Month: May 2023

Week’s top-10 for June 5: Debuts, openers … and Tonys

1) Tony Awards, 8 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS; preview 6:30 on Pluto. Each year, this is packed with great music numbers – usually from every nominated musical, new or revival. It briefly seemed doomed by the writers strike, but a compromise gives us a no-script show. Expect music from host Ariana DeBose (shown hosting last year’s Tonycast), plus “Sweeney Todd,” “Camelot,” “Into the Woods,” “Parade,” “Some Like It Hot,” “New York, New York,” Kimberly Akimbo,” “& Juliet” and “Shucked.” Read more…

Best-bets for June 2: “Manifest” is back, Richard is eternal

1) “American Masters,” 9 p.m., PBS. Before Elvis, before other rock stars … even before the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll” was popularized, there was Little Richard (shown here). He dressed like a glam-rocker, screamed in full falsetto, dazzled. Ringo Starr and Keith Richards were teen fans; they’re in this fascinating film. So is Pat Boone, 88, who covered Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” blissfully unaware of sexual connotations. We sees Richard survive deceit, drugs and bias, emerging with joy. Read more…

Arnold’s action-adventure is fun … for a while

In this new streaming age, how many episodes do you need?
Many shows try 10; eight is popular, occasionally six. (For whatever reason, even numbers usually prevail.) But for “FUBAR” (shown here) – which arrived recently on Netflix – I would have suggested 1.5.
Okay, maybe 2.5, because the final hour is kind of fun. But the rest is flawed.
“FUBAR” is a big deal for any streamer. Here is a major movie star (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and one-time governor, starring in an eight-hour mini-series with all the things he does best – action, explosions and moments of dry irony. Read more…

Best-bets for June 1: basketball, “Blacklist,” comedies

1) Basketball finals, 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC (with pre-game at 8) and ESPN2. At first, this hinted at a classic rematch: The Lakers and Celtics – each with 17 championships – reached the conference finals. The Lakers, however, were swept by the Denver Nuggets; the Celtics were almost swept by the Miami Heat; they bounced back with three straight wins, but lost the seventh-and-final game. Now the Nuggets (shown here) face the Heat, in the start of a best-of-seven series. Read more…

Sunny summer? Cruel summer? They’re both here

Summer can be cruel, if you’re a TV viewer. Scripted shows fade; reruns and reality shows bloom.
And it can be either kind or cruel if you’re a teen-ager. That depends on which life you’re living – the one that soars through commercials and beach movies or the one that often lurks in real life.
Now both extremes exist in “Cruel Summer.” The show starts its second season (shown here) at 9 and 10 p.m. Monday (June 5) on Freeform, with new character and the same sort of scripted depth.
The setting is right out of a teen’s summer ideal. This is a fictional town, nestled along a lake. Read more…

Best-bets for Wednesday, May 31: New “Drew” leads a busy night

1) “Nancy Drew” season-opener, 9 p.m., CW. A fun era is ending, but we can savor it this summer. For years, CW was stuffed with the heroes of comic books and youth novels. Now it has new owners and a new direction, but Wednesdays will be strong through August. Kennedy McMahon (shown here) has been excellent as Nancy, fresh from high school and facing young love and old haunts. Now bodies are missing. Were they dug up, or did they rise from the dead? Read more…

Best-bets for May 30: America (well, the world) has talent

1) “America’s Got Talent” opener, 8-10 p.m., NBC. The annual summertime ratings champion is back, again with (from keft) Howie Mandell, Heidi Klum, host Terry Crew, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell. They’ll see lots of acts that prove the show’s title half-correct: There’s lots of talent, but it’s not necessarily American. Last summer, only four of the 11 finalists were from the U.S. For that matter, the judges are from England, German, Canada and Colombia.
Read more…

Best-bets for May 29: ninjas, Beach Boys and FDR

1) “FDR,” 8-10 p.m., History; rerunning at 12:03. At the end of this three-night series (on Wednesday), historian Jon Meacham sums it up: Americans got lucky; when they needed it the most, they got Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Now historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has deftly profiled each of them. This is her best one yet, tracing a man (shown here) whose optimism overrode mountains of personal and national agony. This opener concludes with a New Deal surge. Read more…

“Yellowjackets”: Another gem on “Succession” night

In an all-or nothing world, this sort of fits:
Here we are in TV’s summer season, when viewers figure nothing worthy is available. Yet two important hours are at exactly the same time – 9 p.m. Sunday, May 28.
One is the series-finale of “Succession,” on HBO; the other is the season-finale of “Yellowjackets” (shown here in a previous episode) on Showtime. Both show the extremes people will reach for survival and dominance.
And yes, you can still see both of them, by: Read more…

A marvelous show has warm, witty finale

A marvelous TV show has its final episode today (Friday, May 26).
Like most great ones, it’s leaving too soon. Unlike some, it has an exceptionally good finale.
Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (shown here) departs after five season, during a week overloaded with departures. On Sunday, HBO’s “Succession” ends after four; the following Wednesday (May 31), Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” ends after three.
These decisions were all apparently voluntary. But they don’t seem fair in a world that gave nine seasons to “Alice,” 12 to “My Three Sons” and 14 to “Ozzie & Harriet.” Read more…