Month: July 2020

Best-bets for July 14: NBC is full of music, dance

1) “World of Dance,” 10 p.m., NBC. Here’s the second half of the “duels” in the senior category, with sharply contrasting styles. Some have catchy gimmicks – a duo tethered together, sometimes breaking apart; a group that does wonders with arms and hands and even a bouncing chin. Others (including Oxygen, shown here) are high-energy dance. Two advance, joining last week’s three winners; then two of the five losers get a shot at the final spot. Amid way too many cliches, there are some great dance moments. Read more…

Best-bets for July 14: Memories of country and baseball

1) “CMA Best of Fest,” 8-11 p.m., ABC. Each summer, ABC turns Nashville’s CMA Fest into a terrific special. This year’s festival was canceled, but the special continues. There’s new music from Luke Bryan (shown here), who hosts, and from Darius Rucker; others will be shown in bits from 16 previous years. We’ll get newer stars (Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini) and A-list veterans – Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Brooks and Dunn and more. Read more…

“The Nest” brings subtlety and venom

“The Nest” (shown here) arrives Monday (July 13) on Acorn, giving us one of those couples we can all envy.
Rich, smart and attractive, they live in a gorgeous, waterfront home near Glasgow. And then … well, then they meet a woman who has a mysterious past and nothing to lose.
Parts of that plot could describe many movies. This could be “Chloe” with Amanda Seyfried or “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” with Rebecca De Mornay or countless others. Storytellers love to start with perfection, then stir things up.
But “The Nest” has the advantage of time and detail. It’s a five-hour story – the first two hours debut Monday on www.acorn.tv – with the time to provide depth to each character, while spinning them through fresh detours. Read more…

Best-bets for July 12: Two seasons end; two more will soon

1) “Snowpiercer” season-finale, 9 and 9:58 p.m., TNT. As the current heat wave grips much of the country, here’s the exact opposite: The temperature outside is minus-122 Celsius, which is worse than it sounds; in Fahrenheit, we’re told, that’s minus-188, People are safe only as the train keeps moving. But inside the train, Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly (shown here) battle for control. And outside, there are potent new forces. It’s a tautly crafted finale, but don’t expect an ending. Mostly, this propels us to next season. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for July 13: Old country, new Peacock

1) “CMA Best of Fest,” 8-11 p.m. today, ABC. Some of TV’s best summer moments come when ABC has music fron Nashville’s CMA Fest. This year’s festival was canceled, but the show goes on, with Luke Bryan hosting. He’ll do new music, as will Darius Rucker; others will be shown during 16 previous years. We’ll get newer stars (Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini) and A-list veterans – Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood (shown here), Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambrt, Keith Urban, more. Read more…

Best-bets for July 11: Beefy guys, funny guys

1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. It was beefy-guy night, when this aired on Super Bowl eve. JJ Watt, 6-foot-5, 288, hosted; Luke Combs, 5-8, 198, sang (shown here). Watt is a pro football star – three times named defensive player of the year. Combs played football in high school, but then soared as a singer. He’s quicklty had eight songs reach No. 1 on the country chart; “Beautiful Crazy” stayed for seven weeks. Here, he offers the important musical message: “Beer Never Broke My Heart.” Read more…

Animation rescues “Cake” from COVID

Cartoon characters have always been a breeze to work with.
hey don’t age or ache or retire; and, now, they don’t get COVID. That helped rescue a show: “Cake” (shown here with one of its logos) opens its third season at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Thursday (July 9) on FXX, then reaches Hulu the next day.
The FX networks have been hit hard by virus shutdowns. Their original productions take a boutique approach – low quantity, high quality. Now two of the best – “Fargo” and “Pose” – are on hold.
In that scorched landscape, we’re glad to see anything new. “Cake” will do. Read more…

Best-bets for July 10: Some “unladylike” heroes

1) “American Masters: Unladylike,” 9 p.m., PBS. This summer’s PBS shows have been propeling us toward a milestone – the 100th anniversary (Aug. 26) of women’s vote in federal elections. But before the national change, individual states stepped in. We meet Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon, who was elected in 1896 to Utah’s state senate and sparked health reforms; her statue (shown here) is alongside the state capitol. And Jeannette Rankin, elected by Montana to Congress in 1916. It’s a strong hour that also includes black, Latina and American Indian activists. Read more…

Best-bets for July 9: Two seasons end, one show begins

1) “In the Dark” season-finale, 9 p.m., CW. For the second straight season, “Dark” started slowly and built to a crescendo. Murphy (who is blind) and friends have until midnight to find and return the drugs Ben stashed before his death. Now they collide with Dean (the crooked ex-cop), who also wants the drugs. This has a too-long detour that strains believability, but then wraps things up powerfully … and propels us toward next season. Despite its flaws, “Dark” has subtly gifted actors (especially Perry Mattfeld and Brooke Markham, shown here, as Murphy and Jess) in a gripping story. Read more…