2) “Next Level Chef” finale, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox. At the same that someone is winning a million dollars on “Amazing Race,” someone here gets $250,00 and three top mentors. The show has chefs work on three levels, from lush to shabby. For the finale, the three finalists each make a dish on each level. They are Mariah Scott, 37, from Santa Clara, Cal.; Pyet Despain, 30, from Kansas City, Kansas; and Reuel Vincent, 34, from Trinidad and Tobago.
3) “Winning Time: The Rise of the Los Angeles Lakers” debut, 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO. Two years ago, a quarantined world watched the Chicago Bulls in “The Last Dance”; now the Lakers have their year. Coming are documentaries on Magic Johnson (April 22, Apple TV+) and the Lakers (this year, Hulu). First is this witty, scripted tale. Opposite forces collide – joyful Johnson, pensive Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, partying owner Jerry Buss and grumbling coach Jerry West.
4) “Better Things” season-openers, 10 p.m. today; rerunning at 11:21 p.m., 12:42 a.m. Four seasons have shown the splendid chaos of Sam Fox’s life – patterned after the life of writer-director-star Pamela Adlon. Sam knows eccentric souls — three daughters, her mom and her friends. Here are the first two episodes of the final season. There’s a job Sam dreads, a kid-show producer (Sid Krofft, 92) she loves and more. It’s scattered and fun, with hints of a future crisis.
5) State of the Union address, 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and news networks. This is the first time we’ve waited until March to learn what state the union is in. Since 1934, the talk has been in January or February; before that, it was in November or December … except that George Washington gave one on Oct. 25, 1791, when the union was quite fragile. Now Joe Biden speaks, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has the Republican response and analysts analyze.
6) Oscar films, Turner Classic Movies. The “31 Days of Oscar” surge starts Tuesday — including “Key Largo” (1948) at 6 p.m. ET and “Laura” (1944) at 12:15 a.m. — and continues beyond the March 27 Academy Awards. This week has Dustin Hoffman’s best (and most entertaining) films – “The Graduate” (1967), 10:15 p.m. Thursday; and “Tootsie” (1982) and “Rain Man” (1988), 8 and 10:15 p.m. Saturday. At 10 p.m. Sunday is the splendid “Shakespeare in Love” (1988).
7) “Batwoman” season-finale, 9 p.m. Wednesday, CW. Why does everything conclude this Wednesday? Just as “Race” and “Chef” are ending, CW wraps the seasons for “Legends of Tomorrow” at 8 p.m. (Gwyn has broken the treaty and must be found) and this show. As Marquis prepares to attack, Ryan (she’s Batwoman) puts her life – and her new love — on the line. She gathers her mother, Jada Jet, plus Luke, Sophie and Mary – who makes another appeal to the troubled Alice.
8) News coverage. CNN had planned to make this an Anthony Bourdain weekend, with reruns of the Peabody Award-winning “Parts Unknown” on Saturday and a superb new documentary on Sunday. Now that’s been delayed for at least a week, due to Ukraine coverage. The change is a reminder that we should be watching the strong news coverage anyway … even when reality shows and science-fiction try to distract us.
9) “Transplant” season-opener, 10 p.m. Sunday, NBC. In the early grip of the pandemic, this well-made Canadian drama helped patch NBC’s fall line-up. After fleeing Syria with his sister, a young doctor landed an emergency-room job. Now (after a 15-month delay) the second season starts well. We learn who was Bashir’s surprise visitor … see him in a fierce emergency … and meet a new doctor. That follows a new dating show at 8 p.m. and the “Weakest Link” game at 9.
10) ALSO: This is a strong week for musicals. Steve Spielberg’s masterful new “West Side Story” reaches Disney+ on Wednesday – the same day that Turner Classic Movies has “Gigi” (1958) and “The King and I” (1951) at 8 and 10:15 p.m. PT. And as a pledge-drive special (check local listings), PBS has “An Evening with Lerner and Loewe.” The music of “Camelot,” “My Fair Lady” and more is sung beautifully by Broadway veterans and gifted newcomer Aisha Jackson.
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