TV column for Thursday, June 7


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“Cloak & Dagger” debut, 8-10 p.m., Freeform.

Tandy has a catchy
name (that was her late dad's first computer), a sweet face and a
deceptive personality. Tyrone is a teen basketball player, from a
comfortable family that has a tragic past.

They seem like
opposites ... except for an eerie link, a decade ago. What emerges is
a skillful blend of sci-fi wonder and teen angst. The Marvel TV
people have sometimes flubbed (especially with “Inhumans”), but
not this time. They gave the comic-book characters a new back story
and cast them perfectly, with Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph, plus the
always-great Andrea Roth as Tandy's mom.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“The Four” season-opener, 8-10 p.m., Fox.

Summertime has been
a great launchpad for reality shows. It propelled “America's Got
Talent” (which stayed in the summer) and “Survivor” and
“American Idol” (which soon moved). Now -- after so-so success in
the winter -- “Four” moves to the summer for its second season.

Again, Fergie hosts,
with Sean “Diddy” Combs, Meghan Trainor and DJ Khaled as judges.
(Charlie Walk departed last season, amid sexual-abuse allegations.)
And again, four singers will start on top, with others waiting to
challenge them. In the first season, no one lasted long.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY
II: “Nashville” return, 9 p.m., CMT, and more.

It's a big night for
music – pop on Fox and country on CMT. In fact, CMT will follow
“Nashville” at 10 p.m. with a rerun of Wednesday's star-stuffed
awards shows.

“Nashville” had
always had great music, alongside heavy drama, on-camera and off. ABC
canceled it after four seasons; CMT re-canceled it after two more.
Some characters have soared; one (Rayna) died. Now, with eight
episodes left, her widower (Deacon) has a complicated romance with
Jessie -- whose ex-husband (Brad) has a restraining order against
him. Also, Will recovers from his TV collapse.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “American Woman” debut, 10 p.m., Paramount.

When Kathleen
Richards separated from her husband in 1972, her future was shaky.
She had three daughters (roughly ages 13, 8 and 3), expensive tastes
and no career.

In real life, there
was a cushion: The girls were actresses; Kim became a major star on
TV and in Disney films ... her younger sister Kyle was fairly busy
... their older half-sister Kathy got some roles – then married
Rick Hilton and had famous daughters, Paris and Nicky. Some of that
is modified for this series, produced by Kyle. It's a slick
drama-comedy (mostly drama) about a good woman in a bad era.

Other choices
include:

Hockey, 8 p.m. ET,
NBC. The best-of-seven finals move back to Las Vegas for the fifth
game.

“Celebrity Family
Feud,” 8 p.m., ABC. On Sunday, ABC will launch its summer gameshow
line-up, which has been a ratings hit. To get us in the mood, the
shows have reruns all night. That starts with the family of host
Steve Harvey (men vs. women), then has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Ralph
Sampson.

“Young Sheldon,”
8:30 p.m., CBS. A night of CBS reruns includes this above-average
one: With their mom working at the church, Sheldon and his sister
finally have some home-alone time.

“Black Lightning,”
9 p.m., CW. In a fairly good rerun, Jefferson Pierce ponders ducking
out of any superhero work ... just as his older daughter starts to
secretly discover her own powers.

“Life in Pieces,”
9:30 p.m., CBS. For once, the three adult siblings have a project
that reflects their childhood days. They've found a map to a time
capsule they buried.

“SWAT,” 10 p.m.,
CBS. When CBS rebooted “SWAT,” it did it wisely. This is no
ham-fisted cop show; it has a strong star (Shemar Moore), playing a
reluctant leader who wants to help the community where he grew up.
Except for one overdone character (Street), the pilot, rerunning
tonight, is excellent.

TV column for Wednesday, June 6


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“CMT Music Awards,” 8 p.m., CMT, Paramount and TV Land.

Country's biggest
stars will assemble for this one. At one point, Darius Rucker will be
backed by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan AND Charles Kelley. Bryan and
Aldean also go solo; so do Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris
Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, Dan and Shay, Sam Hunt and the hosts,
Little Big Town.

There's more. Dierks
Bentley will be backed by the Brothers Osborne; from the pop-music
world are Kelly Clarkson and the Backstreet Boys. It's expected to
run until 10:30 ... when CMT will rerun it.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: Basketball, 9 p.m. ET, ABC.

Things move to
Cleveland, where the Cavaliers need a boost. In the first game at
Golden State, the Cavs blew two chances to win in the last 4.7
seconds of regulation time – a missed free throw and a bizarre
failure to shoot after the rebound. In the second, Steph Curry beat
them with a long-range flurry.

LeBron James totaled
80 points in those games ... yet got nothing but frustration. Now, at
home, he tries to salvage the best-of-seven series. ABC has a preview
at 8:30 p.m. ET and Jimmy Kimmel at 8.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Split,” 10 p.m., Sundance.

The third episode of
this six-part mini-series is easily the best ... and the most
extreme. The British are like that; they'll have deep drama one
moment, then silly, soapy moments the next,

Tonight, the soap
parts abound. Two sisters have similar scenes – an absurdly
inappropriate kiss being rebuffed – within minutes of each other.
One key deception is uncovered by coincidence; another is uncovered
because the evidence was conveniently saved in a box. It's too much
... but opening that box brings rich waves of emotion. When done
well, even a soap opera can be powerful.

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

Joe (Max Irons) is
basically a desk guy. He's fit, he's had some CIA training, but he
mostly does computers. Suddenly, he's caught in a spy swirl that has
him running (literally) for his life.

Based on a 1975
Robert Redford movie, “Three Days of the Condor,” this has been
spiffed up for the tech age. This opener constantly strains
credibility, but gets away with it because it's so well done. Irons –
whose dad, Jeremy, is an Oscar-winner – is excellent and has great
support, especially from William Hurt as a mentor and Kristen Hager
as the wife of Irons' friend.

Other choices
include:

“MasterChef,” 8
and 9 p.m., Fox. In the first hour, the field is trimmed to 24 home
chefs.In the second, each of them tackles a mystery-box challenge
that includes an ingredient from his or her home state.

“American Ninja
Warriors,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. Here are try-outs in Los Angeles.

“The Fosters”
finale, 8 p.m., Freeform. The five-year series ends amid tropical
beauty and personal angst. A “destination wedding” in Turks and
Caicos is supposed to merge Brandon and a warm-hearted cellist whose
parents are rich and cold. At least, we know Cassie and Mariana won't
die in an island hurricane; next season, they'll have a spin-off
series.

“The Originals,”
9 p.m., CW. Scrambling to save Antoinette's life, Elijah has
unexpected allies.

“Code Black,” 10
p.m., CBS. Dancers in a “step up” team have been injured in a
failed pyramid. For Rox, a former member of the team, it's a chance
to make amends with her old coach.

“Reverie,” 10
p.m., NBC. Last week's opener (flawed, but interesting) introduced
Mara (Sarah Shahi of “Person of Interest”). A former hostage
negotiator, she must go inside people's virtual-reality, trying to
convince them to return to the real world. (Yes, this is
science-fiction.) Tonight, she tries to help a woman who's addicted
to spy adventures. Also, she faces unexpected side-effects from the
program.

TV column for Tuesday, June 5


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Younger” season-opener, 10 p.m., TV Land.

Liza (Sutton Foster)
straddles two worlds; she's in her 40s (as a few friends realize),
but pretends to be in her 20s, to keep a hip job. And “Younger”
also straddles worlds, as a comedy-drama.

Tonight, the comedy
is sparse, but the drama works fairly well. Darren Star (“Sex and
the City”) produces sleep, attractive shows. Tonight, an author
(patterned after George R.R. Martin of “Game of Thrones”) faces
sexual-abuse charges; in the chaos that follows, another key person
learns Liza's secret.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“The Middle,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC.

Roseanne Barr's
implosion-by-Twitter was a disaster -- for her and for TV in general,
with a great show scuttled by a cruel and stupid rant. The only good
news from that: “The Middle” gets some extra spots.

This was a terrific
show that ended its nine-year run last month. With “Roseanne”
gone, ABC is giving it two reruns on some Tuesdays. In today's first
one, Frankie (Patricia Heaton) looks for something to make her happy;
in the second, Mike's brother (Norm MacDonald) arrives, drawing quick
suspicion.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Humans” season-opener, 10 p.m., AMC.

At first, the
“synths” robots lived in quiet servitude. But after one (Mia)
went blank, another (Niska) convinced Mattie – a young, human
hacker – to take a drastic step: Release a “consciousness code”
to arouse all synths. The result, at the end of last season, was
violent and chaotic.

That's summed up in
tonight's first few minutes; then we jump forward. Most sentient
synths, with green eyes, are in confinement camps, replaced by mild,
orange-eyed ones. But there's dissent in the camps and hatred
outside. It's a potent mix that brings violence and then a
cliffhanger.

AND ONE MORE:
“Teachers” season-opener, 10:30 p.m., TV Land.

It's your typical
start of the school year. There's a new principal ... one teacher is
leaving ... and a homeless guy is a squatter in one of the mobile
classrooms.

OK, it's not too
typical; but it is – in scattered spots – quite funny. “Teachers”
was created by the Katydids – an improvisation group of six women,
each with a name that's a variation of “Kate.” As you might
expect from improv roots, the humor is ragged and uneven, but still
kind of fun.

Other choices
include:

“America's Got
Talent” and “World of Dance,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC. These are the
shows that dominate the Tuesday ratings. They're big, brash and now
in their second week of try-outs.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. A convicted felon insists he was framed a decade ago. In this
rerun, Fornell (Joe Spano) – who led the original FBI-NCIS probe –
joins Gibbs to study the case. Also, at 10 p.m. there's a new episode
of “48 Hours: NCIS,” which looks at real-life cases.

“The Fosters”
return, 8 p.m., Freeform. Next season, a spin-off will have Callie
and Mariana as young professionals in Los Angeles. To nudge us there,
the final “Fosters” began its three-episode finale Monday, with
some stilted conversations and contrived crises. Tonight, the
now-troubled families head to the tropics, where, on Wednesday, they
may or may not celebrate Brandon's wedding.

“The 100,” 9
p.m., CW. It's a complicated time for Madi, the Grounder girl Clarke
befriended and guided. She faces a threat inside Octavia's Wonkru
world; to help, Clarke makes an unlikely ally.

“Black-ish,” 9
and 9:30 p.m., ABC. Everybody is getting in trouble at school. In the
first rerun, it's Junior; in the second, it's Jack and Diane.

“Splitting Up
Together,” 10 and 10:30 p.m., ABC. Taking turns as solo parents is
tough, it seems. In the first rerun, Martin (Oliver Hudson) takes
care of a sick Milo; in the second, Lena (Jenna Fischer) tries to be
a role model.

TV column for Monday, June 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“So You Think You Can Dance” opener, 8 p.m., Fox.

After 14 seasons as
producer and judge, you'd think Nigel Lythgoe had seen everything.
But now he's dazzled a Ukrainian who's part contortionist and part
performance artist, with a skin-shedding finale.

There are more
surprises here, some light (a vigorous drag star, a ballroom dancing
three-way) and some serious. We see a skilled dancer who's had a
prosthetic leg since her toddler days. There's much more, from ballet
to hip hop. It's a great start for what has become one of the best
summer shows.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Dietland” debut, 9-11 p.m., AMC.

We meet Plum, who
painfully straddles two worlds. At a magazine that obsesses on
looking young and slender, she ghostwrites the advice column for its
glamorous editor (Juliana Margulies). But her own life doesn't fit
the image; overweight, she's mocked by strangers and by herself.

Then rebel forces
emerge. They attack the “dissatisfaction industry” -- violently
when dealing with abusive men, gently when dealing with Plum. The
result leaps from satire to surrealism to straight drama. It unfolds
slowly – even after these two hours, we're perplexed – but seizes
our attention.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Crossing,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.

This has been a
trend for ABC: From “American Crime” to “Secrets and Lies”
and “10 Days in the Valley,” dramas are brilliantly done ...
heavily serialized ... and unsuccessful in the ratings.

This one began when
people washed ashore near a coastal town. Federal officials just want
to contain them, but the sheriff (Steve Zahn) believes their story:
They're time travelers, escaping a brutal future. Tonight, there's a
confrontation in the refugee camp; also, a local homeless woman has a
surprising connection to the crossing. That sets up the series
finale, which has been exiled to 8-10 p.m. Saturday.

Other choices
include:

“Walker, Texas
Ranger,” 2-6 p.m., Get TV. Chuck Norris' show lingered on CBS for
nine seasons and 196 episodes. Now its reruns reach Get each weekday,
via Dish or stations' digital channels.

Hockey, 8 p.m. ET,
NBC. The fourth game of the best-of-seven series has Vegas at
Washington. The fifth game is Thursday, with the others (if needed)
Sunday and the following Wednesday.

“The
Bachelorette,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Last year's “bachelorette” --
Rachel Lindsay, a Dallas lawyer – returns with her fiance, Bryan
Absalo, a Miami doctor. They put eight of the guys through an
obstacle course. Ten others play dodgeball and one guy (Blake) gets
this edition's first one-on-one date.

“Mom,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a transplanted rerun, Christy's long-distance romance is
fading and she might go back to a previous guy. Her mom has a much
bigger crisis: She's trying to give up coffee.

"The Fosters" return, 8 p.m., Freeform. Next season, a spin-off will have Callie and Mariana as young professionals in Los Angeles. To nudge us there, the final three "Fosters" episodes (today through Wednesday) jump ahead five years to Brandon's pre-wedding party. That starts lamely tonight, with lots of stilted conversations and contrived crises.

"Superior Donuts,”
9 p.m., CBS. Cedric the Entertainer will be starring in a CBS comedy
on Mondays this fall. Prior to that, here's a rerun of his “Donuts”
episode; he plays Franco's disapproving father.

“9-1-1,” 9 p.m.,
Fox. The show moves to Mondays for its summer reruns. Tonight,
there's a rollercoaster catastrophe and an unusual home invasion. As
Buck struggles with the emotional impact of his job, Abby (Connie
Britton) reaches out to him.

“Elementary,” 10
p.m., CBS. A murder probe takes Sherlock into the world of nuclear
security. Also, Capt. Gregson is startled by a personal confession
from his daughter, a police sergeant.

TV column for Sunday, June 3


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“One Strange Rock” debut, 7 p.m., Fox.

Some people have
seen this splendid series on the National Geographic Channel. Now its
reruns move to a broader platform; over eight episodes, astronauts
and others offer a gorgeous look at our planet.

The opener includes
Chris Hadfield calmly describing the day he temporarily went blind
during a space walk. (An emergency solution, suggested from Earth,
saved him.) Add Will Smith's narration and the stylish direction of
Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) and you have a show worth
rerunning.

TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“Pose” debut, 9 p.m., FX, rerunning at 10:30.

The 10-minute opener
of “Pose” is sort of like the start of the Gianni Versace
mini-series from the same producer – big and brash and cinematic.
It's also a tad absurd. (At least, we hope stealing from a museum
isn't as easy as it looks here.) And it gives us no real feeling for
the story.

Fortunately, this
savvy show then backs up and delivers what we need – fragile and
likable people at turning points. This is 1980s New York, with AIDS
and hatred having a devastating impact; still, gays and trans people
create “vogue ball” celebrations that feel both joyous and
desperate.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Fourth Estate,” 8 p.m., Showtime.

The second episode
of this riveting documentary starts with the shell-shock news that
the president has fired James Comey as FBI director. Soon, press
secretary Sean Spicer is gone and others are wobbling. “This is an
endless cycle” with changing characters, New York Times reporter
Maggie Haberman says.

She's not
complaining, actually. Haberman has praised “the exquisite
adrenaline rush of journalism.” And she even has a personal life;
Times reporter Mike Schmidt doesn't. “I work; that's what I do,”
he says. “I don't even have food in my apartment.” They're part
of a compelling, ongoing drama.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE II: “Blade Runner 2049” (2017), 6:10 to 9 p.m., HBO,
and more.

As others retreat
into reruns and reality shows, the pay-extra channels become crucial.
Tonight, HBO offers a perfect combination – this sci-fi epic,
followed at 9 by the Emmy-nominated “Westworld.”

In a detour, they're
followed by the debut of the “Succession” series. Brian Cox plays
the head of a Murdoch-type media empire who suddenly says he's not
ready to step down or to pick a successor.

Other choices
include:

Basketball, ABC;
Jimmy Kimmel at 7 p.m. ET, preview at 7:30, game at 8. The
best-of-seven finals remains at Golden State for the second game; on
Wednesday, it will move to Cleveland.

“Jurassic World”
(2015), 8-11 p.m., NBC. Hey, some people just don't learn from messy
experience. On the killing fields of the original theme park, a new
one has been built ... and the creatures soon escape. Chris Pratt and
Bryce Dallas Howard star in what became a box-office hit.

“Instinct,” 8
p.m., CBS. Sutton Foster usually plays likable sorts in Broadway
musicals and in “Younger” (which starts its new season Tuesday).
Tonight, however, she plays a best-selling author with plenty of
enemies; after an attempted murder, the suspect list is lengthy.

“S.W.A.T.,” 9
p.m., CBS. The team protects a high-profile Soviet journalist. Also
in this rerun, Street must decide if his paroled mom (Sherilyn Fenn
of “Twin Peaks”) can stay with him.

“NCIS: Los
Angeles,” 10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun of the 200th episode,
the team tracks unknown figures who crossed the border and attacked
California Highway Patrol officers.

“Into the
Badlands,” 10 p.m., AMC. Here's a plot straight from “Star Wars”:
In a seedy trader town, Baji finds someone to pilot a broken-down
craft; after much chaos and violence, a fierce soul from Baji's past
agrees to help Sunny. Also, Tilda reluctantly joins her adoptive mom,
The Widow.