TV column for Thursday, Feb. 15


“Gotham” return, 8 p.m., Fox.

This ambitious
series – with a richly cinematic look – has sat on the shelf for
nine weeks, partly waiting for “The Four” to end. Now it's back,
moving to this 8 p.m. spot.

Bruce Wayne (the
future Batman) continues spiraling into teen angst; the sturdy Alfred
tries to pull him out of it. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon (the future police
commissioner) tries to broker a deal with Penguin, involving Sofia.
Also, Lee Thompkins gains some more control over the Narrows.

II: Winter Olympics, 3-5 p.m., 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., 1:05 a.m. ET,

Nathan Chen arrived
as the U.S.' gold-medal prospect. The Grand Prix champion, he had a
string of firsts in quadruple jumps. Then, in the team portion of the
Olympics, he faltered. Now, a week later, he gets a second chance;
the men's individual portion has short programs today, long programs

That's in the
expanded primetime slot, which also has snowboarding, skeleton and
freestyle skiing. Latenight has luge and biathlon, afternoon has
speed skating and cross-country, cable has more.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom,” 9 and 9:30
p.m., CBS.

TV's best comedies
have been given odd treatment lately. Some Thursdays, they've been
moved or rested, to make room for reality shows.

Now, however,
viewers get a bonus. After “Big Bang” and “Young Sheldon”
reruns in their regular spots (8 and 8:30 p.m.), here are reruns of
the season-openers, both of them delights. At 9. we get Amy's answer
to Sheldon's awkward proposal; Laurie Metcalf is back as his mom. At
9:30, the birth mom of Jill's foster daughter is back; Christy is
torn between helping and preparing for a big test.

ALTERNATIVE II: “Beyond,” 8 p.m., Freeform.

When bowlers get in
fights, they really should take it outside. They don't tonight; soon,
big balls are zooming through the air. That's typical of life for
Holden, who spent 12 coma years in another realm.

This show is full of
dark twists, but now it's balanced by one vibrant character. That's
Charlie, zestfully played by Eden Brolin (Josh's daughter, James'
granddaughter, Barbra Streisand's step-granddaughter). She's back in
Kansas and in Holden's life, both of which really need her.

Other choices

More Winter
Olympics, cable. Hockey sprawls over three networks today. At 7 a.m.
ET, there are games on USA and the NBC Sports Network. The latter
also has a game at 5 p.m.; at 10 p.m., CNBC has the U.S. and
Slovakia. There's much more on the NBC Sports Network, including
speed skating and the luge at 9:30 a.m. ET, the biathlon at noon,
curling at 2 and figure skating at 8.

“The Bachelor
Winter Games,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. These young singles want to focus on
romance, but now they're supposed to compete in speed skating.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Penny learns a technique for
manipulating Sheldon.

“Young Sheldon,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. In a quietly funny rerun, George Jr. is in danger of
losing his football eligibility. Now he faces the ultimate ordeal –
being tutored by his little brother Sheldon.

“9-1-1,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. For now, this will do double duty on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Tonight, the crew races to a wedding disaster. Also, Abby (Connie
Britton) needs Buck's help to find her mother (Mariette Hartley), who
has dementia.

“20/20,” 10
p.m., ABC. The bad news is that this show is willing to do hype for
its network; this hour is about the revived “Roseanne,” which
returns March 27. And the good? “Roseanne” is worth hyping. A
landmark show back in 1988, it's come up with a refreshingly clever

TV column for Wednesday, Feb. 14

“He Lied About Everything,” 8-10 p.m., Investigation Discovery.

This starts in
Valentine style – homevideo footage of a grand gesture, complete
with rose petals. Paolo Macchiarini is a pioneering surgeon who
speaks six languages and, ex-fiancee Benita Alexander says, has a
“sexy George Clooney” vibe. A friend compared him to “the most
interesting man in the world.”

Their wedding would
be performed by his friend Pope Francis, with music by Elton John and
Andrea Bocelli; guests would include the Clintons, the Obamas and
maybe Vladimir Putin. It was “totally a Cinderella story,” she
says – and a lie. Even his medical reputation crumbled; it's a
fascinating tale.

II: “Relationships Just for Laughs,” 8 p.m., CW, and more.

We can spend part of
Valentine's Day seeing comedians – Whitney Cummings, Tom Papa,
Maria Bamford, Kevin James, etc. – joke about relationships. At 9
is a look at the best romantic movies.

Or, of course, we
can simply watch a romantic movie. Hallmark has one (you knew it
would), “My Secret Valentine” (2018) with Lacey Chabert, at 8
p.m. Freeform has a bland one (“Valentine's Day,” 2010, 5:30
p.m.); AMC has a great one (“Titanic,” 1997, 6 and 10:30 p.m.).
Even the Olympics have a promise of romance – the final round of
pairs figure-skating, with duos doing their long programs.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Assassination of Gianni Versace, 10 p.m., FX.

This episode has
much in common with Investigation Discovery's film. This is scripted,
the other is a documentary, but both tell true stories of charming
chaps whose lies finally imploded.

Alone and desperate,
Andrew Cunanan is flying to Minneapolis, hoping to re-connect with
ex-lovers. But they're aware of his lies; one man, Jeffrey Trail,
blames him for destroying his Naval career. This strong hour
juxtaposes the coming-out interviews of Trail and Versace – two men
Cunanan would kill. On Valentine's Day, this reminds us that love can
go badly ... and that gays have faced immense peril.

Other choices

Winter Olympics, NBC
and cable. The pairs finals lead NBC's prime time (8-11:30 p.m. ET),
which also has Alpine skiing, skeleton and speedskating. The
afternoon (3-5 p.m.) has the luge and Nordic combined skiing;
latenight (12:05 a.m.) has snowboarding. There's more all day on the
NBC Sports Network, including U.S. hockey teams – men at 6:30 a.m.
ET, women at 10 p.m.

“The Resident,”
8 p.m., Fox. In a late change, Fox reruns the show's second episode.
That's the one that transforms Conrad from a jerk to a hero, as he
struggles to give someone a needed heart transplant.

“Schitt's Creek,”
8 p.m., Pop. Michael Short has been writing Canadian comedy for 37
years, from “SCTV” to shows starring his younger brother Martin.
Here, he's written a fairly funny episode that includes good moments
for two women in supporting roles. Emily Hampshire (who has an
explosive role in “12 Monkeys”) is Stevie; Sarah Levy (whose
father and brother created the show) is Twyla.

“Nova,” 9 p.m.,
PBS. It's been almost 78 years since British soldiers were rescued
from Dunkirk, but that's newly on people's minds. It's the
centerpiece of two of the current Oscar-nominees (“Dunkirk” and
“Darkest Hour”) and of this expedition, examining sunken ships
and crashed planes.

“The Amazing
Race,” 9 and 10 p.m., CBS. It's an all-reality night for CBS –
one hour of “Celebrity Big Brother,” then two hours of “Amazing
Race,” racing through Bahrain and Thailand.

“9-1-1,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. Bobby (Peter Krause) rushes to a deadly plane crash. Athena
(Angela Bassett wants revenge toward teen bullies); Abby (Connie
Britton) delivers a message from a 9-1-1 caller.

“Waco,” 10 p.m.,
Paramount. In last week's episode, the first federal raid of the
Branch Davidian compound went terribly wrong. Shots were fired at a
dog, the film says, leading to fierce gunfire; 10 people were killed,
others were injured. A compromise fell apart after the Davidian
leader heard the official version of what had happened. Now a
negotiator tries to bring the sides back together.

TV column for Tuesday, Feb. 13

“American Experience,” 9 p.m., PBS.

Long before modern
car bombs, a horse-drawn wagon lumbered down Wall Street. Its
dynamite exploded in front of the Morgan Bank, killing 38 people and
seriously injuring hundreds.

That was in 1920;
the crime was never solved, but this well-crafted documentary shows
its aftershocks. There had been other bombing attempts; in reaction,
the attorney general created a “Radical Division,” led by
24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover. He began a crackdown on people who had
voiced anti-capitalist feelings; one series of raids sent 249 people
(including famed activist Emma Goldman) to Russia.

Winter Olympics, NBC and cable.

Things start early
on the NBC Sports Network, with the U.S. women's hockey team facing
Russian players at 7 a.m. ET. That's followed by luge, cross-country
skiing, speedskating and (at 2:30 p.m.) the bronze-medal curling
match. The gold-medal match is at 5 p.m. on CNBC.

NBC joins from 3-5
p.m. ET, with speedskating, luge and cross-country skiing. At night
(8-11:30 p.m., then 12:05 a.m.) it has Alpine skiing, snowboarding,
short-track speedskating and lots of figureskating. The team
competition ended Sunday and others start now; pairs will swirl today
and Wednesday.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Bachelor Winter Games,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.

This is the new
strategy for facing the Olympics: Concoct a short-term reality show
with some familiar faces. CBS has “Celebrity Big Brother”; ABC
has this, on two Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Winter-type games
are played, alongside romantic opportunities. This includes a dozen
people from “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette,” plus 13 from
overseas. Ben Higgins – newly single, after being the 2016 bachelor
-- will compete; JoJo Fletcher -- the 2016 bachelorette, after being
Higgins' runner-up – will visit. Also visiting: Ryan and Trista
Sutter, Rachel Lindsay, Arie Luyendyk Jr. and past Olympians.

ALTERNATIVE II: “20/20,” 10 p.m., ABC.

On the eve of
Valentine's Day, the subject turns to romantic movies. Several of the
interviews involve the “Fifty Shades” films – their author,
stars and set designer – but there are others.

Nia Vardalos talks
about “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which she molded from her own
life. Taylor Hackford discusses directing Richard Gere and Debra
Winger, who were chilly off-screen and passionate in “An Officer
and a Gentleman.” Also: Ione Skye (“Say Anything”) and more.

Other choices

Kennel Club Dog Show” conclusion, 1-4 p.m. ET, NatGeo Wild; and
8-11 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. The evening portion will hand out the top
prize. The NatGeo Wild portion leads into a Cesar Millan marathon,
from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET; including new “Cesar 911” hours from
8-11 p.m. ET

“The Color Purple”
(1985), 7-10:30 p.m., Sundance. Some Oscar-nominees can be far more
interesting than the winners. This one – 11 nominations, zero wins
– is a stirring Steven Spielberg classic. By comparison, Turner
Classic Movies focuses tonight on foreign-language films, an uneven
bunch. The nominated “Babette's Feast” is 6 p.m. ET, followed by
winners, including Fellini's “La Strada” at 8.

“Black Lightning,”
8 p.m., CW. As a fierce drug rips through the community, Jefferson
Pierce looks for answers ... unaware that his daughter is secretly
becoming a superhero – just as he did long ago. It's a good
episode, despite the show's inconsistencies. It preaches
non-violence, yet has brutal moments; it's dead-serious, but gives
the daughter a silly, “Pretty Woman” kind of costume scene.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. This reruns the episode that added a forensic psychologist
(Maria Bello).

“LA to Vegas,” 9
p.m., Fox. Ronnie figures that one of the regular passengers is
cheating on his wife, but isn't sure what to do about it. Meanwhile.
The cocky Captain Dave is timid about romance.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. This reruns the season-opener, with Pride
(Scott Bakula) suspended and a by-the-books supervisor (Becky Ann
Baker) in charge.


TV column for Monday, Feb. 12

Olympics, NBC and cable.

After the three-day
team event, figure-skaters finally get a day off. That lets NBC focus
on high-octane action. This afternoon (3-5 p.m. ET) includes
freestyle skating, ski jumping, luge and biathlon; tonight (8-11:30
p.m., then 12:05 a.m.) has snowboarding, speedskating and Alpine

Then there's the NBC
Sports Network, going almost non-stop. It's busy in the morning –
freestyle skating (10 a.m.), ski jumping (11), biathlon and
speedskating. It also has hockey at 5 and 10 p.m.

“Legends of Tomorrow,” 8 p.m., CW.

This is really not
good coffeeshop behavior. The sweet-looking girl claws deep ruts in
the table, growls loudly and makes objects fly about; the other
patrons are quite displeased.

That's one of many
things happening in an hour stuffed with big moments. Here are new
chances to see Constantine (who used to have his own show), Leo Snart
and Damien Darkh. There's time-travel, demon-possession, exorcism and
whiz-bang fighting ... plus Amaya confronting her granddaughter.

ALTERNATIVE: Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, 8-11 p.m. ET, Fox
Sports 1.

Back in 1876,
America had two identities: The West was still wild, the East was
not; it was the year of Custer's Last Stand and of the Centennial
Exposition. And a year later, this dog show was born.

Now the 142nd
show is massive – two days, two sites, two cable networks, 2,800

NatGeo Wild – in
the midst of its “Barkfest” -- has the daytime portion, from 1-4
p.m. ET. Then the show moves to Madison Square Garden for FS1; on
Tuesday, this concludes at the same times.

ALTERNATIVE II: “Malcolm X” (1992), 7 p.m., Sundance; “Lincoln”
(2012), 8 p.m., The Movie Channel.

At least, someone
has remembered this is Presidents Day ... and it's Black History

Here are master
directors in top form. Spike Lee gives the Malcolm X story an epic
feel; Steven Spielberg focuses on Abraham Lincoln's defining moment,
as he struggled to abolish slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar as
Lincoln; Denzel Washington was nominated as Malcolm.

Other choices

“Who's Afraid of
Virginia Woolf?” (1966), 5:45 p.m ET., Turner Classic Movies. For the
second straight day, TCM focuses on the best-director Oscar category.
Mike Nichols was nominated for this blistering, black-and-white film.
Some winners follow, starting with Bob Fosse's “Cabaret” (1972)
at 8 p.m., George Stevens' “Giant” (1956) at 10:15 and John
Huston's “Treasure of Sierra Madre” (1948) at 1:45.

“The Bachelor,”
8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Next week, we get what's often one of the best
episodes – the visit to the contestants' home towns. First, in the
beauty of Tuscany, the field is trimmed from seven to four.

“Lucifer,” 8
p.m., Fox. It's a big night for demons – as the bad guy in “Legends
of Tomorrow” and the sorta-good guy here. In this rerun, Lucifer
faces a serial killer AND the estranged husband of a lover.

“A Dog Saved My
Live,” 8 and 11 p.m. ET, NatGeo Wild. Attacked by a bear, a dogsled
racer took refuge at a tree; for
hours, one of his huskies fought the bear's attempt to reach him.
Another story tells of an 80-year-old man trapped for hours in a
Hurricane Katrina flood; his dog worked to keep him alive.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 9 p.m., CBS. This transplanted rerun – a good one –
has a merger of opposites: Leonard's too-cranial mother (Christine
Baranski) bonds with his wife Penny.

“The Good Doctor,”
10:01 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, an experimental procedure is devised to
help a young bridegroom. Also, Dr. Jared Kalu struggles to connect
with a patient.

TV column for Sunday, Feb. 11

Winter Olympics, 7-11 p.m. ET, NBC.

This is only the
third full day of competition, but a major event is already wrapping
up. That's the team portion of figure-skating ... not to be confused
with the individual events, which start Tuesday.

In the teams part,
the pairs skaters have already wrapped up. The others -- men, women
and ice dancers – have had their short programs, but their long
programs are tonight. Also scattered into primetime will be skiing
(Alpine and freestyle), snowboarding and luge.

“Masterpiece: Victoria,” 9 p.m., PBS.

In a tiny cabin in
the Highlands, an old Scotsman offers a classic understatement: “I
can tell you're not from around here.” Definitely. He doesn't know
it, but his guests are Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Riding their
horses in the mist, they ended up asking strangers for shelter.

That's part of a
lovely episode that starts with feigned assassination attempts. (Yes,
Prince Albert really did invent a bulletproof umbrella.) Then it's on
to Scotland. New romances surface and the queen learns about human
values, darning socks and eating with her fingers.

ALTERNATIVE: “Road to Westminster Dog Show,” 8 and 9 p.m., NatGeo

When the Westminster
show starts Monday (on Fox Sports1), it will have almost 3,000 dogs.
Their owners spend a bundle ... and get no prize money.

Who are they? In
tonight's first hour, we meet two people with nothing in common
except that they're instantly likable. Remy Smith-Lewis, a black man
in a white-suburban world, has Manly, the favorite among Portuguese
water dogs; Brandi Ritchie, of small-town Texas, has Donkey Kong, an

ALTERNATIVE II: All night, HBO and Showtime.

Some networks are
retreating at Olympics time, offering reruns or reality or such. Not
these two.

HBO has the
mega-movie “Wonder Woman” (2017) at 6:35 p.m., then debuts “Here
and Now” -- from “Six Feet Under” creator Alan Ball – at 9;
it follows with new episodes of “Divorce” and “Crashing,” at
10 and 10:30. Showtime counters with the animated “Our Cartoon
President” debuting at 8 and 8:30 p.m. and a new season of the
much-honored “Homeland” starting at 9.

Other choices

More Olympics, all
day. With one exception (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET), the NBC Sports
Network has Olympics all day, including luge, curling, biathlon and,
at night, snowboarding. NBC also has more, from 3-6 p.m.
(speedskating, biathlon, cross-country) and at 11:30 p.m. (Alpine
skiing, snowboarding).

Animated movies,
cable. At 7 p.m., Disney has “The Princess and the Frog” (2009);
at 8 and 10, FXX has “The Peanuts Movie” (2015). But the busiest
time is on Freeform, with “Monsters Inc.” (2001) at 4:40 p.m.,
“The Good Dinosaur” (2015) at 6:50 and the terrific “Lion King”
(1994) at 8:55 p.m.

“The Grapes of
Wrath” (1940), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. A night of
best-director Oscar-winners peaks with John Ford's film and, at
10:30, Frank Capra's “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936).

“Star Trek:
Discovery” season-finale, 8:30 p.m. ET, CBS All Access. This
episode, the 15th of this first season, has a
fate-of-the-universe showdown between the good guys and the Klingons.

“SEAL Team” and
“NCIS: Lost Angeles,” 9 and 10 p.m., CBS. The first rerun is the
“SEAL” pilot. The second finds that a murder victim may have been
selling classified documents.

“LA to Vegas,”
9:30 p.m., Fox. A comedy-rerun night concludes with this OK episode.
The captain (Dylan McDermott) fumes when a popular guy (Dermot
Mulroney) is his temporary replacement.