Mike Hughes

Best-bets for May 24: games, movies and a semi-victorious comedy

1) “Purlie Victorious,” 9 p.m.,, PBS. Three weeks before the Tonys, this has six nominations, including best play revival and two for its actors (shown here): Leslie Odom Jr. romps through a blitz of florid dialog, as the scheming but good-hearted Purlie; Kara Young offers some Carol Burnett-style moves, as his accomplice. They partly conquer the show’s broad humor and turbo-speed dialog. Read more…

Best-bets for May 23: busy night, “Elsbeth” to “Evil”

1) “Elsbeth” season-finale, 9 p.m., CBS. Amid some towering, glowering fashion models, Elsbeth (shown here) seems out of place. She’s 5-foot-4, given to bright clothes and brighter smiles. But before this hour ends, we’ll see an Elsbeth-inspired fashion show That part gets a tad goofy at times, but there’s also a solid murder mystery. It’s a fairly good finish to a terrific first season. Read more…

Odom brings pulpit passion to “Purlie”

Leslie Odom Jr. spent much of his youth soaking up Philadelphia’s arts world.
He studied dance at Philadanco, acting at New Freedom Theatre, both at a performing-arts high school. But overshadowing all of that was the church.
“What the church connected me to was conviction in performance,” Odom, a Tony-winner for “Hamilton” — told the Television Critics Association.
It’s fine to sing the right notes and dance the right moves, but the bigger goal is to project passion. That became a goal “any time … I stood up in front of the congregation to do some reading. Or certainly when I heard the pastor deliver a sermon and stir us.”
Now that fits his starring role in “Purlie Victorious” (shown here) at 9 p.m. Friday (May 24) on PBS. Read more…

Best-bets for May 22: “Survivor” leads surge of finales

1) “Survivor” finale and reunion, 8-11 p.m., CBS. Five people remain and one will be a million-dollar winner. Maria Shrive Gonzalez (shown here, right, in last week’s episode), 48, a parent coach, faces younger folks — Charlie Davis, 26, a law student; Kenzie Petty (center), 29, a salon owner; Liz Wilcox, 35, a marketing strategist; and Ben Katzman (left), 31, a “shred” guitarist in the band DeGreaser. Read more…

A pure-country Marine sparks Memorial concert

Jamey Johnson had been to way too many burials of his fellow Marines.
Each brought deep emotions and a 21-gun salute. “Sometimes, I was one of the men firing the guns,” he said.
After the emotions percolated for decades, he co-wrote “21 Guns.” Now he’ll perform it at the “National Memorial Day Concert,” at 8 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday (May 26) on PBS.
There will be plenty of other stong voices — Gary LeVox (of Rascal Flatts); Broadway’s Cynthia Erivo, Patina Miller and Ruthie Ann Miles– plus the National Orchestra and more, including Bryan Cranston and others reading passionate stores. But Johnson will be the one bringing his years in the Marine Reserves. Read more…

Best-bets for May 21: Good-bye to a good doctor

1) “The Good Doctor” series-finale, 10 p.m., ABC. For seven years, Freddie Highmore (shown here) has built a subtly moving portrait of Shaun, an autistic doctor with a brilliant mind, troubled past and good soul. He’s become a husband, father and respected surgeon. Now he and the others face one of their toughest cases, while pondering their futures. Read more…

Best-bets for May 20: three finales and the Pope

1) “The Voice,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. After an opening song by Keith Urban, the five finalists each do a ballad and an uptempo song. John Legend has Nathan Chester, 27, and Bryan Oleson, 49; Reba McEntire has Asher HaVon 31, and Josh Sanders, 35; Dan + Shay have Karen Woldrup (shown here), 36. Their performances will be recapped at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the finale from 9-11 p.m. Read more…

Best-bets for May 19: finale time for dramas and “Idol”

1) “American Idol,” 8-11 p.m., ABC. The finale has two Southerners – Will Mosely, 23, from Georgia, and Jack Blocker (shown here), 25, from Texas – and Abi Carter, 21. Both guys auditioned with original songs; Carter did a Billie Eilish song, which fits; like Eilish, she’s a Californian who was home-schooled. Before the results, we’ll hear Jason Mraz. Seal, CeCe Winans, Cody Johnson, Wynonna Judd and more. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 20: a flood of finales

1) “The Voice” finale, 8-10 p.m. today and 8-11 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. Tonight, the final five each perform a ballad and an uptempo song. John Legend has Nathan Chester, 27, and Bryan Oleson (shown here), 49; Reba McEntire has Asher HaVon 31, and Josh Sanders, 35; Dan + Shay have Karen Woldrup, 36. On Tuesday, after music by Jelly Roll, Thomas Rhett, The Black Keys, Lainey Wilson, etc. — there’s a winner. Read more…

CW’s multi-personality continues this fall

This fall, the CW network will continue its multiple personality.
Twice a week, it will seem like a traditional broadcast network, with back-to-back dramas. (including “Sullivan’s Crossing,s’ shown here. On other days, it will be more like a cable network, with wrestling, sports, movies and game shows.
That’s part of the transition for the network once known for sleek superheroes. The new owners canceled most of the previous slate and went for cost-efficiency, including dramas co-produced in other countries.
For this fall, that means Read more…