News and Quick Comments

“Highway” gets a movie reboot

“Highway to Heaven” will return to TV, three decades after the death of the man who molded it.
Michael Landon (shown here with Victor French, his co-star) created the show, produced it, directed most of the episodes and starred as a probationary angel, helping people on Earth.
The new version will be on cable’s Lifetime, with key differences: It will be a movie (not a series), planned as the first of several. And this time, the angel will be a Black woman, played by Jill Scott. Read more…

Miley sets Pride Month concert on Peacock

For the second straight Friday, viewers can catch a major special keyed to Pride Month.
On June 18, it was a “Pose” marathon. And on June 25, Peacock will add a concert, “Miley Cyrus Presents Stand B You.”
Cyrus (shown here), who identifies as pansexual, has been a long-time supporter of LGBT issues. She’ll sing her own hits, including “The Climb” and “Party in the U.S.A.,” plus such slongs as “True Colors,” “Believe,” “We Belong,” “Dancing Queen” and a medley of “Music,” “Express Yourself” and “Like a Prayer.” Read more…

TV stacks the Juneteenth weekend

It took more than 150 years for the Juneteenth celebration to wedge deeply into pop culture.
Now it’s there, filling our TV sets with related shows.
That starts Friday, when TBS has a double-feature and ABC has a two-hour special, complete with music, features and Barack Obama. It wraps up Sunday, with CBS showing “Selma” … which will already have aired three times Saturday (the actual holiday) on cable.
That Saturday has a flood of specials, including a new one (the History’s Channel’s “Fight the Power”) and lots of reruns. Viewers can watch Tracee Ellis Ross in nine-hours of “Black-ish” reruns … or skip the final half-hour and see a profile of her mother, Diana Ross. Read more…

“Heights” swoops us to HBO Max … or to a theater

If you still need a reason to get HBO Max, it’s “In the Heights.”
Better yet, if you need a reason to go back to a theater – big screen, booming speakers, abundant popcorn – that’s also “In the Heights.”
The movie (shown here) landed on both sites Friday (June 11), helping us bust loose from our 15-month doldrums.
It’s all the things we expected – a festive treat, filled with spectacular sights and sounds. But the surprise is that it also packs deep emotion … and that this musical – which began try-outs 16 years ago – seems to perfectly fit right now, as Americans emerge from an anti-immigrant phase. Read more…

“Loki”: fantasy fun from an odd god

In the sprawling Marvel universe, Loki (shown here) has always been an anomaly.
This is a world of good intentions and great physiques. It’s a place where superpowers (plus super suits and shields and hammers and such) can save us from fierce villains.
Then there’s Loki, the “God of Mischief.” He’s a trickster who uses his tricks mainly to help himself. He’s sly and selfish and scheming; he’s perfect for a TV series.
So now “Loki” has its quick run on the Disney+ streaming service. Two episodes arrive Wednesday (June 9), with weekly ones for four more Wednesdays. Read more…

NBC’s ready to dominate summer (again)

NBC has finally announced its plans for summer – a season that has already started.
That’s a time the network has dominated in the ratings for 10 straight years, with strong prospects to do it again. It has “America’s Got Talent” and “American Ninja Warrior” and more now, pauses for the Olympics in July, then adds some goofier shows in August.
Unlike other networks, NBC waited until Wednesday (May 26) – the last day of the official TV seasons – to announce its full summer plans. “Making It” (shown here), for instance, has been listed by some sources as starting June 3; instead, it will wait until June 24. Plans include: Read more…

Cruella: epic sympathy for the de Vil

It isn’t easy, we’re told, to stir sympathy for the Devil.
Or, in this case, for de Vil. But a new mega-movie, arriving Friday (May 28), manages to do it.
“Cruella” (shown here) – the story of Cruella de Vil, the “101 Dalmatians” villain – opens in movie theaters and is simultaneously available to Disney+ customers who pay an extra Premier Access fee. My advice is the same as someone said (about another film) during the Oscars: “See it on the biggest screen you can.” Read more…

CW this fall: same shows in new places

When the fall season starts, the CW network will have a new night, new line-ups and new ambitions … but not, at first, many new scripted shows.
Those will come at mid-season, when things are quieter. For fall, CW will mostly re-shuffle. It will go from six nights to seven, but will mainly re-arrange current shows  (even “Riverdale,” shown here, gets a new night) and offer new versions of two games – “Killer Camp” and “Legends of the Hidden Temple.”
The lone new drama, “4400,” is a reboot of an idea that had four cable seasons: In one burst, 4,400 missing people re-appear (this time, in Detroit), without having aged and with no idea what happened.
Two other dramas will debut later: In “Naomi,” a teen comic-book fan senses she has a supernatural destiny. In “All American: Homecoming,” young athletes navigate life at a historically black college. Read more…

CBS’ fall schedule: a bit daring, a lot meek

CBS new fall line-up will be both daring and ultra-cautious.
The daring part involves the schedule itself: “NCIS” – TV’s most-watched show – moves to Mondays …. The best comedy spot (9 p.m. Thursdays) goes to a newcomer (“Ghosts,” shown here) … And the successful cop-and-crook block on Fridays will be one hour shorter, to make room for an unscripted show.
And the meek part involves the shows selected. Taking no chances, CBS will add fresh editions of “NCIS,” “CSI” and “FBI”; it will even put three FBI shows back-to-back on Tuesdays. Read more…

Cable’s “TNets”: silly, serious summertime

While money men work out the future, the former Ted Turner networks have basic plans for now.
The billion-dollar stuff – merging Warner and Discovery channels – is for later. For now, the “TNets” range from the silliness of “Wipeout” and “Go-Big Show” to the dead-serious “Snowpiercer” (shown here) and “Claws.”
Coming is what Brett Weitz, general manager of TBS, TNT and TruTV, calls “a very packed summer.” That will range from the comic “Miracle Workers” to the crime drama “Animal Kingdom,” and will include a fresh twist to movie night.
TBS’ “Friday Night Vibes” will have Tiffany Haddish hosting films and chatting with friends; that starts June 18 with a Juneteenth celebration that includes a “Creed” double-feature. “She’s such a pro …. I can’t wait to see who she gets to hang with her each week,” Weitz told reporters. Read more…