Month: November 2020

Best-bets for Nov. 29; Two strong dramas conclude

1) “Fargo” season-finale, 10 p.m., FX. This hour is both fascinating and frustrating … which makes it typical “Fargo.” In 1951 Kansas City, Loy (Chris Rock, shown here) finds his life collapsing He’s barely clinging to his crime empire and has been told (incorrectly) that his son is dead. But last week, the mortician’s daughter showed what she had learned about a lethal nurse. That sets up tonight’s big moments – lots of them. This is brilliantly written and filmed, but we kind of wish it had a couple fewer endings. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 28: Holiday adds some Brit wit

1) “Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire,” 8 p.m., CBS. Amid the cascade of look-alike Christmas cartoons, we need variety. That’s what we get from this drolly clever film and (at 8:30) it sequel, “Legemd of the Lost Tribe.” These were made in England, then redubbed with Americans (plus Hugh Grant as Blitzen) doing the voices. Ben Stiller plays Robbie (shown here), whose dad is Rudolph; his real dad (Jerry Stiller) plays Old Jingle and Trash Bag. Britney Spears is Donner, with Leah Remini as Vixen. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Nov. 30: CBS has its (almost) full line-up now

1) “MacGyver,” “Magnum, P.I.” and “Blue Bloods” season-openers, 8-11 p.m. Friday, CBS. In one sudden swoop, we get an entire night of adventure hours. That starts with Mac (shown here) and his team infiltrating a glamorous hotel; they must find someone with key information … but she has a new identity and a new face. Then Magnum’s new case leads to Higgins being shot and TC being abducted. And on “Blue Bloods,” Frank (Tom Selleck) and the City Council speaker (Whoopi Goldberg) clash over protests. Read more…

There’s lots of Christmas TV; here’s the list

This sounds like the title of the worst holiday movie ever: “COVID Conquers Christmas.”
Fortunately, it didn’t work out that way. TV people adapted, adjusted, improvised. In quantity, we’ll have about the usual number of Christmas shows – somewhere between a zillion and way too many.
And in quality? We’ll notice some changes, right away on Thanksgiving Day. One “parade” (on NBC) will only ba a block long, with some of the music acts taped in advance; the other (on CBS) will mix new music with clips of past parades. At night on ABC, Derek and Julianne Hough (shown here) will start with a new song-and-dance number … then simply show ones from past specials. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 27: Great and Grinch-y

1) “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (shown here), 8 p.m.,, NBC. Here is one of TV’s all-time greatest moments, a perfect blend of two witty geniuses – author Dr. Seuss and animator Chuck Jones. Catch it often; It will be on TBS on Dec. 6 and 13, on TNT on Dec. 17 and then back to NBC on Dec. 25. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov.26: Parade (sort of) starts Christmas season

1) “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” 9 a.m. to noon, NBC, repeats 2-5 p.m. It’s not like the spectacle (shown here) of previous years; floats and balloons will travel one block, in front of NBC cameras, with no one curbside. But there will be spectacle, Santa and performances, some taped in advance. The “Hamilton” cast will be there; so, separately, will Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony in the show. Other casts are “Mean Girls,” “Get Ready,” “Jagged Little Pill”; individuals include Dolly Parton, Bebe Rexha, Sofia Carson, many more. Read more…

“Bell”: A Mis-spent childhood is redeemed

Tracey Wigfield could have dawdled away her childhood on other things – extra homework or clubs or all the other ideas that guidance counselors talk about.
But she had a better project – watching “Saved By the Bell” reruns.
“It was just always on,” Wigfield recalled. “I watched it every single day after school.”
Consider that to be career preparation. Now she’s made a “Bell” reboot (shown here), which arrives Wednesday on the Peacock streaming service, just in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 25: From Lapland to courtroom

1) “Nature: Santa’s Wild Home,” 8 p.m., PBS. On the Northern edge of mainland Europe is Lapland (shown here), the legendary home of Santa Claus and the real home of giant herds of reindeer. This Finnish turf is both gorgeous and harsh. Summers are brief, beautiful and filled with mosquitoes; bears eat 80 pounds a day, to prepare for hibernation. Musk oxen don’t hibernate; they simply stand in the wintger cold, not moving. There are other fascinating scenes here, from soaring owls to orcas gulping swarms of herring. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 24: Night of dramas, including No. 400 for “NCIS”

1) “NCIS,” 8 p.m., CBS. This is the 400th episode of a show that seems eternal. “JAG” had 10 seasons, the last two overlapping with its spin-off, “NCIS” … which has just started its 18th season … and has two more spin-offs, in their seventh and 12th years. That adds up to 47 seasons (26 years) of Naval crimesolvers. Tonight flashes way back to when Gibbs (Mark Harmon) tackled his first case. Sean Harmon plays a younger version of his dad, which he’s done six previous times; he’s shown here, right, with a younger version of Ducky. Read more…

When do shows return? Here’s an update

After months of delays and adjustments, the TV networks have now scheduled most of their fall shows.
Many, however, will be arriving mid-winter, not in the fall. That starts with four CBS shows in early December (including “Magnum, P.I.,” shown here), then speeds up in January.
The latest news involves January starts for three ABC shows – “The Rookie” (Jan. 3), “Mixed-ish” (Jan. 26) and the new “Call Your Mother” (Jan. 13). Still in limbo are a few shows that were expected this fall – CBS’ “Evil” and “Equalizer” and NBC’s New Amsterdam” and “Manifest.” Also, ABC reversed course and canceled Stumptown.” Read more…