Best-bets for Aug. 19: Maxi-star, micro-musical

1) “Carpool Karaoke,” 10 p.m., CBS. You never know what kind of musician you’ll get at an English pub, but this exceeded all expectations: It was Sir Paul McCartney. That was one of the highlights, as James Corden – an English kid, born eight years after the Beatles broke up – joined him. They visited a Beatles statue (show here), McCartney’s childhood home and some places mentioned in “Penny Lane.” The result is nominated for five Emmys, including best variety special not done live. Read more…

Striking a fresh “Pose,” Porter soars

For many actors, 50 is somewhere near the end zone. It’s time to play dads and angry desk sergeants.
And for Billy Porter? “I’m having a fabulous time,” he said.
He already has a Tony and a Grammy; he could add an Emmy on Sept. 22 … the day after he turns 50.
That’s in “Pose,” which has given him fresh opportunities. On the season finale (Tuesday), he said, he’ll get a new love interest; two weeks earlier, he had his first nude scene. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 18: A righteous family wobbles

1) “The Righteous Gemstones” debut, 10 p.m., HBO. Danny McBride co-created and starred in two shows — “Eastbound & Down” and “Vice Principals” — that had a ragged, working-bloke feel. Now he goes way upscale; we’re at a mega-church, full of glitz and gimmicks. John Goodman is the pastor and patriarch, at a loss since the death of his wife (Jennifer Nettles, via flashbacks). In the fairly entertaining opener, their sons (McBride and Adam Devine, shown here) and and daughter (Edi Patterson) get in huge trouble. Read more…

“I Ship It”: A fun show rises from the minors

TV critics are suckers for a surprise.
If something great comes from the usual sources – HBO, FX, PBS, AMC, the streaming services, anywhere on the British Isles – we’re sorta happy. But if something pretty good comes from the lesser spots, we’re delighted.
That may be why I was so pleased with “Florida Girls,” a flawed-but-funny show on Pop (which hasn’t yet confirmed that there will be a second season). And it’s why I’m so happy about “I Ship It,” a mini-musical comedy that reaches CW on Monday (Aug. 19), after years in the minors. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Aug. 19: Debuts, finales and Sir Paul

1) “Carpool Karaoke,” 10 p.m. today, CBS. Imagine you’re sitting in a British pub one day and a bloke comes out with a guitar. He seems pretty good and … hey, he’s Paul McCartney! That was one of the highlights of this special, which debuted a year ago. James Corden (shown here with McCartney in real and statue form), the Englishman who hosts CBS’ late-late show, also visited McCartney’s childhood home and some places mentioned in “Penny Lane.” The result is up for five Emmys, including best variety special; overall, Corden has seven nominations. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 17: Bunkers are back (again)

1) “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” 8-9:32 p.m., ABC. Jimmy Kimmel was 4 when TV comedy was transformed by “All in the Family”; other Norman Lear shows followed, including “The Jeffersons.” This season, Kimmel had a live special, using two old scripts and new actors — Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as the Bunkers (shown here), Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as the Jeffersons. It drew10 million viewers, reran … and now re-reruns, with a “20/20” follow-up at 9:32 and Kimmel at 10. Read more…

HBO’s show has size, scope and righteous dismay

Danny McBride has spent large chunks of the past decade as HBO’s counterpoint.
Other shows, from “Sopranos” to “Game of Thrones,” had epic scope. His focused on one angry guy.
McBride created and starred in “Eastbound & Down” and “Vice Principals,” played fuming hulks. “They believe they were owed something more than what they got in life,” he said.
Now “Righteous Gemstones” goes the opposite way. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman, shown here) and his kids (McBride, Edi Patterson and Adam Devine) have it all – jet, mansion, money, more. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 16: Wu is a reluctant TV star

1) “Fresh Off the Boat,” 8:30 p.m., ABC. Here’s a rerun of an episode that put more focus on Constance Wu (shown here), who became a movie star in “Crazy Rich Asians” … then grumbled when “Boat” was renewed for next season. She plays the mom, now an author; as she looks forward to a book-store reading, her husband is excited about a book tour and buys a recreational vehicle. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 15: Belatedly, “Baskets” is fun

1) “Baskets,” 10 p.m., FX. For four seasons, the life of Chip Baskets (Zach Galifianakis) has been a slow, downhill slide. Now comes a detour – a broadly funny trip to the state Capitol, to protest a bullet train that would buy the land his rodeo is on. Chip heads there with his twin Dale (also Galifianakis), and their mom. She’s played with subtle perfection by Louie Anderson (shown here), who’s already won an Emmy in the role. It’s a funny and warm episode; the descent resumes in next week’s series finale. Read more…

“Baskets” departs with some fun … and despair

In a moment of exasperation, Christine Baskets says what viewers have been thinking:
“Sometimes, I think you just want to fail at life,” she tells her son Chip.
She’s right, you know. That’s what has kept FX’s “Baskets” from being a good show … and, alas, what dragged down the first season of Showtime’s “Kidding.
”Now “Baskets” is wrapping up its fourth and final season. It has a terrific episode (shown here, with Louie Anderson) this Thursday (Aug. 15), then a so-so finale a week later. “Kidding” will start its second season Nov. 2. Read more…