Best-bets for Oct. 6: TV’s best (maybe) drama debuts

1) “Alaska Daily” debut, 10 p.m., ABC. This could become the next great broadcast-network drama. The opener is pretty good; next week’s hour – extending these stories and adding a new one –is superb. Tom McCarthy won an Oscar for his “Spotlight” script, based on a real newspaper investigation; now another real newspapers probe is the root here. Hilary Swank (shown here, right), a double Oscar-winner, plays a star reporter, taking her tarnished career to Anchorage. Read more…

A new Van Peebles lands a starmaking role

Imagine that you’re a Van Peebles – smart, charismatic, almost absurdly handsome.
Many possible careers loom, but there’s the obvious one – be a movie or TV star.
Mandela Van Peebles (shown here with his dad) went that route. “I graduated college and I tried getting a regular job,” he said. “And I just thought, ‘Wow, that was really hard!’”
So he got an irregular job, as an actor. Now he co-stars in “Reginald the Vampire,” which debuts at 10 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 5) on Syfy, after the “Chucky” season-opener at 9. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 5: Time for love or bloodshed

1) “The Real Love Boat” debut, 9 p.m., CBS. For 10 seasons, “Love Boat” had fictional romances and more. Now the title is revived for a dating show. It starts with a dozen singles, including a nurse, a teacher, a firefighter and a shoe-designer. They cruise to Barcelona, Rome and more, adding and subtracting people along the way. Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn, married for 15 years, host and the real-life captain, social director and barttender (shown here) are regulars. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 4: centuries of intense history

1) “Making Black America: Through the Grapevine” opener, 9 p.m., PBS. During slavery, we learn, Black society was already forming. About 10 percent of African-Americans were free; they had clubs and literary societies … attended by some people who couldn’t read. After the war, Black towns sprang up. Henry Louis Gates (shown here) — whose “Finding Your Roots” has Tony Danza and Terry Crews at 8 p.m. — hosts this low-key, four-week series. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 3: love, lust and lockdown

1) “The Good Doctor” season-opener, 10 p.m., ABC. Last season was supposed to end joyously: Shaun, the autistic surgeon, married Lea, his good-hearted, techie neighbor.(They’re shown here in a previous episode.) But while the reception continued on the hotel roof, two people were stabbed on a lower floor. Now that escalates; there’s a lockdown, while tempers flare during emergency surgery. Shaun’s reactions feel forced, but it’s still a strong start to the season. Read more…

Tubman and Douglass: Opposites sparked freedom

As Blacks fought for freedom, two people took opposite approaches.
Harriet Tubman was almost invisible. A tiny person, rarely photographed, she slipped in and out of the South as a spy, a scout and, especially, a master of the underground railroad.
Frederick Douglass (shown here) was the opposite, a man of many words and images. “He wrote so much and he spoke so much and there were so many great speeches,” filmmaker Stanley Nelson said.
Now Nelson – an Oscar-nominee and two-time Emmy-winner – has made films about both people. “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom” and “Becoming Frederick Douglass” will be at 10 p.m. Tuesdays (Oct. 4 and 11, respectively) on PBS and then online. They follow 9 p.m. episodes of Henry Louis Gates’ “Making Black America” — an amiable look at clubs, institutions and traditions, continuing through Oct. 25. Read more…

Best-bets for Oct. 2: “Vampire” leads a three-debut night

1) “Interview With the Vampire” debut, 10:06 to 11:25 p.m., AMC. In a huge plunge, AMC bought rights to 18 Anne Rice novels. “Mayfair Witches” is next, but first is this nine-parter. “Interview” is lushly filmed, sharply written and beautifully acted. (Shown here are Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid, as Louis and Lestat, the blond vampire who turned him.) For more than half the opener, it feels like top-grade “Masterpiece Theatre”; then it explodes into sex and violence, which will repel some viewers and fascinate others. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Oct. 3: Swank leads surge of debuts

1) “Alaska Daily” debut, 10 p.m. Thursday, ABC. Two Academy Award-winners link for a promising drama. Hilary Swank (shown here) won Oscars for “Girls Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby”; Tom McCarthy won for his “Spotlight” script. Now he’s writer-producer and she plays a newspaper reporter, moving to Anchorage to repair her tarnished career. That gets ABC’s best timeslot, behind the season-openers of “Station 19” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Read more…

“Blonde” stirs anger and agony

I don’t believe I’ve ever hated a movie – or anything else – quite as much as I hate “Blonde.”
This isn’t your ordinary kind of hatred, something I might direct toward, say, assembly instructions or “Care Bear Movie II.” It’s a deep hatred, the kind that should be reserved for Vladimir Putin or the neighbor lady who – when my softball landed in her yard – picked it up and walked away.
It reflects a sort of abject agony. “Blonde” (shown here) has cruelly taken things from me – my time (two hours and 46 minutes, although it seemed like 46 hours and two minutes) and, temporarily, my joy. It would have been worse if it had also taken my money, at a movie theater. Read more…