Best-bets for May 13: A great comedy ends beautifully

1) “Mom” series finale, 9 p.m.,, CBS. One of the decade’s best comedies ends with a cascade of plot twists – some grim, some joyous, some just silly. One dandy scene has Bonnie (Allison Janney, furthest right of the women shown here) navigate the plot twists by phone, alternately putting different people on hold. Another has an Alcoholics Anonymous newcomer learn that these now-cheery women can match any of her nightmares. All of this is both hilarious and warm, twin moods that Janney handles deftly. Read more…

“Kat’ comedy called back for next season

“Call Me Kat” – Mayim Bialik’s amiable, throwback sort of comedy – will be back next season.
The Fox network made the belated announcement today (May 10), just a week before it unveils its schedule for next fall. It even managed to somehow proclaim “Kat” (shown here with Bialik and Cheyenne Jackson) as “television’s #1 new comedy.” Read more…

CW, Freeform set scripted summer shows

The CW network is expanding its lone (almost) mission to have new, scripted shows this summer.
The latest step is to add a third season of “The Outpost” (shown here), a modestly budgeted fantasy adventure. That will arrive July 15; also, two Canadian dramas will adjust their debuts slightly: “Burden of Truth” starts its fourth and final season July 30, “Coroner” starts its third on Aug.19.
That’s part of a scripted summer that makes CW unusual in the broadcast (non-cable) world.
Cable networks will have summer scripted shows, as usual. Freeform, for instance, has just announced the starting dates for “Motherland: Fort Salem” (June 22), “Grown-ish” (July 8) and the second half of the “Good Trouble” season (July 14). Its “The Bold Type” will also have a brief, final season, from May 26 to June 30. Read more…

Best-bets for May 12: from goofy masks to intense protests

1) “The Masked Singer,” 8 p.m., Fox. Two weeks from its finale, this fifth edition is down to its final five – Black Swan, Piglet, Chameleon, Yeti and several people inside Russian Dolls (shown here). Lately, this has unmasked top singers — Bobby Brown, Mark McGrath and, last week, Tyrese Gibson. Earlier, it dumped movie villain Danny Trejo, Internet star Logan Paul, ex-Olympian (and current politician) Caitlyn Jenner, actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and all-around superstar Kermit the Frog. Read more…

Best-bets for May 11: Tough times for “Mayans,” “Prodigal Son,” more

1) “Mayans M.C.” season-finale, 10 p.m., FX; reruns at midnight. At times, “Mayans” seemed headed for a great series-finale; then came the word it’s been renewed for next year. This hour is, as usual, beautifully written, directed and acted; still, there are times when its seems to strain to prolong the story. Last week, EZ told Gaby he wants to leave town with her (they’re shown here in a previous episode); also, Galindo drugged his wife, started to drown her, then relented. Now two compelling characters – Adelita and Potter – finally collide. Read more…

A splendid comedy says farewell

One of the best TV comedies is saying farewell on Thursday (May 13).
But don’t expect a big send-off in the “MASH”/”Seinfeld”/”Big Bang” mode. “Mom” (shown here, 9 p.m., CBS) has spent its eight seasons in a middle ground – usually funny, sometimes poignant, rarely honored.
Its honors have been strictly for Allison Janney, the show’s amazing star – five Emmy nominations and two wins. (There have also been four nominations for editing and one for cinematography.) Read more…

Here’s the second-half schedule for Classic Film Festival

The Classic Film Festival is at its mid-point now, with lots more top films on Turner Classic Movies.
That starts Saturday morning (May 8), with some cartoons for grown-ups. It continues through Sunday night, with “Goodbye Girl” (shown here), “Fame” and more.
Or you could go to the TCM hub of HBO Max, where lots more classics are waiting. A separate story offers an overview of the festival; meanwhile, here’s the schedule, trimmed down to the final two days: Read more…

Best-bets for May 10: funny Kate, fishy Dory, more

) “Power of Women: The Comedians,” 8 p.m., Lifetime. In previous years, this has focused on movie stars and singers. Now it honors six masters of TV comedy. Half started on “Saturday Night Live” – Kate McKinnon (shown here_, Maya Rudolph and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. So did two people (Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang) doing interviews, plus Tina Fey, who presents a tribute to the original “SNL” star, Gilda Radner. Also honored: Sofia Vergara and two writer-producer-stars, Mindy Kaling and Michaela Coel. Read more…

Best-bets for May 9: Let’s savor Zoey and Johnny

1) “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” 9 p.m., NBC. This has become a delight, making clever use of its gimmick: Usually (shown here), Zoey can hear other people’s thoughts, via pop songs. But now that gimmick is set aside for a week, with great results. A brilliant script (by newcomer Celeste Klaus and Sam Laybourne, one of the producers) flashes back to before Zoey’s “gift” … and before she knew Max and Mo … and before her dad was sick. It does insert some music, in sly little touches that fans will savor. Stick with it to the end. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 10: “Mom” leads flood of finales

1) “Mom” series finale, 9 p.m Thursday., CBS. At times, this has been TV’s best comedy, a dandy blend of quiet emotion (as recovering alcoholics cope with life) and loud humor. The latter part is propelled by by Bonnie’s unapologetic adventures. Allison Janney (shown here with William Fichtner) has mastered the role, winning two Emmys and three more nominations – to go with four Emmys and an Oscar elsewhere. Now some news gives Bonnie a new outlook on sobriety. And Jill and Andy, now re-connected, take a big step. Read more…