Weekly Previews

Week’s top-10 for July 18: It’s All-Star (and all-shark) time

1) Sharks convergence, National Geographic and Discovery. “Shark Fest” continues on National Geographic, then pauses at 6 p.m. Sunday for a “Wicked Tuna” surge. That fits Discovery’s “Shark Week” (shown here), which starts Sunday and has new hours at 7 and 8 p.m. (great whites), 9 (a “Jackass” shark special) and 10. The week is hosted by Duane “The Rock” Johnson, who grew up in Hawaii, with a fondness for sharks via his mother’s Polynesian culture. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for July 11: dating, putting and funny vampires

1) “The Bachelorette” opener, 8-10 p.m. today, ABC. These two might seem like opposites: Rachel Recchia, 26, is 5-foot-2; Gabby Windey, 31, is 5-9. Rechia is a flight instructor, working on being a pilot; Windey is a nurse who won an award for her pandemic care. But both (shown here) are ex-cheerleaders and both were “Bachelor” runners-up; now can each can choose a guy. They meet 32 tonight, including a banker, a broker, a bartender and a “meatball enthusiast.” Read more…

Week’s top-10 for July 4: Fourth fuss, then lots of debuts

1) “A Capitol Fourth,” 8 p.m. today, PBS, repeating at 9:30. Even during the pandemic, this delivered rousing music, followed by big-deal fireworks (shown here). Now it’s back to live performances (with a limited crowd), with top voices. Gospel great Yolanda Adams, will be there; so will Gloria Gaynor, whose 1978 “I Will Survive” fits the Covid era. Others include Darren Criss, Andy Grammer, Emily Bear and Loren Allred, whose soaring, off-camera voice propelled “Never Enough” in “The Greatest Showman.” Also, there’s a 65th-anniversary “West Side Story” medley. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for June 27: potent bits of fact and fiction

1) “Right to Offend: The Black Comedy Revolution,” 9-11 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, A&E. This sprawls across a century of humor. The first half (rerunning at 7 p.m. Thursday) glances at the bad old days, then focuses on Dick Gregory, a teen track star who learned that Blacks’ times didn’t go in the record books. He became an activist, then a comedian, then both. It then ranges from Richard Pryor to Jimmy “J.J.” Walker. The second half visits a genial era (Cosby, Murphy, etc.) and then the sharp commentary of Chris Rock (shown here), Dave Chappelle and more.

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Week’s top-10 for June 20: masters of music, food, comedy … and hockey

1) “Mark Twain Prize,” 9-10:30 p.m. Tuesday, PBS. Jon Stewart (shown here) gets the comedy prize – leading to a cascade of warmth, ribbing and hardy laughs. Stewart led “The Daily Show” for 16 years, winning 10 straight best-variety-show Emmys – which, we’re told, he kept in a cardboard box. We hear from his former correspondents (Steve Carell, Olivia Munn, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Ed Helms), fellow comics (Pete Davidson, Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Kimmel) and more, including two songs from Bruce Springsteen. It’s a great show. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for June 13: Riviera elegance, biker rage

1) “Hotel Portofino” opener, 8 p.m. Sunday, PBS. Bella (Natascha McElhone) has spiffed up a gorgeous little hotel on the Italian Riviera (shown here), hoping to draw her fellow Englishmen; she may even find a match for her handsome son. On the surface, we get classic PBS – “Downton” elegance meets “Durrells” backdrop. But this is the 1920s and Fascism is rising; also, Bella’s husband is a jerk, some of the guests are iffy and romance rarely goes as planned. At times, this six-parter is too soapy, with cliché characters; at others, it’s a sweet summer pleasure Read more…

Week’s top-10 for June 6: Tonys lead a lively time

1) Tony Awards, 8-11 p.m. Sunday, CBS. For the first time in three years, here’s a full-scale Tonycast. Ariana DeBose (the “West Side Story” Oscar-winner) hosts and we can expect numbers from the nominated musicals – six new and three revivals. Even if you’ll never reach Broadway, you may like the music of Michael Jackson (“MJ”), Bob Dylan (“Girl From the North Country”) or Stephen Sondheim (“Company”). Or the performances of Billy Crystal (“Mr. Saturday Night”) or Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster (“Music Man,” shown here). Or “A Strange Loop” or “Six” or more. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 30: Now we know it’s summer

1) America’s Got Talent” season-opener, 8-10:01 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. The summer season is taking hold now. We already have fun-and-games nights Monday (Fox), Tuesday (ABC) and Wednesday (Fox); also, NBC has an “American Ninja Warrior” special, with past contestants, from 8-10 p.m. today, a week before the new season. But this is the big show, the summer ratings leader. Now the auditions begin, with Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara as judges; they’re shown here with host Terry Crews. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 23: The end of a season … and of a great show

1) “This Is Us” series finale, 9 p.m. Tuesday, NBC. For six seasons, this has been the best broadcast-network drama. Now – voluntarily and way too soon – it’s ending with its 106th episode. During this time, we’ve seen Kate change husbands, Randall change careers and Kevin change lovers, returning now to his first love, Sophie. We’ve seen them (shown here) lose their dad suddenly, when they were kids, and their mom slowly, to Alzheimer’s disease. Now they’re back together; we can expect strong emotions. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for May 16: a flock of finales

1) “American Idol” (shown here) finale, 8-11 p.m. Sunday, ABC. In a week stuffed with finales, this is a big one – naming the 20th “Idol” winner. We’re far from the days when “Idol” topped the ratings and its winners (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood) became stars. But this is still ABC’s most-watched show and is second only to “The Bachelor” for ages 18-49; its ratings declined moderately this year, while others plunged. Tonight, we can expect performances by guests and the contestants … and then a winner. Read more…