Year: 2020

Nat Geo pushes ahead during pandemic

Storm-chasing, it seems, just isn’t fair. The storm never obeys borders; the chasers have to.
For “Category 6” – a new show filming storms for the National Geographic Channel – that problem comes with the pursuit of Tropical Storm Isiasis (shown here). The show is following it up the Atlantic coastline, producer Lisa Bloch told the Television Critics Association. But “come New Jersey, the storm (will) have to go on without us.”
Blame COVID for that: New Jersey says all people must quarantine 14 days before entering the state. The storm is free to zoom ahead, unpursued.
Such complications abound these day. As the TCA’s virtual sessions with cable networks began Monday, the emphasis was on getting by. “We’ve gone from 4-to-8 person crews to one,” Bloch said. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 6: Fun with “Mom” and “Cake”

2) “Mom,” 9:01 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. After starting with two terrific characters, this show kept adding great ones in support. Both of these reruns focus on Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) and Jill (Jaime Pressly). In the first, Marjorie tries to reconnect with the son she lost touch with in her drunken years; in the second, she prepares for her first date since her husband’s death. Also, in the first one, Tammy sees a different side of Jill while working for her; in the second, Bonnie confesses to a long-ago theft Read more…

Two mysteries: This time, CW’s the winner

Two mystery shows are arriving now, just when we really need some fresh, scripted shows.
One, “Endeavour” (shown here) is in PBS’ prestigious “Masterpiece” series, with rich craftsmanship and subtly nuanced performances. The other, “Coroner,” is on much-less-prestigious CW.
And the surprise? This time, the CW show is much better. Read more…

A de Havilland marathon captures decades of classics

For any Hollywood star, this may be a record: After making her most famous film, Olivia de Havilland lived another 81 years.
She was 23 when she co-starred in “Gone With the Wind” (1939) as sweet-spirited Melanie (shown here), getting an Academy Award nomination; she was 104 when she died July 26.
This month, highlights of her career will rerun on Turner Class Movies. It will be a 24-hour package, starting at 6 a.m. Aug. 23, but for many people it will be something to record and catch later. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 5: “Coroner” begins; “SHIELD” nears the end

1) “Coroner” debut, 9 p.m., CW. Filling holes in its schedule, CW buys shows from overseas, some goofy (“Killer Camp,” “Task Master”) or bland (“Fridge Wars”) or fairly good (“Burden of Truth”). But here’s a splendid exception, a smart and well-crafted show, based on a series of novels. It starts with a life-changing moment for Dr. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan, shown here); then we flash forward. She has a new look and a new job, as Toronto’s coroner. The first case – at a youth detention center – is a good one. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 3: Memories of romance, ghosts, war

1) “The Bachelor: The Greatest Season – Ever!” 8-11 p.m., ABC. This week, TV notes the shows that transformed its summers. On Tuesday, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” celebrates its 15th anniversary; on Wednesday, CBS’ “Big Brother” celebrates its 20th year (and 22nd edition) by starting its second “all-star” edition. And here’s a look at “Bachelorette,” which has been a summertime show for the past dozen years. Tonight looks back at Ali Fedotowsky (sh0wn here), in the summer of 2010. Read more…

Lewis tribute leads flood of Black-themed shows

John Lewis will receive another TV tribute –this time in prime time on CBS.
“John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero,” will be 10 p.m. Tuesday, hosted by Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Brad Pitt and Gayle King. That’s one of many shows that have been added lately, as TV networks pay increased attention to Black people and issues.
Lewis died of cancer July 17 at 80, after 33 years in Congress and 57 years of civil-rights leadership. He was a prime force in the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma bridge march in 1965. (He’s shown here in a reunion march at the bridge.) Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 2: Funny tasks and bouncing balls

1) “Taskmaster” debut, 9 p.m., CW. These are games we rarely try: Make a ventriloquist dummy from odd objects … Bite doughnuts off a line, so they fall into your pail … Play hide-and-seek at a railroad yard … And bring a potent smell from home. Alex Horne created and writes this oddity, but works as the semi-silent sidekick to the flashier host, Greg Davies. (They’re shown here.) An American version had a one-season run on Comedy Central, but these are the original British episodes, which are weirdly likable. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Aug. 3: “Big Brother” is back, “Coroner” is strong

1) “Coroner” (shown here) debut, 9 p.m. Wednesday, CW. This mini-network keeps importing shows to plug holes. Some are goofy (“Killer Camp,” “Task Master”) or bland (“Fridge Wars”), but this one is surprisingly good. Based on a series of novels, it starts with a life-changing moment for Dr. Jenny Cooper; then we flash forward. She’s the new coroner in Toronto, ready to help solve cases. The first – set in in a youth detention center – is a tough, smart story. Sharply written and acted, “Coroner” is a summer surprise. Read more…