Thursday TV: The End of the Conventions

2008-dnc-heroConvention season comes to an end with Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton giving her historic speech. And like her Republican rival, she will be introduced by her daughter.

Also on the final night of the Democratic National Convention (MSNBC, 5 p.m.;Fox News, 6 p.m.;  CNN, CSPAN, 7 p.m.; PBS, 8 p.m.;  ABC, CBS, NBC, 10 p.m.) Katy Perry sings near the primetime network showcase; earlier, it will be Carole King and Sheila E. And there is a trace of TGIT: Shonda Rhimes directs the Clinton autobiographical film. Among the many political speakers will be stars such as Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. And balloons, so many balloons.

Hey, it’s women’s night on “Hollywood Game Night” (NBC, 9 p.m) as well, with Julia Stiles, Meredith Vieira, Natalie Morales, Bellamy Young, Hannah Davis and Raven-Symone.

“Jeff Ross Presents Roast Battle” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) which formalizes insult-trading into brackets, with judges that include David Spade, Kevin Hart, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman and Judd Apatow.

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Wednesday TV: More Talk of Black, White

BlackAndWhiteRace in America gets a pretty thoughtful workout each night on things like “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.). But these times require more discussion — and humor. Therefore, comedians Sherrod Small and Christian Finnegan host a new discussion show “Black and White” (A&E, 10:30 p.m.) with a range of guests. The initial ones include Jim Gaffigan, Charlemagne tha God and Negin Farsad.

There will likely be talk of race and other social issues, too, on tonight’s third night of the Democratic National Convention (MSNBC, 7 p.m.; PBS, CNN, 8 p.m.; ABC, CBS, NBC, 10 p.m.) from Philadelphia, where scheduled speakers include no less than President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as well as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and, after receiving the nomination of vice president on the ticket, the biggest spotlight yet for Virginia’s Tim Kaine.

“Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 11 p.m.) comes on live after the final speech, with a panel that includes D.L. Hugely, Anthony Weiner and Charles Cooke.

He joins the live comedy post-convention commentary of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central, 11 p.m.), “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS, 11:35 p.m.) and a special edition of “Weekend Update” (MSNBC, midnight).

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Tuesday TV: ‘MadTV’ Back with New Cast

MADtv-Michelle-Ortiz-Piotr-MichaelIt was the only late night competitor to “Saturday Night Live” to really give it a run for the money. It was the incubator for a lot of comics from Keegan-Michael Key to Mo Collins, Mo Collins, Ike Barinholtz, Michael McDonald, Aires Spiere and Nicole Sullivan; and, except for a “Spy v. Spy” cartoon had nothing to do with the magazine in its name.

Some of the old names may actually make cameos on the revived “MadTV” (The CW, 8 p.m.), back after a seven year absence and now on another network. But it has a new cast that includes Chelsea Davison, Adam Ray, Michael Ortiz, Carlie Craig, Jeremy D. Howard, Amir K and Lyric Lewis.

The notable thing is that sketch comedy is making its move on prime time after a generation.

The second night of the Democratic National Convention (MSNBC, CSPAN, 8 p.m.; PBS, 8 p.m; CNN, 9 p.m.; ABC, CBS and NBC, 10 p.m.) has a lot to do to top Monday’s drama, but it includes former president Bill Clinton, the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Dontre Hamilton, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Hadiya Pendleton and Sandra Bland, and the roll call nomination in the late afternoon, which means we haven’t heard from the booing Bernie Bros.

Both “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central, 11 p.m.) and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS, 11:35 p.m.) are live to comment on the convention doings.

There’s a second night this week of “The Bachelorette” (ABC, 8 p.m.) as well. It’s the Men Tell All episode.

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Bryan Ferry, Still Cool, at Lincoln Theatre

FerryIn a year that began with the death of David Bowie and was followed by a seeming succession of crushing musical losses, it becomes more important to cherish the influential figures we’re still lucky to have among us.

If it’s hard to think of Bryan Ferry as endangered, it’s simply because, at an astonishing 70, he still has much of the cool élan, style and verve he had when he led Roxy Music two generations ago. With only some grey flecks amid his full head of hair and a stance that would allow him to retain a James Bond role had he been ever been so cast, he seems to have lost only a tad of his upper register.

In those moments he threw it to the soulful vocalists who bolstered his reedy voice throughout, Fonzi Thornton and Bobbie Gordon (who did that high-flying solo to close “Avalon”).

With a wealth of classics as well as surprising choices from his Roxy days as well as from his solo career, the show was more an overview than an attempt to sell his most recent album. As such, there were just three selections from the sturdy “Avonmore” from 2014 — two to start the 21-song set and another not long after.

Instead, the dreamy “Slave to Love,” just three songs in, led to Roxy songs both well known (“Oh Yeah”) and less so (“Ladytron” from the first album). He threw in a spare, quite lovely reading of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” over pianist Paul Beard and offered another early Roxy delight that hadn’t been part of his set of late, the explosive “In Every Dream Home a Heartache.”

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Monday TV: Now, the Democrats’ Turn

DNCIf you’re not tired of balloons and bunting, the Democratic National Convention (MSNBC, CSPAN, 8 p.m.; PBS, 8 p.m; CNN, 9 p.m.; ABC, CBS and NBC, 10 p.m.) tries its hand at the political thing in Philadelphia. It ought to have a different tone than last week’s fearfest, with a roster already more full of star power. On night one, that means keynotes by Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders as well as addresses from vice presidential runners up Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, appearances from Sarah Silverman and Eva Longoria and singing from Demi Lovato and Paul Simon.  I’d still way the way to go is CSPAN, just to get every speech, musical interlude and procedural flub.

Speaking of choices, Jojo shaves her’s to three on “The Bachelorette” (ABC, 8 p.m.) after TV’s sleaziest event — “fantasy suite” night, this time in Thailand.

It’s the wrong time of year, but good to have a full-length episode of “Murdoch Mysteries: A Very Murdoch Christmas” (Acorn TV, streaming), even if it is online.

If tonight’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.) is like last week’s election special, it will involved a long bus ride to the event, and nothing from the convention.

Drew Barrymore and John Hodgkin portray apartment neighbors on “Odd Mom Out” (Bravo, 10 p.m.).

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Sunday TV: History, Ozzy’s Way

ozzy-osbourne-third-video-trailer-released-for-ozzy-jacks-world-detour-adventure-series-imageOnce, they were part of reality TV’s first family. Now the mumbling paterfamilias of the Osbournes and his No. 1 son join forces on a travel show. On “Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour” (History, 10 p.m.) the two try to hit some historical destinations since they’re on the History channel and all. First stop is Jamestown, Va., where Jack thinks early settlers may have been British ancestors. Ozzy, meanwhile, thinks they’ might be cannibals.

While people are still around, and their costumes aren’t totally tattered, time for the third “MTV Fandom Awards” (MTV, 8 p.m.). Tyler Posey of “Teen Wolf” hosts.

Comic-Con is recounted by Kevin Smith and Greg Grunberg on the new “Geeking Out” (AMC, 10 p.m.).

The last of the special shows thrown there by “Conan” (TBS, 11 p.m.) welcomes the cast of “The Game of Thrones.” There will be a lot of cheering.

Victor, who won a chance to get back in the house, surprises his former colleagues on “Big Brother” (CBS, 8 p.m.) on which new head of household James announces his new nominees for eviction.

It happens on “Food Network Star” (Food, 8 p.m.) too; where somebody who has been eliminated gets to come back after six weeks of competition online in “Star Salvation.”

It only took one episode for “Vice Principals” (HBO, 10:30 p.m.) jumps the shark.

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What I Saw at the Capital Fringe Festival

CAPITAL-FRINGE_logoGot to see nearly a dozen productions at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival. Which sounds like a lot but is only a fraction of the 130 shows produced.

At any rate, here are the reviews of what I saw over the last three weeks that I wrote for The Washington Post.

  • A history of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and a look inside the writers room of a soap in Kabul.
  • A terrific portrait of Richard Nixon, imported from England.
  • A standup comic talks about his Indian-American roots and racism.
  • A musical look at Duke Ellington’s mercurial saxophonist on a bad day.
  • Two women in the South commiserate over martinis at a funeral.
  • A surprisingly faithful version of Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” though it had seven actors performing 40 roles.
  • A strong one-man show saluting the suicidal godfather of improv.
  • Two musicals, one with the last Imperial family of Russia, out on a pop tour to sing about their demise; the other a glam punk dance explosion.
  • Finally, an experimental performance troupe methodically calls it quits.


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Saturday TV: Put a Spike in It, It’s Done

hell-on-wheels-season-5-ep-13-mickey-line-678x381With the transcontinental railroad complete, “Hell on Wheels” (AMC, 9 p.m.) comes to an end after five seasons. The Central Pacific was first to hit the finish line and went over its mark before it was met by the Union Pacific. The fate of its characters are suggested when, after driving the golden spike, there are government hearings and new beginnings for the survivors of the series that starred Anson Mount, Robin McLeavy, Tim Guinee and Colm Meany, pictured.

What happens when series end too abruptly for fans? They sometimes come up with a movie to tie things up. HBO was supposed to do one for “Deadwood,” but ended up completing one for “Looking” (HBO, 10 .m.).

“Conan” (TBS, 11 p.m.) has a rare show on Saturday, where he wraps up his coverage of Comic-Con by talking to the cast of “Suicide Squad” with Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis and Cara Delevingne.

He’s not the only one there. “Syfy Presents Live from Comic-Con” (Syfy, 8 p.m.), hosted by Will Arnett, talks to David Guintoli of “Grimm,” Mercedes Mason of “Fear the Walking Dead” and Elijah Wood, Samuel Barnett and Max Landis of “Dirk Gently.”

A bonfire collapsing at Texas A&M is covered on the season finale of “20/20: In an Instant” (ABC, 9 p.m.).

Addressing the plight of wolves, alligators and sharks on “Hello World!” (Discovery, 8 p.m.), Joan Jett sings her “Bad Reputation.” Then in a second episode at 8:30, Dave Matthews sings “Save Me” for the rhinos, toads and manatees.

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Playlist 7-22-16

RadioCPR2A salute to George Clinton’s birthday was followed by a memorial to Alan Vega, the innovator and former member of Suicide who died last Saturday at 78.

There was a big set of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music in advance of his shows in town this week, and some Sufjan Stevens to mark his show at Wolf Trap tonight. Also a few things from Jeff Beck, who will be there Wednesday. Closed with this and that including some Hank Williams.

Here’s what I played on the radio tonight.

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Friday Night: Battling Back to ‘Big Brother’

battle-back1A rare Friday night “Big Brother” (CBS, 8 p.m.) is reserved for the competition among the five evicted houseguests so far to compete against one another so that one of them can gain entry back into the house. Downside: it may result in the return of megalomaniac Jozea. Others in the fight: Tiffany, Bronte, Victor and Glenn — eliminated in the first episode.

The circus in Cleveland has left town. Now it’s time to put attention on another, with nearly as extreme costumes: “Live from Comic-Con” (Syfy, 8 p.m.) with Will Arnett, whose own animated “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix, streaming) is back with its third season today.

Also back online is the second season of the latest iteration of the Canadian high school classic “Degrassi: Next Class” (Netflix, streaming).

The remaining bakers have to make sugar-free cakes, gluten-free pitas and dairy-free ice cream cones on “The Great British Baking Show” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). A second episode runs at 10.

The most far flung of the franchise, “The Real Housewives of Melbourne” (Bravo, 9 p.m.), originating from Australia not Florida, returns for its third season.

Odd to have “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.) staging its third live show in as many days, but I guess that’s how his nightly “Politically Incorrect” used to work. HIs guests tonight include America Ferrera, Ian Bremmer, Ana marie Cox, Jack Kingston and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn.

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