TV column for Sunday, July 15


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Masterpiece: Endeavour,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS.

After a couple so-so
movies this summer, the “Inspector Morse” prequel has bounced
back. For the second straight week, Inspector Sergeant Endeavour
Morse gets a first-rate mystery.

Last week, the
oft-lonely Morse met an attractive Frenchwoman. Now they're dating
and he's oddly cheery ... until he's called away to a murder probe,
against a backdrop of racial bias in 1968 England.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar,” 9-11 p.m., Hallmark
Movies & Mysteries.

Martha Williamson's
“Touched By an Angel” was a TV powerhouse; it ran nine seasons,
three of them in Nielsen's top 10. But the show departed 15 years ago
and Williamson almost disappeared.

This was her
comeback series, with people changing lives by following up on
undelivered mail. It had 10 episodes in 2014, but has been confined
to movies ever since. Here's the 12th film, with the lead
characters trying a good deed, as their own wedding nears. Carol
Burnett and Keb' Mo' appear briefly.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: All night, NBC.

In a late switch
last week, NBC moved “Running Wild With Bear Grylls” from Mondays
to Sundays. The timing was bad – why not give viewers some warning?
-- but the result strengthens Sundays.

Tonight, Uzo Aduba
(“Orange is the New Black”) is in Spain's Pyrenees, confronting a
flash flood, a poisonous viper and the prospect of field mice for
dinner. An “American Ninja Warrior” rerun is at 8 p.m., followed
at 10 by “Shades of Blue,” which is having a terrific summer.
Tonight, Harlee (Jennifer Lope) learns that the crooked cops are
deeply embedded in crime.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Shark vs. Tuna,” 9 p.m., NatGeo Wild; rerunning
at midnight.

Next Sunday,
Discovery launches its annual “Shark Week,” an idea it created 30
years ago. But Wild arrives a week earlier, with its “Sharkfest.”
Reruns start at 11 a.m., with new hours from 8-11 p.m.

At 8 p.m. (rerunning
at 11), “Mayhem in Mexico” discusses six attacks, from 2011 to
2013. At 10 (rerunning at 1 a.m.) is “The Whale That Ate Jaws.”
And at 9, we see a yellowfish tuna having a VERY bad day: A fishermen
tries to pull it onboard, before sharks finish chomping it. This
tends to be one-note, with end-of-the-world narration and music; some
of the stories, however, are fascinating.

Other choices
include:

“The Revenant”
(2015), 5:30 p.m., FX. The good films start early tonight, as
lead-ins to Sunday series. This one – with Leonardo DiCaprio's
superb, Oscar-winning performance – leads into “Pose” at 9 p.m.
On HBO, “Battle of the Sexes” (2017) -- an amiable view of the
Riggs-King tennis match – leads ito “Sharp Objects” at 9 p.m.
and “Succession” at 10.

“One Strange
Rock,” 7 p.m., Fox. Mike Massimino has been an astronaut in real
life (repairing the Hubble Space Telescope) and in fiction (six “Big
Bang Theory” episodes). In this rerun from a terrific

documentary series,
he discusses how microbes, plants and animals create and destroy
life.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. Speaking of sharks, Ian Zeiring – star of the
goofy “Sharknado” films – has his family oppose the family of
Sherri Shepherd. The other match has Tommy Chong and his kids
(including actress Rae Dawn Chong) against the family of basketball
star Derek Fisher.

“$100,000
Pyramid,” 9 p.m., ABC. Kathy Najimy has already shown she's
terrific at this game. Here, she faces Yvette Nicole Brown. The
other match has Gary Cole and Vanessa Williams.

“Ghosted,” 9:30
p.m., Fox. Sharing a case with the FBI and the FAA, the people in the
Bureau Underground realize that they really don't get much respect.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 10 p.m., CBS. A killer puts on shows for high-paying
voyeurs.

 

TV column for Saturday, July 14


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Battle of the Sexes” (2017), 8-10 p.m., HBO; and/or “Truth and
Lies: The Family Manson,” 9-11 p.m., ABC.

It's time to sample
pieces of American history – one dark and brutal, the other
surprisingly funny. The brutality involved the 1969 murders by
Charles Manson's followers; this is an ABC News special that debuted
last year. And the fun is from the 1973 tennis match, with Bobby
Riggs and Billy Jean King.

As “Battle”
tells it, Riggs (Steve Carell) was an amiable con man. Past his
prime, he insisted he could defeat any woman. King (Emma Stone)
resisted until Riggs' taunts went too far. A huge ABC audience
watched her win decisively. The story gets a bright, fun re-telling
here.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
:Mamma Mia” (2008), 8:30-11 p.m., NBC.

In a late switch,
NBC has put a “Will& Grace” rerun at 8 p.m., followed by this
movie ... six days before its sequel reaches theaters.

The original is
mostly cheery, with a bright island setting, a likable cast and all
those ABBA songs. Its one flaw: In a world filled with great voices,
the movie settled for less. Meryl Streep is a fine singer; others
range from adequate to not.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” (2001) and more, 7:30
a.m., Syfy and USA.

After years of
marathons on Freeform, Harry Potter has moved to Syfy ... promptly
getting another marathon. His first two films aired Friday night and
repeat at 7:30 and 10:52 a.m. today.

Then comes the
switch from the light touch of director Chris Columbus to the darker
tone of Alfonso Cuaron for the third film at 2:23 p.m. Mike Newell
made the fourth at 5 p.m. and David Yates did the rest. The fifth
airs at 8 p.m. today ... followed by a repeat of the third at 10:41
p.m. Sunday repeats the fourth and fifth films at 8 and 11:21 a.m.,
then wraps up the mega-series at 2:18, 5:18 and 8 p.m.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Operation Thai Cave Rescue,” 10 p.m., Science.

If you missed this
quick-turnaround special Friday on Discovery, you can catch a rerun
tonight.

The 12 soccer
players, ages 14 to 16, and their assistant coach were trapped in a
flooded Thailand cave for almost 18 days. This special traces the
problems faced by the boys and by the Thai SEAL rescuers; it
interviews medical, mental and diving experts.

Other choices
include:

“Hotel
Transylvania” (2012), 5 p.m., FX. This fun animated movie is
followed by its sequel (2015) at 7 p.m.; then they repeat at 9 and
11.

Baseball, 7 p.m. ET,
Fox. Three days before it has the All-Star game, Fox has three games,
varying by region. Sports fans will also find NASCAR (7:30 p.m. ET,
NBC), boxing (7 p.m., ESPN) and mixed martial arts (7:30 p.m., Fox
Sports1 and 8 p.m.. Paramount, which has kickboxing at 10:15).

“America's
Funniest Home Videos,” 8 p.m., ABC. This rerun has kids reacting to
scary Halloween decorations ... and a monkey at the zoo, jealous
while watching a couple kiss. That's odd, because we've always been
jealous of zoo monkeys, what with all the climbing and swinging and
such.

“Me, Myself &
I,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS. It's time for the Thanksgiving episode.
No, not a rerun – the first showing of an episode that would have
been better eight months ago; this has been on the shelf for a while.
In the first episode, mid-life Alex (Bobby Moynihan) has a blind date
on the holiday. In the second, his new girlfriend invests in his
invention ... which soon affects their dating life

“Living
Biblically,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. Following the Scriptures can be
tough sometimes. Chip is excited to be nominated for a journalism
award ... but is reminded that he's not supposed to covet. In the
second episode, he tries to convince his colleagues to help rebuild a
house for charity.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC Bill Hader hosts this rerun, with music
from Arcade Fire.

TV column for Friday, July 13


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,” 8 p.m., Syfy and USA.

Harry Potter seems
to be a perpetual force inside our TV sets. For years, the
Disney-owned networks had the rights; he was on ABC a little and
Freeform (with sprawling marathons) a lot.

Now Syfy has the
rights. It plans fewer commercials and more Harry-fan inserts, plus
some links with Universal Studios and syfy.com. The films, however,
remain the same. Tonight, we get the original and, at 11:05 p.m., its
first sequel (2002); both have the light, deft touch of director
Chris Columbus. They'll repeat at 7:30 and 10:52 a.m. Saturday,
followed by the other six, in a Potter-filled weekend.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “Whistleblower” debut, 8 p.m., CBS.

The new
“whistleblower” laws have offered a powerful tool for people who
find that their companies are misbehaving. Now this CBS News series
shows times when that made a difference.

The Kool Smiles
dental clinics were accused of billing Medicare for procedures (often
on children) that weren't needed ... and sometimes weren't performed;
the parent company settled with the U.S. for $23.9 million. And
Bristol-Myers Squibb was accused of paying kickbacks to doctors;
California agreed to a $30 million settlement. Both stories are
tentatively scheduled for the opeer of this summer series.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: Action movies, 8 p.m., cable.

The two comic-book
worlds collide tonight on sister networks. Marvel has “Captain
America: Civil War” (2016) on TNT; DC has “Batman v Superman”
(also 2016) on TBS.

There's more action,
from the little magicians in the Harry Potter films to mega-monsters
in “Jurassic World” (2015) on FX. At 8:05, HBO has “Dunkirk”
(2017), which – under director Chris Nolan – has great action,
but surprisingly little story.

Other choices
include:

“How It Ends”
and more, any time, Netflix. It's another crowded Friday for the
streaming service.That includes the debuts of this post-apocalyptic
movie, plus a stand-up special (Jim Jefferies), an animated series
(“The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants”) and even a baking
competition (“Sugar Rush”).

Murder marathon,
Reelz. To mark the creepy side of Friday the 13th, here
are three-hour strings of documentaries. The daytime one (10 a.m., 1
p.m. and 4 p.m. ET) has the “Hillside Strangler,” Jim Jones and
Ted Bundy. The evening one (7 and 10 p.m. ET) has a killer in
Plainfield, Wis. ... mysterious sleeping deaths in California and
beyond ... and teen killers in England.

“Quantico,” 8
p.m., ABC. Owen and McQuigg learn devastating news about family
members. For the team, nowhere – including home – is safe.
Everyone goes on high alert.

“The Resident,”
8 p.m., Fox. With three surgeries at the same time, the hospital's
staff is pushed to its limit. Also in this rerun, a rich contributor
arrives, ready to donate money to the oncology program of Dr. Lane
Hunter ... who is trying to discredit Nicolette's accusations about
the program.

“The Orville,” 9
p.m., Fox. This rerun finds the crew defeating the Krill, but then
facing a perilous assignment: Infiltrate the Krill ship and steal an
important document.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. Phillip Phillips, the “American Idol” winner, plays
a diamond smuggler in this rerun. He'll stop at nothing to find his
cotraband; now his partner's corpse has been stolen.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. This turns topical in two areas: Frank, the police
commissioner, faces fall-out when a rookie questions a pedestrian's
immigration status; also, Frank's granddaughter Nicky is sexually
harassed at her internship. Also in the rerun, his son Danny
considers a more lucrative job.

Operation Thai Cave
Rescue,” 10 p.m., Discovery Channel. This quick-turnaround special
looks at the rescue of the boys trapped for 18 days. It will rerun at
10 p.m. Saturday on the Science Channel.

 

TV column for Thursday, July 12


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Shooter,” 10:01 p.m., USA.

TV has had lots of
good-hearted doctors and very few venomous undersecretaries of
agriculture. Now Gerald McRaney has been both with equal perfection.
On “This Is Us,” he's the good doc; here, he's Red Bama, a
corrupt bureaucrat who orders murders – or does it himself –
without loosening his tie.

“Shooter” is at
its best when the unruffled Bama goes eye-to-eye with a perpetually
ruffled underling, Harris Downey. Bob Lee Swagger tries to protect
Downey, in a terrific episode.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Little Big Shots,” 8 p.m., NBC.

Maybe some siblings
spend their time fighting over videogames, but not here. Twins from
Spain are singers; other sibling duos are magicians and
singer-songwriters.

Steve Harvey chats
with them, along with some dancers and more. There's a 7-year-old
expert on movies and a 4-year-old expert on cotton candy. Chances
are, this will be fun.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “10 Monuments That Changed America,” 8 p.m., PBS.

We start with one of
the oldest monuments, marking the Battle of Bunker Hill ... which was
mostly fought on Breed's Hill. And we end with modern monuments and
the people who launched them.

Jan Scruggs, who saw
his fellow soldiers die, propelled the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,
which was completed in 1982. “I maxed out at 32,” he says. Cleve
Jones, who saw his friends die, launched the AIDS Memorial Quilt. His
own life was spared by modern AIDS drugs. “I'm 62 and ... I'm alive
and I'm in love and I'm still working and I'm fighting,” he says,
in a varied and fascinating hour.

Other choices
include:

“Trainwreck”
(2015), 5-8 p.m., FX. Tonight's best movies start early. This fun Amy
Schumer film is joined by “Groundhog Day” (1993) at 5:30 on AMC
and the animated “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) at 6 p.m. on
Freeform, Also, Steve McQueen's “The Great Escape” (1963) is 8
p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies.

“The Four,” 8-10
p.m., Fox. Af ter settling for a rerun during the Fourth of July
week, this show is now back to the new. Two of the original four
singers – James Graham and Sheraya J – are still there, alongside
Jesse Kramer and Ali Caldwell, who arrived as challengers.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Amy's birthday brings a cautionary note:
Always be careful when preparing an authentic “Little House on the
Prairie” meal. That's in a fairly funny episode that also has
Leonard fretting that his brother is much more accomplished than he
is.

“Cloak &
Dagger,” 8 p.m., Freeform. Tandy finds the key figure in clearing
her father's name ... and learns he's been in a coma for a decade.
That's workable for these two heroes, who need only touch someone to
read his hopes and fears.

“Marlon,” 9 and
9:30 p.m., NBC. Things go wrong for Marlon in both episodes – when
he gives a Career Day talk and when he throws a mock memorial
service, instead of his 43rd birthday party.

“Queen of the
South,” 9 p.m., USA. Europe was too dangerous for Teresa, so now
she's trying to set up her drug business in Phoenix. First, she meets
a corrupt sheriff and a commission of cartel bosses.

“Take Two,” 10
p.m., ABC. Putting her scandal days behind her, Sam is working
diligently as a private eye. But now her ex-lover's laptop has been
stolen; its images could put her back in the tabloids.

TV column for Wednesday, July 11


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Kingdoms of the Sky” debut, 9 p.m., PBS.

After promising a
“summer of adventure,” PBS soars to the top –literally. This
three-week series will spend its next weeks in the Himalayas and the
Andes; first, it's closer to home, with the Rockies.

That's a world of
brutal extremes – highs reaching 110, lows reaching minus-40, a
single-day having six feet of show or a 100-degree temperature swing.
But the animals that thrive there are amazing; so are the humans:
Hilaree O'Neill climbs up mountains and then skis down; Jeff Shapiro
floats down, via hang-glider. They're included in a gorgeous portrait
of America at the top.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Young & Hungry,” 8 and 8:31 p.m.; “Beauty and the Beast”
(1991), 9:02 p.m., Freeform.

Gabi is so giddy in
love that she forgets everything else ... including her friend
Sofia's 25th birthday. She promptly hides her mistake by
whisking Sofia to a vacation in Mexico.

That starts a
two-parter that gets way too silly. (We're to believe Gabi knew
nothing about the border crackdown? Or that people would cavort near
a $3 million painting?) Still, this has fun people and enough laughs
to keep us watching. And it's followed by one of the all-time great
animated movies.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “TKO: Total Knockout” debut, 9 p.m., CBS.

For weeks, CBS has
hit us with loud, blunt promos, saying only that this is a loud,
blunt show. Players race through obstacles, while others fire
projectiles; last year's failed “Candy Crush” comes to mind.

Still, this could
succeed for two reasons -- Kevin Hart is the host and Mark Burnett is
the producer. In the summer of 2000, Burnett transformed TV with
“Survivor.” He's gone on to do “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,”
“Beat Shazam” and more; most, like “TKO,” seemed like long
shots.

Other choices
include:

“America's Got
Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. The auditions have ended now and the
judges will start their cuts on Tuesday. First, here's a “best of
auditions” recap.

“The Outpost,” 8
p.m., CW. This rerun of Tuesday's debut is sort of like “Game of
Thrones,” but a little younger, a lot cheaper and quite inept. A
warrior seeks revenge for the massacre she saw long ago.

“The Originals,”
9 p.m., CW. After a two-week rest, this is back for its final four
episodes. They'll point us toward next season's spin-off, focusing on
Hope, the tribrid (witch, werewolf, vampire) daughter of Niklaus and
Hayley. Tonight, Klaus helps her cope with pain; also, Marcel takes
on the nightwalkers.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. In a rerun, Phil is rushed to the hospital for surgery.

“Code Black,” 10
p.m., CBS. Last week, Rox (Moon Bloodgood) was seriously injured. Now
Dr. Willis (Rob Lowe), her EMT partner, continues to tend to her.
Also, Leanne searches for Ariel.

“Reverie,” 10
p.m., NBC. Ever since a recent tragedy, a young dancer has been
spiraling into deep despair. While trying to help her, Mara meets the
guy she left when her own life fell apart.

ALSO: This is TV's
Kevin Costner night, starting slowly. At 6 p.m., Showtime has “The
Big Chill” (1983), with Costner only as the corpse; his flashback
scenes were deleted. At 8, he stars in Showtime's “No Way Out”
(1986), a terrific political-intrigue thriller ... until its
way-too-cute ending. At 10, Paramount has the third week of the epic
“Yellowstone,” as his family faces a solemn anniversary.