Month: July 2021

TV’s mega-universe grows, fills a void

The zillion-channel TV universe is even larger than most people realize.
Yes, there are the broadcast networks … and cable … and streaming. But there’s also a labyrinth of digital channels. They deliver old shows, old movies and – occasionally – something new.
Meet “Johnson” (shown here), a new drama (with some comedy) on the Bounce digital channel. “I saw a void,” Deji LaRay, the creator and one of the stars, said in a video conference. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 1: Three finales, a debut and more

1) “Kevin Can (bleep) Himself” season-finale, 9 p.m., AMC, rerunning at 11:02. This clever series walks a narrow line: Each hour starts as a sitcom, filled with cliches – oafish husband, noisy friends, long-suffering wife – and bad jokes. Then it switches to a drama, as the wife (Annie Murphy, shown here) sinks into dismay. Last week, she tried to have him killed; instead, he shot the would-be hitman and is considered a hero. Now we see the aftershocks on her and her friend. The final minutes are powerful and well-crafted. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Aug. 2: a little romance, a lotta sports

1) “The Bachelorette,” 8-10 p.m. today, ABC. A week before the finale, there’s lots of work to do. Last week, Michael Allio – 36, a widower and the only remaining contestant older than Katie Thurston (shown here), 30 – quit after a tender talk with his son, who missed him. That leaves Blake Moynes, 30, a Canadian wildlife manager and two sales guys, Greg Grippo, 27, and Justin Glaze, 26. Still remaining are the hometown visits and the nights when each guy is invited to an overnight date; usually, the guy says yes. Read more…

Best-bets for July 31: rescue heroes, Olympic heroes

1) “58 Hours: The Baby Jessica Story” and “Super Reviewers: Rate, Review, Repeat,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CNN. On two Saturdays, CNN is debuting four half-hour documentaries. The first re-tells a compelling story – heroes (shown here) struggling to save an 18-month-old toddler who fell into a narrow well in her aunt’s backyard. The second is fresh and current – meeting people who write lInternet reviews. There’s a contagious joy to Denise Barclay, who roams the country in her RV, doing quick reviews for Google Maps. Read more…

Yes, stupid fun is going prime time

After more than four decades, “Stupid Pet Tricks” (shown here) is finally ready for prime time.
The TBS cable channel is turning it into a 10-episode series. Sarah Silverman will host, David Letterman’s company will be a co-owner and Merrill Markoe will be a consulting producer.
Markoe created the notion in 1980, when she was head writer of Letterman’s morning show. That show died quickly, but Letterman moved to latenight in 1982 and stayed there for 33 years, always with “Stupid Pet Tricks” as an audience favorite. Read more…

Best-bets for July 30: “Truth,” track & Ted

1) “Burden of Truth” season-opener, 8 p.m., CW. As a big-city lawyer, sleek and smart, Joanna (Kristin Kreuk, shown here) pushed herself too hard. Now life is even harder: She and Billy are back in their hometown, losing sleep with their new baby. She’s also representing a landowner who resists a mining project that this hard-scrabble town wants. There are some moments that seem contrived, to nudge the plot along. Still, this Canadian drama works well, with solid characters and neatly understated performances. Read more…

Best-bets for July 29: injury-plagued gymnastics

1) Olympics. NBC expects big ratings tonight (8 p.m. ET and beyond), with finals in four swimming events and in the individual, all-around portion of women’s gymnastics – a field hampered Tuesday by an injury to Simone Biles (shown here). The swimming is live, the gymnastics isn’t; you can see it live from 6-11 a.m. ET on Peacock. This afternoon (noon to 5 p.m.), NBC has U.S. teams in men’s water polo (Italy) and women’s volleyball (Turkey). At night, CNBC has men’s volleyball and women’s beach volleyball, both live; USA and NBC have early heats in track. Read more…

Travel the world? Hide away? Choices abound

So maybe you’re thinking about a change in lifestyle, possibly something drastic.
Not to worry. In addition two a “Baby Jessica” story (shown here), a brief CNN series – 9-10 p.m. ET on the next two Saturdays – offers opposite choices:
1) Sell the house and get an RV. Go everywhere; do everything. Just remember to write online reviews.
2) Take the opposite approach; go nowhere, do nothing. Get a bunker, suitable for any catastrophe.
3) Or acquire a new skill; underwater archaeology would be fine. Read more…

Best-bets for July 28: chefs and gymnasts, plus 10 p.m. flurry

1) “MasterChef,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox; also, 9 p.m. Thursday. If you haven’t been watching this likable show, here’s the perfect time to catch up. Fox reruns the three episodes that chose the 15 contestants. None are professional cooks – there’s a bartender, a construction worker (shown here) and more – so Gordon Ramsay is on his best behavior, always with another famous chef to help. It’s Emeril Lagasse (shown here, right) at 8 p.m. and Curtis Stone at 9, with Paula Deen on Thursday. Read more…

Best-bets for July 27: great blues, great gymnasts, good laughs

1) “American Masters,” 9 p.m., PBS. Growing up on a sharecropping farm in Louisiana, Buddy Guy (shown here) had one goal: Go to Chicago to hear Muddy Waters and other blues greats. He got there and was signed by record companies … which tried to change his wailing-guitar style. He was still driving a tow truck in his early 30s. Then Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and others started emulating him. In this terrific documentary, Guy, 84, visits home and reflects on a style that shaped modern rock guitarists. Read more…