Mike Hughes

Best-bets for March 1: “Dispatches” debuts, ” “Big Shots” returns

1) “Dispatches From Elsewhere” debut, 10 p.m., AMC. Peter leads an unchallenging (and unfulfilling) life, with no significant human contact. He visits a therapist weekly because it’s free and he should talk to someone; still, he has nothing to tell her. Then he’s lured into a bizarre adventure. This is an odd tale, compelling and confounding. Jason Segel (shown here), who skillfully directed and co-wrote the opener, stars alongside Oscar-winner Sally Field, rapper/actor Andre Benjamin and trans actress Eve Lindley. Read more…

Top-10 for week of March 2: “Empire” returns, FX soars

1) “Empire” return, 9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox. For six seasons, this has offered a unique mix: It’s had great music – rhythm-and-blues, pop and rap – alongside messy, over-the top soap opera (shown here). For this final season, the show aired 10 episodes, then took an 11-week break; now it’s back for its last 10. Fox says only that this hour has a “shocking revelation”; there have been plenty in “Empire.” It also implies that a death shakes the Lyon family. Also, Andre makes an important decision and Devon confronts Tiana. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 29: Splendid “Seven” concludes

1) “Seven Worlds, One Planet” finale, 9 p.m. ET, BBC America and IFC; 9 p.m., AMC and Sundance; also, 12:30 a.m. ET, BBC America. Most nature shows start in Africa; this gorgeous seven-parter ends there. We see chimps fashioning hammers to crack nuts … And a cheetah team (shown here) with a well-plotted attack … And tiny birds living on giraffes, to feast on fleas and ticks. There’s also grim news about poachers and about reduced habitat; David Attenborough, 93, meets the only two survivors from a rhino sub-species. Read more…

Yes, we like it; no, we don’t understand it

There’s a genre that we’ll call “whaaa(!?!) television.” Or, simply, “WTF TV.”
These are shows in which the characters have no idea what’s going on. Nor do the viewers. We kind of hope the writers do, but we’re never sure.
Reality is juggled, time is shifted, minds are bent. The result is both compelling and confusing; and now two such shows are arrived, almost simultaneously.
Hulu’s “Devs” will be March 5, so we’ll discuss it another time. It’s set among tech geniuses, so we expect them to be bending and shifting and such. But AMC’s “Dispatches From Elsewhere” (shown here) is another matter, it arrives Sunday (March 1), descending on four ordinary people. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 28: Country classics, movie greats

1) “Country Music: Live at Ryman.” 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local listings). Here’s a rerun of a superb concert. Last fall, it preceded Ken Burns’ “Country Music” series, offering great moments. There’s jet-paced instrumental work from Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart (shown here), Vince Gill and more, plus deep emotion – a Johnny Cash song by his daughter Roseanne … a Hank Williams one by his granddaughter Holly … “I Will Always Love You” by Gill … and “Crazy,” sung with stunning power by Rhiannon Giddens. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 27: Lots of drama, on comedy’s big night

1) “Grey’s Anatomy,” 9 p.m., ABC. For four straight weeks, ABC says, this has been Thursday’s most-watched show … if you stick to ages 18-49 and include three days of delayed viewing. The network’s entire night – “Station 19” at 8 p.m., “A Million Little Things” at 10 – does well with young adults. This “Grey’s” should continue that: During a blizzard, Dr. DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti, shown here in a previous episode) volunteers for a life-threatening task, startling Meredith and his sister Carina Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 26: “Trouble” is good, “Party” isn’t

1) “Good Trouble,” 10 p.m., Freeform. What began as a romp – two foster sisters, starting their big-city lives – has become intense … and surprisingly well-played. Tonight, that starts in the lush penthouse where Callie lives with her boyfriend (shown here in a previous episode); a crisis arrives. Also, Mariana probes the e-mail that alleges reverse-sexism at work … Malika is squeezed by family pain … Gael shares his anguish … and Alice finds a brew of sex, comedy and competition. That sounds like a lot, but the writing and the young actors show subtle skill. Read more…

A young actor’s dream: Pal with Pacino

Imagine being Logan Lerman.
He’s a young actor who’s done the usual young-actor roles. (As a kid, he did a couple Mel Gibson films and starred in a “Hallmark Hall of Fame”; as a teen, he starred in a superhero movie, later doing a sequel.)
But he’s also a film buff who admires the classics. And suddenly, at 28, he’s starring (shown here) with Al Pacino. “He’s my favorite actor,” Lerman said.
For “Hunters” – which debuted Feb. 21 on Amazon Prime – they were colleagues. “It’s mainly Logan’s story,” said Pacino, 79. Read more…

Best-bets for Feb. 25: Miles masters music

1) “American Masters,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. For starters, this has a glorious soundtrack. Miles Davis (shown here) plays turbo-charged bebop music … then his own, subtler sound … then fusion and more. Alongside that is a life filled with fascinating detours. The son of a prosperous Midwestern dentist, Davis went to New York. He had three marriages, two addictions, one five-year gap. But he kept having comebacks, fueled by talent and creativity. It’s a sprawling story that director Stanley Nelson tells beautifully. Read more…

Tip for Trump: First, see the movie

There really are some things that Donald Trump and I agree on. For instance:
1) We both feel Nancy O’Dell is attractive. (Only one of us, I should add hastily, has tried to lure her into breaking her marriage vows);
2) We both feel the Vietnam War was a mistake; and;
3) We were both surprised when “Parasite” (shown here) won the Academy Award for best picture. Read more…