TV column for Tuesday, March 11



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Agents of SHIELD,” 8 p.m., ABC.

After starting slowly – too slowly, fans said – “Shield” is
adding pieces of the Marvel universe. Tonight it’s Lady Sif, the warrior
goddess from Asgard and the lover of Thor, her friend since childhood.


Sif has been in comics since 1964 and in poetry since the 13th
century. In the “Thor” movies, she’s played by Jaimie Alexander (“Kyle XY”),
who shows up here, chasing the deadly seductress Lorelei to Earth.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “About a Boy,” 9:01 p.m., NBC.


The first two episodes kept the focus on David Walton as the
self-centered Will and Minnie Driver as Fiona, the intense mom next door. Now
Al Madrigal (“The Daily Show”) gets some attention.


He plays Andy, the overwhelmed father of three who is Will’s
only friend. Despite his wife’s doubts, he asks Will to be a godfather; Will
asks him to come to go bowling. Both notions implode in funny ways.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “The Real Housewives of New York City”
season-opener, 9 p.m., Bravo.


The newcomer is Kristen Taekman, who jokes she’s “not the
sharpest tool in the shed, but I’m pretty.”


Don’t believe that first part; she’s a sharp observer of
many things, including the friendship of Carole Radziwell and Heather Thompson
(“they seem like my crazy, drunk aunts”) and a posh party: “I clearly don’t
spend any time on the Upper East Side, and now I know why.”


The gathering continues the fight in last season’s finale
(which reruns at 8). It’s in the home of Sonja Morgan, who “must have 100-plus
interns,” Ramona says, including interchangeable redheads named Rachel. Morgan,
50, also has a change in romance: “My ex is in his 80s and Ben is in his 20s.”


Other choices include:


“The Voice,” 8 p.m., NBC. The auditions conclude, setting up
next week’s battles round.


“Glee,” 8 p.m., Fox. It time for the nationals in Los
Angeles, in a busy hour that has Skylar Astin (“Pitch Perfect”) and, playing
themselves, Jackee Harry, Marlee Matlin and Johanna Rohrbach.


“NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, a murder case takes the
team to an Afghan women’s shelter that Mike Franks secretly supported for
years.


“NCIS: Los Angeles,” 9 p.m., CBS. This rerun has the team
working with Homeland Security, after the death of a railroad security guard
points to a potential plot.


“New Girl” and “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., Fox.
Both of these clever shows have already been renewed for next season. Tonight,
Jess hires (and then must fire) Coach; in “Brooklyn,” Jake (Andy Samberg) is a
hyperactive best man for Boyle’s upcoming wedding.


“Justified,” 10 p.m., FX. Two loads of heroin are making the
perilous trip from the border to Kentucky – one of them driven by fools. That
sets up a pair of climactic encounters that include a Memphis agent (Eric
Roberts) who seems a lot like Raylan.


“Chrisley Knows Best” debut, 10 and 10:30 p.m., USA. Reality
shows like quirky characters, but this one goes too far. Rich and self-obsessed,
Todd Chrisley is a nightmare of a dad, hovering over his teens’ lives.


“My Big Fat Geek Wedding,” 10 p.m., Syfy. Can Internet
combat lead to romance? This special views the wedding plans of two people who met
playing “Final Fantasy.”


TV column for Monday, March 10



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Believe” debut, 10:01 p.m., NBC.

Eight days ago, Alfonso Cuaron was dominating the Academy
Awards. He won two Oscars (for directing and co-editing “Gravity”) and his
movie won five more.


Now Cuaron has another splash. He co-wrote “Believe,” is
producing it with J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Fringe”) and others and directed this strong
opener, about a gifted 10-year-old girl and the people who stalk or protect
her. At times too dependent on lucky breaks for the good guys and blundering by
the villains, this is still an appealing mixture of action and intensity, plus
specks of humor.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Bachelor” finale, 8 p.m., ABC,
with follow-up at 10:01.


In the 18 editions of this show, this may be unprecedented –
a bachelor disliked by many viewers.


Some were angry when Juan Pablo Galavis, 32, insulted gays.
(Galavis – born in the U.S., but raised in Venezuela, where he played pro
soccer – blamed  language problems.) Some
found him vacant, they delighted when two women quit the show, one saying he
had no interest in her as a person.


Still, others find him charming. Tonight, we’ll learn if he’s
chosen Clare Crawley, 32, a hairstylist, or Nikki Ferrell, 26, a pediatric
nurse and part-time model. We’ll also learn if they’ve chosen him.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Teen Wolf,” 10 p.m., MTV.


One character manages to sum this up succinctly: “I don’t
think Sherlock Holmes could figure out half the crap that goes on in this town.”


Or in this episode. It’s stuffed with big moments that seem
like finales and/or music videos, but it’s also a blur. Complicating things,
only the women are allowed to be individuals; the men tend to look and act in
identical, strong-and-silent ways. There are lots of tense moments, plus a very
stylish one, as two characters dare to stroll through a third’s mind.


Other choices include:


“The Voice,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Auditions conclude today and
Tuesday, setting up the battle round.


“Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. Returning to its old night, “Bones”
pairs Booth with a CIA agent (Freddie Prinze Jr.)


“How I Met Your Mother,” 8 p.m., CBS. Marshall is desperate
to learn where Molly went, after walking out in the middle of their argument.


“Switched at Birth,” 8 p.m., ABC Family. Last week’s
episode, stuffed with dance scenes (fantasy and otherwise) left Daphne
determined to seek a pre-med program. Now she helps at the clinic’s fundraiser.


“Mike & Molly,” 9 p.m., CBS. When Molly’s sister brings a
guy home, people figure she might finally have found the right one for her.


“Mom,” 9:30 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Christy won’t admit that
life is easier when her mom is there.


“Those Who Kill,” 10 p.m., A&E. Last week’s excellent
opener left Thomas (James D’Arcy), a forensic psychologist), perplexed about Catherine
(Chloe Sevigny), a police detective. Tonight, he investigates her past, while
she investigates a murder case.


TV column for Sunday, March 9



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Cosmos” debut, 9 p.m., Fox and its
cable channels.

Here is epic television, huge in subject and in
presentation. Carl Sagan’s 1980 series viewed everything – all the worlds over
all of time; now it’s been remade, with stunning special effects.


The original won three Emmys and a Peabody and influenced
future scientists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, who hosts this 13-week
remake. Tonight, he has Sagan’s cosmic calendar, showing the tiny chunk of time
Earthlings have occupied. He tells of Giordano Bordo, executed for saying the
Earth isn’t the center of the universe. Episodes will rerun at 10 p.m. Mondays
on National Geographic.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Resurrection” debut, 9 p.m., ABC.


A boy wakes up in a Chinese rice field, unaware of how he
got there … but remembering he’s from an American town. The only problem:
People there remember him drowning 30 years ago.


Soon, the story tugs at emotional, spiritual and
law-and-order issues, with Omar Epps as the perplexed immigration agent. It’s a
fascinating start … but not as good as “The Returned,” a French series on the
Sundance Channel. That one told a full story in eight weeks; “Resurrection”
tries to stretch this out.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Online Rituals of the American Male”
debut, 10 p.m., Bravo.


What kind of men are out there in the Online dating world?
The opener of this series (which promptly moves to Thursdays) offers opposite
extremes.


One guy is warm and caring; he wants be like his parents,
who met in kindergarten. The other prowls all the services, from Christian Mingle
to JDate, for more than 100 Online dates. He grabs butts on the first kiss and
says a 28-year-old “has three years until she expires.” You might throw your
computer away.


Other choices include:


“The Simpsons,” 7:30 and 8 p.m., Fox. Here are new episodes.
The first has Daniel Radcliffe as an obsessive falconer; then Kelsey Grammer is
back as Sideshow Bob, now a company’s chief scientist.


“Once Upon a Time” return, 8 p.m., ABC. It’s re-set time for
this strange-and-engaging series. A curse has left Emma and Henry unable to
remember Storybrooke. Can Hook lure them back? Life is also odd  in Fairytale Land, where Robin Hood and the
Wicked Witch of the West re-join a crowded world.


 “The Good Wife,” 9
p.m., CBS. There’s double trouble for Alicia. Her new law firm may have
provided the leak that led to the arrest of a key client; also, her husband’s election
win is probed for voter fraud.


“The Walking Dead,” 9 p.m., AMC. One group finds what may be
an ideal shelter. That reruns at 11 p.m., after a “Talking Dead” with Lauren
Cohen and Sonnequa Martin-Green, who play Maggie and Sasha.


“The Mentalist,” 10 p.m., CBS. An American lawyer was found
dead in Mexico, despite no record that she crossed the border. To learn more,
Patrick Jane goes undercover in a separatist commune.


“Revenge,” 10:01 p.m., ABC. Moving to its new time slot, the
show faces the aftershocks of Emily’s black-outs, including the key question:
Why was she in bed with her enemy, Conrad Grayson?


TV column for Saturday, March 8



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.

Lena Dunham grew up on “Saturday Night Live,” even taking
notes as she watched it. She’s become a fresh force on TV, writing and starring
in a show (“Girls”) that changes drastically from week to week.


Viewers can catch the next episode (which takes some dark
plunges) at 10 p.m. Sunday on HBO. First, Dunham, 27, hosts “SNL,” started 11
years before she was born. The music guest is The National.


TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “The Trip to Bountiful,” 8-10 p.m.,
Lifetime.


Back in 1953, Horton Foote wrote this gentle tale of an old
Houston woman who vows to return to her home town. That year, it was a “golden-age”
TV drama and a Broadway play, both starring Lillian Gish.


That was just the start. There was a 1985 movie (winning an
Oscar for Geraldine Page) and a 2013 Broadway revival (winning a Tony for
Cicely Tyson). This film has some of the Broadway people, led by Tyson, 80. Blair
Underwood, Vanessa Williams and Keke Palmer co-star.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Once Upon a Time,” 9 and 10 p.m.,
ABC.


After an 11-week break, this lush series finally returns to
new episodes Sunday. First, we can catch up.


The most recent episode – people race to stop Peter Pan from
putting a curse on Storybrooke – airs at 10. An earlier episode, at 9, has Hook
and David seeking a map that has a way out of Neverland.


Other choices include:


“The Amazing Race,” 8 and 9 p.m, CBS. In a change, CBS reruns
the season’s first two “Race” hours.


“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” 8 p.m., ABC. Kimmel’s studio is
conveniently located across the street from the theater where the Academy Awards
are handed out. That made it easy for Kevin Spacey to catch the ceremony and
this post-Oscar special, which reruns tonight.


“Almost Human,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a rerun, two genetically
enhanced children have died suddenly. Also, Kennex is troubled by flashes from
the past; he visits a “recollectionist.”


“The Following,” 9 p.m., Fox. This rerun has Ryan and the
FBI continuing the search for Lily Grey. Then Ryan’s past actions haunt him,
endangering his niece, who is a cop


“When Calls the Heart,” 9 p.m., Hallmark. Elizabeth – the schoolteacher
in frontier Canada – has big ups and downs in her maybe-romance with Jack, the
Mountie. Also, her sister visits, offering a link to her privileged, big-city
upbringing.


“Ripper Street,” 9 p.m., BBC America. Trouble continues in
1890s London. Now a gang of female kidnappers have taken a member of the county
council.


“The Gabby Douglas Story” (2014), 10 p.m., Lifetime. Fresh
from “Bountiful,” Lifetime reruns this recent ratings success, about the young Olympics
gymnastics star. Imani Hakim, who played the young sister on “Everybody Hates
Chris,” stars as Douglas from ages 14 to 16.


TV column for Friday, March 7



TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “The Neighbors,” 8:31 p.m., ABC.


Here is epic TV, comedy-style, with Bollywood-type musical
numbers. And it neatly fits the show.


Marty and Debbie are known for saying “no”; their gluten-free
pancakes and fun-free lives draw shrugs from their kids. Their neighbors, all
from another planet, savor anything big and splashy. Invited to an Indian
wedding, they see Bollywood videos and love the sheer excess.


That brings witty music, in an episode cleverly written by Scott
Weinger, the voice of Disney’s Aladdin.


TONIGHT’S MIGHT-SEE: “Undercover Boss,” 8 p.m., CBS; and “The
Inside Job,” 9:01 p.m., TNT.


In the overcrowded reality field, these Stephen Lambert
shows (plus his “Secret Millionaire”) stand out, skillfully mixing human
touches and secret-person twists. Tonight, “Boss” detours; three CEO’s who have
already been undercover – at Menchie’s, Twin Peaks and PostNet – send employees
for a second look.


Then “Job” has its variation: Three people apply for a job,
unaware that the fourth is an undercover employee … with viewers unsure (at
first) who it is. Last week’s opener was good; this one is better, with
wonderfully mismatched candidates doing flashy-splashy things for an Online
shoe company.


TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “Holes” (2003), 8:30 p.m., ABC Family,
and more.


Smart and well-crafted, this is a kids’ story that delights
some grown-ups. Shia LaBeouf, 16 at the time, is sent to a camp where kids dig
and fill holes. Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) directed beautifully.


The night also has strong 8 p.m. films, led by the Martin
Scorsese classic “Goodfellas” (1990) on IFC and “Friday Night Lights” (2004) –
no match for the series, but still first-rate -- on AMC. For general popularity
at 8, there’s “Wedding Crashers” (2005) on TBS, plus two animated hits -- “Planes”
(2013) on Starz and “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010) on FX.


Other choices include:


“Bones,” 8 p.m., Fox. Even school-lunch detractors don’t
expect this: Someone killed a food scientist and mixed his remains into the
cafeteria food. Meanwhile, Brennan gets s belated bachelorette party.


“Enlisted,” 9 p.m., Fox. Someone is sabotaging Pete’s plans
for an impressive parade.


“Hawaii Five-0,” 9 p.m., CBS. Three murders are linked to a
crashed Chinese spy satellite. Jorge Garcia (“Lost”) and Melanie Griffith are
back in recurring roles.


“Raising Hope,” 9:30 p.m., Fox. Burt and Virginia find their
vacation sagging when the resort isn’t what was expected. Back home, Jimmy and
Sabrina want Hope to have a half-sibling.


“Banshee,” 10 p.m., Cinemax. Last week’s wretched excess is
brushed aside and “Banshee” is back in form. This hour starts and ends with
spectacular action scenes, with emotions packed in the middle.


“Blue Bloods,” 10:01 p.m., CBS. A caller said she will kill
the drunk driver who killed her parents and then will kill herself. Danny
rushes to find her.


 


“Save Our Business,” 10:01 p.m., TNT. Easily the lesser of
TNT’s business-reality shows, this hour involves a makeover of a family’s
martial-arts studio. It’s OK, but uses endless repetition.