Five TV best-bets for Tuesday, March 26


1) “Miracle
Workers” finale, 10:30 p.m., TBS, rerunning at 11:30. “Miracle”
is a quick delight, seven half-hours, telling an end-of-the-world
(maybe) story with wit and flair. It isn't for everyone; some people
dislike the notion of a lethargic God (Steve Buscemi), ready to blow
up the Earth. Once you get past that, it's a delight: To save
mankind, some lowly minions (including Daniel Radcliffe) must get two
strangers to kiss. Now there's a half-hour left for the show ... and
maybe an hour left for the planet.

2) “This Is Us,”
9 p.m., NBC. Here's something this show often does brilliantly –
setting everything else aside and focusing (via flashbacks) on one
person or relationship. Tonight, we see the evolving romance between
Randall and his now-wife Beth.

3) “The Village,”
10 p.m., NBC. Last week's opener dumped a mountain of pain onto the
nice folks in one Brooklyn apartment building. It was richly
emotional and strongly moving ... but then added one too many twists:
Nick, the newcomer who lost a leg in combat, is the biologic father
of Katie, the pregnant teen-ager. Now come more troubles. One
character (Katie's mom) is inconsistent, but “Village” mostly
remains an involving portrait of (very) bad things happening to
(VERY) good people.

4) “NCIS,” 8
p.m., CBS. This episode – delayed from a previous week – has
Gibbs and Bishop probe a murder on a submarine. Once they're onboard,
however, the Navy loses contact with the ship.

5) “The Story of
God,” 9 p.m. ET, National Geographic. Morgan Freeman looks at
methods various religions use to fight sin. That reruns at 11 p.m.
ET; three previous episodes run from 6-9 p.m.

Five TV best-bets for Monday, March 25


1) “American Idol”
or “The Voice,” 8-10 p.m., ABC or NBC. The music powerhouses have
finally wrapped up their auditions. Now “Voice” starts its battle
rounds, while “Idol” continues its Hollywood week, which started
Sunday. That puts singers through a frantic stretch of group and solo
numbers, leading into a key phase: On Monday, April 15, “Idol”
will start its live episodes; after that, it will have coast-to-coast
voting via ET/PT simulcasts on five Sundays.

2) “Into the
Badlands,” 10 p.m., AMC. The final stretch has started, with only
eight episodes to wrap up this sprawling story. The first aired
Sunday and reruns at 8:59 p.m. today; the second follows at 10. Both
have the “Badlands” touch – epic action scenes that dazzle us,
despite being gory and impossible to believe. The new hour sees
Pilgrim arrive with his followers, to establish an island kingdom.
The Widow has trouble with M.K.; also, Sunny and Bajie search for a
mad witch who might help the baby.

3) “The Resident,”
8 p.m., Fox. The corrupt medical-device company has been exposed; now
Devon learns what happened to the rep who vanished before she could
be a whistleblower. That's followed at 9 p.m. by “9-1-1,” in
crisis mode. Last week, the first date of Maddie and Chimney was
disrupted when her estranged husband attacked him; now flashbacks
show Chimney's start as a firefighter.

4) “The Fix,” 10
p.m., ABC. Last week's opener saw a lawyer (Robin Tunney) return to
lead the case against a movie star who's suspected of another murder,
eight years after he won in court. In a strong hour, police search
his house, while his million-dollar lawyer tries some image-repair.

5) “The Truth Will
Out,” any time, www.acorn.tv.
The good news is that this eight-part mini-series tells a smart
police story, somewhat inspired by a real case. The bad: It's in
Swedish (with subtitles) and the palette seems to consist solely of
white. We suspect there are other colors in Sweden.

-- Mike Hughes, TV
America

Week's TV top-10 for Monday, March 25


1) “Abby's”
debut, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, NBC. A quarter-century after “Cheers”
closed its doors, NBC has a new Thursday bar. It's outdoors and
probably illegal. Its proprietor (Natalie Morales) is a foot shorter
than her best customer (Neil Flynn) or her worst obstacle (Neil
Franklin), but she's an ex-Marine and people obey her. Be warned that
many critics dislike “Abby's”; we disagree and find two of the
barflies (played by Jessica Chaffin and the massive Leonard Ouzts)
hilarious. See what you think.

2) “What We Do in
the Shadows” debut, 10 p.m. Wednesday, FX. Now for a comedy that
many critics find brilliant. It's from the deep, droll wit of Jemaine
Clement of “Flight of the Conchords.” He and fellow New Zealander
Taika Waititi made a micro-budgeted movie about vampires who live
among us in eccentric obscurity. Five years later, it's a series with
two great additions – an ever-hopeful assistant and an “energy
vampire,” so dull that he sucks energy from the room. The result is
an odd delight.

3) “Jane the
Virgin” season-opener, 9 p.m. Wednesday, CW. As a variation on a
telenovela, “Jane” delights in silly, soapy plot twists. And in
the final minute of last season, it topped itself: Michael – the
late husband Jane has mourned for years – is alive. That takes some
explaining ... which this hour does skillfully. The result has a big
impact, especially on Jane. Gina Rodriguez -- already a Golden
Globe-winner – has a seven-minute monolog that's simultaneously
funny, forlorn and Emmy-worthy.

4) “Into the
Badlands” and more, AMC. “Badlands” only has eight episodes to
wrap up its sprawling story. The first aired Sunday and reruns at
8:59 p.m. today; the second follows at 10. Both have the “Badlands”
touch – epic action scenes that dazzle us, despite being gory and
impossible to believe. That's in a big week for AMC. At 9 p.m.
Sunday, it has the “Walking Dead” season-finale, then reruns an
“enhanced” version of the pilot film for “Killing Eve,” which
starts its second season a week later.

5) Sports collision,
Thursday. Here's the kind of day that keeps fans busy or dizzy. Yes,
Thursday starts the second week of the college basketball tournament;
CBS has games at 7 and 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT at 7:15 and 9:45. But that's
also opening day of the baseball season, always a big deal. All 30
teams have games and ESPN offers a tripleheader, featuring vintage
franchises: The Yankees host the Orioles at 1 p.m. ET ... the Dodgers
host the Diamondbacks at 4 p.m. and the Red Sox visit the Mariners at
7.

5) “American
Idol,” 8-10 p.m. today, ABC. The two music powerhouses have finally
wrapped up their auditions. Tonight, NBC's “The Voice” starts its
“battle rounds,” while “Idol” continues its “Hollywood
Week,” which started Sunday. That's the stretch that packs young
singers into the Orpheum Theatre, where they must try group and solo
numbers. It sets up a key phase: “Idol” will start its live
episodes on Monday, April 15 and will have coast-to-coast voting via
ET/PT simulcasts on five Sundays.

6) “Miracle
Workers” finale, 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, TBS, rerunning at 11:30. So
you want high stakes? Try this: Unless our heroes prevail, mankind
will be destroyed. That wraps up a series that isn't for everyone,
but ripples with wit. God (Steve Buscemi) is disenchanted with Earth.
He'll destroy it unless some minions (led by Daniel Radcliffe) pull a
true miracle, getting shy strangers to kiss. So far, their efforts
have failed badly ... and have caused deaths. Now they only have an
hour left to save the world.

7) “The
Blacklist,” 8 and 9 p.m. Friday, NBC. It was easy to forget this
smart show, when it was exiled to Fridays. But on a night when CBS
dramas are on a basketball break, “Blacklist” gets two hours; the
first has an intriguing a plot: In real life, Robert Vesco was a
fugitive con man. He reportedly died in Cuba in 2007, at 71; some,
however, claimed he faked his death. Now “Blacklist” has Stacy
Keach, 77, playing Vesco, being hunted by Red. In the second hour,
Liz investigates an organization of assassins.

8) NAACP Image
Awards, 9 p.m. ET Saturday, TV One, rerunning at 11:30. This is the
50th year for the awards and the sixth straight with
Anthony Anderson as host. That's been friendly turf for him; for four
straight years, “Black-ish” has been named best comedy, with
Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as best comedy actor and actress. This
year, the best-movie category is especially strong, with “Black
Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “The Hate U Give,” “Crazy
Rich Asians” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

9) “Masterpiece:
Mrs. Wilson,” 9 and 10 p.m. Sunday, PBS. Ruth Wilson always knew
her grandfather was no ordinary chap. He wrote 24 spy novels; he was
a wounded World War I veteran, a professor and more. And when he died
in 1963, his wife of 20-plus years learned of another wife and family
... and then another ... and then more deceptions. Fortunately, Ruth
is a gifted actress; she produced this film and stars as her
grandmother. It's a fascinaing story that will be told in three hours
on two Sundays.

10) “Mamma Mia!
Here We Go Again” (2018) and more, HBO. Here's a rare sequel that's
much better than the original. “Mamma Mia” used the scant
Broadway plot -- barely enough to support the ABBA songs -- and let
non-singers do them. This sequel has a rich, multi-generation plot
and gifted singers – Lily James, Meryl Streep, even Cher. It's 8
and 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday – leading to the “Case
Against Adnan Syed” finale at 9 and the season-openers of “Barry”
and “Veep” at 10 and 10:30.

Five TV best-bets for Sunday, March 24


1) “Prince Charles
at 70,” 8 p.m., PBS. At an age when many people are retired,
Charles is is still preparing for one job (king) and pushing hard
for current charities and tasks. He “goes to dinner ridiculously
late at night,” his son Harry says, then works until falling asleep
at his desk. He doesn't see his grandchildren enough, adds son
William, but “when he's there, he's brilliant.” This warm
documentary, conflicting with Diana-era reports, shows a decent,
diligent man.

2) “Masterpiece:
King Charles III,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings). After
watching Charles do his gentle work, it's fun to see this rerun,
imagining him at the core of power, As king, he faces a crisis of
conscience, unwilling to do what's considered a formality, signing a
bill into law. On Broadway, this drew Tony nominations for best play
and for Tim Pigott-Smith, who repeats here as Charles.

3) “Into the
Badlands” return, 10:25 p.m., AMC. Now for the opposite of those
restrained Englishfolk. This hour starts and ends with spectacular
martial arts – none of it believable and all of it exciting and
vibrantly filmed and choreographed. There are only eight episodes
left, with one tonight (after the season's second-to-last “Walking
Dead”) and another in the show's new Monday timeslot.

4) Basketball, CBS
and cable. By the end of tonight, the NCAA tourney will have its
sweet 16. CBS has games at noon and 2:30 and 5 p.m. ET, but lets
cable (TNT, TBS, TruTV) have the night. That allows new episodes of
“God Friended Me,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Madam
Secretary.”

5) “Tricky Dick,”
9 p.m. ET, CNN. This starts with Richard Nixon's only election
losses – a razor-tight presidential race in 1960 and a fairly close
(300,000-vote margin) one for California governor in '62. He tells
reporters they “won't have Richard Nixon to kick around any more”
... then changes his mind. The hour ends with an intriguing question:
Did his people sabotage the 1968 Vietnam peace talks?

Five TV best-bets for Saturday, March 23


1) “Kids Choice
Awards,” 8 p.m., Nickelodeon, repeating at 9:30. Each year, this
has lots of stars and lots of slime, with big personalities as hosts
-- DJ Khaled tonight, after two years with John Cena and one with
Blake Shelton. Action films dominate, with favorite-movie nominations
for “Black Panther,” “Aquaman” and “Avengers: Infinity
Wars”; they're joined by “Mary Poppins Returns” and two Netflix
teen movies, “The Kissing Booth” and “To All the Boys I've
Loved Before.”

2) Basketball, CBS
and cable. The NCAA field has already been trimmed from 68 to 32;
today and Saturday, half of them will be ousted. CBS has today's
first three games, at noon and 2:30 and 5 p.m. ET; then cable takes
over – 6 and 8:30 p.m. on TNT, 7 and 9:30 on TBS, 7:30 on TruTV.

3) Figure-skating,
8-10 p.m., NBC. While tall people race around basketball courts, tiny
people will be swirling on ice. Here's an edited version of the men's
and women's world championships, from Japan. You can also catch this
at 1 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

4) “Mental
Samurai,” 9 p.m., Fox. Here's a quick rerun of Tuesday's opener.
Varied people – form attorney to astronaut – sit in a swooping
chair and try to answer 12 questions in five minutes. Rob Lowe is a
talented host and the game has play-along fun ... until the memory
category stops the fun.

5) “Saturday Nigh
Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. At 24, Halsey has already lived lows –
homelessness, bullying, bipolar disorder – and highs. She's had
albums reach No. 2 and No. 1 on the Billboard charts, with two
singles (“Without Me” and, with Chainsmokers, “Closer”) at
No. 1. And she's sung on “SNL” three times; this reruns the
third, which she also hosted.

-- Mike Hughes, TV
America