TV column for Monday, Feb. 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“America's Got Talent: The Champions,” 8-10 p.m., NBC.

The last two spots
in the top-10 finale will be filled tonight; so far, singers have
dominated. Two more were added last week – Kechi Okwuchi (who, as a
teen, was one of a plane crash's only survivors) and Brian Justin
Crumm. That makes six so far, alongside a comedian and a
knife-throwing act.

This final batch
includes another comedian, two magicians, a mentalist and a “shadow
theater.” It also has lots of musicians, including Jackie Evancho,
19. At 10, she was the “AGT” runner-up, then had the top-selling
debut album of 2010. She's gone on to record classical, pop and
Christmas albums.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Man With a Plan” season-opener, 8:30 p.m., CBS.

Chances are, few
people noticed this show was missing. In its first two seasons, it's
been pleasantly obscure, easy to watch or too ignore. After five
months on the shelf, it finally returns.

Matt LeBlanc stars
as Adam, with Liza Snyder, Kevin Nealon and Stacy Keach as his wife,
brother and dad. Adam has a construction company, but was spending
more time at home when his wife went back to work. Now she'll be
working with him; he scrambles to make his office more appealing.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “I Am the Night,” 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10:04.

Like the opener,
this second episode was directed by Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”);
it's gorgeous. It also avoids the flaws of the first one, which had
overwritten dialog and disconnected stories.

One story involves a
biracial teen (India Eisley) in the early-'60s, going to Los Angeles
to seek her grandfather – the father of the woman who gave her up
at birth. The other involves a tabloid-style reporter (Chris Pine),
an ex-Marine with a hard-knocks life. Now his probe crosses her path,
as she meets her mother's step-mom (Connie Nielsen), who lives in sad
(but stylish) solitude.

Other choices
include:

“Antiques
Roadshow,” 8 and 9 p.m., and “Independent Lens,” 10 p.m., PBS.
The second “Roadshow” hour finds items that link to this Black
History Month, including a beauty book by Madame C.J. Walker and a
stroll through the Negro League Hall of Fame. And at 10, “Lens”
looks at people who sell – or, in some cases, manufacture – items
and images that project racial stereotypes

“The Bachelor,”
8-10 p.m., ABC. You knew that this show would find a way to get
Colton Underwood and Heather Martin together. He's 26, a former
football player who says he's a virgin; she's 22, an assistant
program manager who says she's never been kissed. Now they have a
boat ride in Thailand

“The Resident,”
8 p.m., Fox. Viewers know that Quovadis is a crooked medical-supply
company and that Devon was run off the road before she could become a
whistleblower. Now police find her empty car in a lake; also, doctors
urge Bell to quit doing business with the company.

“The
Neighborhood,” 8 p.m., CBS. Calvin reluctantly invites Dave to the
guys' night at his house. Meanwhile, their wives had to Las Vegas.

“Big Brother:
Celebrity Edition,” 9 p.m., CBS. The show slides back to 9 p.m. for
two Mondays. It also has an hour at 9 p.m. Thursday and two-hour
editions 8 p.m. Friday and (the finale) 8 p.m. Feb. 13.

“The Passage,” 9
p.m., Fox. The sci-fi elements grow, as “virals” wield power over
their captors.

“The Good Doctor,”
10 p.m., ABC. A grieving family is asked to donate its daughter's
face to a teen who was disfigured in an accident.

TV column for Sunday, Feb. 3


TODAY'S MUST-SEE:
Super Bowl, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS.

This is the on game
that's even watched by people who aren't into football. This year,
the Los Angeles Rams have the best record (13-3 in the regular
season), but the New England Patriots (11-5) have the most
experience. Quarterback Tom Brady has been in eight previous Super
Bowls, winning five times.

Jim Nantz will do
the play-by-play, with Tony Romo – a retired quarterback who, at
38, is three years younger than Brady – adds analysis, with Tracy
Wolfson and Evan Washburn on the sidelines.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“The World's Best” debut, after the game (about 10:30 p.m. ET),
CBS.

From “Idol” to
“Voice” to many more, most reality competitions have been
confined to singers. This one – like “America's Got Talent” --
tries to sample it all, from magicians to dancers to acrobats.

It emphasizes the
“world” aspect in its acts, in its “wall of experts” (50
people from 38 countries) and in its host (James Corden, a
transplanted Englishman). Those experts combine for half of an act's
score; the other half is provided by the judges – Faith Hill, Drew
Barrymore and RuPaul.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Masterpiece: Victoria,” 9 p.m., PBS.

Here is the one
broadcast network that puts a new episode opposite the Super Bowl. It
happens to be a good one, with crises for the royal family and the
nation.

Invited to
Cambridge, Albert envisions replacing the stuffy traditions – Latin
and literature and such – with the sciences of his German homeland;
that won't be easy. Victoria doesn't want him to go, but faces a
bigger crisis at hope, as cholera sweeps through neighborhoods,
particularly killing children.

Other choices
include:

Super Bowl build-up,
all day, CBS. There's a half-hour preview at 11:30 a.m. ET ...
followed by six more hours. That includes the annual “Road to the
Super Bowl” film at noon, a film by Romo at 1 p.m. and the main
preview at 2. At 6 p.m., coverage moves to the field for the National
Anthem (Gladys Knight), “America the Beautiful” (Chloe x Halle)
and, eventually, the kick-off.

Animated movies, all
day, cable. Kids don't want to spend the day with football and beer
commercials, so two networks help out. Freeform has the splendid
“Finding Nemo” (2003) at 4:45 p.m. and its sequel, “Finding
Dory” (2016) at 7. FX has a batch of 2016 films -- “Trolls” at
2 and 6 p.m., “Kung Fu Panda 3” at 4 p.m. and the clever “Secret
Life of Pets” at 8 and 10.

“The Simpsons,”
7 and 8 p.m., Fox. Bart causes lots of trouble. In the first rerun,
he claims he saw Heaven; in the second, he and others get Moe a
mail-order bride. For more, a “Simpsons” marathon starts at 3
p.m. on FXX, leading to the clever “Simpsons Movie” (2007) at 7
and 9.

“America's Got
Talent: The Champions,” 7 and 9 p.m., NBC. Here are reruns of the
third and fourth rounds, each with two acts advancing. The fifth
round is Monday, with the finals starting a week later.

Halftime, 8 p.m. ET
or later, CBS. Maroon 5 performs, joined by Travis Scott and Big Boi.

“The Cool Kids,”
9:30 p.m., Fox. Hank's ex-wife is going to a mutual friend's funeral,
so Margaret agees to go along and boast about Hank. Charlie and Sid
join them because ... well, they enjoy funerals.

“Black Monday,”
10 and 10:30 p.m., Showtime. Here are reruns of the first two
episodes of this witty series, which puts two opposite souls on the
road toward a stock-market freefall. At 9 and 9:30, Showtime's
“SMILF” reruns its first two episodes of the season, both
surprisingly dark. For new episodes, there's “Counterpart” at 8
p.m. on Starz and “True Detective” and more at 9 on HBO.

TV column for Saturday, Feb. 2


TONIGHT'S
HARD-TO-AVOID: Sports overload, ABC, NBC and CBS.

Three sports – two
winter ones, plus a fall one that persists – fill a crowded
Saturday.

ABC is deep into
basketball now, usually with the same teams; today (8:30 p.m. ET,
with pre-game at 8) has the Lakers at the Warriors. NBC has hockey,
back from its all-star break; today (8 p.m. ET) viewers get Chicago
at Minnesota or Tampa Bay at New York. And CBS has football: “NFL
Honors” -- more on tht later -- is at 9 p.m., on the eve off the
Super Bowl.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Three Identical Strangers,” 9 p.m. and midnight ET, CNN (barring
breaking news).

If you missed
Sunday's debut of this compelling documentary, you can catch it six
days later.

The film starts with
a coincidence leading to a discovery: At 19, guys learn they are
triplets who were separated at birth. They're joyous, giddy, savoring
the spotlight. Then “Identical Strangers” poses important
questions about parenting, nature-vs.-nurture and, especially,
science ethics.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“The Passage,” 9 p.m., Fox.

There's still time
to catch up on this interesting (if flawed) series, which has its
fourth episode Monday. Here's a rerun of the second one, which
catches everything in limbo.

As an epidemic
continues, a federal agent (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) was supposed to
bring in a young orphan (the excellent Saniyya Sidney) for
involuntary medical testing. Now they're on the lam, helped by his
ex-wife and his old military buddy. It's a solid episode, clouded by
the show's sorta-supernatural element: Other tests are being done on
people who seem to have vampire and mind-control traits.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Groundhog Day” (1993), all day, Pop.

A weary weatherman
(Bill Murray) has no enthusiasm for his annual Groundhog Day report.
Then ... well, he's caught in a time loop, repeating the same day
over and over. This is horrible ... or maybe it's a chance to keep
doing things better, until he finally gets them right.

The result is a fun
film -- which today (Groundhog Day) Pop runs over and over; that's a
11 a.m. and 1:30, 4, 6:30 and 9 p.m. If you prefer a darker
variation, “Happy Death Day” (2017) is 8 p.m. on FX: A college
student keeps waking up on the day she's murdered; she must figure
out a solution.

Other choices
include:

Oscar films, Turner
Classic Movies. Good things (even great things) can happen in a
not-good movie. The second day of a 31-day Oscar marathon has
“Fantastic Voyage” (1966) at 8 p.m. ET and “Doctor Dolittle”
(1967) at 10. Both drew shrugs from critics, but Oscars for special
effects. Sandwiching them are intense dramas -- “Wait Until Dark”
(1965) at 6 p.m., “Days of Wine and Roses” ('62) at 12:45 a.m.

“9-1-1,” 8 p.m.,
Fox. This rerun focuses on Aisha Hinds as Henrietta (Hen) Wilson. We
flash back to her evolution as a firefighter and to when she met
Chimney and Athena.

“Super Bowl Gospel
Celebration,” 8 p.m., BET, repeating at 9. It's the 20th
year for this event, which this time is in the Atlanta Symphony Hall.
It includes music by Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs, Tamia, The Winans
and more, including the NFL Players Choir. Von Miller gets the “Faith
in Action” award.

“NFL Honors,”
9-11 p.m., CBS. Steve Harvey hosts an awards splurge. That includes
most valuable player, plus awards for the top rookie, coach,
defensive player, offensive player and comeback.

“Mystery 101,”
9-11 p.m., Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. In a rerun from Sunday,
the teacher (Jill Wagner) of a class on mysteries meets a detective
(Krisoffer Polaha) working on a real-life mystery.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Jason Momoa hosts this rerun, with music by
Mumford & Sons.

TV column for Friday, Feb. 1


TODAY'S MUST-TRY:
Oscar films, Turner Classic Movies.

Leading up to the
Academy Awards (Feb. 24) and beyond, TCM launches 31 days of winners.

Opening night won't
rank with “Titanic” and “Gump” for mass appeal. “Sunrise”
(1927) and “Street Angel” (1928), at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, mark Janet
Gaynor's back-to-back best-actress awards. But stick around and
you'll see two big-city classics: “The French Connection” (1971,
midnight) has a great car chase, “Taxi Driver” (1976, 2 a.m.) has
Robert De Niro and both have the mean streets of New York

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Hell's Kitchen,” 9 p.m., Fox.

There are tableside
challenges tonight, as the show trims to the two people for next
week's finale.

This started with 16
chefs, half “rookies” and half returning from previous seasons;
now it's down to two apiece. The rookies are Mia Casro, 28, of Miami
Beach, and Chris Motto, 35, of Baton Rouge. They face Ariel
Contreras-Fox of Brooklyn, who finished third in 2009, and Bret
Hauser, 34, of Fort Lauderdale. In 2015, he reached the top 11, but
then had to leave because of a slipped disc.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“MacGyver,” 8 p.m., CBS.

TV weddings always
seem to have problems, you know. Brides bolt, grooms flee, thunder
crashes and there's an occasional murder. But tonight brings a fresh
variation.

A crime boss has
promised to surrender after his daughter's wedding. The team, dressed
quite elegantly, is there to take him ... then finds that others are
trying to get him first.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
“The ABC Murders,” any time, Amazon Prime.

These are
transformative times for Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie wrote that
he's a tiny, dapper Belgian with a grand mustache. Lately, he's been
played by a husky Englishman (Kenneth Branagh) and now a tall
American (John Malkovich) with a grey goatee.

Still, we won't
complain (much). Branagh and Malkovich are great actors, tackling one
of the great characters of mystery fiction.

Other choices
include:

“Blindspot,” 8
p.m., NBC. An author is obsessed with the team, putting it in a
dangerous position.

“The Cool Kids,”
8:30, Fox. What's it like when a young woman, adrift in life, shows
up in a retirement community? That notion worked fairly well in the
movie “In Her Shoes” (2005); now Margaret's daughter (Mary
Elizabeth Ellis) shows up, jobless, homeless and maybe clueless.

“Great
Performances,” 9-11:30 p.m., PBS. The novel “Marnie” had a cool
beauty embezzling skillfully. For his 1964 movie, Alfred Hitchcock
cast Tippi Hedren, a relative novice; by Hitchcock standards, it was
a flop. Now comes an opera by Nico Muhly; Isabel Leonard, a two-time
Grammy-winner, stars.

“Crazy
Ex-Girlfriend,” 9 p.m., CW. A day trip for Rebecca and Greg doesn't
go as planned. Meanwhile, Paula has a very stressful week.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. Probing the murder of Flippa's friend, McGarrett and
Grove find a deadly plan by an extremist group.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Frank (Tom Selleck) clashes with the archbishop (Stacy
Keach), probing someone who may be mixing charity and
money-laundering. Also, each of his kids is busy: Jamie helps a woman
who had near-disaster after buying cheap insulin online ... Danny
meets a medium who claims to know the truth about an apparent suicide
... and Erin's ex-husband wants help on a case.

TV column for Thursday, Jan. 31


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Will & Grace” return, 9:30 p.m., NBC.

For generations,
this has been a surefire formula for comedy – have the lead
character get accidentally drunk or stoned. It's worked for Lucy and
Newhart, for Tina Fey and John Ritter and more. And now it does
wonders for Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.

That's part of a
great episode, complete with a sensational song from Mullally and a
funny sub-plot: Mary McCormack (no relation to Eric) returns as
Grace's sister, with Chelsea Handler as a client.

TONIGHT'S
WATCH-LATER: “FAM,” 9:31 p.m., CBS.

After a few weeks of
easier competition, this brisk and funny show must now compete with
the big laughs of “Will & Grace.” Try to catch it sometime,
anyway.

Tonight, two
hands-off parents are around. There's Freddy (Gary Cole), the father
of Clementine and Shannon; he's a cop who's broken up with two wives
by phone. Now Shannon's mom (Kate Walsh) swoops in, ready to take her
daughter away to a party world.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “A Million Little Things,” 9 p.m., ABC.

For Delilah, there
have been waves of shock – her husband's suicide ... her pregnancy
... and now the news that he had secretly mortgaged their home, for a
failed real estate deal.

While she struggles
to keep the house, his former secretary has a secret meeting with
someone who might be abl to help. Also, Maggie receives news about
her cancer treatment.

Other choices
include:

“Grey's Anatomy,”
8 p.m., ABC. Richard urges Meredith to visit her dad before his
death. Meanwhile, Amelia and Koracick try a daunting surgery.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Forever a rules-follower, Sheldon feels torn
when Howard and Bernadette want him to help do something illegal.

“Siren,” 8 p.m.,
Freeform. Most of th town doesn't take this mermaid thing seriously;
in fact, it's time for the annual “Mermaid Beauty Contest.”
During the commotion, Ben and Maddie hope to help Ryn (who is a
mermaid) get some others – who were disrupted by offshore drilling
– back to the sea.

“Brooklyn
Nine-Nine,” 9 p.m., NBC. As it keeps trying big, bizarre things,
this show is wildly uneven but interesting. Tonight, it tries an odd
episode to mark the departure of Gina (Chelsea Paretti). The result
has large steps, some of them mildly funny.

“Mom,” 9:31
p.m., CBS. Ever since switching AA sponsors, Christy hasn't been able
to get her new one to like her. Tonight, her latest attempt flops.
Also, friends converge after a break-in at Jill's home.

“How to Get Away
With Murder,” 10 p.m., ABC. Nate is convincd he knows who killed
his father; now he tries to prove it. Also, Annalise makes a big
courtroom move.

“Broad City”and
“The Other Two,” 10 and 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central. First, Ilana
has her latest scheme – an outdoor office for smokers. Then, in a
good episode, Cary and Brooke absorb glamor the hard away – tagging
along, when their little brother is invited to the premiere of a
gnome movie.