TV column for Wednesday, June 20


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Yellowstone” debut, 9-11 p.m., Paramount.

Here is the best of
both worlds; it's both big and intimate, sprawling and smart. Taylor
Sheridan – who wrote and directed the indie gem “Wind River” --
puts sharp dialog alongside gorgeous settings.

John Dutton (Kevin
Costner) owns a mega-ranch at the edge of Yellowstone, living by
horseback and helicopter. He has three kids -- a fierce
businesswoman, a lawyer and a cowboy who lives on the nearby Indian
reservation with his wife – and a ranch that he refuses to sell.
“Leverage,” he says, “is knowing that if someone had all the
money in the world, this is what he'd buy.”

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“World of Dance,” 8 and 9 p.m., NBC.

“America's Got
Talent” gets the big attention and big ratings, but this show –
which follows it on Tuesdays – is also fun. Now NBC helpfully
reruns the most recent audition hours.

Here are people who
know what they're talking about – Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and
NE-YO as judges, Jenna Dewan as host and mentor. And here are dancers
from all over, in all styles. The smaller acts have from one to four
people, the teams have up to 15. Each has a junior (17 and younger)
and upper category. That will give us four champions this summer;
then one of them will win $1 million.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Condor,” 10 p.m., Audience Network (via DirecTV or
AT&T).

In the first two
episodes, Joe (Max Irons) became enmeshed in a high-octane nightmare.
He's a computer guy who was starting to figure out who had triggered
a scheme to spread a deadly plague. Then assassins burst in, trying
to kill everyone in his unit; only Joe escaped.

Now he's being
sought by the assassins and the police, who think he was in on it.
Only his mentor (William Hurt) trusts him. Joe has forced his way by
gunpoint into the apartment of a lawyer he dated once. As she
schemes, he pushes his computer for answers. Soon, forces will
collide sharply.

Other choices
include:

“MasterChef,” 8
p.m., Fox. Inside the Busch brewery in Los Angeles, the 20
contestants make lunches that are, logically enough, beer-infused.

“Young &
Hungry” return, 8 and 8:30 p.m., Freeform. For four-and-a-half
seasons, the relationship Gabi (a young chef) went in and out of a
romance with her boss (a tech millionaire). Now they're officially a
couple, so what could go wrong? A lot, of course. In the first
episode, he's stunned by her messy apartment; in the second, her
roommate keeps getting in the way. All of this does have some funny
moments, albeit ones delivered clumsily; often, “Young &
Hungry” is just loud & blunt.

“24 Hours to Hell
and Back,” 9 p.m., Fox. Gordon Ramsay's team has one day to
transform The Old Coffee Pot, a Cajun restaurant in New Orleans.

“The Originals,”
9 p.m., CW. Vincent, Marcel and Josh face an uprising of purist
vampires. In a night of confrontations, that follows an 8 p.m. rerun
of the “Supergirl” season-finale.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Phil is showing a house to his music hero.
Soon, family members are each recalling their celebrity encounters.

“Code Black,” 10
p.m., CBS. Ethan Willis (Rob Lowe) is an Army colonel who's also a
doctor, working as an EMT. Now his worlds overlap: At a funeral for
his brother's Army buddy, Willis decides to find out what happened to
his brother's unit.

“Reverie,” 10
p.m., NBC. Life gets tangled for Mara (Sarah Shahi), who is supposed
to intervene in virtual-reality worlds. She's warned of side effects;
and after a theft, she must enter a rogue world.

TV column for Tuesday, June 19


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Genius” finale, 10 p.m., National Geographic.

The end of a
biography is rarely the best part. It leads to death, which – with
the exception of Jesus and John Henry and such – isn't the most
interesting part of a life. The final few “Genius” minutes are
terrific; the rest are grim, with Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas)
turning mostly dark and crabby.

Much more
interesting is Francoise Gilot. She survives today at 96, 45 years
after the death of her ex-lover Picasso (at 91) and 23 years after
the death of her ex-husband Dr. Jonas Salk. Tonight's Gilot portions
are first-rate; the rest is, until the final minutes, a downhill
slide.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Beat Shazam,” 8 p.m., Fox.

This is Jamie Foxx's
musical week. He hosts this show – a “Name That Tune” variation
– tonight, then hosts the BET Awards, stuffed with R&B stars,
on Sunday.

Yes, we know him as
the Oscar-winning actor in “Ray.” But Foxx is also a classically
trained pianist, a former choir leader and an R&B singer who's
had four albums in the top 10. This show is brightened by guest
performances (Bell Biv DeVoe tonight) and by Foxx's daughter Corinne,
24, as the DJ.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Animal Kingdom,” 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10.

For the season's
first three week, one thing was clear: “Smurf” needs protection
money inside prison; J, her grandson, has been planning a daring
robbery – in the daylight, while the police are tailing him.

That gives this hour
a high-octane (but smart) core, but there's more. Nicky (J's young
girlfriend) is a loose cannon ... and someone looser arrives tonight.
It's an ongoing role, played by Denis Leary, so we know it's trouble.
“Get him out,” Smurf commands from prison; she may be right.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Drunk History” return, 10 p.m., Comedy Central.

A flurry of reruns
starts at 7:55 p.m. with a good one – heroines in history. There
are more reruns at 8:30, 9 and 9:30 p.m. ... leading to a new show at
10, with true (albeit inebriated) World War II bits.

The first one is a
so-so view of the “ghost army” Patton created as a D-Day
distraction. The second is better; Randall Park, the son of Korean
immigrants, looks at Japanese-Americans who resisted oppression in
internment camps. The third is a simplified version of a fascinating
life: Willy Hitler, born in England to Adolph's half-brother,
received a Purple Heart in the U.S. Navy.

Other choices
include:

“Brigadoon”
(1954), 6 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies. This starts a string of
Gene Kelly films, considered among the all-time greatest musicals.
“Singin' in the Rain” and “An American in Paris” (both 1951)
follow at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. On Thanksgiving – yes, it's a rerun – there's little time
for the holiday. The team is tracking an arms dealer who recently
killed Sloane's friend; also, Abby rushes Delilah to the hospital.

“Civilization,”
8 p.m., PBS. In the 15th century, this interesting hour
says, art and commerce blended vibrantly. The ingredients for colors
tended to reach Venice ports; soon, Venetian artists were creating
bold palettes. That's one of many ways that art was influenced by
color availability. The Madonna, for instance, was often dressed in
blue for a basic reason: That was the rarest and most expensive
color.

“The Bold Type,”
8 p.m., Freeform. Just as this show seemed to be out-of-control –
careers propelling too quickly forward – there was a detour: At her
new job, Jane saw her story twisted by an editor; she went public
and was fired. Now, in a good episode, she scrambles for work; also,
Kat pushes Sutton to hire her girlfriend (an artistic-photography
type) for a standard fashion shoot.

“The 100,” 9
p.m., CW. Clarke and Bellamy make a jolting discovery about Wonkru's
battle plans.

“Younger,” 10
p.m., TV Land. Liza (Sutton Foster) faces trouble on the “Marriage
Vacation” book tour. Meanwyile, Kelsey (Hilary Duff) and Zane go
to Washington, hoping to land a speechwriter's memoir.

 

TV column for Monday, June 18


TONIGHT'S ODDITY:
“The Proposal” debut, 10:01 p.m., ABC.

Somehow, this show
has found 10 attractive women who want a guy they've never seen to
propose to them. There's a baton-twirling neuropsychologist, a
weightlifter, a medical student and more.

Then host Jesse
Palmer – who proposed to no one when he did “The Bachelor,”
quickly breaking up with his chosen one – announces: “Because
physical compatibility is important in love,” the next portion will
be in beachwear. Soon, a bikini beauty – talking to the guy hidden
behind a wall -- astutely observes: “I'm carrying a mike and you're
Mike. That's perfect.” Then things go further downhill.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“MTV Music & TV Awards,” 9 p.m., MTV, BET, CMT, VH1 and
Comedy Central.

Just 11 months ago,
Tiffany Haddish was a semi-known. Then “Girls Trip” opened and
she soared. It was a box-office hit and has brought her eight awards
so far; now she's up for two more and “Trip” is up for best
movie, facing “Wonder Woman,” “Black Panther,” “It” and
“Avengers: Infinity War.”

Haddish hosts, with
music from two duos – Mustard and Nick Jonas, Chloe and Halle.
There are special awards for Chris Pratt and for Lena Waithe, creator
of “The Chi.” And there are lots of MTV-ready presenters,
including Zendaya, Common, Mila Kunis, Seth Rogen and Gina Rodriguez.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “POV” season opener, 10 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

This documentary
started as a portrait of one family in a tough North Philadelphia
neighborhood. Chris Rainey delivers papers and has a small hip hop
studio; his wife Christine works at a women's shelter.

Then “Quest”
shifted focus and grew, catching profound changes in the life of
their daughter PJ. When we meet her, she's a zestful young basketball
player and drummer. When the film ends eight years later, she and
her parents are dealing with transformations that seem to reflect
modern life.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Bachelorette,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC.

Last week ended with
a jolt. Playing football, Clay Harbor -- a former pro player -- was
injured. He left the show, presumably to heal and keep his career
hopes alive. (At 30, Harbor had seemed to be done with football. A
tight end, he didn't play last season and caught only three passes
the year before.)

Now the guys ponder
that. Two are sent home and the rest go to Park City, Utah, where
Becca Kufrin and a date have a rare combination – a bobsled ride
and (via Granger Smith) a country concert.

Other choices
include:

“Supergirl”
season-finale, 8 p.m., CW. Supergirl and her friends battle Serena,
trying to save the Earth.

“Running Wild With
Bear Grylls,” 8 p.m., NBC. In a change, this episode – with Don
Cheadle in New England's White Mountains – moves up to 8 p.m.,
nudging “American Ninja Warrior” to 9.

“Mom,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In Thursday's rerun, Jill returned from rehab and Christy was
shattered by being rejected for law school. Here's a rerun of the
follow-up episode: Christy tries to bounce back, while her mom
battles Jill's “inner strength” coach, played by Kristin
Chenoweth.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. A mysterious woman is targeting men who have
high security clearances. Also in this rerun, LaSalle's father
visits, to discuss the family business.

“Dietland,” 9
p.m., AMC. As the terrorist movement against abusive males goes
global, our heroine (simply known as Plum) tries the next step in the
New Baptist Plan.

“Elementary,” 10
p.m., CBS. When a woman is found encased in concrete, the probe takes
Sherlock to the “clean technology” industry. Also, Watson takes a
major step in her quest for adoption.

TV column for Sunday, June 17


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Shades of Blue” season-opener, 10 p.m., NBC.

Clearly, Jennifer
Lopez is NBC's summertime star. She's the producer and a judge for
“World of Dance,” a ratings success on Tuesdays. And she stars
here, doing Emmy-worthy work tonight.

Lopez is Harlee
Santos, a police detective who has drifted into the wobbly ethics of
Lt. Wozniak (Ray Liotta). She was almost killed by Stahl, a
cop-and-stalker; now she thinks she sees him everywhere. Swirl that
all together and you have deep emotion. Tonight's opening scene is
powerful; the final minutes -- including a great scene with Wozniak
and Santos – are even better.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: “Claws,” 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10.

Desna (Niecy Nash)
has big problems now. She's working for a fierce Russian woman who
just killed her own sister. She's been told to take over Jennifer's
mega-house. And she's about to learn that her autistic brother
(Harold Perrineau) has impregnated clueless Virginia.

That sounds serious,
which it sometimes is; Perrineau has a couple of great scenes. But
“Claws” also can be wild and wildly funny. There are hilarious
moments, as the pain clinic shoots a commercial ... and wonderfully
hectic ones, when a mother-daughter moment leads to a massive brawl.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Masterpiece: Man In an Orange Shirt,” 9 p.m., PBS.

Flora has always
hated homosexuality. Her husband was gay; “we will never talk about
it,” she announces, sinking into a blandly restrained existence.
Now her grandson – who knows nothing about the family history –
is also gay. The old Flora (Vanessa Redgrave) is shattered.

It would be easy to
simply show changes and progress: The grandfather's love was a
felony; the grandson's is simply part of society. But this story goes
deeper, because the young man is riddled with doubts and denial. It's
a quietly involving story, albeit one that some people will find
tough to watch.

Other choices
include:

“Instinct,” 8
p.m., CBS. Dylan and Lizzie scramble for a connection, when several
people – seemingly average and unrelated – use suicide bombs.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. The network really wanted to have basketball
tonight. The season ended early, though, so it has its popular game
shows. One has basketball commentators (including Charles Barkley and
Shaquille O'Neal) against former baseball people (including Johnny
Damon). The other has the families of rapper Eve and football player
Rashad Jennings.

“The $100,000
Pyramid,” 9 p.m., ABC. Just before hosting “To Tell the Truth,”
Anthony Anderson guests here; he faces Jenifer Lewis, who plays his
mom on “Black-ish.” Also, director Kevin Smith faces Joy Behar of
“The View.”

“The Affair”
season-opener, 9 p.m., Showtime. All of this started with Noah
(Dominic West) cheating on his wife Helen (Maura Tierney) with
Alison. Now Helen has moved west with a boyfriend ... but Noah has
moved there too. Alison is still in New York; so is her ex-boyfriend,
married to someone else.

“Good Witch,” 9
p.m., Hallmark. With their ceremony approaching, Cassie tries to find
a long-lost wedding dress and Sam works on the guest list.

“Ghosted,” 9:30
p.m., Fox. Someone has bugged Leroy's office, so he brings in a
psychic.

“To Tell the
Truth,” 10 p.m., ABC. We meet a record-breaking “headbanger,” a
prize-winning lint artist and someone who was accepted into every Ivy
League school (presumably by avoiding lint and headbanging). The
panel has Bill Hader, Natasha Leggero, Joel McHale and 91-year-old
Mel Brooks.

TV column for Saturday, June 16


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Jurassic Park” (1993), 8-11 p.m., NBC.

Six days before the
fifth “Jurassic” film reaches theaters, we can savor the
original. It started with an idea by author Michael Crichton: Maybe
the DNA from a fossil could relaunch an extinct species.

Steven Spielberg --
who was then working with Crichton on “ER” -- jumped at the idea,
buying the book before it came out. On a tidy budget ($63 million),
he made a movie that was smart, yet filled with high-octane action.
It topped $400 million in domestic box-office and propelled a
multi-billion-dollar splurge, with sequels, videos, arcade games,
comics and cartoons.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” 5:30-8 p.m. ET, Turner
Classic Movies.

We might as well
make this a Spielberg double-feature. With this one preceding
“Jurassic Park.”

Both films remind us
that Spielberg always thinks visually ... and is willing to suspend
logic. Do you really need to roll a giant globe into the room to
check coordinates? Not really, but it's more visual. Would a guy who
said he “spared no expense” for his park then give the tech job
to the lowest bidder? Not really, but it helps a movie master create
another richly involving tale.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
Sports, all day, Fox and Fox Sports1.

For Fox's sports
coverage, this is the mega-month. There's World Cup soccer (albeit
without a U.S. team) through July 15, plus lots of baseball (with the
all-star game July 17), cars, golf and more.

The first Cup
weekend starts with games on FS1 at 6 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. ET. Fox
also has soccer (9 a.m. ET), then switches to golf's U.S. Open at 11.
Then is baseball – three games, varying by region – at 8, with a
preview at 7:30. Add some FS1 drag racing and you have a sports
marathon.

Other choices
include:

Animation, all day,
Freeform. It's a good day for families, with “The Hunchback of Note
Dame” (1996) at 2:40 p.m., “Ratatouille” (2007) at 4:45,
“Despicable Me” (2010) at 7:25, the splendid “Finding Nemo”
(2013) at 9:30 and “Gnomeo & Juliet” (2011) at midnight.

“Titanic”
(1997), 7-11:30 p.m., CMT. This gem leads a strong movie night. At
7:30, Comedy Central has the clever “Men in Black” (1997). At 8,
TNT has the “Hunger Games” finale (2015) and IFC has James Bond's
“Skyfall” (2012). At 9, AMC has Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning
“Unforgiven” (1992).

“Ransom,” 8
p.m., CBS. This time, Eric's negotiations seem especially crucial:
The captain of a plane feels suicidal and threatens to crash –
killing Eric, his daughter and hundreds of other passengers.

“America's
Funniest Home Videos,” 8 p.m., ABC. You can tell this is a rerun
because it includes winter-themed blunders.

“Love at First
Dance,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark. Hired to help a couple prepare for a
wedding dance, Hope (Becca Tobin) finds that she really likes the guy
and vice versa.

“Skin Tight,” 10
p.m., Oprah Winfrey Network. Weight-loss is just one step, this hour
tells us. A woman lost 140 pounds, a man lost 200, but both find the
excessive skin prevents a transformation.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Charles Barkley hosts this rerun, with
Migos as music guest.