(Please excuse a slight laps in chronology. This is the TV column for Saturday, March 15. If you scroll dwn below this, you'll find the Sunday one.)
By MIKE HUGHES
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Cosmos,” 8 p.m., Fox; and “Believe,” 10
Here’s a second chance to try two terrific openers, before
their second episodes air at 9 p.m. Sunday.
“Cosmos” is non-fiction, with the sweeping stories of Carl
Sagan’s 1980 series, boosted by modern special effects. “Believe” is – we truly
hope – non-fiction, with a gifted 10-year-old girl intensely sought by one
group and protected by another. It makes its villain way too inept, but
otherwise has strong characters and great action scenes, sharply directed by
Alfonso Cuaron, the Oscar-winner for “Gravity.”
TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Summer Dreams,” 8-10 p.m., CBS.
Mike Tollin has thrived by producing youth dramas (including
“Smallville”) and comedies. Often, he comes back to sports, scripted (“Coach
Carter,” “The Bronx is Burning,” “One Tree Hill”) or not (“30 For 30,” “The
Franchise,” “The Real Rocky”).
Now he’s produced a documentary movie on pro basketball’s
summer development league, which runs for 10 high-octane days in Las Vegas. “Dreams”
focuses on two first-round draft picks – Michael Carter-Williams of the
Philadelphia 76ers and Shane Larkin (son of baseball great Barry Larkin) of the
Dallas Mavericks. It also follows Lauren Holtkamp, trying to be the NBA’s
second current female referee.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Black Sails” season-finale, 9 p.m.,
In one crowded hour, here is everything you’d expect in a
pirate tale. There’s deceit, overthrow, a sea storm, cannon fire, topless maidens
and buried treasure.
And most of it is done by gifted British actors. Two scenes
with Captain Flint (Toby Stephens, the son of Oscar-winner Maggie Smith) and
his long-time friend are superb.
Other choices include:
“Castle,” 8 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Castle and Beckett try to
trace the background of a baby handed to a priest by a dying man.
Action movies, 8 p.m., cable. Bravo has “The Fast and the
Furious” (2001), with Paul Walker as a young street-racer. AMC has “Rocky III”
(1982), with the odd notion of Mr. T as ultimate obstacle.
More movies, cable. Here are master directors: “Sugarland
Express” (1974, 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies) was Steven Spielberg’s first
movie in theaters, based on the true story of a young couple being chased
across Texas. “No Country for Old Men” (2007, 8 p.m., IFC) is a best-picture
winner from the Coen Brothers, whose script included large chunks of great
dialog from Cormac McCarthy’s novel.
“When Calls the Heart,” 9 p.m., Hallmark. This frontier-Canada
tale sometimes lacks variety, with all its strong-silent men and women. It
added variety last week, when the schoolteacher’s giddy younger sister arrived.
She promptly fell for a handsome stranger who had a wound and a gun. Tonight,
that story builds; things seem way too easy (again), but it’s a likable tale.
“Ripper Street,” 9 p.m., BBC America. As a police wagon is
traveling through the Whitechapel district, an Irish bomber escapes and kills a
member of parliament.
“Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. In a rerun, Drake
doubles as host and music guest.