TV column for Monday, Aug. 2




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The
Bachelorette” finale, 8 p.m., with follow-up at 10:02, ABC.

After twists, detours – and two
strong contenders who left because of back-home girlfriends – we're
down to the final two. Tonight, each travels to Tahiti to meet Ali
Fedotowsky, 25, and her parents.

Roberto Martinez, 26, is an insurance
agent in Charleston, S.C. In the first episode, he danced the salsa
with Ali; in this last one, he gets her parents dancing. He also
swims and jet skis with her.

Chris Lambton, 33, is a landscaper from
Cape Cod, Mass. His romance with Ali started casually, then grew; her
parents are delighted to find he's from their home state.

Now we learn whom – if anyone – she
chose. Then all three are interviewed by Chris Harrison.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Big Bang
Theory,” 9:30 p.m., CBS.

Here's an episode from last season that
shows why this is such a great series.

There's a new tenant in the building,
an actress sort of like Penny, with two differences: She actually
gets acting jobs and she's happy to take advantage of the guys.

Penny frets. She doesn't understand
these high-tech, high-IQ guys, but she considers them special and
maybe fragile. Amid the “Big Bang” laughs – lots of them –
there's warmth.

Other choices include:

– “Lie to Me,” 8 p.m., Fox. At an
underground fight club, Lightman may be exposed as a gambler.
Meanwhile, his colleague Foster finds problems with her new romance.

– “The Good Guys” season-finale,
9 p.m., Fox. This fun show hasn't caught on in the ratings during its
summer run. Still, it will be back next month, as part of Fox's
new-show line-up. First, here's an episode in which Dan accidentally
exposes a protected witness; then he must avoid a Mob hit.

– “Last Comic Standing,” 9 p.m.,
NBC. We're a week from the finale, in this show that pits talented
stand-up comedians. Tonight, the final five perform.

– “Two and a Half Men,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, Alan is working for his mom and Charlie is trying to
settle things between Chelsea and Jake.

– “Huge,” 9 p.m., ABC Family.
It's time for the campers to go on an overnight “spirit quest”
camping trip. Soon, there will be a first kiss, a secret … and two
missing people.

– “Shark Attack Survival Guide”
(9 p.m.) and “Day of the Shark 3” (10 p.m.), Discovery. Tonight's
“Shark Week” rouns eyes surviving an attack. In the first new
hour, Terry Schappert (a Green Beret) is in the water with sharks, to
show several attack situations; in the second, six survivors tell
their stories.

– “The Closer,” 9 p.m., TNT.
Provenza's love life leads to trouble. Tonight, he's in a flight
attendant's condo … where he finds a dead body.

– “Rizzoli & Isles,” 10 p.m.,
TNT. Jane feels the murder victim isn't your ordinary college
student.

TV column for Sunday, Aug. 1




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Rubicon” (8
and 9 p.m.) and “Mad Men” (10 p.m.), AMC.

In last week's subtly well-crafted “Mad
Men” season-opener, the new ad agency was wobbling. Don Draper gave
a drab interview that didn't help much; as the hour ended, he tried
another interview, bolder and brasher. Tonight, the company has its
Christmas party; surprises follow.

That's preceded by a show that's even
slower and subtler than “Mad Men.” Rubicon is set in a civilian
agency that probes secrets for the government. James Badge Dale
(Leckie in “The Pacific”) stars, with Miranda Richardson as a
wealthy widow. They probe a grand conspiracy, in a classy-but-slow
show that makes “Mad Men” seem hyper.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Scoundrels,”
9 p.m., ABC.

Cheryl's search for honest work remains
elusive. Now she's at a shaky insurance company.

Also, she's got more family problems.
One of her twins – both played by Patrick Flueger – may have been
involved with Mrs. Hong's pregnancy.

Other choices include:

– “The Hound of the Baskervilles,”
6:30 p.m., and “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” 8 p.m.,
Turner Classic Movies. Today launches “Summer Under the Stars,” a
month in which each day focuses on one actor. This one is Basil
Rathbone, including these two 1939 Sherlock mysteries.

– “Big Brother,” 8 p.m., CBS. A
new round begins, with nominations for the fourth eviction.

– “The Simpsons,” 8 p.m., Fox. In
a rerun, Springfield suddenly has surveillance cameras everywhere.

– “America's Got Talent,” 9-11
p.m., NBC. Here's a rerun, with a dozen acts performing. A rerun
Monday will show four moving on; in the next two days, new episodes
will fill out the final 16.

– “Ultimate Air Jaws,” 9 p.m.,
Discovery. The popular “Shark Week” returns today, juggling lots
of reruns – a previous “Air Jaws” documentary is at 8 p.m. –
and some new films. This new one again films the high-leaping
sharks, which are moving closer to the South Africa coast.

– “Leverage,” 9 p.m., TNT. It's
time for fast-and-furious driving, scamming a car-theft ring.

– “The Gates,” 10 p.m., ABC. Life
can be complicated for upscale vampires and such. Now Dylan must
help the sheriff probe a vampire murder; his wife Claire can't escape
her relationship with Christian, who knows her secrets. Meanwhile,
teen Andie can't control her new symptoms.

– “The Good Wife,” 10 p.m., CBS.
As part of a weekend shift – dumping “The Bridge” and moving
“Cold Case” reruns to Saturdays – this Emmy-nominated series
now has reruns on two nights. Tonight, Alicia and Will defend a
lawyer charged with murder. Also, her husband prepares for his new
trial.

– “Design Star,” 10 p.m., HGTV.
Teams try to create the perfect kitchen for a Sears catalog shoot.

– “Holly's World” season-finale,
10:30 p.m., E. In some ways, Holly may be an ideal boss. Earlier, she
bought her assistant an “enhanced” figure; ow she throws her a
giant, 21st birthday party.

TV column for Saturday, July 31




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Being Human,”
9 p.m., BBC America.

Last week's excellent season-opener
(rerunning at 8) found a changed world for the three roommates.

Annie, a ghost, could finally be seen
and heard by mortals. George had accidentally turned his girlfriend
into a werewolf, like him. Mitchell, the vampire, was attracted to a
doctor he works with.

Now this second episode is even better.
Annie – delighted with her newly visible status – is falling for
a handsome chap at a bar. Mitchell's doctor friend shows him a body
he quickly recognizes.

TONIGHT'S RELUCTANTLY SEE: “Cold
Case,” 8 p.m., CBS.

Sure, it's good to see “Cold Case”
reruns scattered around the weekend this summer. Tonight, the show –
which won't be back next season – has tentatively scheduled an
episode involving the 1986 murder of a dock worker; also, Valens may
be closer to finding his mother's rapist.

Still, this is a blow against scripted
summer shows. CBS had scheduled “The Bridge,” a solid, Canadian
police drama. Then – with little warning, last week – it pulled
the show. Reruns return.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Jack Hunter
and the Lost Treasure of Ugarit,” 9-11 p.m., Syfy.

Imagine an Indiana Jones, only even
more macho. Ivan Sergei – whose usual roles (“Jack & Jill,”
“Santa Baby”) have very few fistfights – is quite good as a
treasure-hunter who sometimes takes the short cut, stealing. He also
hits and kicks quite frequently.

Joanne Kelly plays a Syrian official
who disapproves of him, despite the fact that they're both quite
attractive. This show isn't nearly as good as Kelly's splendid
“Warehouse 13,” but it has lots of action in exotic settings.

Other choices include:

– “Flightplan” (2005), 8-10 p.m.,
ABC. A widow (Jodie Foster) insists that her daughter has disappeared
in the middle of a flight; the flight attendants say there's no
record the girl was ever there. That chilling notion launches a story
that's quite involving, despite its far-fetched explanation.

– “Persons Unknown,” 8 p.m., NBC.
Waking up strapped to a table, Joe is told he must be “re-educated”
before he can be back with the others; dreams, hallucinations and
flashbacks follow. Meanwhile, reporters are in South America, to find
the only person who has ever escaped this set-up.

– “Law & Order: Criminal
Intent,” 9 and 10 p.m., NBC. In the first hour, the discovery of a
headless body launches a probe that leads to big-time financiers and
high-priced call girls. In the second, the murder of a food-truck
owner leads to a prominent politcal family.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
9 p.m., CBS. This rerun (Laurence Fishburne) offers the first time
Ray Langston had to use deadly force. The case involves the poker
chips from a now-closed casino.

– “Rookie Blue,” 10 p.m., ABC.
One story in this rerun involves a traffic death that may not have
been an accident. The other involves Andy's romance with Detective
Callaghan, now shaky after she sees his treatment of a witness.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. Ashton Kutcher hosts this rerun, with music from Them
Crooked Vultures.

TV column for Friday, July 30




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Friday Night
Lights,” 8 p.m., NBC.

Even if you've skipped this show so
far, catch the season's final two weeks. They offer great television
– deeply layered characters, played by actors who are subtle,
natural and talented.

Next week is the bitter football game
between West Dillon and East Dillon; families are torn.

Tami Taylor is the principal at West;
her husband Eric coaches at just-reopened East, with few players and
little hope. Now Tami's job wobbles after she counseled Becky, who
then had an abortion.

Meanwhile, teens are tugged toward
crime: Vince wants to avenge his cousin's murder; Tim is doing
chop-shop work alone, while his brother focuses on his new baby.
There are huge changes for each of them tonight – life-altering
moments, still done with subtlety and nuance.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “The Pillars of
the Earth,” 10 p.m., Starz.

Last week's grim, gray opener set
things in motion. Over the next six weeks and seven hours, Ken
Follett's epic, Medieval-age novel will continue.

Two earnest men – a monk named Philip
and a builder named Tom – are creating a giant cathedral. They face
the evil William (still seeking an earldom) and Deacon Waleran; and
they fight for favor from the shaky King Stephen.

In this male-ruled world, a few women
emerge. Maud (daughter of the late King Henry) has an army, fighting
for the throne. Aliena (daughter of the former earl) leaps into the
fleece business, trying to finance her brother's bid to be a knight.
After last week's so-so start, “Pillars” gains ground.

Other choices include:

– “House,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a
rerun of a good episode, the patient is a member of a community that
follows Renaissance ideals. That leads to surprises and philosophical
arguments.

– “JFK” (1991), 8-11 p.m., AMC.
Yes, Oliver Stone's conspiracy theories about the John Kennedy's
assassination are a stretch. Still, Stone wrote and directed this so
brilliantly; Kevin Costner gets great support from Kevin Bacon, Tommy
Lee Jones, John Candy, Sissy Spacek and more.

– “27 Dresses” (2008), 8-11 p.m.,
FX. A pleasant woman (Katherine Heigl) has a closet full of
bridesmaid dresses, but no wedding prospects. Now the guy she loves
is marrying her sister. The result is terribly contrived, but
survives partly on Heigl's charm.

– “Let the Good Times Roll” (8
p.m.) and “Elvis on Tour” (10 p.m.), Turner Classic Movies. Rock
movies usually contrive a lame plot to hang the songs on. These 1973
dilma skip that and gives us lots of concert footage.The second has
some fairly good moments from Elvis Presley; the first one has
dynamic ones from Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, the
Shirelles and more.

– “The Good Guys,” 9 p.m., Fox.
In a rerun of Monday's episode, Dan – who looks way to much like a
cop – goes undercover to catch someone he failed to get years ago.

– “Medium,” 9 p.m., CBS. This
rerun is from early in the season, when Allison was still recovering
from brain surgery and had odd symbols floating through her visions

– “Forrest Gump” (1994), TBS; or
“Stone Cold” (2005), Hallmark, 9 p.m. More pieces of a great
movie night: “Gump” is Tom Hanks' Oscar-winning fable; “Stone”
is a strong Tom Selleck mystery.,

– “Flashpoint,” 10 p.m., CBS. In
a case of mistaken identity, drug dealers have taken Sgt. Parker
(Enrico Colantoni) hostage. Now the team tries to rescue him.

 

TV column for Thursday, July 29




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Season-openers of
“Project Runway” (9-10:30 p.m., Lifetime) and “Jersey Shore”
(10 p.m., MTV, repeats at 11).

As summer sags, two high-profile shows
return. One has a testosterone overload; the other doesn't.

The former is “Jersey Shore,” with
eight young people who have large, tanned torsos and larger
personalities. This year, they all go to Miami – which isn't
Jersey, but does have a shore. To get you in the mood, the first
season reruns from 1-10 p.m.

The latter is “Project Runway,”
expanding to 90 minutes this season. The fashion designers – nine
men and eight women – are in their 20s and 30s ... except for Peach
Carr, 50.

Yes, there's someone named Peach;
others include Ivy, Mondo and Casanova. It's a flashy business.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “So You Think
You Can Dance,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Due to last week's indecision, two
people will be sent home; that's one-third of a talented bunch.

While we're waiting for the decision,
there will be performances by dancers from “Step Up 3D” – the
movie produced by Adam Shankman, one of the show's judges – and by
Christian TV. That's the stage name for Christian Berishaj, 24, the
Detroit singer whose “When She Turns 18” has brought a buzz.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Boston Med,”
10 p.m., ABC.

Michael Cyr seemed problem-free at
birth. Within an hour, however, a heart-lung crisis was discovered;
he was rushed to another hospital and then another – his third in
22 hours.

There, a rarity happened – a mistake
by a top surgeon in a top hospital. It's an involving story that
follows good people in an awful situation.

Other choices include:

– “Big Brother,” 8 p.m., CBS.
It's time for the third elimination.

– “Wipeout,” 8 p.m., ABC. This
rerun has couples competing.

– “Rock Rock Rock!” (8 p.m.) and
“Rock Around the Clock” (10 p.m.), both 1956, Turner Classic
Movies. On previous Thursdays, TCM included some well-made teen
films; now come some cheapies with simple plots. The first has a
13-year-old Tuesday Weld, her singing voice dubbed by Connie Francis.
The second at least offers some classics of early in the rock era,
including “Only You,” “Great Pretender,” “Rock Around the
Clock” and “See You Later, Alligator.”

– “Rookie Blue,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Friends warned Andy about a relationship with Luke, a police
detective; now she disputes his treatment of a witness. Also, a
traffic death may not have been an accident.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
9 p.m., CBS. Rascal Flatts, the country group, guests in this rerun.
A guitarist is electrocuted at its concert.

– “Burn Notice,” 9 p.m., USA.
When a job goes bad, the guys must rescue Fiona.

– “The Mentalist,” 10 p.m., CBS.
In a rerun of the season-opener, Patrick Jane is stunned when the
search for Red John, his wife's killer, is assigned to a new team,
headed by tough agent Sam Bosco.

– “Raising Sextuplets,” 10 p.m.,
WE. Against all logic (see reruns at 8 and 9 p.m.), the Masches moved
to Florida. That severed their support system – four parents, plus
friends – in raising the six 2-year-olds. Now, as her mom returns
home after helping temporarily, we see how bleak things are: Jenny is
still waiting for her job to begin and Bryan's financial-consultant
business might not make any money.