Daily Best Bets

Best-bets for Aug. 9: leaping sharks, nasty people

1) Shark overlap, cable. This is the day “Sharkfest” slides from the National Geographic Channel to Nat Geo Wild, where it will linger for two more weeks. But it’s also when Discovery starts “Shark Week” – an idea it created 32 years ago. At 8 p.m., Discovery returns to the site off the high-leaping “Air Jaws” (shown here). At 9, it claims to have an underwater confrontation between sharks and Mike Tyson. And at 10, it’s in New Zealand, where giant great whites, some 20 feet long, thrive. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 8: double Clint, double Freddie

1) “American Sniper” (2014) or “Richard Jewell” (2019), 8 p.m., Syfy or HBO. After spending decades in fiction, Clint Eastwood has directed five straight films based on true stories. That started with the terrific “Sniper,” which drew six Oscar nominations, included best actor (Bradley Cooper, shown here) and best picture. It made $547 million worldwide – which put it more than $500 million ahead of “Jewell,” the story of the security guard who found bombs near the 1996 Olympics. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 7: Broadway star soars; rock star starts

1) “Great Performances: In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams.” 9 p.m., PBS. This is feel-good TV – a show that feels especially good when we know what’s happened in the 11 years since it first aired. We see Lin-Manuel Miranda (shown here, left, in his later “Hamilton” triumph), then 28, ready to open “In the Heights” on Broadway. He’d been writing it since his sophomore year in college, where he met Thomas Kail, now directing it. We meet the gifted cast, see its Tony triumph … and know these people will soar again, with “Hamilton.” Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 6: Fun with “Mom” and “Cake”

2) “Mom,” 9:01 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. After starting with two terrific characters, this show kept adding great ones in support. Both of these reruns focus on Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) and Jill (Jaime Pressly). In the first, Marjorie tries to reconnect with the son she lost touch with in her drunken years; in the second, she prepares for her first date since her husband’s death. Also, in the first one, Tammy sees a different side of Jill while working for her; in the second, Bonnie confesses to a long-ago theft Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 5: “Coroner” begins; “SHIELD” nears the end

1) “Coroner” debut, 9 p.m., CW. Filling holes in its schedule, CW buys shows from overseas, some goofy (“Killer Camp,” “Task Master”) or bland (“Fridge Wars”) or fairly good (“Burden of Truth”). But here’s a splendid exception, a smart and well-crafted show, based on a series of novels. It starts with a life-changing moment for Dr. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan, shown here); then we flash forward. She has a new look and a new job, as Toronto’s coroner. The first case – at a youth detention center – is a good one. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 3: Memories of romance, ghosts, war

1) “The Bachelor: The Greatest Season – Ever!” 8-11 p.m., ABC. This week, TV notes the shows that transformed its summers. On Tuesday, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” celebrates its 15th anniversary; on Wednesday, CBS’ “Big Brother” celebrates its 20th year (and 22nd edition) by starting its second “all-star” edition. And here’s a look at “Bachelorette,” which has been a summertime show for the past dozen years. Tonight looks back at Ali Fedotowsky (sh0wn here), in the summer of 2010. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 2: Funny tasks and bouncing balls

1) “Taskmaster” debut, 9 p.m., CW. These are games we rarely try: Make a ventriloquist dummy from odd objects … Bite doughnuts off a line, so they fall into your pail … Play hide-and-seek at a railroad yard … And bring a potent smell from home. Alex Horne created and writes this oddity, but works as the semi-silent sidekick to the flashier host, Greg Davies. (They’re shown here.) An American version had a one-season run on Comedy Central, but these are the original British episodes, which are weirdly likable. Read more…

Best bets for Aug. 1: Lotsa basketball, many movies

(Here are the five TV best-bets for Saturday, Aug. 1; feel free to use in any form, all or some, print and/or web)

1) Basketball, all day, ESPN. On the third day of the rebooted season, we get a four-game marathon. It’s Heat-Nuggets at 1 p.m ET, Jazz-Thunder at 3:30, Pelicans-Clippers at 6 and Lakers-Raptors at 8. That collides with the second weekend of baseball; at 7:15 ET, Fox has Red Sox-Yankees or (in some regions) Astros-Angels. And on Sunday, basketball moves to ABC.
Read more…

Best-bets for July 31: “Little Women,” big talent

1) “Little Women” (2019), 8 p.m., Starz. This story is perfect for its time – and any other time. It was admired in 1868; 150 years later, PBS viewers put it No. 8 on their favorite-novels list. Jo March, wise and determined, came alive in 1933 (Katharine Hepburn), ‘49 (June Allyson), ‘94 (Winona Ryder), 2018 (Maya Hawke) and here. This won an Oscar for its costumes and nominations for best picture, its script (by talented director Greta Gerwig) and Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh, as Jo and Amy. Read more…