Friday TV: The Moon’s Pull Over Millennia

Moon2People have looked upon it dreamily for millennia, but only a handful have traveled there, the first of them a half century ago come Saturday. “Wonders of the Moon” (BBC America, 10 p.m.), one of the many specials to mark the occasion this weekend, looks to the long fascination of the moon to Earthlings.

I mean, its not like sharks, though. Tonight’s SharkFest special concerns a move for bull sharks, “Shark Movers: Deadly Cargo” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.).

A fourth season starts for the streaming team of grooming interventionists in “Queer Eye” (Netflix, streaming).

Seems too soon for the first season of the charming “Los Espookys” (HBO, 11 p.m.) to be over. In its finale, the team is called upon to create a fake dream to help make an insomniac sleep.

Ghost hunters try to capture an evil spirit in the imported series from India, “Typewriter” (Netflix, streaming).

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (Netflix, streaming) begins a new set of rides, with Eddie Murphy, Seth Rogen, Ricky Gervais, Matthew Broderick, Jamie Foxx and Martin Short, among others.

On a night full of paranormal shows like “Ancient Aliens” (History, 9 p.m.), “Ghosts of Morgan City” (Travel, 9 p.m.) and “Haunted Towns” (Travel, 10 p.m.), here’s a new one, hosted by William Shatner, “The UnXplained” (History, 10 p.m.).

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Thursday TV: Brenda Song Gets Amnesia

Secret-Obsession-Netflix-Preview-1Former Disney Channel star Brenda Song stars in the new thriller “Secret Obsession” (Netflix, streaming) in which a young woman awakes with amnesia after a vicious attack, helped by a doting husband. Or is he? Mike Vogel and Dennis Haysbert also star in the film by Peter Sullivan.

Let’s reiterate that chances of being killed in a shark attack is 1 in 3.7 million in real life. But during weeklong scare-fests like SharkFest, it’s, well, predictable as “Forecast: Shark Attack” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.) which comes after another couple of episodes of “Shark Attack” (National Geographic, 8 and 9 p.m.).

An Atlanta record label’s legacy is told in the special “Power, Influence & Hip-Hop: The Remarkable Rise of So So Def” (We, 10 p.m.), hosted by company founder Jermaine Dupri and featuring such So So Def artists as Bow Wow, Da Brat, Kris Kross and Escape. Among the interviewees are Snoop Dogg, Usher and Mariah Carey.

On “Baskets” (FX, 10 p.m.) Ken and Christine return to Denver to confront some flammable carpet problems.

The bullied nerd Nicole looks to be the target for the live eviction on “Big Brother” (CBS, 9 p.m.).

The debates are next week, but they’re making a TV event of “The Draw for the CNN Democratic Debates” (CNN, 8 p.m.), announcing who will be on which night.

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Wednesday TV: Dispersing the ‘Suits’

Suits - Season 1“Suits” (USA, 9 p.m.), which starts its ninth and final season tonight, was mostly about dudes,one of whom has already left the show, Patrick J. Adams’ Mike Ross. Of the standout women on the series,  one married Prince Harry and the other gets her own spinoff, “Pearson” (USA, 10 p.m), in which Gina Torres’ character Jessica Pearson, now disbarred, goes into politics with a new job as a fixer in the mayor’s office.

“8 Days: To the Moon and Back” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) is the latest special marking the 50th anniversary uses recreations, original audio and computer generated animation.

The week’s bizarre events get a reaction from a new “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.).

Josh goes viral on “Younger” (TVLand, 10 p.m.).

Cassie follows her vision to try and catch a killer on “The InBetween” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

On “Yellowstone” (Paramount, 10 p.m.), John’s rivals strike a hit.

Tonight’s SharkFest offering “Man vs. Shark” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.) is foreshadowed by “When Sharks Attack” (National Geographic, 8 and 9 p.m.).

Ignored in the Emmy nominations Tuesday: “Jane the Virgin” (CW, 9 p.m.), even in its final season.

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Tuesday TV: Mishandled Murder Case

‘Behind-Closed-Doors’-How-a-13-Year-Old-Girl’s-Murder-Ignited-Class-WarfareIn the second big two-part crime documentary in as many weeks, “Behind Closed Doors” (HBO, 8 p.m.) covers the 2008 murders in India of a 13-year-old girl and a 45-year-old domestic worker found the same night, as the teen’s parents slept. Were the middle class parents, a doctor and his wife, to blame? Was it other servants?

Police were never going to find out through evidence, which was ruined when the press, neighbors and curious friends tromped through the crime scene soon after, contaminating it. Blame was then assigned due to class distinction, a metaphor for life in contemporary India in director P.A. Carter’s retelling.

Starring in its biggest series has some perks. So David Harbour, the gruff sheriff hero on “Stranger Things,” gets to do an unusual fake documentary about a man looking for his father, a TV actor who played in a televised film derived from Mary Shelley’s most famous work. Simply the title of the film, “Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein” (Netflix, streaming) gives a hint at the oddity of the piece, which also stars Kate Berlant, Alfred Molina and Alex Ozerov. After “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” (Netflix, streaming)  it’s the streaming service’s second fake documentary of the summer.

In the new series “Pandora” (CW, 8 p.m.), Priscilla Quintana stars as a young woman in 2199 who trains for the Earth fleet guarding against intergalactic threats.

Even though a third season is starting for “Ex on the Beach” (MTV 8 p.m.), they’re still able to trick people into thinking they’re on a tropical dating show only to find them facing their exes instead.  Maybe they thought they were going to be on “Love Island” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

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Monday TV: Deportation and Death

bisbee17_2croppedSpeaking of deportation, Robert Greene’s haunting “Bisbee ’17” looks at the 1917 Bisbee Deportation when 1,200 immigrant miners in Arizona were taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die, while the community kept the deadly secret for a century. Partly based on a 100th anniversary re-enactment by the community, the film makes its timely premiere on “POV” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

National Geographic is doing Discovery Channel’s Shark Week even better by having multiple weeks — three of them in their sixth annual SharkFest, with shark programming on both it and its sister network Nat Geo Wild. Once, their focus was more in awe of the big fish; now they seem to going along with their competitor in simply instilling fear with new titles like “When Sharks Attack” (National Geographic, 8, 9 and 11 p.m.; midnight) and “Great Shark Chow Down” (National Geographic, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.).

There are only about 80 unprovoked shark attacks a year and one death; there’s a greater risk of dying from 18 other things including lightning and fireworks. Your lifetime risk of being killed in a shark attack is 1 in 3,748,067 according to the National Safety Council.  Nonetheless, there is also “Tiger Shark Terror” (3 p.m.), “Big Sharks Rule” (4 p.m.), “Shark vs. Tuna” (5 p.m.) and “Shark vs. Predator” (6 p.m.).

The first kids’ show to feature an Alaska Native as lead character debuts today with “Molly of Denali” (PBS, check local listings). The animated series, a co-production wit Canada, follows 10-year-old Molly, an Alaska Native from the fictional village of Qyah, who helps her family run the Denali Trading Post.

On the new “Girls Cruise” (VH1, 9 p.m.) Lil’ Kim takes a group of friends that include Chilli, Mya and Tiffany Panhilason on a boat around the Caribbean.

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‘The Juliet Letters’ Live Again

JulietLEttersRunning a small opera company requires innovation enough, but Washington’s Urban Arias goes further, by commissioning new works, or finding pieces that are little known or rarely performed and infusing them with reliable company talent that can electrify their purposely small audiences.

They’re doing that now by closing their latest season with a performance of Elvis Costello’s ”The Juliet Letters,” the song cycle he composed and performed with the Brodsky Quartet for a 1993 release. Costello and the quartet performed it together on a short tour at the time; it’s been presented with multiple singers in operatic concert performances only a couple of times since.

For their production, playing only four dates at Signature Theatre last weekend, the individual songs are split between and among three accomplished singers, who can suit their range, style and approach to the individual songs.

The inspiration of the work was a news item about a professor in Verona who took it upon himself to receive (and answer) letters that arrived there addressed to Juliet Capulet, the doomed, fictional and dead lover in Shakespeare’s best known tragedy.

That idea is reflected in “The Juliet Letters,” but also inspired an array of songs, each delivered in the form of a letter, taken from the dead letter office and given new life with voice and strings.

One is a suicide note; another a piece of junk mail. There’s a divorce decree, hate mail and love notes (Had it been composed a few years later, perhaps it would have included text messages and Facebook posts).

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Juliana Hatfield Keeping It Strong

IMG_0574Juliana Hatfield still looks like a bit of a waif taking the spotlight at Union Stage in Washington, D.C. on a recent summer weekday night. She’s rail-thin in her flowered pantsuit; her slight stature seemingly made smaller by the size (and sound) of her electric guitar. But it’s her still high and girlish voice that gives a youthfulness to her songs, which continue to be plentiful, snarling and fearless.

Tempered a bit by a road cold that saw her coughing in the middle of some songs and cutting her encore short, those who would want to feel protective of this traveling musician should know she’s been doing this on her own terms for decades now and knows exactly what she wants and how to do it.

Figuring that her current band is more or less “The Juliana Hatfield Three, minus two plus one,” she largely rocked out in a compelling nearly-20-song set that had more from her 2017 album “Pussycat” than from her latest one, this year’s “Weird.”

But she also sampled tunes from throughout her career, back to her MTV hit “My Sister” and Three song of her home state, “Feelin’ Massachusetts” which had a whiff of homesickness about it, to a tune from Minor Alps, the band she had with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf (Nothing, however, from the I Don’t Cares, the collaboration with Paul Westerberg that got nearly no notice in 2016).

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Sunday TV: Three Shows Returning

sweetbitter“Sweetbitter” (Starz, 9 p.m.), the series about a young woman finding her way in the New York restaurant world, based on the book of the same name, returns for a second season with a pair of episodes. Ella Purnell stars.

Back for its fourth season, with James Norton making his final appearance as Sidney Chambers,  is “Grantchester” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings), which resumes in the midst of a civil rights movement.

“Top Gear” (BBC America, 8 p.m.) has them both beat, returning for its 27th (!) season with a trip to Ethiopia.

There are some familiar names in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon (ESPN, 9 a.m.) with Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer.

Roger Ailes loses it when Barack Obama wins the 2008 election on “The Loudest Voice” (Showtime, 10 p.m.), the dramatization of the establishment of Fox News.

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Saturday TV: Serena at the Finals

espnw_g_williams01jr_800x450This morning has the women’s singles final (ESPN, 9 a.m.) between Simona Halep and Serena Williams, who will be playing in her 10th Wimbledon final.

Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp star in last year’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (HBO, 8 p.m.), making  its premium cable debut. It’s the second film in the series, meant as a fantasy prequel of films like “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (E!, 5 and 8:30 p.m.).

Too early for a review of a look at upcoming holiday movies on “2019 Christmas: A First Look Preview Special” (Hallmark, 10 p.m.)? Oh, heck yes.

But there’s an ugly sweater holiday party on “To Have and to Hold: Charlotte” (OWN, 10 p.m.) as well.

Baseball tonight has Washington at Philadelphia (Fox, 7 p.m.). Other games include Toronto at Yankees (MLB, 1 p.m.), White Sox at Oakland (Fox Sports 1, 4 p.m.) and Seattle at Angels (MLB, 10 p.m.).

A second season starts for the veterinarian series “Hanging with the Hendersons” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.).

“Planet Earth: The Hunt” (BBC America, 9 p.m.) is one of those HD nature series that looks at the planet’s top hunters.

New races continue on “Million Dollar Mile” (CBS, 9 p.m.).

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Friday TV: Inside Rick Rubin’s ‘Shangri-La’

SHANGRI-LAGet into the head of prolific record producer Rick Rubin (Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Adele) in the innovative new four-part series “Shangri-La” (Showtime, 9 p.m.). It comes from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”), who mixes old clips from old Hollywood  films while introducing artists such as Tyler the Creator, filmmaker David Lynch and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend to the stark white Malibu studio of the producer, who has a long white beard. Formerly, it was a hideout for The Band and seen in “The Last Waltz,” and where “Lost Horizon” and “Mister Ed” were both filmed.

Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo star in a new action thriller “Point Blank” (Netflix, streaming) about an ER nurse paired with a career criminal fighting a gang who kidnapped his pregnant wife.

It’s not the only new abduction film on the streaming service. “Kidnapping Stella” (Netflix, streaming) is a German import.

The comic returns with a new stand-up special that’s not a Ted talk in “Bill Burr Presents IanTalk: Ideas Not Worth Spreading” (Comedy Central, midnight).

In the made for TV “The Wrong Boy Next Door” (Lifetime Movies, 8 p.m.) — the latest in the “Wrong” series with Vivica A. Fox producing and co-starring, concerns a rebellious teen hitting on the boy next door, who has his own problems.

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