Day: March 18, 2021

It’s Christmas again, for the 700th “Simpsons”

“The Simpsons” is now coming full-circle: Its first episode (shown here) was a Christmas tale; so is it’s 700th.
That’s on Fox, at 8 p.m. Sunday (March 21) – not your usual Christmas moment. But it’s a flashback story, with the usual “Simpsons” qualities: It’s fairly funny (in spurts) and always fresh and quirky.
Besides, the important thing is that number – 700 episodes.
Some sources list “Dragnet” (762) and “The Magical World of Disney” (736) as higher, but that’s only if you cobble together lots of different versions. Ignore those and “Simpsons” seems to have more episodes than any scripted, primetime show in American TV history. Read more…

As death toll grew, funeral traditions ceased

New Orleans, it seems, is very good at good-byes.
Its funerals (shown here) are filled with music and color and passion. “This is what New Orleans does so beautifully,” someone says in “Frontline,” at 10 p.m. Tuesday (March 23) on PBS (check local listings).
But as the pandemic hit, everything changed. The death toll soared, but the traditions ceased.
Now “Frontline” looks at two Black-owned funeral homes. It’s an involving hour that happens to be at the same time as ABC’s excellent “Soul of a Nation,” which on that night views “Black joy.” Switching channels, we’ll pile joy upon sorrow upon rich human traditions. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for March 22: Aretha soars, “Superstore” ends

1) “Genius: Aretha,” 9 and 10 p.m., today through Wednesday, National Geographic. A strong story blends with powerhouse music, in this beautifully crafted, four-night, eight-hour mini-series. Sunday’s opening episodes (rerunning at 6:56 and 8:03 p.m. today), flashed between Aretha Franklin as a young girl, singing on the gospel circuit, and as a struggling jazz and pop singer. In both cases, type-A men (her dad and her husband) loomed. Cynthia Erivo (shown here) is stoic in acting, but magnificent when singing. Read more…

Best-bets for March 20: bayou drama, basketball dreams

1) “Ruby” (shown here), 8 p.m., Lifetime, rerunning at midnight. Ever since a “Flowers in the Attic” remake drew a big audience, Lifetime has savored V.C. Andrews’ novels. Today, it reruns four of them, at noon and 2, 4, and 6 p.m. (They’re sequels to “Heaven,” which, oddly, reruns at 10:02 p.m. and 2:04 a.m.) Then it starts a new series about Ruby Landry, growing up in the Louisiana bayou with her grandmother (Naomi Judd). That will rerun at 6 p.m. Sunday, leading into its sequel, “Pearl in the Mist.” Two more Ruby movies will air next weekend. Read more…