Sunday TV: On Sports Betting ‘Action’

ActionAs sports betting opens up — and the tournament that causes so much wagering continues – a new four part documentary series looks at the possible results on society in “Action” (Showtime, 8 p.m.), which concentrates mostly on the 2018 NFL season.

“Madam Secretary” (CBS, 10 p.m.) mulls a presidential run.

Krusty reboots “Itchy and Scratchy” with an all female cast on “The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

Axe hits it off with a venture capitalist on “Billions” (Showtime, 9 p.m.).

Hollywood week starts on “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

Duels continue on “World of Dance” (NBC, 8 p.m.) with the added twist of redemption.

Mo keeps trying to make Blair and Tiff’s wedding happen on “Black Monday” (Showtime, 10 p.m.).

“Supergirl” (CW, 8 p.m.) looks back on what Lex Luthor has been up to for the past two years.

Judging from its other programming, the new series “Mission Declassified” (Travel, 10 p.m.) has a very good chance about being about the paranormal.

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Saturday TV: ‘The Atlanta Child Murders’

atlanta child murdersWill Packer is better known as a comedy producer for films like “Ride Along” and “Girls Trip,” but he’s always been haunted by the forgotten case of 29 dead black children in Atlanta over 23 months 40 years ago. He revisits the case in the three part “The Atlanta Child Murders” (Investigation Discovery, 8 p.m.), which shows all three parts in one evening. It’s already had an effect in making the city reopen the case.

DJ Khaled braves the slime and hosts the 32nd annual Kids’ Choice Awards (Nickelodeon, 8 p.m.) from the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Among the nominees in movies and music, the TV nominees for favorite funny show, for example, are “The Big Bang Theory,” “Bunk’d,” “Fuller House,” “Modern Family,” “Raven’s Home” and Nickelodeon’s own “Henry Danger” (Nickelodeon, 7:30 and 9:36 p.m.) which precedes and follows the show with a new episode.

Fran Drescher hosts a night of comedy from “Funny Women of a Certain Age” (Showtime, 8 p.m.), including Carole Montgomery, Luenell, Lynne Koplitz, Kerri Louise and Vanessa Hollingshead.

It may be prettier than March Madness: The World Figure Skating Championships (NBC, 8 p.m.), which gets a prime time slot from Saitama, Japan.

Last year’s big shark movie “The Meg” (HBO, 8 p.m.) with Jason Statham, Ruby Rose and Rainn Wilson, makes its premium cable premiere, as does “Alpha” (Starz, 8 p.m.) about a young prehistoric man who befriends a wolf.

“Alaskan Bush People” (Discovery, 9 p.m.) defend their livestock.

Banned last week for anti-Islamic comments “Justice with Judge Jeanine” (Fox News, 9 p.m.) is back on the schedule.

In the made-for-TV “Love to the Rescue” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), Nikki DeLoach plays an animator whose daughter is set on adopting a dog, except that another single parent (Michael Rady) wants it too. I’m sure romance plays in there somehow too.

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Friday TV: Hair Band ‘Dirt’ from the Crüe

TheDirtThere are way more pop and R&B bio movies out there. But if you’re doing one about a rock band, Mötley Crüe might be an unusual choice. “The Dirt” (Netflix, streaming) is based on the raucous book co-written by Neil Strauss. The band co-produced the movie, so it’s not likely to get too critical. Jeff Tremaine directs the rapper Machine Gun Kelly as band drummer Tommy Lee and Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton of “Game of Thrones”) as Mick Mars. David Constabile of “Billions” plays their manager Doc McGhee.

The sci-fi series “The OA” (Netflix, streaming) returns for its second season nearly three years after its first premiered. Now, it’s not only in a new city, but a new dimension. Brit Marling still stars in the series she co-created with Zal Batmanglij, starring as a young woman who appears in her small Michigan town after years of being missing. This time, she’s in San Francisco and in a new dimension looking into the disappearance of another teen.

Your best bet may be the recent Oscar-contending “Cold War” (Amazon Prime, streaming) makes its debut online. Polish director Pawel Pawilikowski’s lush, black and white romance about a traveling musician (Thomasz Kot) meets a singer (Joanna Kulig).

The iconic Swedish soprano is profiled in “Birgit Nilsson: A League of Her Own” tonight on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings), with appearances from Placido Domingo, Marilyn Horne and other opera stars.

Lauralee Bell plays a single mom who makes the wrong choice while renting out her college daughter’s room in the thriller “Nightmare Tenant” (Lifetime Movie Network, 8 p.m.). Heather Hopkins and Virginia Tucker also star.

The imported “Crime Diaries: The Candidate” (Neflix, streaming) is a new series based on the death of Luis Donaldo Colosio, a candidate for the Mexican presidency. Jorge A. Jiménez stars.

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Thursday TV: Let the Madness Begin

madnessBrackets ready?

March Madness begins in earnest with Louisville vs. Minnesota (CBS, noon), LSU vs. Yale (truTV, 12:30 p.m.), Auburn vs. New Mexico State (TNT, 1:20 p.m.), Florida State vs. Vermont (TBS, 1:50 p.m.), Michigan State vs. Bradley (CBS, 2:30 p.m.), Maryland vs. Belmont (truTV, 3 p.m.), Kansas vs. Northeastern (TNT, 3:50 p.m.), Marquette vs. Murray State (TBS, 4:20 p.m.), Nevada vs. Florida (TNT, 6:45 p.m.), Kentucky vs. Abilene Christian (CBS, 7 p.m.), Villanova vs. St. Mary’s (TBS, 7:15 p.m.), Gonzaga vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (truTV, 7:15 p.m.), Michigan vs. Montana (TNT, 9:15 p.m.), Wofford vs. Seton Hall (CBS, 9:30 p.m.), Purdue vs. Old Dominion (TBS, 9:45 p.m.) and Syracuse vs. Baylor (truTV, 9:55 p.m.).

Abby steals her stuff on “Broad City” (Comedy Cntral, 10 p.m.).

On “The Other Two” (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.), Chase has an album release party.

Gordon and Bruce find the mastermind behind the city’s chaos on “Gotham” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

On “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, 8 p.m.), they’re trying alternative medicine on Seattle Grace with mood rooms.

Sam and Dean face a new monster on “Supernatural” (CW, 8 p.m.) and Sam faces one on “Better Things” (FX, 10 p.m.).

Lupine Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Kirsten Gillibrand visit “Desus & Mero” (Showtime, 11 p.m.).

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Todd Snider at the Birchmere

SniderTodd Snider walks on stage in goofy hat, trusty guitar, barefoot but also with his equally raggedy dog, Cowboy Jim, who promptly lies down and listens to these songs and stories one more time.

“It don’t get folkier than bringing your @#%ing  dog!” Snider declares to the appreciative audience at the Birchmere Music Hall and starts in on one of his newest songs, a talking blues about television, reality, reality television and our current situation (“Reality killed by a reality star”). It was so up to date it even had a commentary about Michael Jackson (“Reality killed that video star”).

Snider, 52, likes to take apart traditions even as he is extending them, so he took time to explain the rules of the talking blues format (“All you gotta rhyme is a line or two”) within the song. And the format seemed just right for him, as his shows are a mix of songs with sometimes equally-long stories. And if the songs are old favorites, some of the stories are too. They get their own titles on his live albums, and his audiences laugh anew at each one.

At least the audiences don’t (yet) yell requests for certain stories. But they’re full of song requests, and half the show seemed full of songs that dated back a quarter century or so from “Beer Run,” his most obvious and most popular, to “Play a Train Song,” and “Statistician’s Blues.”

Snider first came to fame, oddly, with an offhand rock commentary, “Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues,” about a band too cool to play a note. But that song’s been left off his list and from the requests.

While Snider likes to put on the persona of the stoned slacker, he puts together some pretty good albums, the latest of which had come out days earlier, “Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3” although there aren’t any parts one or two, just as there isn’t a part one of his “Better Than Ever Blues, Part 2.” It’s another example of his poking fun as an aspect of song tradition.

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Wednesday TV: Arquette is At It Again

Episode 101Patricia Arquette, who won awards for one portrayal of one real-life, frumpy middle-aged woman with criminal tendencies in the limited series “Escape at Dannemora,” now plays another one in the new limited series, “The Act” (Hulu, streaming).

She’s the overly-protective mom who may be keeping her daughter sick in order to gain sympathy and funds, copying the case that was already told pretty well in the 2017 HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest.” Joey King, once Ramona in “Ramona and Beezus” does a good job as the daughter, as does Chlöe Sevigny as a suspicious neighbor. The eight-episode series is the first story in what plans to be a true crime anthology.

The recent star on bubbly water ads has his eighth concert special, “Bublé” (NBC, 10 p.m.), wearing a suit and singing a whole lot of standards.

A new spinoff series has a new murder to obsess about on “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” (Freeform, 8 p.m.), with Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish returning from the original cast.

Here’s the musical episode of “Riverdale” (CW, 8 p.m.) as rehearsals begin for “Heathers: The Musical.”

There’s no time for music on a new episode of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.).

The Edge of Extinction is getting crowded on a two hour “Survivor” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

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Tuesday TV: Questions in a Contraption

mental-samuraiRob Lowe hosts a fussy new quiz show, “Mental Samurai” (Fox, 9 p.m.), in which contestants are pitched the easiest questions in the world while riding on some sort of amusement-ride contraption that takes them to each inquiry. There are no easy winners, though, as the final question is either a  trick or involves random guessing.

It’s a similar mix of easy questions, physical extremes and famous hosts that has been found in, say, “Ellen’s Game of Games” (NBC, 8 p.m.)

Hoping to extend the human drama of its “This is Us” (NBC, 9 p.m.) into another setting, Mike Daniels’ “The Village” (NBC, 10 p.m.) focuses on the inhabitants of a Brooklyn apartment building whose lives become entwined like a family. It includes Michaela McManus as a single mother, Daren Kagasoff as a law student and Warren Christie as a returning vet.

Here’s a new show that blends the midcentury war origins of the network with its current interest in seeking treasure: “Lost Gold of World War II” (History, 10 p.m.), in which Americans go searching on a mountain in the Philippines for loot supposedly buried by a Japanese general.

“Amy Schumer: Growing” (Netflix, streaming) is her latest comedy special, concerning her marriage and pregnancy.

A second season starts on “Restored by the Fords” (HGTV, 9 and 9:30 p.m.), followed by a new renovation show, “One of a Kind” (HGTV, 10 p.m.) in which houses are changed to reflect the owners’ personalities.

It’s Mrs. Bennigan’s wedding on the final episode ever of “Teachers” (TV Land, 10 p.m.).

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Flesh Eaters’ Ace Lineup at Union Stage

IMG_6668The poet and writer Chris Desjardins created the Flesh Eaters in the heyday of L.A. punk scene of the late 1970s, enlisting many of his friends to be among the revolving roster in the band over a handful of albums.

The most potent lineup was the one in 1981 that produced the band’s strongest album “A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die” that featured Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman of the Blasters, John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake of X as well as Steve Berlin of the Plugz, Blasters and Los Lobos.

So enduring was that match of music with the poetry of Chris D., as he is known, that they were enticed to reunite occasionally for special events this century. That led to recording once more last spring for the album “I Used to Be Pretty” released on Yep Roc in January, and a tour that had its penultimate show Saturday at the Union Stage in D.C.

It was quite a sight, this superstar lineup in a modest-sized basement club, from Alvin in his cowboy duds and Doe, solid in his bass rocking, to the behatted Bonebrake, largely handling the mallets on marimba and leaving the drums to Bateman.

That light, jazzy touch from Bonebrake’s playing, mixed with Berlin’s improvisational sax, gave this a very different sound than what one might think of L.A. Punk from the days of the Masque, where the Flesh Eaters played alongside the Misfits, Dickies and Circle Jerks.

While they packed the beat and attitude of the era, they could also groove along to solos from Alvin or Berlin.

But it was all in service to Chris D., who with his bushy black eyebrows, stern profile and balding white pate, looked like Sam the Eagle from “The Muppet Show.” In his baritone and poetic point of view, he called to mind another L.A. rock poet from half a century back, Jim Morrison of the Doors, especially in longer songs that slowly built to explosive climaxes.

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Monday TV: Inventing a Fraud

InventorOne of the fastest growing firms in Silicon Valley was something called Theranos, created by a dynamic young entrepreneur named Elizabeth Holmes. Nobody questioned her premise that inserting your finger in a box could do full blood testing. The rich invested and Walgreen’s installed them, until  investigation into its shaky science caused it to drop valuation from $9 billion to zero in one day. Documentarian Alex Gibney captures the unusual story in his “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” (HBO, 9 p.m.).

A beloved grandmother in Hillside, N.J., is remembered, as her house and possessions are deconstructed and a life imagined in the visually striking “306 Hollywood,” a documentary that uses touches of magical realism, making its debut on “POV” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

Prosecutor Marcia Clark seems determined to retry the O.J. Simpson case she famously lost. Apparently heartened by her appearance in an Emmy-winning miniseries, she brings “The Fix” (ABC, 8 p.m.) in which Robin Tunney plays a DA in Los Angeles who loses a big murder case against a celebrity only to face him once more when his girlfriend is found dead.

Yet another late night voice emerges with “The D.L. Hughley Show” (TV One, 11 p.m.), an offshoot of his daily syndicated radio show, based in Burbank, with guests and issues.

Jake Tapper moderates a “Town Hall” (CNN, 9 p.m.) with Elizabeth Warren from Mississippi.

So many singing tryouts! Auditions continue on both “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.) and “The Voice” (NBC, 8 p.m.).

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Sunday TV: ‘Billions’ Returns, ‘Tricky Dick’

BillionsThe sharp series “Billions” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) begins its fourth season with an odd alliance between  two who had been nemeses for the past three, Damian Lewis’ Bobby Axelrod and Paul Giamati’s Chuck Rhoades.

A new series on the rise and fall of Richard Nixon seems to take a negative look, judging from the title, “Tricky Dick” (CNN, 9 p.m.). Then again, the 3yth president was the first to leave office amid a growing scandal.

Friends come visit on the season finale of the fine, fine “High Maintenance” (HBO, 10:30 p.m.).

Donnie Wahlberg hosts a new series about serial killers and such on “Very Scary People” (HLN, 9 p.m.).

“Luke Perry: In His Own Words” (Reelz, 9 p.m.) remembers the actor who died this month at 52, following a heart attack.

Kensi and Deeks are finally wed on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS, 9 p.m.).

Mr. Wednesday prepares a battle on “American Gods” (Starz, 8 p.m.).

On “Now Apocalypse” (Starz, 9 p.m.), Ulysses looks into the alien reptile conspiracies.

Among the surprises in “The Case Against Adnan Syed” (HBO, 9 p.m.) is finding out what happened to Don.

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