TV column for Saturday, July 7


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
Comedies, 8-10 p.m., CBS.

Beginning tonight,
summertime Saturdays are the exile home for failed Monday comedies.

Monday used to be
magical for CBS, the night of “MASH” and “Maude” and “Murphy
Brown.” It was when everybody loved “Raymond” and “Lucy,”
when people saw “Newhart” and “Designing Women.” This season?
Six comedies tried regular spots there; only “Man With a Plan”
will be back. Two -- “Me, Myself and I” and “Living Biblically”
(see below) -- start their leftover episodes tonight.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE
II: “The Incredible Dr. Pol” return, NatGeo Wild.

This has become a
perpetual series. It has sprawled across eight years (split into 13
“seasons”) and 126 episodes, all following the rural-Michigan
veterinary practice of Dr. Jan Pol, 75, a Dutch native.

After a 15-week
break, it's back and it's omnipresent. Amid a rerun marathon (10 a.m.
to 3 a.m.), a new episode is at 9 p.m., rerunning at midnight. It
ranges from some disturbing animal distress to the warmth of a
50th-anniversary present for the doc and his wife: Their
son found and spiffed up the sort of sports-car convertible they
drove long ago.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Marshall” (2017), 9 p.m., Showtime.

In an amazing
stretch, Chadwick Boseman played towering black heroes, real (Jackie
Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall) and fictional (Black
Panther). But this may be his most important role.

In 1940 Connecticut,
a wealthy white woman (Kate Hudson) accused her black chauffeur
(Sterling K. Brown) of rape. The then-tiny NAACP sent its lawyer,
Marshall, who guided a clumsy local lawyer (Josh Gad). Beautifully
directed (by Reginald Hudlin) and acted, it has the start of a
transformation: Marshall would go on to win an historic
school-integration suit and be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Other choices
include:

Superheroes,all day,
cable. FX has a Marvel marathon, with “Wolverine” (2013) at 9
a.m., “Thor” films (2011) and (2013) at noon and 2:30,
“Avengers” (2012) at 5, “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) at 8
and “Iron Man 3” (2013) at 10:30. HBO counters with DC Comics'
“Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” (both 2017) at 5:30 and 8
p.m.

Sports, 7 p.m., NBC
and Fox. NBC has NASCAR, from the Daytona International Speedway. Fox
counters with baseball – three games, varying by region – with
preview at 7 and games at 7:15.

“America's
Funniest Home Videos,” 8 p.m., ABC. This rerun includes outdoor
mishaps, plus a musical montage involving dinosaurs.

“Me, Myself and
I,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS. Here was a good idea that never quite
worked. Sort of a comic “This Is Us,” it shows the same life in
three phases. In tonight's first episode, mid-life Alex (Bobby
Moynihan) and old Alex (John Larroquette) meet rivals; at 8:30, young
Alex is home alone.

“Living
Biblically,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. There it is in Ephesians:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as you do to the Lord. For the
husband is the head of the wife.” Chip cites this as proof that his
wife should quit her job; the idea is not well-received. That's in
tonight's second episode; in the first (with Loretta Devine as guest
star), Chip visits a Baptist church, complete with gospel choir.

“Bill Maher: Live
From Oklahoma,” 10 p.m., HBO; reruns at 1 and 3 a.m. HBO usually
airs Maher's outspoken talk show. This time, however, it has his
stand-up act.

“Saturday Night
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. After watching Brown in “Marshall,” we
can see him host an “SNL” rerun, with music from James Bay. In
both jobs – one dead-serious, one not – Brown is terrific

TV column for Friday, July 6


TONIGHT'S MUST-TRY:
“12 Monkeys” finale, 9-11 p.m., Syfy.

This epic finish
wraps up four years ... or 23 years, if you count the 1995 movie ...
or 12 centuries, if you count all the flashbacks and flashforwards.
The only way to prevent a plague from destroying mankind, it says, is
to erase Cole's entire existence ... after he destroys the villains'
mechanism.

That finale becomes
way too long and too complicated. It requires a few zillion bullets
to miss; and it has the brainy Dr. Cassie Railly become frozen with
indecision. This series – like the movie – has always been both
flawed and fascinating; now the final 10 minutes make it all
worthwhile.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“The Great British Baking Show” and “Food Flirts,” 9-11 p.m.,
PBS.

Suddenly, solemn PBS
is all about food fun. It has added the three-week, six-hour
“Flirts,” with Sheila and Marily Brass. They visit Cape Cod at
10, then try Thai rolled ice cream and more at 10:30.

That follows
“Baking” ... which this season has an edition that was taped in
2012. We're told that tonight is “all about desserts,” which
makes us wonder what the previous hours (cakes, tartes) were about.
These are average souls, trying big things. Sarah-Jane Willis, 28, a
vicar's wife, calls one recipe the bravest thing she's done. “Until
now, sitting alone on a train was the bravest thing I'd ever done.”

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Anne With an 'E,” second season, any time, Netflix.

As women surge in
modern time, TV people are remembering the long-ago classics. PBS had
a superb “Little Women” and two fairly good “Anne of Green
Gables” movies. Now here's more from an “Anne” series ... which
was made in Canada, where the books were written and set.

Also reaching
Netflix is the second season of “Somebody Feed Phil,” with
“Everybody Loves Raymond” producer Phil Rosenthal on a food
journey. And “The Legacy of a WhitetailDeer Hunter” is a comedy
with Montana Jordan (in his acting debut, before “Young Sheldon”)
and Josh Brolin.

Other choices
include:

“Tarzan” (1999),
4:30 p.m., Freeform. Families can start the weekend early, with an
animated triple-feature. “A Bug's Life” (1998) is at 6:40 p.m.,
with “Brave” (2012) AT 8:50.

Marvel movies, 6:30
p.m. and beyond, cable. FX offers a Thor double-feature, with the
original film (2011) at 6:30 p.m. and its sequel (2013) at 9. TNT
counters with “Ant-Man” (2015) at 8; it follows with “Green
Lantern” (2011), from DC Comics, at 10:30..

Reality reruns, 8
p.m., NBC and CBS. Even reality shows have reruns. That's true of
NBC's “American Ninja Warrior” (repeating its Miami qualifier)
and CBS' “Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition.”

“Quantico,” 8
p.m., ABC. Shelby meets someone from her past, with deadly results.

More movies, 8 p.m.,
cable. You can catch a good comedy -- “Sleepless in Seattle”
(1993) on Pop or “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008) on E – or a
classic drama. Martin Scorsese's “Goodfellas” (1990) is on AMC;
James Cameron's “Avatar” (2009) is 8:15 p.m. on HBO.

“Hawaii Five-0,”
9 p.m., CBS. Suicide, a subject thrust into the headlines lately, is
viewed in this rerun. When a murder suspect is ready to take his
life, Grover (Chi McBride) recalls when he considered it.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. Just as Danny tries to prevent further gang violence at
a high school, the principal (Ernie Hudson) takes a reckless step.
Also in this rerun, Danny's sister Erin tries to help a friend who's
entangled in a gambling ring. And their dad is being framed by the
governor.

TV column for Thursday, July 5


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

Somehow, Gerald
McRaney is reaching a new peak at 70. And he's doing it with opposite
roles. McRaney – who hadn't previously been nominated in 45 years
of TV – won an Emmy as the good-guy doctor in “This Is Us”; now
he's excellent again, this time as a very bad guy.

Bob Lee Swagger
(Ryan Phillippe) is probing the 30-years-ago murder of his dad: It
wasn't just an ex-con bank robber; a sniper was also there. Now Bob
learns of his dad's Vietnam days and unravels a current scheme, led
by McRaney. It's a strong hour, spiced by including an overwhelmed
bureaucrat.

TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“The Four,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.

Let's credit James
Graham and Sheraya J for doing something no one managed in the show's
first edition: Start on top and stay there.

He's an Englishman,
22, and she's from Atlanta, 34; each has survived three challenges.
The other two spots now have their third occupants. Last week, Ali
Caldwell, 29, of New Jersey; challenged and won a slot; Jesse Kramer,
22, of Nashville, survived his second challenge, adding to a feeling
of continuity.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “Cloak and Dagger,” 8 p.m., Freeform.

For once, someone
poses the question we've had: Why all the roundabout deception, when
the truth would have worked? “The truth never occurred to me,”
Tandy says. “All I do is lie.”

Until now, she's
done it skillfully. A sweet-faced teen, she's easy to believe; she
uses that to learn about her dad's death ... and to survive, when her
alcoholic mom is no help. This episode is all about survival – for
Tandy and Tyrone (each with a special power) and for New Orleans in
general. It's still tangled and complex ...but in a way that leaves
us wanting to reach the core of all those tangles.

Other choices
include:

“Lethal Weapon,”
1987, 5 p.m., AMC. Danny Glover and Mel Gibson star in the start of a
popular series of mismatched-cop films. Its sequels are at 7:30 p.m.
(1989), 10 p.m. (1992) and 12:30 a.m. (1998). Other films include
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) at 7 p.m. on FX and “Blade
Runner 2049,” at 8 on HBO. And Turner Classic Movies has Steve
McQueen films each Thursday in July; that starts with “The Blob”
(1958) at 8 p.m. ET and the much-praised “Magnificent Seven (1960)
at 9:45.

“Little Big
Shots,” 8 p.m., NBC. Tonight's kids include a 5-year-old space
expert, an 8-year-old pianist and Emi Sunshine, a country singer who
has Internet popularity at 14.

“The Gong Show,”
8 p.m., ABC. Brad Paisley, Sharon Osbourne and Jason Sudeikis judge
odd acts.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. A hilarious rerun has conflicting memories of
2010 – plus a tell-all video. That pops up as Leonard tries to find
a valuable investment; stick around for the finish.

“Young Sheldon,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. In a quietly funny rerun, the brothers face the worst
possible fate: Sheldon must tutor Georgie, who could lose his chance
to play football.

“Marlon,” 9 and
9:30 p.m., NBC. The first episode is set at a college reunion, with
Stevie still trying to get into the Marlon's fraternity. In the
second, Marlon's daughter deliberately fails her driving test.

“Take Two,” 10
p.m., ABC. Eddie is hired by one of his old nemeses, ABC says. Until
now, we didn't even know there is a plural for nemesis; most people
only have one.

TV column for Wednesday, July 4


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE:
“A Capitol Fourth,” 8 and 9:30 p.m., PBS.

Before the fireworks
begin, we get sunny, feel-good music representing both coasts.
There's the California sound of the Beach Boys (who also receive an
award) and the Key West sound of Jimmy Buffett (who links with the
Broadway cast of his “Escape to Margaritaville”).

There's more,
including pop (Andy Grammer, Pentatonix, the Temptations), country
(Luke Combs, Lauren Alaina), gospel (CeCe Winans, with Kyla Jade
doing the National Anthem) and classical-gone-Broadway: Renee Fleming
does a “Carousel” number, Josh Bell does “West Side Story.”

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE
II: More Fourth fun, 8 p.m., NBC and Hallmark.

NBC is in New York,
for music and fireworks. Jennifer Lopez -- who tops the network's
best summer shows, “Shades of Blue” and “World of Dance” ---
performs; so do Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Sheryl Crow, Charlie
Puth and Hailee Steinfeld. A shortened version reruns from 10-11 p.m.

But the surprise is
Hallmark's extremely late addition of a special from the White House
lawn. It has country singer Sara Evans, pianist Lola Astanova,
military bands and two “American Idol” alumni: Jonny Brenns was
in the top 14 this year; Jax finished third in 2015.

TODAY'S ALTERNATIVE:
Steven Spielberg films, cable.

There are worse ways
(many of them) to spend a holiday, than to savor the work of the
world's best movie director. His “Jaws” (1975) is at 11:30 a.m.
and 7:15 p.m., followed by the non-Spielberg sequels at 2:30 (1978)
and 5 p.m. (1983); those two repeat at 10:15 p.m. and 12:50 a.m.

There's more.
Paramount has the OK fourth Indiana Jones film (2008) at 9 a.m. The
great original (1981) is at noon and 9 p.m., with sequels at 3 (1984)
and 6 (1989). Showtime has the quietly moving “War Horse” (2011)
at 5:30 p.m., with “Jurassic Park” (1993) at 8 and its sequel
(1997) at 10:10.

Other choices
include:

Marvel movies, all
day, FX. This starts with Spider-Man films at 9:30 a.m. (2012) and
12:30 p.m. (2014), then “Captain America” ones at 3:30 (2011) and
6 (2014), with the origial repeating at 9.

“Anthony Bourdain:
Parts Unknown,” 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET, CNN, barring breaking news.
Bourdain's show was a fine blend of food and fun; these reruns start
in West Virginia and end in Brooklyn.

“Howie Mandel
Stand-Up Gala,” 8-9:30 p.m., CW. In a rerun of his third annual
special, Mandel introduces Cedric the Entertainer, Cristela Alonzo,
Ron Funches, John Heffron and more.

“Young Sheldon,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS. Sheldon's dad is a deceptively interesting
character – a beefy football coach, doing his best for people he
has nothing in common with. Tonight's first transplanted rerun is a
bit too buffoon-ish, as he obsessed on stealing his mother-in-law's
recipe. In the second, he takes his sons to a spaceship launch at
Cape Canaveral.

“The Goldbergs,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. It's a battle of 1980s-set comedy reruns, with
“Young Sheldon” and “Goldbergs.” In this first one, Barry
makes the shaky decision to let Uncle Marvin handle his stocks. In
the second, Beverly starts a competition for the best Hanukkah party.

“Modern Family,”
9 p.m., ABC. Guys keep creating their “man caves,” but now
Claire's “she shed” idea is nixed by the homeowners' association.

“Code Black,” 10
p.m., CBS. Last week, Willis (Rob Lowe) resisted romance with Rox
(Moon Bloodgood), his EMT colleague. That seems to change after she's
injured by a drunken driver.

TV column for Tuesday, July 3


TONIGHT'S MIGHT-SEE:
“Civilizations” finale, 8 p.m., PBS.

When the Nazis took
over Czechoslovakia, they converted a gorgeous fortress town into a
holding station for Jews. When one woman (a teacher) was sent there,
she filled her lone suitcase with art supplies. The children's
artwork, discovered post-war, speaks powerfully of dreams and fears.

That's one of many
cases in which art has added bits of humanity to a brutal world. This
hour ranges from a too-tech Japan to the birthplace of the Ku Klux
Klan. Like the previous hours, it suffers from overstatement –
reading way too much into everything – but has immense scope and
ambition.

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

On their own, the
Cody clan has a shaky world. “Smurf” (Ellen Barkin), who's in
jail, put her grandson J in charge; her sons (J's uncles) fume. But
bigger problems came when outsiders moved in – first J's teen
girlfriend Nicky, then Deran's nasty father Billy (Denis Leary).

Now all of that
peaks at the same time that some rich thugs are trying to take over
the beachside turf. The result peaks powerfully in tonight's final
minutes.

TONIGHT'S
ALTERNATIVE: “The Bold Type,” 8 p.m., Freeform.

The beauty of this
show is its ability to tuck complex issues inside a glitzy portrait
of life and love in Manhattan. Tonight, it views the complexities of
diversity.

Is true diversity
possible if a college degree is required? What are the mixed feelings
of a young black woman who's had a life of privilege? Or of a young
white woman who believes in diversity ... but finds that's the reason
she wasn't hired? There are no answers, just interesting issues,
surrounded by glitz.

Other choices
include:

“Jaws” (1975),
4:30 and 11:01 p.m., AMC. On a holiday eve, cable chooses to frighten
us. This Steven Spielberg classic sandwiches “Jaws 2” (1978) at
7:30 and “Humans” at 10. Also, FX has “The Purge” (2013) and
its sequel (2014) at 6 and 8 p.m., rerunning them at 10 and midnight.

“America's Got
Talent” and “World of Dance,” 8 and 10 p.m., NBC. With fewer
viewers available on a holiday eve, NBC simply reruns both show's
season-opening auditions.

“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. In a rerun, a Navy officer, seemingly happy and successful, has
killed himself. The team talks to family and friends, including
Captain Bud Roberts; Patrick Labyorteaux returns to the role, which
he played in the “JAG” series.

“The Middle,” 8
and 8:30 p.m., ABC. In the first rerun, Frankie frets about meeting
Lexie's rich parents (Gregory Harrison and Lisa Rinna). In the
second, her mom (Marsha Mason) visits.

“Black-ish,” 9
and 9:30 p.m., ABC. In the first rerun, the family's morning routine
has shifted; in the second, Dre leads the company's charity campaign.
Also, in the first one, Junior bonds with his sister while driving
her to school; in the second (these are tentatively out of order) he
fails his driving test/

“American
Experience,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. This concludes the three-part,
six-hour view of World War I. General John Pershing's plan for a
final assault bogs down; when victory does come, there's a new issue:
Woodrow Wilson's dream of a League of Nations is rejected by the
Senate.

“NCIS: New
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. The team gets a call from Dr. Wade's foster
son Danny. He was attacked at his girlfriend's house and now she's
missing.