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…

“Kevin”: A TV tradition is toppled

For decades of television, we’ve grown used to this husband-and-wife combination:
He’s obese and oafish; she’s sleek and smart and sometimes silent. We’ve seen them in shows that are great (“The Honeymooners”) and adequate (“King of Queens”) and awful (many).
Now a cable show (shown here with Annie Murphy) debuts at 9 p.m. Sunday (June 20) on AMC, disrupting that. “We are asking you to reconsider a woman who you grew up thinking that you knew,” said series creator Valerie Armstrong. “You thought she was happy.”
Is she really? We can tell by the title: “Kevin Can (bleep) Himself.” Read more…

Best-bets for March 16: Games begin, “Blacklist” continues

1) “The Blacklist,” 10 p.m., NBC. Despite its late start, this slickly crafted show has a full, 22-episode season. That gives it two more episodes, borrowing Wednesdays this week and next. Tonight (after the Olympic swimming trials, from 8-10 p.m.) is a key one: Red takes Liz (they’re shown here in a previous episode) to the epicenter of his operations and offers some secrets about their shared past. 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…

Getting “Physical” in the ’80s got complicated

For Rose Byrne, this has been a bumpy ride through feminist history.
She was Gloria Steinem, glowing with 1970s confidence. Now (shown here) she’s the fictional Sheila Rubin, temporarily staggered by ‘80s self-doubt.
First was the “Mrs. America” mini-series, with Byrne drawing praise (and award nominations) as Steinem. Now Apple TV+ has “Physical,” with three episodes Friday and the other seven weekly.
“In a funny way, ‘Physical’ felt like such a great companion piece,” Byrne said. Her character “definitely has come up through the ‘60s and ‘70s, so she’s sort of a child of that movement.” Read more…

Best-bets for June 15: dramas, bold and cruel

1) “Cruel Summer” season-finale, 10 p.m., Freeform. A potent story peaks, amid revelations. On one side is Kate (Olivia Holt, shown here), a cheery and popular teen who disappeared; on the other is Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia), a geeky kid with two friends and loving parents. When Kate vanished, Jeanette seemed to take her friends, her boyfriend and her life. Then Kate was freed from a hostage situation … and accused Jeanette of seeing her and failing to help. It’s a complex story, with secrets ready to emerge. Read more…

Best-bets for June 14: drama & dating debuts

1) “The Republic of Sarah”(shown here) debut, 9 p.m., CW. The quiet, autumn beauty of a New Hampshire town is pierced by the arrival of heavy equipment. For Sarah and her friends, life is suddenly transforming. “Republic” gets halfway through the hour before its plot starts to kick in; it also toys with assumptions about Sarah and Billy and others. Stick with it, surprises and all, and you’ll be rewarded. Its villains here are absurdly overdrawn, but Sarah (newcomer Stella Baker) is immensely likable. Read more…

Best-bets for June 13: Swimmers, dogs and dramas

1) Olympic trials, 5:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network; 7 p.m., NBC. For five years (including a COVID delay), these people have waited for their Olympic shot. Now the games begin July 21 and the U.S. team is filling its spots. Tonight, diving concludes and swimming (shown here) starts; it will continue through Wednesday, with track-and-field starting Friday. Sports alternatives today include baseball (Cards-Cubs, 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN) and basketball – Nets-Bucks, 3 p.m. ET, ABC , Suns-Nuggets, 8 p.m., TNT. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for June 14: Strong dramas begin, end

1) “The Republic of Sarah” debut, 9 p.m. today, CW. In this New Hampshire town, nestled against the Canadian border, life is quiet and autumn is gorgeous. Then heavy equipment rolls in; everything will change. The real plot doesn’t click in until the second half of this hour; “Republic” toys with our first assumptions about Sarah and others. We won’t spoil any surprises; just expect some neat twists. The villains here are absurdly overdrawn, but Sarah (newcomer Stella Baker, shown here) is immensely likable. Read more…