Day: March 31, 2021

Best-bets for April 2: Doc wails, comics surge

(Here are the five TV best-bets for Friday, April 2; feel free to use in any form – all or some, print and/or web)

1) “American Masters,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS. When Doc Severinsen was 6, he insisted on learning the trumpet; his dad (a small-town dentist) preferred a violin. Doc (shown here) is still playing and touring, 87 years later. “You can’t say to Picasso, ‘Put the paintbrush down,’” his third wife says, adding that she’s “happy he’s with a trumpet player (Cathy Leach, a music professor) now.” Rippling with great music, this film views his diligence (including gym work-outs), plus pizzazz he molded with Johnny Carson. Read more…

Brooks starring in “Mahalia”? The universe insisted

The world conspired to make sure of two things: Danielle Brooks would play Mahalia Jackson and Kenny Leon would direct her.
Now “Mahalia” debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime, rerunning at 11:03 p.m. and then at 5:30 p.m. the next day, Easter Sunday.
Jackson (shown here) was a gospel star – the first to win a Grammy – and an ally of Martin Luther King. People recall different first impressions: Read more…

Best-bets for April 1: New comedies, new drama, new baseball season

1) “United States of Al” debut, 8:30 p.m., CBS. Chuck Lorre keeps preserving a fading art – comedies shot with multiple cameras, in front of an audience (when COVID allows). This one lacks the large laughs of his “Big Bang Theory” and “Mom,” but has lots of little ones, plus likable characters. Riley, a Marine, had Amalwir (“Al”) as his Afghan translator, friend and sometimes protector. Now Al reaches the U.S.; culture shocks begin for him and for Riley and his dad, sister and estranged wife (all shown here with Al). Read more…

News specials eye Asian-American bias, COVID overview

Two timely specials are airing – or re-airing – this week:
– “Asian Americans Battling Bias: Continuing Crisis” is Wednesday (March 31) on the CBS News network, at, with Elaine Quijano hosting. It’s at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and midnight ET (3, 5 and 9 p.m. PT) and will air on the Smithsonian Channel at 10 p.m. Easter Sunday (April 4).
– CNN will rerun “COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta (shown here, pre-pandemic) from 8-10 p.m. ET (5-7 PT) Friday on CNN. Read more…