Tuesday TV: ‘American Masters’ on Miles

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool Still 2The best parts of Stanley Nelson’s two hour documentary “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” on “American Masters” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) is when Davis is playing his music. There’s a lot of it in the stylish film, which accents his playing with staccato scene-setting clips from the 40s and 50s. Among the many interviews are Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana and Marcus Miller, as well as a few of the women in his life. And it’s actor Carl Lumbly who provides the raspy voice, reading from Davis’ autobiography and other quotes to fuel the story.

The Congressional Black Caucus Institute cohosts the 10th Democratic Primary Debate (CBS, 8 p.m.) in Charleston, S.C. Last week’s event was the highest rated Democratic debate in history, so this one is likely to have some fireworks as well. Add Tom Steyer to the six who held forth last week.

“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO, 10 p.m.) looks at the rising risks of rock climbing, and Gumbel meets with the family of boxer Patrick Day who died during a match last year.

“Pete Davidson: Alive from New York” (Netflix, streaming) is the first standup comedy special for the service from the troubled “Saturday Night Live” cast member, shot at the Gramercy Theatre.

On “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop, 9 p.m.), Johnny and Moira spend the night in the new motel’s presidential suite.

“Man v. Food” (Cooking, 10 p.m.) returns for a new season in Mystic, Conn.

Reports come out for the three on “This is Us” (NBC, 9 p.m.).

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Monday TV: The Sons of Uhura

BLACK-N-SPACE-1014x570Before Black History Month blasts off, here’s a little history from the skies, with the special “Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier” (Smithsonian, 8 and 11 p.m.), featuring such astronauts as Guion Bluford, Frederick Gregory, Ronald McNair and Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, a Cuban astronaut sent into space by the Soviet Union.

Nick Jonas joins the judges table with Blake Shelton, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson as the 18th season of seat-spinning auditions begin on “The Voice” NBC, 8 p.m.).

Also back is Melissa McCarthy hanging around with talented tykes on “Little Big Shots” (NBC, 10 p.m.), kind of a late time slot for a family show.

Fantasy Suites is the sleaziest part of “The Bachelor” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and one of the three remaining candidates calls Peter on it.

Saul works overtime to help his many clients on “Better Call Saul” (AMC, 9 p.m.), settling into its regular time slot. And he stops an elevator to get some work done.

An old Byrd tells his story in the documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name” (Starz, 9 p.m.).

“The Good Doctor” (ABC, 10 p.m.) wants to do an unnecessary autopsy.

There’s a runaway bull on “9-1-1: Lone Star” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

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Sunday TV: Jimmy Finally Becomes Saul

SaulThe fifth and penultimate season starts for the great “Better Call Saul” (AMC, 10 p.m.) as Jimmy McGill finally cuts ties with his past persona and starts to market himself as Saul Goodman. But tonight’s episode begins with a long segment about his future self in wintery Omaha mall, where he contacts a surprising figure. Its regular time slot start is tomorrow.

It comes after the first new episode of “The Walking Dead” (AMC, 9 p.m.) in many weeks, in which Carol faces Alpha.

“Forensic Files II” (HLN, 10 p.m.) is named like a sequel to differentiate itself from its predecessor of nearly a decade ago, that was narrated by Peter Thomas. There are of course a million true crime documentary shows now. But their new narrator is a good one — Bill Camp, who is so good in hard-boiled HBO series like the current “The Outsider” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

There are a couple of season finales for public television serials — the Jane Austin-inspired “Sanditon” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) as well as “Vienna Blood” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

Saul cuts a deal on “Homeland” (Showtime, 9 p.m.), which is paralleling real events once more in terms of a Taliban peace plan.

Auditions continue on “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and Katy Perry faints.

In the new “Disney Fam Jam” (Disney, 8:23 p.m.), families compete with dance battles.

Natalie Morales looks at the beloved John Hughes film in the special “The Breakfast Club: Behind Closed Doors” (Reelz, 9 p.m.).

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Saturday TV: NAACP Image Awards

NAACPAnthony Anderson hosts the 51st NAACP Image Awards (BET, 8 p.m.) live from Pasadena Performers include Jill Scott and H.E.R.; presenters include Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monae, Tiffany Haddish, Sterling K. Brown, Morgan Freeman and Lena Waithe. Rihanna and Rep. John Lewis will receive special awards. Plenty of Netflix projects, from “Dear White People” to “When They See Us” are nominated. Lizzo has six nominations; Beyoncé eight. The show will be simulcast on sister networks Comedy Central, CMT, MTV, Pop, Smithsonian and TV Land.

Politics invade your Saturday, with the results of the biggest primary contest yet, the Nevada Caucuses (CNN, MSNBC, 3 p.m.), with actual results available possibly today.

It’s probably not a good sign that the first season drama “Almost Family” (Fox, 8 p.m.) has its two-hour finale on a Saturday night.

Conditions were roughest when filming the Antarctica episode of “Seven Worlds, One Planet” (BBC America, 9 p.m.).

Michelle Yeoh narrates the two hour travelogue “The Hidden Kingdoms of China” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.).

The new romance “Love in Store” (Hallmark, 9 p.m.) is set in a shopping network with sparks between cohosts played by Alexandra Breckenridge and Robert Buckley.

The comedy special “Whitmer Thomas: The Golden One” (HBO, 10 p.m.) was taped at the Flori-Bama Lounge.

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Friday TV: Nazi Hunting with Pacino

HuntersAl Pacino makes his bow in series television in “The Hunters” (Amazon, streaming), a generic title “The Hunters” (not to be confused with the upcoming movie “Hunt,” “The Hunt for Red October” or Hunter Biden) that is really about a bunch of Jewish Nazi-hunters in late 1970s New York.

The go-to inspiration for first time writer David Weil is comic books more than history books — and they are also the source of a lot of the references in the show, which mostly focuses on young man (Logan Lerman) who stumbles into the underground vigilante group as if they were the justice league. There’s something garish in the tone and pacing that makes, say, “The Man in the High Castle” superior by comparison. The hand of executive producer Jordan Peele is hardly detectible.

More deja vu may come in “Gentefied” (Netflix, streaming) about a Mexican American family amid the contemporary gentrification of a Los Angeles neighborhood — the same one that’s the setting for the series “Vida” in fact.

The Iran-Contra scandal is the backdrop of the new film “The Last Thing He Wanted” (Netflix, streaming), an adaptation of the Joan Didion novel starring Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe and Rosie Perez, streaming the same day it’s in theaters. It’s the latest from Dee Rees, the director of “Mudbound.”

The groundbreaking family comedy “Fresh Off the Boat” (ABC, 8 p.m.) sails off in the sunset after six seasons with its series finale with a pair of last episodes in which Eddie (Hudson Yang) is getting ready to head to college and the solid cast led by Randall Park and Constance Wu are visited by guest stars Jaleel White and Andy Richter.

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Thursday TV: Cary Grant as Oscars Go On

talktown3Cary Grant gets a double bill in primetime on Turner Classic Movies’ ongoing 31 Days of Oscar with “The Talk of the Town” (8 p.m.) and “My Favorite Wife” (10:15 p.m.). Also on TCM today: “The Music Man” (6 a.m.), “Tulsa” (8:45 a.m.), “Smash Up: The Story of a Woman” (10:30 a.m.), “Experiment Perilous” (10:30 a.m.), “Algiers” (2 p.m.), “After the Thin Man” (3:45 p.m.), “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (5:45 p.m.), “The White Cliffs of Dover” (midnight), “Too Young to Kiss” (2:15 a.m.) and “Torch Song” (4:15 a.m.).

The Australian series “Playing for Keeps” (Sundance Now, streaming) concerns a murder mystery amid a group of professional soccer players, told from the vantage of the wives and girlfriends of players.

While they’re still in Nevada, there are two more CNN Town Halls (CNN, 8 and 9 p.m.) with Joe Biden First, and then Elizabeth Warren.

“Katy Keene” (CW, 8 p.m.) is still planning for a perfect Valentine’s Day.

Mike offers to help Jen with her bake sale on “Last Man Standing” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

“Station 19” (ABC, 8 p.m.) goes on a camping trip.

There’s a problem with the new app at “Superstore” (NBC, 8 p.m.).

“Young Sheldon” (CBS, 8 p.m.) gets his first glimpse at Cal Tech and Pasadena.

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Wednesday TV: Victorian Copper Comedy

yearof theRabbitMatt Berry, one of the crustier vampires in “What We Do in the Shadows,” who was also in the British comedies “The IT Crowd” and “Toast of London,” as well as providing a voice on “Disenchantment,” stars in a new series “Year of the Rabbit” (IFC, 10:30 p.m.) as a crude detective in Victorian London. The cast also includes Freddie Fox, Alun Armstrong and Susan Wokoma. In the premiere, the Elephant Man also pops up.

“Criminal Minds” (CBS, 9 and 10 p.m.) ends its run after 15 seasons and 322 episodes with its final two, an attempt to capture the Chameleon after all these years and the retirement of Joe Montegna’s character David Rossi. Expect a lot of looking back from longtime cast members like Paget Brewster and Kirsten Vangsness. But it would be fun to see former cast members from Thomas Gibson to Shemar Moore (Mandy Patinkin’s character who lasted the first three seasons was killed off-screen in season 10).

After so many debates it might be interesting to have tonight’s ninth Democratic Presidential Debate (NBC, MSNBC, 9 p.m.) performed in the format of “The Masked Singer” (Fox, 8 p.m.). It is being held in Las Vegas, after all. Masks would be welcomed.

But there will be a new element in the political event: the addition of billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg, suddenly as omnipresent in TV commercials as the Geico lizard. He takes his first questions amid Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden. Moderators are Lester Holt, Hallie Jackson, Chuck Todd, Vanessa Hauc and Jon Ralston.

Meantime, there will be six new candidates on “The Masked Singer” tonight: Banana, Elephant, Frog, Kitty Mouse and Taco. Last week, Miss Monster was unveiled to be Chaka Khan (just in time to sing the National Anthem at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday).

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Tuesday TV: ‘Frontline’ Tracks Jeff Bezos

BezosJeff Bezos just committed $10 billion to fight climate change. But how did he possibly rise to the level of wealth that would accommodate such a gesture? The founder of Amazon is the subject of a two hour episode of “Frontline” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) a year in the making that tracks the rise of the company, its takeover of the marketplace, its effect on workers and its ambitious plans for further expansion. There is a whole lot to cover, from monopoly and working conditions to its Alexa listening devices to the hacking of indoor Ring cameras to facial recognition and military technology.

The lead-up to an annual speakers’ competition inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. is covered in the documentary “We Are the Dream: The Kids on the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest” (HBO, 7 p.m.).

CNN begins a series of Democratic Presidential Town Halls (CNN, 8 p.m.) starting with Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg following at 9, Amy Klobuchar at 10 p.m. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren follow on Thursday.

The onetime planet Pluto was first discovered 90 years ago today, Its story, and reclassification as a dwarf planet in 2006, is covered in the special “#TeamPluto” (Discovery, 11 p.m.).

“Chopped” (Food, 9 p.m.) gathers four repeat champions to vie for $50,000 and title of grand champ.

On the new game show “Hot Ones: The Game Show” (truTV, 10 p.m.), contestants answer trivia questions as they eat increasingly spicy hot wings, based on the web series.

“Finding Your Roots” (PBS, 8 p.m.) looks into the Italian backgrounds of Marisa Tomei, Jimmy Kimmel and John Turturro.

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Monday TV: Noah Meets the Dinosaurs

WeBelieveInDinosaurs-1The building of the Ark Encounter, a Noah’s Ark experience in rural Kentucky 45 minutes south of its sister attraction, the Creation Museum, revives the controversies over evolution vs. the Bible, 95 years after the Scopes Trial.

It’s also the subject of the documentary “We Believe in Dinosaurs” that makes its debut tonight on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

Paulina Chávez stars as a 15-year-old prodigy hired to work on robotics for NASA in the new sitcom “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Gardia” (Netflix, streaming). She lives with her uncle (Jencarlos Canela) a former pro football player turned high school coach.  Producer Mario Lopez pops up as well.

“America’s Got Talent: The Champions” (NBC, 8 p.m.) picks a winner in its finale.

The second installment of the three-part “Washington” (History, 8 p.m.) focuses on his military leadership.

The scam gets involved with the mob on “McMillion$” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

It’s hometown trip time on “The Bachelor” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

On “The New Pope” (HBO, 9 p.m.), Brannox agrees to a televised interview.

The rescue of 60 dogs and cats are covered on “Hallmark Channel’s Tails of Joy” (Hallmark, 10 p.m.).

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Sunday TV: Fox’s ‘Duncanville’ Premieres

DuncanvilleAmy Poehler channels her inner teenage boy by voicing Duncan, star of the new animated “Duncanville” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.) about an unexceptional 15-year-old with a big imagination who is being raised by his mother, a meter maid. It’s got good pedigree with producers that also include Mike Scully and Julie Thacker of “The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.), which happens to be the lead-in. There’s a wealth of voices helping out as well including Ty burrell, Rashida Jones, Riki Lindhome and Wiz Khalifa.

A fifth season starts for the romantic time-traveling drama “Outlander” (Starz, 8 p.m.) which picks up after the wedding celebrations of Brianna and Roger, with Jamie and Claire fighting for the home they have made at Fraser’s Ridge.

The first president gets a close look in a three-night, six-hour series “Washington” (History, 8 p.m.) that unfolds over Presidents Day Weekend.

This used to be a big deal: The season premiere of “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.). But 18 seasons in, it’s clearly not. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan return as judges; Ryan Seacrest hosts.

It seems like it’s been hiatus forever, but “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO, 11:10 p.m.) returns for a new season.

To be reminded of the story of Martha Mitchell, her warnings of Watergate and her muzzling is an interesting thing. But to have the story stretched out even for an hour long episode, takes on the slogging characteristics of the form from which it was taken, the podcast. But the new “Slow Burn” (Epix, 10 p.m.), an accurate enough title, is also to cover other aspects of Watergate in its six parts.

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