Mike Hughes

Best-bets for July 20: Flash ends season; Suns might, too

1) Basketball, 9 p.m ET., ABC. At first, the NBA finals seemed in danger of ending prematurely. The Phoenix Suns (shown here) won the first two games; a four-game sweep would have robbed ABC of some high-ratings games … and robbed viewers of much-needed summer fun. But the Milwaukee Bucks won the next three. If they win tonight, they’re champions; if the Suns win, there’s a final game Thursday. Read more…

“Pixels” is back … and a tad dead

“Dead Pixels” (shown here) is back and … well, a bit deader than before.
This was one of the shows we welcomed last summer: In the depth of the pandemic, the CW was reaching out; it was brightening the season with imported fun.
Now the mini-network is repeating that approach: New, scripted shows are scarce in the summer, so it has a bunch of them, especially ones from other English-speaking countries. They’re from: Read more…

Best-bets for July 19: love, rage and murder

1) “The Bachelorette,” 8-10 p.m. , ABC. It’s almost time for the final four guys and home-town visits, but two still haven’t had one-on-one dates with Katie Thurston (shown here), 30. Brendan Scanzano, 26. is a firefighter trainee; Mike Planeta, 31, is a gym owner. The others: Blake Moynes, 30, wildlife manager; Greg Grippo, 27, sales rep; Justin Glaze, 26, investment salesman; Michael Allio, 36, business owner; and Andrew Spencer, 26, who has spent three pro-football seasons as a defensive back in Austria. Read more…

Streamers dominate TCA nominations

TV critics have confirmed what the Emmy Awards suggested – the year of COVID was also the year of streamers.
Last week, the Emmy nominations came out, dominated by streaming networks and pay-extra cable. Now the Television Critics Association nominations echo that.
Streamers piled up 46 TCA nominations, led by five for “Ted Lasso” (shown here), which starts its second season July 23 on Apple TV+. That compares to only 10 for all of over-the-air TV – four for NBC, four for PBS (mostly its kid shows), three for CBS, zero for ABC, Fox or CW. Read more…

Best-bets for July 18: Dark gems on “Monday,” “Masterpiece”

1) “Black Monday,” 10 p.m., Showtime. The humor grows as the cast shrinks, one murder at a time. Now it’s Blair (shown hee, cente) who thinks his heiress wife will kill him … a move that many others would approve. There are great scenes here – a wayward surprise party, a reflection on “pansexual” – that can jump from big laughs to drama in an instant. This dark gem follows a surprisingly sweet “The Chi,” at 9: Kevin, Papa and Emmett try to retrieve romances they once had; Kiesha ponders a new one. Read more…

Best-bets for July 17: Lotsa sports, plus some laughs

1) Basketball,” 9 p.m. ET, ABC, with previews at 8 and 8:30. Yes, a winter sport has sprawled into the second half of summer. Hockey has finished its season, but for basketball this is the fifth game of a best-of-seven series, with Milwaukee (shown here with Giannis Antetokounmpo) and Phoenix. The other games, if needed, will be Tuesday and Thursday … on the eve of the Olympics opening ceremony. Read more…

Top-10 for week of July 19: Finales, nature … then the Olympics take over

1) Olympics opening ceremony, 7:30 to midnight ET Friday. After a five-year wait – a year longer than usual – the Olympics are here. A few sports – soccer, softball, archery, rowing –will begin Wednesday on the NBC Sports Network; others will wait for the ceremony, which could be spectacular. (The 2016 ceremony is snown here.) There will be no in-person spectators, but there will be 11,000 athletes from 206 countries – ranging from 600-plus Americans to one each from Nairu, Tuvalu, Aruba and South Sudan. Also NBC has previews all day, except 4-7 p.m. Read more…

Best-bets for July 16: The sounds and images of music

1) “Icon: Music Through the Lens” opener, 9 p.m., PBS. After a too-long introduction, we get great stories about photographing rock stars. Sure, some have been difficult; Kurt Cobain arrived four hours late, promptly asking for a vomit pale. But others — Beyonce and Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix and more – have shown a natural sense for great visuals. For one session, the photographer had only 30 minutes, a tiny apartment and – in lieu of catering – lollipops; Madonna turned them into sexy props. This is produced by Gered Mankowitz (see separate story), who photographed Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull (shown here) and more. Read more…

Rock photographers capture a quaking world

There was a time, in the 1960s, when it seemed like everyone wanted to run away and be a rock star.
This was, of course, poor thinking. Some of them should have run away and been rock photographers.
That job had it all, people say in a fascinating new series. Ir was “musical ecstasy” … it was “an hour and a half of sweaty madness” … it stirred “the adrenaline – there’s nothing like it.”
It was a fine job. “I was incredibly lucky,” Gered Mankowitz said via a Zoom interview from England.
He produced “Icon: Music Through the Lens,” the six-week series that starts at 9 p.m. Friday (July 16) on PBS. He’s also a participant, recalling shooting Jimi Hendrix (shown here) and touring with the Rolling Stones. Read more…

Best-bets for July 15: “Grown-ish,” “Good Girls,” Gwynn-less throne

1) “Grown-ish,” 8 p.m., Freeform. Zoey’s grand plan – a Mexican resort party before the senior year – imploded last week. She and Aaron had a drunken wedding … then were arrested during beach sex. Ana raged at Javi, after reading his phone messages. Doug and Lucca (shown here) went with some “hot ladies” … and ended up at a 15th-birthday party. Now some of it gets settled, in a terrific episode. The A-to-Z (Aaron and Zoey) scenes ripple with humor, hurt and more, beautifully written and performed. Read more…