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.

TV column for Saturday, June 6


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

In a comfy
Washington, D.C., suburb, creepy things are happening. Kids take
lethal instructions from a disembodied voice. A ragged man has no
memory. And the FBI's child specialist, recently widowed, will soon
get jolting news that may affect both of those.

That happened in the
show's compelling opener. Before the second episode airs (10 p.m.
Monday), catch this rerun; since it's a Steven Spielberg production,
it's smart and sharply filmed.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Jessie,” 8 p.m., Disney Channel, rerunning at 11:05.

This comedy usually
stays in New York Citym where, Jessie (Debby Ryan), a transplanted
Texan, is the nanny for four rich kids. Now, however, a three-part
story takes them on a cruise.

Friday's opener
(which reruns at 11:30 a.m. today) saw them rescue a girl who was
stranded at sea. Tonight, they're on an Italian island, where Jessie
is told her necklace is cursed, dooming her love life.

Then all three
episodes will air together, from 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Power” season-opener, 9 p.m., Starz, rerunning at
10:05 and 11:10.

Sleek and sexy, this
hour is powered by a web of secrets. Tommy is out to kill an
assistant district attorney ... unaware she's the mistress of James,
his drug-kingpin partner. James doesn't know she's a prosecutor; she
doesn't know he's the mysterious “Ghost” she's hoping to convict.

There's much more –
a shooting at the guys' nightclub left Holly (Tommy's girlfriend)
near death ... James' wife has doubts and plans ... and his mentor
(Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) is out of prison. It's all tough,
solid and – with the exception of Jackson's inept acting –
well-crafted.

Other choices
include:

Hockey, 7 p.m. ET,
NBC. It's Chicago at Tampa Bay, in the second game of the Stanley Cup
finals.

“Blue Bloods,” 8
p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Jamie agrees to ride with a cop, after she's
ostracized by others for testifying against her partner.

“Jurassic Park”
(1993), 8 p.m., USA, Syfy AND Bravo. With the fourth “Jurrasic”
film ready to open Friday, the people at Universal seem obsessed with
having us re-see the original. It aired on NBC on Friday and now
moves to three other Universal-owned channels. That's OK, because it
has a great director (Steven Spielberg) and a smart script ... with
one exception: The owner boasts that no expense was spared in
creating the dinosaur park, yet the computer contract simply went to
the lowest bidder.

“100 Things to Do
Before High School” debut, 8 p.m., Nickelodeon. CJ is optimistic
about high school until she suddenly hears bad things. Now she and
two guys decide they must quickly do things before their cheery,
8th-grade time is done. In the opener, they tackle their
biggest fears.

“In an Instant,”
9-11 p.m., ABC. Through first-person accounts and re-enactments, we
get the compelling story of a woman who was beaten by her husband and
left for dead in a storage locker.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. On Halloween – yes, this is a rerun – the team
searches for someone who's copying murders ronm slasher films.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:30 p.m., NBC. This rerun is hosted by Chris Pratt ...
who, as luck would have it, stars in the new “Jurassic” film.
Ariana Grande is the music guest.

TV column for Friday, June 5


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Jurassic Park” (1993), 8-11 p.m., NBC.

A week before
opening its fourth “Jurassic Park” film, Universal is splashing
the original onto many of the networks it owns. That's on NBC
tonight, then on USA, Syfy and Bravo at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Yes, that's
excessive, but this is a movie worth re-seeing. It has a big idea
(from Michael Crichton), big creatures and skilled actors (including
Laura Dern and Richard Attenborough), all molded by Hollywood's best
director (Steven Spielberg). Consider it a portal to the summer movie
season.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Biggest & Baddest” debut, 8 and 9 p.m., NatGeo Wild.

Niall McCann is the
guy we keep hoping to see in the mirror. He looks like a James Bond
star, has the body of a rock-climber (which he is) and married his
college sweetheart, a scientist.

He's 34, a biologist
and a third-generation explorer; now he travels, seeking imposing
creatures. In the first hour, he finds awesome anacondas – 18 feet
of muscle and vengeance. In the second, he's in Nepal, hearing of
tigers who fight encroaching civilization by attacking villagers.
Like many travel shows, this spends too much time on the process, nor
the result; still, it's thoroughly entertaining.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Bitten” season-finale, 10 and 11 p.m., Syfy.

Let's call this too
much of a good thing. Over two high-octane hours, the story goes to
operatic extremes. There are lots of deaths (some permanent, some
not), lots of sacrifices, lots of confessions of love and guilt.
Also, lots and lots of blood and tears.

Aleister (the only
male witch) and Clara are scheming to create the Undoing, which would
destroy all witches (except them); they're channeling through young
Savannah. Now Elena (the only female werewolf) and others rush to
stop them. The result is massive – sometime overly so.

Other choices
include:

“So You Think You
Can Dance” and “Bullseye,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. Here are quick
reruns of the summer game shows that air at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 9
p.m. Wednesdays, respectively.

“Jessie,” 8
p.m., Disney. This launches a three-parter continuing through Sunday.
Tonight, on a vacation the family spots a girl stranded at sea; she's
invited onboard.

“Girl Meets
World,” 8:30 p.m., Disney. To go to a party, Riley lies to her
parents ... then feels guilty.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. This rerun starts on the fourth anniversary of
McGarrett's father's death. A woman offers information to re-open the
last case the dad was working on.

“The Messengers,”
9 p.m., CW. Thrust into this by an outside force, these people aren't
sure they want their bigger-than-life responsibilities. Some of them
split ... or, at least, try to.

Movies, 9 p.m.,
cable. “Apollo 13” (1995, AMC) is a terrific, real-life story;
Ron Howard directs a superb cast, led by Tom Hanks. “Urban Cowboy”
(1980, CMT) has a so-so story with John Travolta, punctuated by a
dandy soundtrack. Mickey Gilley, Charlie Daniels and Bonnie Raitt are
in support.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. An international schemer keeps averting being
convicted. In this rerun, Frank (Tom Selleck) and his son Danny
(Donnie Wahlberg) link, trying to gather enough evidence.

 

TV column for Thursday, June 4


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

This intriguing
mini-series began with Ethan (Matt Dillon), a federal agent, finding
himself in a sweet-looking town where people look happy ... and can
never leave. Last week, his wife and son came looking for him; they
were attacked by the sheriff ... whom he promptly killed.

What are the
aftershocks for killing a sheriff? The answer will surprise you;
indeed, this compelling show keeps finding fresh surprises.
Meanwhile, the town rebel (Justin Kirk) forces an ethical dilemma.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
Basketball, 9 p.m. ET, ABC, with previews at 8 and 8:31.

As the summer TV
season begins, winter sports finally get primetime spots on the big
networks. It was hockey Wednesday on NBC; now basketball starts its
best-of-seven series today and Sunday.

In some ways, all of
this is new -- Golden State hasn't won a playoff championship in 40
years; Cleveland never has ... and has only been to the finals once
before. But its star (LeBron James) is in his fifth straight finals;
he had a 2-2 record with the Miami Heat, then returned to his old
Cleveland team.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Hannibal” season-opener, 10 p.m, NBC.

Yes, this hour is
elegantly crafted, with gifted actors, literate dialog and gorgeous
visuals. Still, it's not for everyone; in fact, it's not for a lot of
people.

Some will simply
find it disturbing: A hostage (Eddie Izzard) is expected to gradually
eat his own body parts, albeit cooked skillfully by Hannibal Lecter.
Others will find this too slow and mellow, like a gorgeous-but-morose
cello solo. Lecter is in Florence with his former therapist (Gillian
Anderson); for now, his top pursuers (Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne)
are nowhere in sight.

Other choices
include:

“Bones,” 8 p.m.,
Fox. With two new episodes remaining this season, Booth continues to
fight his gambling addiciton. Meanwhile, a murder probe visits the
opposite worlds of bikers and yoga.

“iZombie,” 8
p.m., CW. Here's a quick rerun of Tuesday's fairly good hour, setting
up next week's season-finale. After munching the brains of a slain
cheerleader, Liv is suddenly peppy and popular.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. An all-rerun night on CBS starts with this
fairly good episode. Sheldon feels he's drifting because he's been
too comfortable; he'd like friends to provide discombort.

“The Odd Couple,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. Oscar isn't the sort to remember birthdays. But this
funny rerun finds the exception: To impress a woman (naturally), he
concocts a quick party for Felix.

“Aquarius,” 9
p.m., NBC. Set in the 1960s, this miniseries continues to be
one-note, with nearly everyone – cops, crooks, hippies, more –
having the same cynical tone. Tonight, a tough cop (David Duchovny)
digs into the troubled worlds of his ex-wife and their son (possibly
AWOL from Vietnam) and his ex-lover and her teen daughter. To find
the girl, undercover cops visit Charlie Manson's lair.

“Mom,” 9:01
p.m., CBS. Still homeless, Christy and Bonnie frent a house that has
a shaky past.

“Elementary,” 10
p.m., CBS. Sherlock and his young protege Kitty probe the death of a
postal-store owner who may have been linked to the illegal diamond
trade.