TV column for Saturday, May 27


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Furious 6” (2013), 8 p.m., NBC.

On Memorial Day
weekends, people pack into movie theaters for action films. Now
they'll also find them at home – even on a broadcast network. This
one (originally “Fast & Furious 6”) offers lots of screeching
cars, plus Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker and Michelle
Rodriguez.

Cable adds more. At
8 p.m., FX has “Thor: The Dark Winter” (2013) and AMC has Steven
Spielberg's classic “Jurassic Park” (1993). Also, Freeform has
Harry Potter from the beginning, with movies at 7 a.m. (2002), 10:30
a.m. (2003), 2:30 p.m. (2004), 5:30 p.m. (2005) and, skipping one, 9
p.m. (2009).

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “To Tell the Truth,” 8 and 9 p.m., ABC.

Some 60 years after
its debut, this game show has re-emerged as a surprise success. It
prospered last summer and again in January; this fall, it will
compete with football on primetime Sundays.

Now it starts
Saturday reruns, beginning with the first ones from last summer. At 8
p.m., host Anthony Anderson has his “Black-ish” wife Tracee Ellis
Ross on the panel; they meet a contortionist, plus the world's
fastest texter and Taylor Swift's high school sweetheart. In the
second, Mike Tyson and others meet a seven-time lottery winner and
the original voice of Siri, the computer know-it-all.

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

The entire Memorial
Day weekend is stuffed with war films. That includes an emphasis on
airmen on Sunday night and sailors and submarines on Monday. Tonight,
however, brings a change of mood.

The daytime films
are serious, from “Target Zero” (1955) at 7 a.m. ET to “Battle
Hymn” (1957) at 6 p.m. Then TCM goes lighter – Andy Griffith in
“No Time For Sergeants” (1958) at 8 p.m. ET, Henry Fonda as
“Mister Roberts” (1965) at 10:30 and Robert Walker as “Ensign
Pulver” (1964) at 12:45 a.m.

Other choices
include:

“Dino Dana”
debut, any time, Amazon Prime. Two “Dino Dan” series mixed live
action and special effects, winning an Emmy for best pre-school show.
Now, in the spirit of fairness, we have a 9-year-old girl. Michaela
Luci (Agent Orchid on “The Odd Squad”) plays Dana; her field
guide not only tells her about dinosaurs, but lets her envision them.

“Vacation”
(1983), 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Bravo. As the summer begins, we can
relive this fun (but uneven) Chevy Chase film about road-trip woes.
“Eurpoean Vacation” (1985) is 5:30 and 11:30.

“Scorpion,” 8
p.m., CBS. Here's a rerun of the season-opener. Consumed by personal
disputes and romantic complications, team members suddenly face a
bigger problem: Hackers have taken control of U.S. planes and
warships and are aiming missiles at our cities.

“Against All
Odds,” 8-11 p.m., American Heroes Channel. Throughout the Memorial
Day weekend, this spot (formerly the Military Channel) will have a
primetime “Salute to Sacrifice.” Tonight's first hour focuses on
a near-impossible World War II assault of the heavily fortified
island of Tarawa. At 9 is Sugar Loaf Hill in Okinawa; at 10 is the
Al-Qaeda stronghold of Ramadi, in Iraq.

“Doctor Who,” 9
p.m., BBC America. Pyramids take a long time to build, we're told,
but now one appears overnight. Also, every clock in the world is
counting down to the Earth's destruction.

“Class,” 10:05
p.m., BBC American. Now that her pesky students are trapped in
detention, Miss Quill accepts Dorothea's offer, designed to remove
the Arm from her head and regain her freedom.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. This rerun has Louis CK, one of the show's
best hosts. The Chainsmokers are the music guest.

TV column for Friday, May 26


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“First Dates,” 8 p.m., NBC; “Love Connection,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Here are two dating
shows with nothing in common except for sending attractive people to
Chicago restaurants. NBC's (with its final episode) is sweet and
subtle, letting us know the people; Fox's (repeating its opener) is
loud and brash, with a rate-their-looks system and an “oohing”
audience.

We've found the
former to be a delight; tonight, it includes a man looking for a
kale-lover, a woman with dreams of being in a power couple and a man
who's never been kissed. In different ways, the Fox show has its
merits, especially with Andy Cohen as host. He has fun with
“Connection” surprises.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“MacGyver” return, 8 p.m., CBS.

As the summer season
begins, CBS tends to dominate Fridays. Its crook-catching shows have
self-contained stories that rerun easily.

Now that's boosted
by the return of “MacGyver,” after a five-week break. Mac and
Jack are transporting a war criminal, when their helicopter crashes
in a remote part of Kazakhstan. The prisoner has escaped ... and has
Jack's gun. Mac must improvise ... which he's really quite good at.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “American Masters,” 9 p.m., PBS.

Jacques Pepin's
kitchen skills have taken him to extremes. He was the personal chef
for Charles de Gaulle and was offered a similar spot with John
Kennedy ... but turned it down to work for the Howard Johnson chain.
He started restaurants ... then (after a car accident) switched to
teaching and writing.

This terrific
profile – followed at 10 p.m. by a rerun on chef Alice Waters –
traces a global life. During World War II, Pepin was sent to a French
farm, then was a kitchen apprentice at 13; a decade later, he moved
to the U.S., where he didn'thave a job and didn't know the language.
Pepin, now 81, thrived.

Other choices
include:

“Delicious,” any
time, www.acorn.tv. A handsome
rogue (Iain Glen) has two key women: An ex-wife (Dawn French) is
smart, Sicilian, round and passionate; a wife (Emilia Fox) is blonde,
beautiful, slim and distant. So far, this seems like so many dramas;
then the surprises pour down in a rich cascade. We won't spoil any,
except to say this is beautifully done; it gets a tad melodramatic in the last of its four hours, but remains filled with humor, drama and human
complexity.

“Murder, She
Baked: Just Desserts” (2017), 7-9 p.m., Hallmark Movies &
Mysteries. If summer is about mild pleasures, this film – likable
star (Allison Sweeney), adequate story – fits neatly. It's
surrounded by other recent mysteries, with Kellie Martin at 5 p.m.
and Candace Cameron Bure at 9.

“Shark Tank,” 8
and 9 p.m., ABC. The first rerun ranges from an electronic skateboard
to chewable coffee products; the second includes a profile of one of
the “sharks,” Mark Cuban.

“Shazam,” 8
p.m., Fox. In a rerun of Thursday's opener, teams try to guess songs.
Jamie Foxx hosts.

“Forrest Gump”
(1994, MTV) or “Avatar” (2009, AMC), both 8 p.m. Two big-budget
epics collide. “Gump” won six Oscars, including best picture;
“Avatar” won three, but not the big one.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. As the Memorial Day weekend begins, “Five-0” reruns
an hour in which Kono meets a former surfing competitor who's now a
disabled annd homeless war vet. Also, an FBI profiler (Claire
Forlani) finds a body in her bed; she joins McGarrett in searching
for the killer.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. In this rerun, Danny suspects that a traffic death was
no accident. Also, his dad, the police commissioner, meets a
whistleblower who feels there's evidence of abuse of power.

TV column for Thursday, May 25


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Red Nose Day” specials, 8-11 p.m., NBC.

Americans know
Richard Curtis as the writer of amiable movie pleasures -- “Love
Actually,” “Notting Hill,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”
and such. But more than 30 years ago, he also launched an annual
British telethon for charities; Americans tried it as “Idol Gives
Back” and now this.

It's the third U.S.
year, with a slight change. There will be two separate, reality-type
hours (we'll list them separately) plus a variety-show type hour at
10. That includes Jack Black, Ben Affleck, Yvette Nicole Brown, Paul
Rudd, Patrick Dempsey and more, including a skit with the “Love,
Actually” stars.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Love Connection” debut, 9 p.m., Fox.

The 1983 show has
been spiffed up with lots more noise and lights, a new host (Andy
Cohen) and an altered concept. A contestant dates three people. The
daters rate each other from 0-10 on looks (one gap tonight is 9-5)
and talk about how it sent; the audience guesses which person will be
chosen.

The flash and awe
are overwrought, but Cohen is perfect. When the second contestant
says she'd never dated a white guy, he has great fun with it ...
especially when it's a guy in plaid who takes her ax-throwing. The
first half – involving an amiable, 6-foot-6 bloke -- is OK; the
second is a delight.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Top comedies, CBS and ABC.

Yes, this is the
first day of the summer season, stuffed with reality and reruns.
Right now, however, it seems like fun: On one night, we have reruns
from TV's three best comedies.

At 8 p.m., CBS has
“The Big Bang Theory”; Raj brings over all four of his
ex-girlfriends, to give him dating advice. At 9, it has a terrific
“Mom”; Bonnie's ex-girlfriend (Rosie O'Donnell) tries to lure
Christy away from college with a real-estate job. And at both 9 and
9:30, ABC has “Modern Family”; both episodes center on Phil
convincing his father-in -law to join him in a real-estate scheme.

Other choices
include:

“Beat Shazam”
debut, 8 p.m., Fox. Jamie Foxx hosts a game that has teams competing
to identify songs. Then the winner must faces Shazam – a
song-recognizing app.

“American Ninja,”
8 p.m., NBC. Here's a celebrity special for “Red Nose Day.” Some
of the celebrities are known as athletic; they include baseball's
Nick Swisher, Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton, dance champ
Derek Hough and beefy “Arrow” star Stephen Amell. Others are
comedians Nikki Glaser and Jeff Dye, TV journalist Natalie Morales
and actors Erika Christensen and Mena Suvari.

“The Goldbergs,”
8 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Adam tries out for the tennis team, so he
can be with his friend Chad.

“The Great
Indoors,” 8:31, CBS. This fairly good (but inconsistent) show won't
be back next year, so enjoy the rerun. Tonight, Human Resources tells
Jack to quit giving harsh job assessments.

“Running Wild,”
9 p.m., NBC. This “Red Nose Day” special has Julia Roberts
joining Bear Grylls to get vaccines to a rermote African village.
They need to do it quickly, while dealing with heat, crocodiles and
baboons. They also talk about her life and feast on a goat's head.

“The Amazing
Race,” 10 p.m., CBS. A week from its million-dollar finale, the
race has four teams, each linking two strangers. Tonight, they're in
Seoul, Korea.

“Black-ish,” 10
p.m., ABC. The comedy spree continues with this and a 10:30
“Speechless.” In this one, Thanksgiving stirs the feud between
Pops' sister (Lorraine Toussant) and ex-wife (Jenifer Lewis).

TV column for Wednesday, May 24


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Shots Fired” finale, 8 p.m., Fox.

What started as a
fairly good mini-series grew into a terrific one. Subtlety is like
that, sometimes.

The story began with
a black cop killing an unarmed white teenager. The state sent a
prosecutor and investigator (both black) ... who soon added a second
case, a black teen killed by a white layman who was alongside the
police. Now a key cop has been killed, rage seethes on both sides and
the cases are going to the grand jury. It's a great finish, somehow
both subtle and fiercely emotional.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Survivor” finale, 8-10 p.m., CBS, with reunion at 10.

It's been a busy
week for reality finals -- “The Voice” and “Dancing With the
Stars” were Tuesday and now “Survivor” finds its 34th
million-dollar winner. This is the edition with people considered
“game changers” in previous years; half the finalists emerged
from the two “Brains-Beauty-Brawn” editions.

Aubrey Bracco, 30
(“Brains”) finished 2nd previously; Tai Trang, 51
(“Beauty”) finished 3rd; and Sarah Lacina, 32
(“Brawn”), finished 11th. And the other finalists?
Troyzan Robertson was 8th previously; Brad Culpepper was
15th and Cirie Fields is in her fourth edition. She's been
3rd, 14th and 17th..

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Dirty Dancing,” 8-11 p.m., ABC.

The 1987 movie has
become a TV musical, but don't expect the vibrancy of “Hairspray”
or “Grease.” Adapted from a 2014 stage production, this confines
its music to a resort's stage and practice halls.

Before heading to
college, “Baby” (Abigail Breslin) is on vacation with her sister
(Sarah Hyland) and their parents (Bruce Greenwood and Debra Messing);
soon, she's entwined in the drama of resort dancers (Colt Prattes and
Nicole Scherzinger). A parental sub-plot is lame and Prattes is hard
to care about. Still, the music and emotion will hold us until the
overdue “Time of My Life” finale.

Other choices
include:

“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 8-11 p.m., NBC. First is a rerun, with a
woman convinced that a masked rapist was the same man who stalked her
previously. Then are the season's final two episodes – a hate-crime
case is complicated by deportation; a prisoner's release brings
threats of violence.

“Arrow”
season-finale, 8 p.m., CW. final battle with Adrian Chase looms, so
Oliver recruits some unlikely allies – Slade, Nyssa, Merlyn and
Digger Harkness.

“The 100”
season-finale, 9 p.m., CW. As the radiation storm nears, Earthlings
cling to their only option. Most are in a bunker, with Octavia as the
reluctant leader; her brother Bellamy is in a precarious space
capsule with Clarke and six others. At times, this hour feels like an
engineering manual; at other times, it remembers to be a human drama.
In either case, the background music blasts relentless urgency.

“Empire”
season-finale, 9 p.m., Fox. The final five minutes, Fox says, will
leave us speechless. We usually ignore such claims, but “Empire”
is capable of that – especially with the forces it has put in
motion. Lucious is opening his Las Vegas club with Guiliana (Nia
Long); his ex-wife Cookie wants to wreak havoc – something she's
good at. The hour also has Eva Longoria as a Vegas official and Demi
Moore -- whose daughter (Rumer Willis) plays angry singer Tory Ash –
as a nurse.

“Archer”
season-finale, 10 p.m., FX, rerunning at 11. This offbeat season –
told in the style of a Hollywood detective tale, wraps up with Archer
finding Woodhouse's killer.

“Fargo,” 10
p.m., FX. While other shows finish their seasons, this 10-episode gem
is just starting its second half. As the brothers feud – now it's
Ray's turn for revenge – the cops are closer to answers.

ALSO: If you missed
the weekend's big debuts, here's another chance. At 10 p.m., Showtime
has the return of “Twin Peaks”; at 10:05, HBO has Robert De Niro
as Bernie Madoff in “The Wizard of Lies.”

TV column for Tuesday, May 23


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
Finales of “Dancing With the Stars,” 8:30-11 p.m., ABC; or “The
Voice,” 9-11 p.m., NBC.

Two reality giants
conclude, with a third (CBS' “Survivor”) ending Wednesday.

For this “Stars”
edition, athletes have ruled. Rashad Jennings, 32, spent eight years
in pro football and David Ross, helped the Cubs win the World Series;
they face singer Normani Kordei, 20, of Fifth Harmony. For “Voice,”
Blake Shelton has had five of the 11 winners so far, with three for
Adam Levine and the others scattered. Now Shelton has two finalists;
Levine and Alicia Keys have one apiece.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Great News” season-finale, 8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC.

It's been a strong
(if uneven) first season for this comedy. Now the show has been
renewed for next season and it wraps things up with a two-part story
that gives Kate (Briga Heelan) career chaos.

She's done fine with
a weak-willed boss (Adam Campbell), but now his boss – and
grandmother – arrives. Crisply played by Christina Pickles, she
stirs instant fear. “Great News” continues to have a silly view
of the newsgathering process; it also spends too much time on Kate's
mom (Andrea Martin). Now, however, she and Kate hatch a complex
scheme that ends the season sharply.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Prison Break,” 9 p.m., Fox.

Yes, this round of
“Prison Break” is wildly unconvincing, piling up coincidences,
close calls and miracle escapes. But as it nears next week's finish,
it remains thorougly exciting.

Seven years after
faking his death, Michael has escaped from a Yemen prison and is on
the run with his brother Linc and others. He's considered a terrorist
in the U.S. and an arch-villain in Yemen; now he's desperate to save
his ex-wife Sara, who's held captive by the mastermind she married
when she thought she was a widow. This is all hard to follow and
harder to believe ... yet passionate and involving.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “American Epic,” 9 p.m., PBS.

The songs on the old
records are gospel classics, glowing with joy and energy. But the
name of the composer is semi-obscure; now a British director searches
for the roots of Elder J.E. Burch.

He finds his little
church in Cheraw, S.C. He meets people who knew him ... and learns
how jazz great Dizzy Gillespie grew up in the neighborhood, savoring
Burch's music. This terrific hour also profiles the Williamson
Brothers and Curry, coal-country musicians whose John Henry song is a
classic. And a Howlin' Wolf profile brings a meeting of three gifted
bluesmen, all in their 90s.

Other choices
include:

“Brooklyn
Nine-Nine” season-finale, 8 and 8:30 p.m., Fox. Last week, Jake and
Rosa met a tough cop (Gina Gershon) who may be crooked. Now they try
to infiltrate her gang. She turns out to be smarter than they
thought, in a clever two-parter that spills over into next season.

“Downward Dog,”
8 p.m., ABC. Imagine finding that your mind is so powerful it can
open doors. That's how this dog sees it, what with a chip-triggered
doggy door and various automatic lights and doors. It's a sharp,
funny take, alongside his owner's troubles involving work and
romance.

“The Flash”
season-finale, 8 p.m., CW. Life would be easy if it merely had one
Flash, outzooming the bad guys. Now, alas, there's Savitar, a
separate “time remnant.” Desperately, Barry battles him.

“iZombie,” 9
p.m., CW. For now, Liv and her new boyfriend are of a like mind;
they're both munching the brain of a departed daredevil, acquiring
those traits. Meanwhile, Blaine is back to his old ways.

“Bull”
season-finale, 9 p.m., CBS. The team travels to Miami with a top
defense lawyer (Eliza Dushku), for a case so inflammatory that it
endangers the lives of the client and the jurors.

“The Real NCIS”
(CBS) or “Frontline” (PBS), both 10 p.m. Two key non-fiction
hours collide. CBS relates a past NCIS case; PBS profiles
controversial Trump advisor Steve Bannon.