TV column for Sunday, Feb. 25

FORCE: Winter Olympics, 3-6 p.m., 7-10:30 p.m. ET, NBC.

For one more day,
the Olympics will rule TV viewership.

That starts quietly,
with the cross-country skiing finals. Then, at 7 p.m., an “Olympic
Gold” hour takes an overview of the 18-day event. That's followed
by the closing ceremony at 8 and a so-so comedy at 10:30. On the West
Coast, “Gold” is at 4 p.m. and the rest airs twice – 5 and
7:30, 8 and 10:30.

ALTERNATIVE: “Masterpiece: Victoria” season-finale, 9-10:30 p.m.,

This is a big, busy
episode, written and played with subtle skill.. Romances are
resolved, for good and bad, and a culture clash flares: It's
Christmas, a holiday that Queen Victoria and other English folks
shrug off; Prince Albert (like many of his fellow Germans) wants to
do it up big.

Beyond that,
however, is a bigger issue: England had banned slavery in 1833, four
years before Victoria took the throne, but it lingered in the U.S.
That propels two plot lines.

ALTERNATIVE II: “The Walking Dead” return, 9 p.m., AMC, rerunning
at 11:23.

The first half of
the season ended with fierce jolts. Negan was loose, the sanctuaries
were in ruins, the good guys were retreating into the sewers
(literally). And Rick's son was near death, via zombie bite.

If you want to
reminisce, the first half of the season reruns at noon, with an
expanded version of the finale at 7:30 p.m. At 9, the season begins
its second half, which will run eight weeks. While Rick ponders the
aftershocks, the battle continues in other cities.

ALTERNATIVE: “Ash vs. Evil Dead” season-opener, 9 p.m., Starz,
rerunning at 10:30 p.m., midnight and 12:52 a.m.

So now Ash is the
home-town hero; he slashed the villain and brought peace to Elk
Grove, Mich. What's next? Naturally, he opens an “Ashy Slashy”
hardware store and sex-toy emporium.

Ash (Bruce Campbell)
thinks that way. His celebration skids to a halt, however, when: a)
On a show like “Antiques Roadshow,” someone foolishly reads the
Book of the Dead aloud, bringing back Ruby (Lucy Lawless) and
disaster; and b) Ash learns he has a teen daughter and a soon-to-be
headless wife. This is done in the brash “Ash” fashion – noisy,
gruesome, alternately overwrought and quite clever.

Other choices

“The Lion King”
(1994), 5:10 p.m., Freeform. This is another chance to savor one of
the great animated movies. It's followed by “Ratatouilee” (2007)
at 7:15 p.m.

Nine-Nine,” 7 p.m., Fox. Here's a good episode that found the
captain's one flaw – a gambling obsession. That starts a night of
comedy reruns, including “Simpsons” (Grampa finally hears what
people say about him) at 8 and a fairly funny “LA to Vegas” (a
substitute pilot) at 9:30.

Reality shows, 8-10
p.m., CBS and ABC. CBS wraps up “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition.”
ABC runs “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All” earlier than usual;
the show's “overnight dates” are Monday.

“When Calls the
Heart,” 9 p.m., Hallmark. The future of this frontier town rests
partly on getting a railroad depot ; Abigail tries to convince the
company. Also, Elizabeth mentors Julia, who is teaching.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a million-dollar weapons theft
is linked to a charity event. The team gets Mosley (Nia Long) added
to the guest list, with Sam and Callen working security.

“Life, Liberty &
Levin” debut, 10 p.m. ET, Fox News Channel. Mark Levin, who has a
radio show, starts a weekly cable show. In the opener, he interviews
economist Walter Williams.

“A.P. Bio,”
10:30 p.m., NBC (7:30 and 10:30 p.m. PT). The second episode, like the first, is clouded by
the fact that this teacher is cruel to kids who don't deserve it.
Still, there are some funny moments when Niecy Nash lets loose, as
the union representative at a disciplinary conference.

TV column for Saturday, Feb. 24

“Planet Earth: Blue Planet II,” 9-10:30 p.m., BBC America; also
12:30 a.m.

The sea and shore
have a tangled relationship, this terrific episode shows us. Each
year, Arctic penguins spend a frigid month on land, shedding their
old coats and waiting for new ones to grow. After 10 years, a sea
turtle swims 700 miles to its birthplace, to start a new generation.

Others commute
regularly – and perilously. A puffin flies 20-plus miles to snag
one fish for its baby ... then must survive pirate birds on the way
back. In Brazil, shore crabs wait for the tide to go out, then
rock-hop to an algae-covered island ... eluding deadly eels. All of
this is filmed beautifully.

II: Winter Olympics, 8 p.m. ET, NBC.

On the last full day
of the games, the figure-skaters have their “gala.” Tossing out
all those fussy rules and requirements, they can simply entertain us.
Also, there's bobsledding at night and speed skating and
cross-country skiing from 3-6 p.m. ET.

The NBC Sports
Network has speed skating at 9:30 a.m. ET, but mostly wraps up
tournaments. Hockey has its bronze-medal game at 6:30 a.m. (rerunning
at 2 p.m.) and gold-medal at 10:30 p.m. Men's curling has gold at 3
a.m. (rerunning at 4 p.m.); women have bronze at 11 a.m., gold at 7:05 p.m.

ALTERNATIVE: “Cat Ballou” (1965), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic

Lee Marvin was your
consummate TV tough guy. He'd been busy since 1950, ranging from
golden-age dramas to three “M Squad” seasons. At 41, he was
strong, solid ... and only semi-known.

Then came this role:
In the Old West, Jane Fonda hires a gunslinger; she expects a hero
and gets a dreary drunk. Marvin was perfect and people told him he
was a sure thing for a best-supporting-actor Oscar. Instead, he aimed
higher; now he leads a night of best-actor winners. Art Carney's
“Harry and Tonto” (1974) is at 10 p.m. ET, with Daniel Day-Lewis'
“There Will Be Blood” (2007) at 12:15 a.m.

Other choices

“The Walking
Dead,” all day, AMC. After a long break, “Dead” will start the
second half of its eighth season at 9 p.m. Sunday. First, here's a
refresher. The sixth season is rerunning today, with seventh-season
reruns starting at 4:59 p.m.; the current season starts its reruns at
noon Sunday.

“Catch Me If You
Can” (2002), 5-8 p.m., TNT. This sleek Steven Spielberg film starts
a strong movie night. There's sorta-romance with “Fifty Shades of
Grey” (2015) at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on E, plus lots of action --
“Bourne Identity” (2002) at 7:30 on Paramount, “Avengers”
(2012) at 8 on FX and double Tom Cruise -- “John Wick” (2014), 5
p.m., Paramount; “Mission Impossible 2” (2000), 8 p.m., Starz.

More sports, Fox and
ABC. For Fox, it's a night of “ultimate fighting” -- preliminary
bouts at 6 p.m. ET, then Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens at 8. For
ABC, it's basketball – a pre-game show at 8 p.m. ET and the Golden
State Warriors (as usual) hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8:30.

“Big Brother:
Celebrity Edition,” 8 p.m., CBS. Don't worry, it will be over soon;
the finale is Sunday.

“Notes From the
Field,” 8 p.m., HBO. It was a quarter-century ago that Anna Deavere
Smith began mastering a new art form: She would interview people on
all sides of a crisis, the portray them in a one-woman show. Here's
her new one, viewing an often-fierce criminal justice system.

“The Lion King”
(1994), 8:45 p.m., Freeform. Throughout the Olympics, cable has had
top animated movies. Here's one of the best, filled with gorgeous
sights and sounds, One of its Elton John/Tim Rice songs -- “Can
You Feel the Love Tonight?” -- won an Academy Award; two others
were nominated.

“Falling Water,”
10 p.m., USA. Shadowman manages to stay a step ahead of Taka and
Alex. Also, Boerg remembers his lost sister and Burton is ready to
face his past, with Tess' help.

TV column for Friday, Feb. 23

Winter Olympics, 3-5 p.m. ET, 8-11 p.m., then 11:35 p.m., NBC.

The skating
competition has finished, but there are still plenty of medals to be
handed out.

This afternoon, NBC
has the biathlon and looks back at women's figure-skating. Then
there's snowboarding in primetime and latenight; also in prime –
Alpine skiing, speed skating and bobsled. The NBC Sports Network has
lots of hockey (6:45 a.m., 4 p.m., 3 a.m.), biathlon (8 p.m.) and

“Showtime at the Apollo,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

For more than a
century, the Apollo Theater has been a centerpiece to Harlem life.
Since opening in 1913, it's had the greats -- James Brown, Ella
Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Prince and the Motown stars, including
the Jacksons, Supremes and Stevie Wonder; it's also had scrambling

Now Fox is reviving
some of that spirit. Next Thursday, it restores “Showtime” as a
weekly series, with Steve Harvey hosting. First, it reruns this
special, with Harvey introducing Tracy Morgan, Doug E. Fresh, Gabriel
Iglesias, En Vogue, Rakim, Bell Biv DeVoe and some amateurs.

II: “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012), 8-10 p.m., ABC.

The good news is
that networks have been throwing in lots of first-rate animated
movies during the Olympics. The bad is that they sometimes make
last-minute switches.

ABC scheduled
“Ralph” -- a fun movie, with a videogame villain trying to reform
– for last week, but replaced it with “A Bug's Life”; now it's
scheduled it again. That's part of an animation weekend that peaks
with an all-time classic, “The Lion King,” at 8:45 p.m. Saturday
and 5:10 Sunday on Freeform.

Streaming channels.

Even on an Olympics
week, Fridays are big for streaming.

Amazon has offbeat
action for kids (“Thunderbird Are Go”) and for most ages (“The
Tick”). Netflix has a non-fiction series (chef David Chang in “Ugly
Delicious”), a movie (Alexander Skarsgard searching a futuristic
Berlin for his girlfriend in “Mute”) and a mini-series. That's
“Seven Seconds,” linking the producer of the powerhouse “The
Killing” and Emmy-winning actress Regina King.

Other choices

“The Simpsons,”
6 p.m. to midnight, FX. Hey, grown-ups deserve some cartoons, too.
They can catch this eternal gem or its spin-off: “Futurama” is on
Syfy, from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

“Howie Mandel
Stand-up Gala,” 8-9:30 p.m., CW. In a rerun from last month, Mandel
introduces Ron Funches, Cristela Alonzo, John Heffron, Orny Adams,
Gina Yashere, Cedric the Entertainer and more.

“Ray” (2004), 8
p.m., BET. Jamie Foxx's Oscar-winning work as Ray Charles leads a
varied bunch of 8 p.m. movies. There's Denzel Washington's “The
Hunt for Red October” (1990) on IFC, plus comedies -- “Office
Space” (1999) on Comedy Central and “He's Just Not That Into You”
(2009) on E.

Performances,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. This is the 17th year for
the AARP's “Movies For Grownups” award, but the first time it's
been televised. Helen Mirren gets a career award and host Alan
Cumming offers musical parodies of the best-picture nominees -- “Get
Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “The Shape
of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Erin (Bridget Moynihan), pushing for a
murder conviction, faces a key obstacle. Her ex-husband is the
defendant's lawyer.

“The Rap Game,”
10:02 p.m., Lifetime. Here are the final performances, with young
rappers competing for a contract with the So So Def label.

TV column for Thursday, Feb. 22

Winter Olympics, 3-5 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. to midnight, then 12:35 a.m.,

This is the
high-interest night– the finals for women figure skaters. Whether
or not the Americans – Brandie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen
– are front-runners, NBC expects big ratings.

That will be in
prime time on NBC and/or the NBC Sports Network. During tht time, NBC
will also have Alpine skiing, short-track speed skating and
snowboarding. In the afternoon, it has Nordic combined and the
biathlon; late-night, it has more skiing – Alpine and free-style.

Reality shows, ABC and cable.

For ABC, this wraps
up a brief experiment at mixing romance and winters sports. “Bachelor
Winter Games” started with 12 men and 12 women from previous
editions of “Bachelor” shows in the U.S. and abroad. Its finale
is at 8 p.m. today; then people reconvene to talk about it at 10:01.

Meanwhile, “Top
Chef” reruns its final-five episode at 8 p.m. on Bravo, then has a
new hour at 9, with the return of the Voltaggio brothers. Also at 9,
Lifetime's “Project Runway” adds RuPaul and Jesse Tyler Ferguson
as judges for an offbeat runway show.

ALTERNATIVE: “Nashville,” 9-10:06 p.m., CMT; rerunning at 12:28

Boldly – or,
perhaps, foolishly – this show has its mid-season finale against
the Olympics. When it returns with eight more episodes, it will
conclude a solid, six-year run.

Tonight's focuses on
Daphne, a teen who's had a tough ride. Her mom (Rayna, the country
star) died, her dad (then the mayor) was jailed for embezzlement and
her sister learned that they're really just half-sisters. Spinning
downhill, Daphne began skipping school; now she tries to get back on
track, auditioning for a country-music singing competition.

Other choices

More Olympics, NBC
Sports Network. It's another busy day, with lots of curling (also on
CNBC at 5 p.m.) and more. That includes Nordic combined and biathlon
at 5:20 a.m. ET, short-track speed skating at 7:45 a.m., hockey at
4:45 p.m. and more short-track at 12:30 a.m.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 and 9 p.m., CBS. In a night of CBS reruns, TV 's best
comedy has two episodes. In the first, Sheldon auditions for the
reboot of “Professor Proton,” a show he's savored since
childhood. In the second, he's embarrassed to be working on a
research project with Bert, the geologist.

“Wonder Woman”
(2017, HBO) and more, 8 p.m. People who skip the Olympics will find
some terrific movie choices. Also at 8: “The Martian” (2015) on
FX, “School of Rock” (2003) on E and the animated “The Nut Job”
(2014) on Nickelodeon.

“Young Sheldon,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. Sheldon moves to Dallas, to attend a school for the

“9-1-1,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. In a rerun, a Valentine's Day marriage proposal goes awry.

“Mom,” 9:30
p.m., CBS. Earlier this season, Bonnie met her half-brother Ray, a
black man she didn't know about. Now he's back and strikes up a
friendship with Bonnie's boy friend Adam. Also, Bonnie and Christy
take Ray's car for a joy ride – promptly getting in trouble with

“S.W.A.T.,” 10
p.m., CBS. A militia group plans a terror attack that involves
cyanide. Now the team links with the FBI to try to prevent it.

TVcolumn for Wednesday, Feb. 21

“The Amazing Race” finale, 9-11 p.m. Wednesday, CBS.

There are some silly
reality shows now, filling empty hours against the Olympics. That
includes spin-offs of “Big Brother” (8 p.m. today) and “The
Bachelor” (concluding Thursday).

“Amazing Race,”
however, is legitimate – winner of 10 Emmys for best reality
competition show. Now its final four duos dash toward a
million-dollar prize. Two are dating – Cody Nickson and Jessica
Graf from “Big Brother,” Henry Zhang and Evan Lynyak, Yale
debaters. The others are friends who compete -- “X-Game” skiers
Kristi Leskinen and Jen Hudak, IndyCar drivers Alexander Rossi and
Conor Daly.

Winter Olympics, 3-5 p.m. ET, 8-11 p.m., then 11:35, NBC.

On a day without
figure-skating – the women conclude Thursday – NBC has lots of
skiing. That includes Alpine in primetime and latenight,
cross-country in the afternoon and freestyle in prime. Also, there's
speed skating in the afternoon and bobsleds at night.

Meanwhile, cable has
lots of hockey, including games at 7:10 a.m. ET on USA and the NBC
Sports Network ... which also has games at 5 p.m. and the women's
gold-medal game at 10:45 p.m. Also on the NBC Sports Network –
bobsled at 9:30 a.m., speed skating and cross-country at 10:45 a.m.

ALTERNATIVE: “Waco,” 10 p.m., Paramount Network (formerly Spike).

We're a week from
the finale of this solidly crafted mini-series about the 1993
shoot-outs at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.

Federal officials
tried one attack, with disastrous results – four federal agents and
six Davidians killed, many more wounded. Now the federal negotiator
(Michael Shannon) scrambles for a compromise with Davidian leader
David Koresh, well-played by Taylor Kitsch.

Other choices

“The Expendables
2” (2012), 5:45 p.m., TNT. The guys who used to dominate our movies
– Stallone, Van Damme, Lundgren, Willis, Schwarzengegger – link.
Then “Expendables 3” is at 8 p.m., facing “Kingsman” (2015)
on FX, “Jurassic World” (2015) on FXX and “Lincoln” (2012) on

“The Resident”
and “9-1-1,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. This network has scrambled during
the Olympics, making late changes. It had scheduled a terrific
“X-Files” tonight, but switched to these reruns: First, Conrad
gives the wrong family a death notification; then is the fairly good
“9-1-1” pilot film.

“Riverdale,” 8
p.m., CW. This reruns an hour that was stuffed with overheated plot
twists. With Veronica's parents scheming to redevelop the South Side,
the corrupt mayor has closed Southside High, forcing Jughead and his
gang members to the North. Yes, Juggy's in a gang; it's an odd

“The Three Faces
of Eve” (1957), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. This launches a
night of Oscar-winners for best actress. We can admire Joanne
Woodward at 8, Judy Holliday (in “Born Yesterday,” 1950) at 9:45
and Katharine Hepburn (in “Lion in Winter,” 1968) at 11:45.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, the family gathers at the hospital, after
Phil is rushed there with intense stomach pain.

“The Magicians,”
9 p.m., Syfy. At firt, Margo was the party kid; she gossiped and
chased guys ... as did her best friend Eliot. Things change – a lot
– over two-and-a-half seasons. Now they're queen and king of
Filory. She once reached a truce with the Fairy Queen, but now takes
a bold stand against her.

“Match Game,” 10
p.m., ABC. Among three big networks – ABC, Fox and the CW – this
is the only non-rerun. Alec Baldwin works with outspoken panelists –
RuPaul, Leah Remini, Niecy Nash, Horatio Sanz, Tim Meadows and Amy