Best-bets for Feb. 27: Clark Kent and Nick Jonas

1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Nick Jonas (shown here) has his first turn as host (and second as music guest), launching a busy streak for NBC. Coming are the Golden Globes on Sunday and the season-openers of “The Voice” (with Jonas in one of the spinning chairs) on Monday and “New Amsterdam” on Tuesday, plus the debut of “Debris” – a well-made, science-fiction show – on Monday. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 26: cops, crooks and a classic

1) “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962), 8 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. John Frankenheimer was a master of TV’s first golden age and beyond, getting 10 Emmy nominations for directing, with four wins. But he also made movies, peaking with this black-and-white masterpiece, which toys with characters’ memories. It drew Oscar nominations for its editing and for Angela Lansbury (shown here with Laurence Harvey); Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh also starred. There was a 2004 remake, but this one is hard to top. Read more…

CW sets two new shows, three season-openers

With its “fall season” finally in place (five months late), the CW is set for mid-season and beyond.
The mini-network has set dates for two new shows – a “Kung Fu” reboot (shown here via promotional art) and “The Republic of Sarah.” It also set the season-openers for “Dynasty,” “In the Dark” and “Legends of Tomorrow.” Read more…

Yes, she’s still sorta spunky, sorta Punky

Most child actors nudge cautiously into interviews.
Handlers lurk nearby. Producers and co-stars show up to do most of the talking.
None of that was needed when “Punky Brewster” began in 1985. Soleil Moon Frye, 8, strode in alone; she soon was talking to reporters about everything from horror movies to footware.
Her show lated four years and Frye then faded from attention; most young actors do. But now a new “Punky Brewster” series (shown here) arrives Thursday (Feb. 25) on the Peacock streaming service, with Frye still in the title role, now as a mom. “Punky is such a part of me,” she told the Television Critics Association. “I don’t know where I end and she begins.” Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 25: lots of laughs, tad of drama

1) “Mom,” 9 p.m., CBS. Last week, Jill — rich, single and flirty met Bonnie’s therapist Trevor — poor, divorcing and clumsy. (He’s shown here at a previous low point, dealing with Bonnie in sparse quarters. Jill was enamored … and Bonnie was dismayed. Now the relationship grows; that means more scenes with Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) as Trevor, which is “”Mom” at its best. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 24: Dramas are messy and/or funny

1) “Snowfall” season-opener, 10 p.m. to midnight, FX; also, midnight and 2 a.m. When this show started, Franklin and Melody (shown here) were college-bound kids, smart and diligent. When the third season ended, he was big in the drug boom of 1980s Los Angeles; she was an addict who shot him. Then viewers had to wait; 17 months later, we finally get more. She vanished; he barely survived and is trying to end the chaos. This is beautifully written and filmed, but way too harsh for many viewers. Read more…

It’s a culture shock for Lois Lane … and for the actors

Superman, of course, has a big city to protect.
Metropolis needs him; sometimes, the whole world does. The Daily Planet may need Clark Kent, too.
But Clark is still a Kansas kid; now the new “Superman & Lois” series (shown here) nudges him back home to Smallville. The show debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 23) on CW, reruns at 9 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 27) on TNT, then settles into a CW spot at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
“We talked a lot about shows like ‘Everwood’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ and (a small-town) family drama that had Superman in it,” writer-producer Todd Helbing told the Television Critics Association. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 23: Superman, super workshops

1) “Superman & Lois” debut, 9-10:30 p.m., CW. Yes, Superman (shown here) has a whole city (Metropolis) – and a whole world – to protect. But at the core, he’s still a Kansas kid; in this well-crafted opener, he’s tugged back home with his family. His wife, Lois Lane, is still a star reporter, but his own newspaper job is wobbling. They have twin boys – one a top athlete, the other brainy and reclusive – who don’t know their dad’s secret … and might develop his superpowers. Now their lives will transform Read more…

In the pandemic, makers, fixers and gamers thrive

Amid the economic gloom of the pandemic, there are still some fields doing better than ever.
They range from gamers to fix-it folks to streaming services. That’s been clear during the Television Critics Association’s winter sessions – which are conducted via Zoom, another growth area.
One show locked into the trend is Tim Allen’s “Assembly Required (shown here), at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on the History Channel, starting Feb. 23). “A pandemic, forcing us to be in our homes, … gives people the free time,” said April Wilkerson, the show’s do-it-yourself expert. People are “putting it into using their hands.”
Some boom areas include: Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 22: a soulful, dramatic night

1) “Independent Lens: Mr. Soul!” 10 p.m., PBS. Back in 1968, variety shows had … well, little variety. They were mostly white, mostly mainstream. Then “Soul” debuted on public-TV, reflecting the range of host Ellis Haizlip (shown here). It had Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, but it also had jazz, poets and philosophy. Nikki Giovanni talked to James Baldwin; Haizlip talked to Louis Farrakhan and Stokely Carmichael. This vibrant film (by Melissa Haizlip, Ellis’ niece) ends with waves of emotion. Read more…