Monday TV: President Obama Sings Carols

obamas-tree-ceremony-final-cb-1955_625d98596e5540e82dc39af03d763762.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000If only to hear President Obama join Chance the Rapper on “Jingle Bells,” it may be worth tuning into the “National Christmas Tree Lighting” (Hallmark, 7 p.m.). The annual event is rarely also on TV but last week’s ceremony, hosted by Eva Longoria also featured James Taylor, the Lumineers, Yolanda Adams. Plus there might be a bit of nostalgia in sharing one of Obama’s last public events.

It’s the year’s biggest night in network lasciviousness, “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” (CBS, 10 p.m.), this year outsourced to Paris, where models stomp around in skimpy, impractical designs, editors work overtime to make it look flashy and not trashy, and Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and the Weeknd perform. But all the feathers and wings seem pretty impractical as undergarments.

Harlem’s famed theater gets network time as well in the special “Showtime at the Apollo” (Fox, 8 p.m.) in which Steve Harvey hosts a show that includes performances from En Vogue, Doug E. Fresh, Mike Epps, Tracy Morgan, Rakim and Bell Biv Devoe. Plus they get the hook out for the usual amateur tryouts.

From the people who brought you “The Black List,” “The Latino List” and “The Out List” comes “The Trans List” (HBO, 8 p.m.), with portraits of people that include Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox and Caroline Cossey.

Reviving its old “Diva” concert series with a bit of holiday seasoning is “Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night” (VH1, 9 p.m.) with Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle, Vanessa Williams and JoJo among others, in concert from Brooklyn with Christmas songs as well as a roaring “I’m Every Woman.”

Read More »

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Stage Review: New Austen Holiday Sequel

MISSBENNET4When every theater company feels compelled to do something Christmas-themed come December, it can lead to either overusing certain titles or creating fluffy trifles.

One great addition to regional theaters, though, is the literate and witty “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon.

This season alone, it’s playing in Chicago, Milwaukee and San Francisco. But it’s tough to imagine a better production of it than the one at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, part of the work’s “rolling world premiere.”

“Miss Bennet” takes the characters of Jane Austen’s beloved “Pride and Prejudice” two years in the future, where Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are happily married, sister Jane is not just married but about to have a child. The youngest sister Lydia has a less happy coupling than the others, but at least she’s married – such an important status in Austen world.

The new play focuses on the largely ignored, bookish single middle sister Mary, who barely has two lines in “Pride and Prejudice” but who is fully explored here as a kind of modern feminist, who keeps to her texts and the piano forte and has largely given up romantic possibilities.

Read More »

Posted in Review, Theatre | Leave a comment

Sunday TV: Is Mariah Carey Interesting?

NBCUniversal Events - Season 2016Mariah Carey taps into her inner Anna Nicole Smith to make her first reality series “Mariah’s World” (Bravo, 9 p.m.). She promoted the series last summer before the press carried to the stage by shirtless, muscular men, drinking champagne and acting the ditz. She is credible in the role at least. The eight episode series follows her on her world tour and in her planning of her impending third marriage (which already broke up).

Much more anticipated, when it comes to E! network offerings, is the third season premiere of “The Royals” (E!, 10 p.m.), its only scripted fare.

The new series “Ocean Warriors” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.), from Robert Redford and Paul Allen, follows activists and scientists who expose and try to combat poachers and other environmental pirates on the seas. It runs Sundays through Dec. 18.

The 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor comes Wednesday and yet another historical special “The Lost Tapes” (Smithsonian, 9 p.m.) brings together unseen footage, photos and audio recordings from the day that has led in infamy. Also tonight is an investigation of what went wrong, “Pearl Harbor: The Truth” (History, 10 p.m.).

The first season of “Westworld” (HBO, 10 p.m.) has had its ups and down, but it’s been a beautiful production with some smart ideas and good performances. Still, is it just about who’s a robot and who is real? Some answers may be forthcoming in tonight’s season finale, as well as a look at the “new narrative,” but there’s likely to be some things unexplained as well in order to serve the next season. Either way, it looks to be a big night for both Dolores and Maeve.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Leave a comment

Saturday TV: Christmas Angel Overload

its-a-wonderful-life-clarenceAmong holiday performances, it’s already time for this: Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” (NBC, 8 p.m.) with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and the rest. Marking its 70th anniversary, surely it’s the oldest thing ever shown on prime time broadcast television these days.

Its format — going back and seeing where a different path may have led — also influenced dozens of lesser holiday movies that followed. The newest of them is “A Dream of Christmas” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) about a woman who is granted her wish of being single again by a Christmas angel. Nikki DeLoach, Andrew Walker and Cindy Williams (as the Christmas angel) star.

A different, much younger, angel meddles in a different marriage on “Heaven Sent” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), with Christian Kane, Marley Shelton and Ernie Hudson.

A third made-for-TV holiday romance “A Firehouse Christmas” (ION, 9 p.m.) involves firefighters, custody battles, a romance and yet another angel. Anna Hutchison, Marcus Rosner and Anita Brown star.

But your kids will all want to watch “Elf” (Freeform, 8:50 p.m.) instead.

On the other hand, “Homicide for the Holidays” (Oxygen, 8 p.m.) is a new series about the downside of celebration, though the first episode has to do with a Thanksgiving shooting; an episode at 9, though, is about a family gunned down at Christmas. This could have qualified for “Homicide for the Holidays,” though: a violent intruder on Mother’s Day on “Your Worst Nightmare” (ID, 10 p.m.).

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Leave a comment

Playlist, 12-2-16

RadioCPR2Began with some Crystals and moved to its unsung occasional lead singer Darlene Love. Then to a couple of new albums from a couple of old rockers — The Rolling Stones and their new blues album out today, followed by their blues work in the past; and then Neil Young, with his new album and its topical songs on Native American uprisings, followed by his earlier songs concerning the subject.

Then some Emmylou Harris, who is coming to town, and some Turtles, who just won a $99 million settlement from Sirius XM.

Here’s what I played on the radio tonight:

Read More »

Posted in My Radio Playlists | Leave a comment

Friday TV: TCM Myrna Loy Salute Begins

MyrnaLoyA month-long, 61-film, Friday night salute to Myrna Loy, who made movies over seven decades in Hollywood, from 1925 to 1980, begins on Turner Classic Movies with some of her work from the 1930s, “The Devil to Pay” (8 p.m.), “Arrowsmith” (9:30 p.m.), “Consolation Marriage” (11:30 p.m.), “The Truth About Youth” (1 a.m.) and “The Squall” (2:15 a.m.).

Alicia Keys joins newly crowned new artist of the year at the CMA awards Maren Morris on a new episode of “CMT Crossroads” (CMT, 10 p.m.). They’ll sing Keys’ “No One” and “If I Ain’t Got You” and Maren’s “My Church” and “80s Mercedes.”

Lots of beautiful space views are expected in the special “Hubble’s Amazing Journey” (National Geographic Channel, 8 p.m.).

“Comedy Bang! Bang!” (IFC, 11 p.m.) ends its run with a pair of episodes with guests that range from Reggie Watts to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“My Life is a Telenovela” (We, 11 p.m.) wraps its first season finale.

The comedian returns to Detroit to shoot his standup special “Tony Roberts: Motorcity Motormouth” (Showtime, 10 p.m.).

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Leave a comment

Thursday TV: Two Baking Competitions

bakingChallengeMary Berry may have left “The Great British Bake Off” that made her a culinary star, but she’s still a part of the U.S. version, “The Great American Baking Show” (ABC, 9 p.m.), starting its second season. Johnny Iuzzini, Nia Vardalos and Ian Gomez help her as a judge on the show with begins with two back-to-back episodes.

Starting its 14th season is “Top Chef” (Bravo, 10 p.m.), with Graham Elliot joining Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio as judges. Sixteen contestants — eight new and eight returning — start the season in Charleston, S.C.

“Picasso: A Museum Reborn” (Ovation, 7 p.m.) celebrates the reopening of the Musee Picasso in Paris following a five year closure.

The first of its annual appearances is “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

The week-long, four-show crossover of the Flash, Supergirl and Green Arrow culminates on “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (The CW, 8 p.m.).

“Nightwatch” (A&E, 9 p.m.), which follows first responders in New Orleans, is back with its third season.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Leave a comment

Wednesday TV: It’s Dolly Parton Day

DollyAs wildfires approach Dollywood, the sequel to last year’s “Coat of Many Colors” movie chronicling Dolly Parton’s Tennessee childhood gets a premiere. “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” (NBC, 9 p.m.) again stars Alyvia Alyn Lind as young Dolly, as do Ricky Schroder and Jennifer Nettles as her parents and Dolly pops her head in as well.

Parton also appears when the decorated tree is lit again in New York, with “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (NBC, 8 p.m.) among a spate of performers that include Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban, Trisha Yearwood, The Roots, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Kelly, the Rockettes, Anthony Hamilton and Pentatonix. The comic portrayers of the presidential candidates, Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, will help light the tree — or blow it up.

The new “Incorporated” (Syfy, 10 p.m.), produced in part by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, stars Dennis Haysbert and Julia Ormond in a story set in 2074 about a hacker trying to infiltrate a system that gives corporations an in ordinate amount of power (citizens United?).

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Leave a comment

Tuesday TV: Leah Remini on Scientology

LeahThe way she told it, Leah Remini rode her Scientology beliefs right into Hollywood stardom. But the star of “King of Queens” publicly split with the cultish church in 2013 and wrote a bestselling book about her experience. Now, she’s going a step further, in an eight chapter docuseries in which she interviews former members of Scientology about their own hair-raising stories, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” (A&E, 10 p.m.). Each commercial break comes with written denials from the super litigious “church.” I hope an episode takes on their bogus tax exemption.

Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the story of Alexander Hamilton once more, this time after cocktails, on a special episode of “Drunk History” (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.) acted out by Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat.

Dolly Parton sings “Jolene” with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus on an episode of “The Voice” (NBC, 8 p.m.) where the Top 10 is trimmed to eight. Pentatonix and Jennifer Nettles also perform.

Burl Ives is back to narrate “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Leave a comment

Monday TV: What’s Next for Cuba?

MARIELA_CASTRO_MARCH-CUBA_LGBT_REVOLUTIONDays after the death of Fidel Castro comes two previously scheduled documentaries on the future of Cuba. In Platz Lopez Garmendia’s “Cuba, Fatherland or Death” (HBO, 8 p.m.), executive produced by Julian Schnabel, artists and activists discuss what’s coming for the island nation. It’s followed by “Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution” (HBO, 9 p.m.) in which Fidel’s neice’s struggles to bring diversity and acceptance to the National Assembly.

A holiday special with a twang in its tinsel, “CMA Country Christmas” (ABC, 8 p.m.) features Jennifer Nettles, Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Kelly Clarkson, Sarah McLachlan, Amy Grant, Andra Day, Idina Menzel and Kelsea Ballerini performing from the Grand Ole Opry.

The Flash visits “Supergirl” (The CW, 8 p.m.) to kick off a big crossover thing.

It’s an even Top 10 on “The Voice” (NBC, 8 p.m.).

Jane takes Mateo to church on “Jane the Virgin” (The CW, 9 p.m.).

The crew is still trying to find shelter on “Mars” (National Geographic Channel, 9 p.m.), where some of its experts also appear on “Mars: The Secret Science” (Science, 9 p.m.).

Read More »

Posted in General | Comments closed

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Recent Tweets

    Follow @rcatlin
  • Archives

  • Google AdSense ads

  • Amazon associates