.

“Texas Rising,”
3-11 p.m., History. The first three episodes rerun at 3, 5 and 7
p.m., setting up tonight's new round at 9, with Sam Houston leading a
surprise attack on the Mexicans.

“2 Broke Girls,”
8 p.m., CBS. A rerun night on CBS starts with Caroline dragging Max
to a business seminar ... almost ruining their business AND their
friendship.

“American Genius,”
9 and 10 p.m., National Geographic. Trying to match the power of last
week's great Steve Jobs/Bill Gates hour, “Genius” meets media
moguls. First is radio, with Philo Farnsworth and David Sarnoff; then
it's newspapers, with Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

“The Whispers,”
10 p.m., ABC. Last week's compelling opener had kids getting deadly
ideas from what seemed to be an imaginary friend. Then it planted the
notion that this guy is no mere figment of the imagination. Tonight,
that builds; by the end of the hour, we'll feel this is either one
great story or – it's too early to tell – a hideous collection of
coincidences and improbable actions.

“Serial Thriller,”
10 p.m., Investigation Discovery. Now for a totally true story: This
is the mid-section of a three-night re-enactment of the effort to
catch a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s. The real
story is almost interesting enough to make up for some awful writing,
acting and more.

“UnReal,” 10
p.m., Lifetime. In its second week, this show has already abandoned
any aspirations of being a comedy-drama. The laughs are sparse, the
drama is harsh and the central character – a top staffer on a
“Bachelor”-type show – is considering being despicale.

TV column for Sunday, June 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Tony Awards, 8-11 p.m., CBS.

Once a year, the
Tonys show us Broadway's best. Plays get some attention, but mainly
the Tonys offer a cascade of song and dance. This time, Kristen
Chenoweth co-hosts (with Alan Cumming) and does a number from her “On
the Twentieth Century,” a nominee for best musical revival.

There will be
numbers from the other nominated revivals (“The King and I,” “On
the Town”), the new-musical nominees (“Fun Home,” “An
American in Paris,” “The Visit,” “Something Rotten”) and
even un-nominated musicals with Vanessa Hudgens, Tyne Daly, Kelsey
Grammer and Matthew Morrison.

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

Large forces are
preparing to collide in the Holy Land. The Ethiopians and the Zealots
are preparing to battle the Romans; also, Caiaphas fumes about
changes in his Jerusalem.

Saul of Tarsus used
to be his strongest ally in purging the followers of Jesus. But now
Saul has become Paul, a passionate Christian; he returns to preach in
Jerusalem, enraging Caiaphas.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “T. Rex Autopsy,” 9-11 p.m., National Geographic.

Sprawling in the
biology lab is a 46-foot tyrannosaurus rex, its skin and bones
intact. Scientists – complete with chain saw, English accents and
clever quips – begin to dissect.

We're standing at
the inter-section of fact and fiction. Actors and special effects
merge with a dead-serious use of scientific fact. Some of this feels
forced, but it works. By the end of the two hours, we'll have learned
fun things about creatures that disappeared 60-plus million years
ago.

Other choices
include:

Basketball previews
(7 and 7:31 p.m. ET) and game (8 p.m. ET), ABC. The Golden State
Warriors host the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the second game of the
best-of-seven championship series.

“Jessie,” 7-8:30
p.m., Disney Channel. Think of this as a comedy mini-series: On
Friday and Saturday, Disney ran the start of this story, with Jessie
(Debby Ryan), the young nanny, on a cruise with the kids. Those
episodes rerun at 7 and 7:30 p.m. today, leading to the finale (a
maritime crisis) at 8.

“Close Encounters
of the Third Kind” (1974), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. This
has been a busy week for Steven Spielberg films, with multiple looks
at “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park.” Now here's one of his greatest
films, visually sumptious and emotionally involving, as outer-space
aliens arrive.

“The Simpsons,”
8 p.m., Fox. This is why it's important to know which line you're in:
The Simpsons choose the wrong one and end up on exhibit in an alien
planet.

“Golan the
Insatiahle,” 9:30 p.m., Fox. This is the most evil thing you can do
in Minnesota: Dylan and Golan scheme to prevent spring from coming.

“American
Odyssey,” 10 p.m., NBC. Still on the lam in North Afrtica, Odelle
and Luc now have Frank as an unconscious captive. They aren't sure
what to do with him.

“Serial Thriller,”
10 p.m., Investigation Discovery. We're in the 1970s, in the quiet
beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Young women are disappearing; some
of their bodies are being found in the woods. This true story has
been turned into a three-night, re-enactment mini-series. If you can
overlook some lame acting, writing and visuals, you'll eventually
find this fairly involving.