TV column for Thursday, Aug. 20

“Asrronaut Wives Club” season-finale, 8 p.m., ABC.

This has been a good
show – a tad soapy, but filled with bits of solid drama, against a
historical backdrop. Now the season ends with two of the biggest ones
for astronaut families – the moon-landing of Apollo 11 and the
crisis that left the Apollo 13 crew suspended in space.

The wives follow
those mega-events, while tackling others closer to home. Gordo Cooper
is passed over fior the next flight and his wife wonders what's next.
Also, Betty Grisson (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) has a new plan, in the
aftermath of Gus' death.

II: “Evocateur,” 9 p.m. ET, CNN, rerunning at 10:54 p.m. ET.

The bad news is that
networks make last-minute switches, leaving viewers perplexed. CNN
had scheduled this for Aug. 13, then pushed it back without warning.

And the good news is
that “Evocateur” is worth waiting for. It's a compelling portrait
of Morton Downey Jr., who badgered and bullied his talkshow guests,
delighting a noisy studio audience. Downey self-destructed quickly,
amid alcohol, sex, tobacco and ego; the broad, brash style that
propelled him would soon return in a crescendo of news and reality

ALTERNATIVE: “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom,” 8 and 8:31
p.m., CBS.

Even when they have
reruns – on a summer night packed with new shows – the CBS
comedies are worthy,. And these two provide prime examples.

“Big Bang” has a
pretty good episode, ending with a dandy moment as Leonard delivers
(in a surprising way) his old school's commencement address. Then
“Mom” has a great one: It's the second episode after the death of
Christy's dad; worried about her mom, she takes her to a therapist.

Other choices

“Beauty and the
Beast,” 8 p.m., CW. Suddenly there's a good reason for Vincent to
work with Liam: He needs to retrieve some information that could
hurt both of them.

(1964), 8 and 10:30 p.m. ET, BBC America. Here's the show that
transformed a sturdy spy series – Sean Connery as James Bond –
into a glittery piece of pop-culture magic.

“Mistresses,” 9
p.m., ABC. Karen finally tells a married couple that she became
pregnant during their three-way sex; then another surprise surfaces.
Meanwhile, a tape impacts the murder case against Joss.

“Rookie Blue,”
10 p.m., ABC. Last week, a strong episode finally wrapped up the
corruption issue and spun a surprise. Yes, Santana was framing
Oliver, as suspeted; but the jolt was that he was working with Steven
Peck – Gail's brother and Traci's loved one. Now both men are
under arrest and there's something else to worry about: A heat wave
hits, with the precinct station used as a cooling center.

“Under the Dome,”
10 p.m., CBS. Eriq La Salle is back as the head of the corporation
that wants to profit from the dome. He reveals some more about the
dome and joins in the fight against Catherine. And with just three
episodes after tonight, Dale “Barbie” Barbara is again torn
between Julia and Eva.

“Documentary Now”
debut, 10 p.m., IFC. Some gifted comedy talents are combining to make
mock documentaries. The opener has Bill Hader and Fred Armisen
undergoing heavy makeup to play women similar to the ones in “Grey

“Comedy Bang!
Bang!” 10:30, IFC. After “Documentary Now,” you might as well
sample this comedy serries. Tonight, an Icelandic singer introduces
her country's new album.

(Ignore this space; Friday column was out of place)


TV column for Wednesday, Aug. 19

“Young and Hungry” return, 8 p.m., ABC Family.

Last week brought
the debut of “Kevin From Work,” a drolly clever show that has the
feeling of a good indie movie. “Kevin” is back tonight,
mismatched with the ordinary (but moderately likable) “Young”; in
a late change, ABC Family will air “Hungry” at 8 and “Kevin”
at 8:30.

The first half of
the “Young and Hungry” season ended with Gabi (Emily Osment)
breaking up with her lover – who happens to be rich, amiable and
perfect for her – to boost her culinary skills overseas. It was a
contrivance, of course, so don't be surprised to see her back
tonight. Osment and Jonathan Sadowski are fine in the leads, but two
of the supporting roles are overwrought.

II: “America's Got Talent” and “Last Comic Standing,” 8 p.m.
and 10 p.m., NBC.

It's results night
for “Talent,” with seven of Tuesday's 12 acts moving on; the same
thing happens next week. Meanwhile, “Comic” -- stuffed with
terrific comedians – rushes ahead. Tonight, 20 people perform and
five advance; the same thing happens next week, giving the show its
top 10.

Wedged between these
two, the final night of “Mr. Robinson” (9 and 9:30 p.m.) is an
island of mediocrity. The good news is that three members of Earth,
Wind and Fire perform a song with Craig Robinson in the first
episode. The bad is ... well, most of the rest.

ALTERNATIVE: “CelebrityWife Swap,” 10 p.m., ABC.

Tommy Davidson's
comedy style is energetic, but his home life is kind of quiet. He and
shop-owner Amanda Moore (they married after this was filmed) live
with his grown daughter and her son.

Now she swaps with
the very different world of Corey Feldman, whose “Corey's Angels”
are accustomed to lingerie parties and such. She's also going from a
world of carnivores to one in which a “fruititarian” eats only

Other choices

“The Middle,” 8
p.m., ABC. Both brothers offer their parents some trouble in this
rerun. Axl, turnng 21, won't come home to help his dad move a
freezer; Brick gives his mom a hard time.

“Kevin From Work,”
8:30 p.m., ABC Family. In its new timeslot, the show has Audrey set
up a date for her cubicle pal Kevin – then become oddly jealous.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. Lily's princess castle is now going to Joe ... whose dad
worries about a boy liking these girly things. Also in this rerun,
Claire doesn't want Phil to get a videogame system.

“Extant,” 9
p.m., CBS. As the virus consumes Molly (Halley Berry), she drifts
deeper into memories. Lou Gossett and Goran Visnjic return as her
father and her husband.

Kill or Capture,” 10 p.m., Ameriocan Heroes Channel. While the
search continues for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – the druglord
who escaped from prison – this documentary looks at the
multi-national effort that led to his original capture.

debut, 10 p.m., Game Show Network. This competition is based on a
Victorian-inspired design trend. Contestants mold found objects into
pieces with a long-ago feel.

“Mr. Robot,”
10:01 p.m., USA. A mysterious figure from Elliot's past is bedeviling
the evil corporation – which this show simply refers to, logically
enough, as Evil Corp.

TV column for Tuesday, Aug. 18

“Fresh Of the Boat,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC.

Here's a double
chance to catch one of the season's better new comedies. With
self-deprecating wit, Eddie Huang describes the early days of his
boyhood move to Florida suburbia.

The first rerun,
from the middle of the season, finds a lie getting out of control
when he runs for school president; also, his mom is superstitious
about some unlucky numbers. Then is the show's third episode, a funny
one in which the family strains to make a good impression at a block

II: “Zoo,” 9 p.m., CBS.

A few bloodthirsty
rats are enough of a problem. Now a ship washes ashore with a cargo
full of them.

Also, Mitch doesn't
tell the others he's found his terminally ill daughter. He's prepared
to make a dangerous trade.

(or record): “The Making of 'Gone With the Wind” (1988) and “Gone
With the Wind” (1939), 8 p.m. ET and 10:15 p.m. ET, Turner Classic

Great movies don't
always start smoothly, you know. “Gone With the Wind” had three
directors and at least six writers. It waited two years to cast Clark
Gable in the second lead, then chose a lesser-known Englishwoman
(Vivien Leigh) to star.

And then? It set
box-office records and won eight Academy Awards (including one for
Leigh); the American Film Insitute listed as the sixth-best American
movie ever. Watch the documentary and then record the four-hour film.

Other choices

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC. This is the second of three weeks that
will trim the field to 21 acts. Tonight, a dozen perform and viewers
vote; on Wednesday, we see which seven will survive.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, Tony is working with his girlfriend Zoe (Marisol
Nichols), an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent. His dad (Robert
Wagner) arrives to meet her.

Nine-Nine,” 9 p.m., Fox. After catching ABC's comedy reruns, switch
to Fox for some more good ones. This one introduces the captain's
nemesis, Deputy Chief Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick); also, Jake and
Terry try to bond while probing a stabbing at a chocolate-milk bar.

“Last Man on
Earth,” 9:30, Fox. Life gets complicated when Melissa (January
Jones) moves into the cul de sac alongside Phil (Will Forte) and
Carol (Kristen Schaal) ... who married whenn they thought they were
the last people on Earth.

“Tyrant,” 10
p.m., FX. One brother, Jamal, is trying to defend his dictatorship
against growing dissension. The other, Barry, is leading a new
mission despite depleted resources. And Leila – Jamal's wife,
Barry's long-ago girlfriend – is losing faith as attacks reach the

“Hollywood Game
Night,” 10:01 p.m., NBC. Six actors battle in this fun show.
There's Scott Wolf, Mary Lynn Rajskub, David Giantolli, Kate
Flannery, Mena Suvari and David Walton.

“Another Period,”
10:30, Comedy Central. These clueless people bump across history, in
1902 Rhode Island. Beatrice, rich and deluded, meets Thomas Edison;
Blanche, the head maid, receives a strange letter from the Triangle
Shirtwaist Company.

TV column for Monday, Aug. 17


“So You Think You Can Dance,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

After a busy week –
dumping four dancers, instead of two – this terrific show starts
its new phase. It has its top 10 dancers – five “stage” (one
tap, one ballet, three jazz or contemporary) and five “street”
(krump, freestyle, contemporary and two hip hop).

Now they'll be
paired with an “all-star” from a past season, dancing to songs
from the “Empire” soundtrack. Then two will be voted out.

“The Whispers,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.

We're two weeks from
the season-finale of what's been an intriguing tale.

It all started with
kids receiving deadly instructions from an unseen force called Dril.
Now they're getting sick, Dril may be fading and Wes proposes a plan
to the president: Take all of the kids who are affected and assemble
them in one safe zone, hoping that will cause Dril to disintegrate.

ALTERNATIVE: “The Detectorists,” anytime,

Americans make shows
about cops and crooks and doctors and such; the British have
concocted one about rural metal-detector enthusiasts. Really.

Mackenzie Crook
wrote and co-stars in this odd tale, with Toby Jones (a villain in
“Wayward Pines” and beyond) as his colleague and Rachael Stirling
(Diana Rigg's daughter) as his girlfriend. The result is terribly
slow, but oddly charming. All six episodes are available today on
this streaming service.

Other choices

(1980), 7:25 p.m., Starz. This great little comedy – followed by
its copycat sequel (1982) at 9 – leads a strong movie night.
There's action with “Jurassic Park” (1993) at 7:13 p.m. on Spike
and “Mad Max 2” (1981) at 8 on IFC, plus wit in “Hitchhiker's
Guide to the Galaxy” (2005), at 9 on Syfy.

“Bachelor in
Paradise,” 8 p.m., ABC. Slick-talking Joe is busy in the first hour
here; seemkingly, Samantha is in love and Juella and JJ are enraged.
Then people talk about it in “After Paradise” at 9:01.

“2 Broke Girls,”
8 p.m., CBS. Working at a high-end restaurant in this rerun, Max
quickly breaks the no-hookup rule for employees.

“The Odd Couple,”
8:30, CBS. A funny rerun poses a key question: Could the fussy Felix
really be a better athlete thatn sports-buff Oscar?

“Scorpion,” 9
p.m., CBS. David James Elliott (“JAG”) plays a former Secret
Service agent who has memory problems after an explosion. In this
rerun, hia memory is needed to stop a nuclear launch.

“POV,” 10 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). Slowly and painfully, this follows a
mandatory class for young Swiss immigrants. It's a difficult ride,
with English subtitles, but you'll soon root for a star student and
for a guy who must quickly repay $20,000 or his family will lose its

“Killer Instinct”
debut, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery. In Cleveland, 11 women
disappeared, most of them in a one-year stretch of 2008-9. Then,
following up on a rape charge, police raided the house of Anthony
Sowell, 50, who had spent seven years in the Marines and 15 in prison
for rape; they found the bodies. Chris Hansen – NBC's former
catch-a-predator man – hosts this series and does wrentching
interviews with neighbors, the victims' survivors and the one woman
Sowell allowed to leave.