Sort of Gone Fishin’

Technical DifficultiesWe try our best here to keep you appraised, at the very least, of the daily television offerings every day despite the challenges of travel or demands of day to day life. That all falls apart at times when travel takes us to parts of the world where wifi is rare and/or prohibitively expensive.

These are also places where life seems to be suggesting loud and clear: hey, take a break for a few days. Vacation is part of most people’s years anyway, so when things make it difficult to continue, we’ll have to just give up our dispatches for a week or so (as we already have the weekly playlists).

We plan to all up speed on or about Aug. 26. So please come back.

You’re probably not watching anything other than the Olympics anyway.

 

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Larry Wilmore No More

LarryWilmoreBlack Voices Matter, in late night political comedy as in serious news commentary, documentary reporting and history.

Larry Wilmore, in his nearly year long stint as hosting “The Nightly Show” in the unenviable post-“Daily Show” slot once held by Stephen Colbert developed into one of the sharpest political satirists of the era, keeping a wry eye on the increasing craziness of the political process (the election process was called “The Unblackening” of the White House) and other daily outrages in a monologue that topped any in late night, minute for minute, in hitting what needed to be hit that day squarely and solidly.

With Wilmore came that kind of moral outrage that often accompanied Jon Stewart’s most memorable screeds — something missing in “Daily Show” replacement Trevor Noah — who, though I mostly like in his similarly unenviable job of replacing Stewart, mostly seems more bemused as a transplanted South African than outraged as an American watching craziness arise in his country all around him.

Wilmore also presided over a nightly roundtable that sometimes suffered when his house comics tried to outdo one another with jokes. But Wilmore, like Bill Maher, always seemed motivated by really wanting to know what his guests thought about issues that arose, hoping for some thread of enlightenment from the airing rather than some easy punchline.

He may have been undone, though, by the middle portion of his show, when his uneven cast portrayed various characters, imagined or real, in half-baked sketches. There was a pretty good Trump impersonator in the mix, and a couple of standouts, but overall, there were limitations to having comedians portray subjects in the news rather than correspondents (“The Daily Show” formula was the winning approach — have the cast portray only fake reporters, even when they interviewed real people in the news).

With Wilmore on hand as straight man, it still got so bad you were tempted to turn the channel and move on.

That’s what Comedy Central decided to do abruptly in a big way this week, announcing “The Nightly Show” was over, even amid the rich period of political excess. Its last broadcast will be Thursday. In its place will be “@midnight,” the show where punch lines and dick jokes are the prime goal.

Besides being the only black host in late night, Wilmore was also in another disfavored demographic: Being over 50.

Rather than taking advantage of his wisdom and ability to advance serious thought with the aid of well honed comedic timing, Comedy Central went with the kind of thing its young people like in almost all of the rest of its programming: Dick jokes.

Farewell, Larry Wilmore. Hope you don’t go too far and will be invited often to give your sharp point of view elsewhere.

 

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Sunday TV: Romance in Chesapeake

ChesapeakeShores1781r-812x522The newest soapy series for Hallmark occurs on the Eastern Shore, where a divorced mother from the city returns to Maryland to help save the family inn from foreclosure, based on the novels by Sheryl Woods. “Chesapeake Shores” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) stars Jesse Metcalfe, Treat Williams, Barbara Niven and Diane Ladd.

The prosecutor prepares for trial on “The Night Of” (HBO, 9 p.m.).

For fans, it’s a half-century of evolution for the characters of Gene Roddenberry. For non-fans, it sounds like a prison sentence: “50 Years of Star Trek” (History, 8 p.m.).

Oxford seems to be a dangerous place in the stories of “Inspector Lewis” on “Masterpiece” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). A dean is bludgeoned to death after a verbal exchange in a pub in the second of three final episodes of the series.

A man tries to prove his son’s innocence after being accused of the murder of a sports editor in Columbia, Mo. in the film “Dream Killer” (Investigation Discovery, 8 p.m.).

Police come close to grabbing the killer on “The Tunnel” (PBS, 10:30 p.m., check local listings).

In the 2016 Rio Olympics (NBC 7 p.m.), Usain Bolt goes for his third gold medal in the 100 yard dash. And there is more from Simone Biles in primetime.

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Saturday TV: No Sleep ‘Til ‘Brooklyn’

ronan-4-xlargeSaoirse Ronan stars as an Irish immigrant in New York 1950s in John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” (HBO, 8 p.m.), making its premium cable debut.

Lily Tomlin, meanwhile, stars in Paul Weitz’ “Grandma” (Starz, 9 p.m.).

Swimming winds up on the 2016 Rio Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.) as attention shifts slightly to track and field.

The eighth season of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” (OWN, 10 p.m.) opens with Barbara Eden, Kevin Jonas and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Now that it’s got some Emmy buzz, maybe it’s time for you to start watching “The Night Manager” (AMC, 8 p.m.) which repeats the season in one marathon. The John le Carre adaptation stars Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Coleman.

Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley are sisters who conspire to murder their mother, played by Mira Sorvino, on the made-for-TV “Perfect Sisters” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.).

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Luhrmann Gets ‘The Get Down’

the-get-down-netflix-rampage-against-everyoneIf you want an authentic look at the birth of hip-hop in the Boogie Down Bronx your first choice would probably not be Baz Luhrmann, the fair haired Australian director of flamboyant musicals from “Moulin Rouge” to “The Great Gatsby.”

But he rounded up some historical figures for authenticity, such as Grandmaster Flash, and expresses a love for an era when the emerging rap scene was accompanied by two equally fresh art forms — graffiti and break dancing. He’s peopled his new series “The Get Down” (Netflix, streaming) with some appealing young people including Justice Smith, Shameik Moore and Yahya Abdul Mateen II, and consulted with hip hop figures from Grandmaster Flash to Nas.

His inspiration was a picture he saw a decade ago in Paris of all places.

“I remember thinking in that moment, “Gee, how did so much creativity come from New York in that moment at that time? How did something so completely new, so totally unexpected, and so creative come about?,” Luhrmann told writers at the TV Critics Association summer press tour.

“It was just a question really. It just stuck in my mind. And from that point on, I started trying to answer the question. I didn’t even think I’d make a show about it or and I just got more and more down that road.”

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Also on Friday: Baking, Swimming Winners

great-british-baking-show-season-2A winner is named among finalists Nadiya, Tamal and Ian on the third season finale of “The Great British Bake Off” (PBS, 9:30 p.m.), after they bake a very nice cake.

Bigger stakes are at the 2016 Rio Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.), where Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin have been swimming so much they ought to be prunes by now (well, he is quite spotted).

Preseason football occur with Detroit at Pittsburgh (NFL, 7 p.m.) and Oakland at Arizona (NFL, 10 p.m.).

“Outcast” (Cinemax, 10 p.m.) ends its inaugural season in Rome.

Rittany is upset that Dana got help with private lessons on “Bring It!” (Lifetime, 9 p.m.), and isn’t mad at all that her name is, well, Rittany.

On “The Real Housewives of Melbourne” (Bravo, 9 p.m.) — Australia, not Florida! — Susie starts dating again.

Guy Fieri visits a hummus factory on a new “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food, 9 p.m.), though it is none of those three.

Star tries to get Marco out of the closet on “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” (Disney, 10 p.m.).

Da Brat and Bow Wow give advice to the hopefuls on “The Rap Game” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.).

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Triumph Goes to the Conventions

hulu 'Triumph's Summer Election Special 2016' Panel at the TCA Summer Press Tour, Day 9, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Aug 2016The Insult Comic Dog has finally found an election year that suits him.

And in a year when political satire has flourished, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s primary election special was a standout. So he’s back from the bluster and balloons of the national political conventions with “Triumph’s Summer Election Special 2016” (Hulu, streaming).

Robert Smigel, the man behind the puppet, might be so overburdened by all that’s happening politically, his puppet occasionally loses his distinctive accent, which he says is “based on an Eastern European accent that I’ve been doing with dogs since I was kid.”

As he told bemused writers at the TV Critics Association summer press tour that’s just ending today, “I just always imagined dogs talking that way.”

He’s had to hide Triumph to get to some of his targets, though — a rubbery dog head is just too obvious a comic plant.

He holds a sign up behind Jake Tapper’s reporting booth that says “Positively No Photobombing” and attends a violence training program for reporters going to the Republican National Convention.

“I didn’t want to have to have Triumph carry the entire 80 minutes just insulting people, so we’re coming up with all these different ideas,” Smigel says. “We actually bring a Telemundo I don’t want to spoil the joke, but we brought a fake Telemundo reporter to the RNC. It’s one of my favorite bits in the show.”

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Also on Thursday: Gymnastic Dominance

simone-bilesSimone Biles goes for the all around individual gymnastics gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.), where Michael Phelps and Ryan Locate swim the 200-meter individual medley.

Not about the summer games: The 2011 animated movie about birds, “Rio” (Nickelodeon, 8 p.m.).

The life of Richard Nixon is reviewed in a three-hour “American Experience” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) given a timely rerun.

“American Greed” (CNBC, 10 p.m.) looks into the stockbroker who used a Broadway musical to launder money.

Another eviction comes on “Big Brother” (CBS, 9 p.m.).

In a “Where Are They Now?” episode of “60 Days In” (A&E, 9 p.m.), we presume they are all out of jail.

Vincent undergoes a series of tests on “Beauty and the Beast” (The CW, 9 p.m.).

Iggy Azelia and Travis Mills compete on “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ’N Out” (MTV, 10 p.m.).

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Wednesday TV: Marking ‘World Lion Day’

lion-day1-e1435565118330-808x382It’s World Lion Day and Animal Planet takes note with a day of programming the begins bright and early with “Big Cat Diary” (6 a.m.), with “Into the Lion’s Den” (1 p.m.), “Into the Pride” (3 p.m.) and “A Lion Called Christian” (8 p.m.) before culminating with “Clash of Africa’s Giants” (9 p.m.).

The finish line is what’s important on tonight’s 2016 Rio Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.) with women’s swimming relays featuring Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky and the individual medley for men’s swimmers including Ryan Locate and Michael Phelps. And there’s more beach volleyball with Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross vs. a Swiss team.

A second season starts for the annoyingly cheery snake oil salesman preying on the gullibility of TV stars. “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry” (E!, 8 p.m.) starts by visiting Melissa Joan Hart and Snooki and shocking them with knowledge anybody could get from Googling.

It’s paired with the show with the offensive title “Botched by Nature” (E!, 9 p.m.) whose premise is calling those born with imperfections ruined — until these condescending plastic surgeons from Los Angeles deign to visit them. It was seen as more important to tie the series title to the other show about plastic surgeries gone wrong, “Botched,” than showing any degree of empathy for the imperfect.

Similarly insensitive title for the reunion episode of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” (TLC, 9 p.m.): “The Skinny.”

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Tuesday TV: Tracking NFL’s Return to L.A.

HardKnocksWhen it came to choosing which NFL team to chronicle as it prepares for a new season, it was a no-brainer. “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Los Angeles Rams” (HBO, 10 p.m.), as the title indicates, follows the Rams as they return to Southern California, giving L.A. its first NFL team in 22 years.

The subject also provides the series with its first NFC West Division team in 11 seasons. The first of the five hour-long episodes will lead to the Sept. 6 finale.

The sports you’ll be attention to is the 2016 Rio Olympics (NBC, 8 p.m.) where Katie Ledecky will attempt to win more gold in the swimming finals, alongside Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps. The strong U.S. women’s gymnastics team will also compete.

One of the first series to show a new direction for its network, the dark “Animal Kingdom” (TNT, 9 p.m.) reaches its first season finale, with authorities closing in and Catherine missing.

Not sure a one hour “Bachelor in Paradise” (ABC, 8 p.m.) needs its own hour-long recap show. But here is the premiere of “After Paradise” (ABC, 9 p.m.), which features “celebrity fan” Diablo Cody. What happened to guilty pleasures?

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