Mike Hughes

Here’s a guide to a super day — plus alternatives

On Super Bowl Sunday, we’re expected to set real life aside.
There’s no time for parenting, pets or pragmatic chores. We’re supposed to focus on football, plus commercials, music (shown here with Rihanna) and more.
With that in mind, here’s a guide for the casual viewer. At the end, we’ll include some alternatives. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 9: It’s time to honor cooks and quarterbacks

1) “Hell’s Kitchen” finale, 8-10 p.m., Fox. This season, Gordon Ramsay (shown here) has pitted “20-somethings” against “40-somethings,” with the young folks dominating. They had six of the final eight and four of the final five (including two who are only 24 and 21). Now the final three includes Dafne Meja, 29, and Alejandro Najar, 28, plus Alex Belew, 40. In the first hour, they create menus and dinners, with one ousted. Then eliminated contestants will return to help the final two. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb.8: an overload of openers and debuts

1) “Not Dead Yet” debut, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., ABC. Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) adds another distinctive comedy/drama. She plays a former star reporter, now confined to writing obituaries … and seeing the ghosts of her subjects. The opener (shown here), with Martin Mull as guest ghost, is excellent; the second episode spends too much of its time on so-so workplace scenes. Read more…

Amid the tears, humor keeps emerging

As “A Million Little Things” starts its final season (shown here), most of the little things have slid aside.
The show has become a tangle of big things – divorce and despair, romance and recovery, cancer and paralysis and dementia and more.
And in the midst of that, it has kept its humor. This series, said creator DJ Nash, is “telling the audience that we are going to cry, but we’re goint to laugh even more.”
Both parts, tears and laughter, start with Gary, played by James Roday Rodriguez. Last season ended with news that his cancer is back; the new one starts with him recording messages to his unborn child.
It’s a tricky time to also go to for laughs, but that fits the actor. Read more…

His family tree is filled with epic drama

Joe Manganiello’s fictional world has been filled with epic adventures. He’s played superheroes and spent years (in “True Blood”) as a werewolf, surrounded by vampires.
But his familiy’s real-life stories can almost match that. They include a heroic great-grandmother.
“If you’re Armenian, you’re descended from some form of survivor,” Manganiello (shown here) told the Television Critics Association. “So I just heard all these stories growing up.”
Then he linked with “Finding Your Roots,” to learn the specifics. The results – along with those of former football star Tony Gonzalez – will be shown at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 7) on PBS, before the State of the Union address in most places and after it on the West Coast. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 7: State of the Union … and lots of alternatives

1) State of the Union address and Republican response, 9-11 p.m. ET (6-8 p.m. PT), ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and news channels. The union is in a great state or a terrible one, we’ll learn. Things are fine — new jobs added at a near-record pace, unemployment the lowest in decades, a pandemic crash that vanished. Or they’re awful – inflation, gas prices, shortages. We’ll hear both versions. And yes, there are plenty of alternatives (including the movie gem “Licorice Pizza,” shown here) that we’ll mention here. Read more…

Sorry, Fido: These wild dogs have more skills

Sure, Fido and friends can savor their comfy lives.
They fetch balls, wiggle tales and are rewarded handsomely.
But compared to their untamed brethren (shown here), those are minor accomplishments. That becomes clear in “Dogs ion the Wild,” a three-part “Nature” series that starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 8) on PBS.
“They’re incredibly intelligent,” producer Jo Shinner told the Television Critics Association. “They’re incredibly resilient, adaptable. They’re on all continents throughout the world, except for Antarctica. They manage to sustain in ridiculous conditions.”
Her series looks at all 37 canine species, finding adaptations to those conditions. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 6: mucky, murky moments of joy

1) “Independent Lens: Out of the Muck” (shown here), 10 p.m., PBS. By some standards, Pahokee, Fla., is troubled. It has hurricanes, alligators, 25-percent unemployment, property values that plunged by a third in seven years. But filmmaker Ira McKinley found much more, while visiting his roots. His film offers warm people who hug, laugh, fish, catch rabbits and dream of their seventh state football championship. Read more…

“Not Dead”: a lively view of an obituary writer

As “Not Dead Yet” debuts on ABC, we’re reminded of a key literary fact:
Few art forms can match the combination –facts and flair, done on a deadline – of an obituary.
“This tight little coil of biography, with its literary flourishes, reminds us of a poem,” obit-writer Marilyn Johnson wrote in “The Dead Beat” (HarperCollins, 2006). “Certainly, it contains the most creative writing in journalism.”
And now – after piles of shows about cops and cowboys and such – there’s one about an obit writer. “Not Dead Yet” (shown here) debuts at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 8) on ABC, then settles into the 9:30 slot. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 5: Grammys have rap, rock & Harry Styles

1) Grammy awards, 8-11:30 p.m. ET (5-8:30 p.m. PT),, CBS. Trevor Noah hosts for the third time and Beyonce leads with nine nominations … tying her husband, Jay-Z, as all-time leaders with 88 apiece. Performers include Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Luke Combs, Lizzo, Sam Smith, Brandi Carlile and many more … including an all-star tribute (organized by Questlove, shown here) to the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop music, dance and art. Read more…