TV column for Monday, July 6




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “The
Bachelorette,” 8-10:02 p.m., ABC.

Not long ago, Jillian Harris was taking
guys to her wintry Canada world. Now comes the opposite – exotic
dates in Spain.

She tries bicycles in Barcelona with
Wes, Mopeds in Madrid with Kiptyn, horse-and-carriage in Sevilla with
Ed. She also walks through Sevilla with Reid, planning a picnic.

Each night is supposed to end with her
giving the guy a ticket to the “fantasy suite.” We're supposed to
see if he'll accept (hint: these are guys) and if she'll stay.

There are also some serious moments
with Wes. After escaping charges of having a girlfriend back home, he
now is accused of not showing real affection.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “How I Met
Your Mother,” 8 p.m., CBS.

The main story in this rerun has Ted
trying to keep his kid sister away from the lecherous Barney. The
real fun, however, comes in the other story.

Tucked inside New York, it seems, is a
bar for Canadians and another for Minnesotans. Tonight, Robin (who's
Canadian) infiltrates the other bar; some great moments follow.

Other choices include:

– “House,” 8 p.m., Fox. In a late
change last week, Fox swept this rerun aside, to air the Michael
Jackson week of “American Idol.” Now, a week late, here it is:
Cuddy wants to spend more time with her baby and puts Cameron in
charge of Dr. House, her former boss; he's busy insisting that a
patient's inherent “niceness” is a suspicious clue to her
ailment.

– “Lie to Me,” 9 p.m., Fox. This
rerun eyes the death of a judge's teen daughter, It also views the
obsession with landing a top prep school.

– “The Closer,” 9 p.m ., TNT.
After a would-be gang member is killed, Brenda re-visits a difficult
question: Do the police care equally about crime in poor
neighborhoods.

– “The Big Bang Theory,” 9:30
p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Penny entrusts Sheldon with a secret about her
education. This is a mistake, of course, with funny results.

– “Raising the Bar,” 10 p.m.,
TNT. Jerry's client is facing drug charges, creating troubles with
Michelle's new boyfriend, the cop.

– “Kramer vs. Kramer,” 10 p.m.,
Turner Classic Movies. Great actors collide, when Dustin Hoffman and
Merle Streep play a divorcing couple. Each won an Academy Awards,
writer-director Robert Benton won two and the film (mixing comedy
alongside the pain) was named best picture.

TV column for Sunday, July 5




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Masterpiece
Mystery: Pocketful of Rye,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local
listings).

On a night when even HBO has reruns,
PBS remains amibitious. Here is the first of four new, well-crafted
dramas featuring Miss Marple, the elderly crimesolver.

Julia McKenzie, the new Marple,
portrays with immense enthusiasm, glowing as she nears a solution.

In this case, Marple's former maid is
one of three people slain, in a family filled with secrets. The
policeman – played by Matthew Macfayden, who was Arthur in “Little
Dorrit” and Mr. Darcy in the 2005 “Pride and Prejudice” –
gets out of the way as Marple unravels a clever scheme.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Merlin” (8
p.m.) and “The Bourne Supremacy” (9-11 p.m.), NBC.

As this revisionist Camelot tale
unfolded, we wondered when Lancelot would arrive.

He does tonight, just in time to save
Merlin from a creature. As played by Santiago Cabrera (Isaac in
“Heroes”), he's a heroic-looking chap; Merlin hopes Arthur will
accept him.

That leads into “Supremacy,” the
entertaining middle of the “Bourne” trilogy. Bourne (Matt Damon)
still doesn't know who he is or why people want to kill him, but he
has sharp spy skills.

Other choices include:

– “Master Series,” 11 a.m., GAC
(Great American Country). Wynonna Judd, is wonderfully frank in this
hour, telling what it was like to be a teen in a mother-daughter duo.
“Trying to keep up with Naomi Judd was a full-time job – just her
wardrobe alone,” she jokes. Two high-energy people fought over the
details, including who sits closest to Johnny Carson. “Then I
figured out that I was the lead voice, so I'd torture her by always
being late.”

– “The Simpsons,” 8 and 9:30
p.m., Fox. In the first rerun, Moe loves a tiny woman he met on the
Internet. In the second, Homer suspects that Bart's new friend is in
a family of terrorists.

– “Million Dollar Password,” 8
p.m., CBS. The season ends with this rerun. Adam Carolla faces Betty
White, now 87, who is a game-show master and the widow of Allen
Ludden, the “Password” host when it started in 1961.

– “Desperate Housewives,” 9 p.m.,
ABC. Susan and Edie, who are often enemies, find themselves locked in
a basement together.

– “True Blood,” 9 p.m. to
midnight, HBO. The show takes a week off to rerun the season's first
three episodes. They are terrific, resolving one issue –
Lafayette's disappearance – and launching others. The best moments
come as Sookie fumes about Jessica, the teen vampire Bill is in
charge of.

– “Expedition Africa,” 10 p.m.,
History. This real-life adventure – trying to re-create the 970
mile trip in which Henry Stanley found David Livingstone – hits a
crisis when one person contracts malaria.

 

TV column for Saturday, July 4




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “A Capitol
Fourth,” 8 p.m. ET, most PBS stations; some repeat it at 9:30.

Each year, this special offers
broad-based music and lush visuals.

This one starts and ends with medleys
by Barry Manilow. It also has soul great Aretha Franklin, fresh pop
star Natasha Bedingfield, singer-pianist Michael Feinstein and the
Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys.”

Since this is PBS, there's classical
music (pianist Andrew von Oeyen, the National Symphony). And since
it's the 4th, there will be fireworks at the Capitol.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Macy's 4th
of July Fireworks Spectacular” (9 p.m., NBC) and “Boston Pops
Fireworks Spectacular” (10 p.m., CBS).

First is the New York show, with music
by Jewel, Rob Thomas and the current Broadway cast of “West Side
Story,” including Tony-winner Karen Olivio and nominee Josefina
Scaglione. The fireworks have moved to the Hudson River (marking the
400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration), fired
from six barges.

Then is the Boston show, with music
from Neil Diamond. Craig Ferguson hosts.

Other choices include:

– Frontier films, 9 a.m. To 11 p.m.,
Hallmark. This starts with the second of the films – “Love's
Enduring Promise” (2004) – based on Janette Oke's frontier
novels. It continues through the 2009 finales, “Love Takes Wing”
at 7 p.m. and “Love Finds a Home” at 9. Most offer gently
adequate views of decent people in a tough frontier era.

– “Tarzan” (1999), 7 p.m., and
“Happy Feet” (2006), 8:40 p.m., Disney Channel. Here's a
double-feature of acclaimed animated films – first an
adventure-romance, then a brilliantly offbeat tale of a tap-dancing
penguin.

– “Kings,” 8 p.m., NBC. When Jack
announces his engagement, his parents – the king and queen, both
aware of his gay affairs – have opposite reactions. Meanwhile,
David is on a mission to retrieve a crucial artifact; along the way,
he makes a discovery about his father's death.

– “Burn After Reading” (2008), 8
p.m., HBO. The Coen Brothers are at their best here, writing and
directing a masterful comedy about thick-witted people wrapped in
schemes.

– “Harper's Island,” 9 p.m., CBS.
This show pauses on the holiday and reruns the opening episode. We
see Abby Mills return to the island for the wedding of the guy who
was her childhood friend. It's her first time back since her mother
and others were killed; a new round of murder is near.

– “Eli Stone,” 10 p.m., ABC. A
CEO sent his company into ruin and his employees into unemployment,
yet emerged with $43 million. Eli struggles to get the money back.

– “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29
p.m., NBC. Tim McGraw hosts this rerun, with music by Ludacris, with
T-Pain.

TV column for Friday, July 3




TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE: “Are You Smarter
Than a 5th Grader” (Fox) or “The Chopping Block”
(NBC), both 8 p.m.

These two reality competitions are
exact opposites.

Fox's show – settling into its summer
slot – is sunny and feel-good, with cute kids, bright host (Jeff
Foxworthy) and enthusiastic contestants. Tonight, that's Joey
Chestnut, a hot-dog-eating champion.

NBC's show is the opposite, with raw
emotions. Tonight's show – delayed from last week because of a
Farrah Fawcett special – is particularly rough.

Both teams must serve Italian food to
lunchtime crowds of Italian New Yorkers. That includes two “Sopranos”
actors; one is delighted, the other not. And it includes something
more imposing – hungry and impatient children.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE II: “Love Comes
Softly” (2003), 7 p.m.; and “Love's Enduring Promise” (2004), 9
p.m., Hallmark Channel.

Just before “Grey's Anatomy” made
her famous, Katherine Heigl starred in these sweet-spirited frontier
films. She plays a bride who quickly becomes a widow, then must share
the journey with a quiet dad; in the second film, her daughter
(played by January Jones of “Mad Men”) is a teacher and a love
interest.

That one reruns at 9 a.m. Saturday,
followed by the final six films in the gentle “Love” saga.

Other choices include:

– “The Bourne Identity” (2002), 6
and 8:30 p.m., USA. Here are two chances to catch the crowd-pleaser
about a guy (Matt Damon) who wakes up with no memory, but lots of spy
skills.

– “Ghost Whisperer,” 8 p.m., CBS.
Here's a rerun from last season, when Jay Mohr was still on the show,
as Professor Payne. He's dating a faculty colleague who doesn't want
her photo taken; soon, Melinda finds people whose photo image fades
away when exposed.

– “Analyze This” (1999), 8 p.m.,
and “Analyze That” (2002), 10 p.m., Bravo. Two enjoyable films
have a mob boss and his psychiatrist. They're perfectly played by
Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal.

– “The Goode Family,” 8:30 p.m.,
ABC. As “community service,” teen-aged Bliss is assigned to clean
up graffiti. This is a problem, since the town has no graffiti to
clean; her mom decides to change that.

– “According to Jim,” 9 and 9:30
p.m., ABC. Jim's gamesmanship causes trouble in both reruns. In the
first, he turns a dads-babysitting day into a frenzy of contests; in
the second, he convinces Andy to play football – causing an injury
that must be hidden from Mandy.

– “Flashpoint,” 9 p.m., CBS. At
first, this rerun seems to involve a random home invasion. Then new
complexities are found.

– “Numb3rs,” 10 p.m., CBS. In
this rerun, a car has crashed into a coffee shop, killing one person
and injuring others. But was this actually an accident?

TV column for Thursday, July 2




TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Soundstage,”
10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

Sugarland seems made for TV. It has a
vibrant and expressive singer, a deep well of emotion and a variety
to its music.

One moment, Jennifer Nettles stird
pathos with the spare “Stay”; the next, she's up to rowdy
mischief with “Down in Mississippi.” Other songs also range from
fun (“It Happens,” “All I Want to Do”) to pain (“Already
Gone”).

Sure, there are occasional flaws.
(“Settlin'” and “Something More” are too similar to be sung
close to each other; audience-singalongs are pointless on TV.)
Mostly, however, this is a terrific hour.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Wedding Day,”
8 p.m., TNT.

After only two episodes – good ones,
at that – this show was booted to a different night.

Maybe it will do well here. This is the
spot where “Survivor” thrives; now the same producer (Mark
Burnett) gives us this well-made show.

Each week, we meet a likable couple
that had its plans delayed; friends and family make it work.
Tonight's hour – involving Army officers who have been too busy in
Iraq and elsewhere to plan a wedding _ is first-rate.

TONIGHT'S CHANGE: “The Listener,”
10 p.m., NBC.

The deaths last Thursday of Michael
Jackson and Farrah Fawcett caused last-minute schedule changes.

In particular, NBC delayed a good “The
Listener” hour; it airs tonight. Toby tries to help a fragile teen
boy, who may have killed someone named Lisa.

Other choices include:

– “Wizard of Oz” night, 7-11:15
p.m., Turner Classic Movies. The film, a familly classic, airs at 8
p.m., but it's sandwiched by more. At 7 is a special, hosted by
Angela Lansbury, that celebrated the movie's 50th
anniversary. At 10 is a documentary that views the amazing year of
1939, when Hollywood came up with “Oz,” “Gone With the Wind,”
“Stagecoach” and more.

– “30 Rock,” 8 and 9:30 p.m.,
NBC. The first rerun has some great moments, as Liz tries to squelch
Jack's product-placement demands by putting him in a sketch. In the
second, she sets her first date with the handsome neighbor (Jon
Hamm), not realizing it's on Valentine's Day.

– “Samantha Who,” 8 p.m., ABC. In
her bad old days, Samantha may have cost Todd a job. Now she figures
she'll compensate by sabotaging a job-seeker he's competing with.

– “In the Motherhood,” 8:30 p.m.,
ABC. Emily really wants her sister Jane to be designated as guardian
of her children, if there's a tragedy. First, she must transform Jane
into a perfect parent.

– “The Office,” 8:30 and 9 p.m.,
NBC. The first rerun has the holiday party hit some flaws –
including when Phyllis' hair is set on fire. The second begins when
Andy is the only one who doesn't know Angela cheated on him with
Dwight.

– “So You Think You Can Dance,” 9
p.m., Fox. The field is trimmed to 12; also, Kelly Clarkson sings.

– “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,”
9 p.m., CBS. This reruns has seemingly random people dying and
freezing in place.

– “The Mentalist,” 10:01 p.m.,
CBS. The victim in this rerun is an investment banker who cheated
people out of fortunes. With so many suspects, Patrick Jane needs a
way to trick the killer.