The premise for many shows in the summer are the kinds of things that would have made for good single episodes of “The Twilight Zone” — A town under a glass dome! A town you can’t leave! A boy who’s a robot! A robot who’s a nanny! Tonight add to that with an adaptation of James Patterson’s novel, “Zoo” (CBS, 9 p.m.) about a malady that causes animals worldwide to attack people. James Wolk, Kristen Connolly and Billy Burke star.
MTV has been without a hit for such a long time — yoou really have to go back to “Jersey Shore” or the first days of “Catfish” — that they’re trying their luck with comedy horror tonight with a series made out of the 90s franchise “Scream” (MTV, 10 p.m.). Expect annoying phone calls, that Munch-inspired plastic mask and plenty of blood.
Eight transgender children, age 9 to 19, talk about their experiences on an episode of “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) called “Growing Up Trans.”
This will be big: U.S. vs Germany (Fox, 7 p.m.) in the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals in Montreal.
To help its launch is the second of a two-night launch of the fifth season of “Teen Wolf” (MTV, 9 p.m.).
The consequences of being an oil boom town, where plentiful jobs have outstripped the means to support the new workers.
In “The Overnighters,” a Sundance Award-winning documentary by Jesse Moss making its debut on “POV” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings), means that a Lutheran pastor has to open his church to workers in Willston, N.D., causing some friction with the old-time parishioners, whose hospitality and trust is tested by the sometimes rowdy workers.
The frailty in recent years of the activist and writer Larry Kramer belies the fury and furor of his relentless activism earlier in his life as founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The author of last year’s award-winning HBO film “The Normal Heart” is profiled in Jean Carlomusto’s portrait “Larry Kramer in Love & Anger” (HBO, 9 p.m.).
“Teen Wolf” (MTV, 10 p.m.) returns for a fifth season, still without Michael J. Fox.
The shambles of this season’s “The Bachelorette” (ABC, 8 p.m.) — the accusations! the cliffhangers! _ continues in Ireland, where there is much unhealthy kissing of the Blarney stone.
“Nurse Jackie” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) is one of those shows that tended to be taken for granted, underrated, but will be sorely missed once the final episode of the seventh and last season shows tonight.
It’s been blessed with not only Edie Falco, who has done some of her strongest work in the show (this after “The Soprano”), but also a strong supporting cast. Though it began with very different show runners, its last few seasons have been strong thanks to Clyde Phillips, who came over to the show once “Dexter” ended on the same network.
That move was a tricky one, he told me earlier this year.
“It was definitely a learning curve, and I made some mistakes along the way,” Phillips said. “And made some really good decisions along the way. “One of the things that I discovered in coming over from ‘Dexter,,” he said, “is that the characters were not all that dissimilar. They had deep, dark secrets that they kept from the people who were closest to them. And they did things that arguably not arguably, but inarguably were terrible to the people who were closest to them, and yet we still love them.”
Not to be confused with the how from earlier this week about humans named “Mr. Robot,” the new “Humans” (AMC, 9 p.m.) is about robots. Not sexbots (which are the closest things to apparently being realized) or even “BattleBots” (ABC, 9 p.m.) which are on now in prime time, but nanny bots such as the one played by Gemma Chan, or a little boy bot like the one they had in “A.I.” or in “Extant” (which returns later this week).
It’s an eerie concept but not an original one. Like “Pinoccio,” they long to be real . Hope they don’t get swallowed by a whale before they meet their blue fairy.
“Blackish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ross Ellis host the 15th BET Awards (BET, 8 p.m.) from Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Janet Jackson and Tom Joyner will be special honorees. N.W.A. is reuniting and other performers include Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Omarian, Robin Thicke Janelle Monae, Tinashe, Anthony Hamilton, Jason DeRulo, Meek Mill, Fetty Wap and the cast of “Empire.” The pre show is exactly as long as the real show, starting at 6 p.m.
Jesse Metcalfe, who played John Tucker as well as John Rowland, the lawnmower guy romancing Eva Longoria on “Desperate Housewives,” turns country artist in the TV movie “A Country Wedding” (Hallmark, 9 p.m.) in which the recording star ditches his planned wedding to an actress for a hometown girl played by Autumn Reeser. He gets to sing too.
In another original TV film tonight Marques Houston plays a man who has to marry before his grandfather dies so he can inherit his fortune. Keisha Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele also star in “Will to Love” (TV One, 8 p.m.).
In a third TV movie, Bella Thorne stars as a high school dance star whose use of prescription painkillers after an injury leads to heroin addiction in “Perfect High” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.).
Ghost tries to get his club back on a new “Power” (Starz, 9 p.m).
Making its premium cable debut is last year’s “John Wick” (HBO, 8 p.m.) with Keanu Reeves as a hit man, with Willem Dafoe, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane and Bridget Moynahan. Elsewhere, Anne Hathaway stars in the Brooklyn-set drama “Song One” (Showtime, 9 p.m.).
Well, nobody else was scheduled to be on tonight, so I came in early to play a whole lot of Firesign Theatre, which never got a lot of airplay.
Its Phil Austin, Nick Danger himself, died last week at the age of 74. Then, inspired by the terrific Brian Wilson bio pic “Love and Mercy,” a heavy dose of “Pet Sounds” instrumentals, isolated vocal tracks and other celestial high points.
Fifty years ago, The Byrds’ “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man” hit No. 1; 49 years ago today the Rolling Stones played the Washington Coliseum in an afternoon show (they were playing Baltimore that night). I’m not the only person stuck in the ‘60s; John Fogerty’s current tour is full of stuff he recorded in 1969. It’s a pretty good set list too, played a bit from it as well. He plays Wolf Trap Tuesday.
Rosanne Cash played in Fairfax tonight, so played some of her, as well as her dad, which led to a bunch of murder ballads from a mix a pal made me.
Moved on to Nouvelle Vague, Jason Isbell and a bunch of singles. Closed with some Mick Jones – it’s his 60th birthday! Here’s what I played on the radio tonight:
Her music has always had a rich timelessness, but seems particularly attuned today. So it’s a great time for Liz Garbus’ documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” (Netflix, streaming) about the singular singer and activist Nina Simone. Her performances and past interviews are combined with new interviews with those who knew her, including her daughter.
It may be mistaken as an Obamacare victory lap, but the latest “In Performance at the White House: The Gospel Tradition” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) was taped weeks ago, featuring Aretha Franklin, Shirley Caesar, Rhiannon Giddens and Lyle Lovett. T Bone Burnett is executive music director for the special hosted by the President and first lady.
With “High School Musical” having run its course, the sunnier musical with Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell is the new big thing at Disney, with the 2013 original now followed by the new “Teen Beach 2″ (Disney, 8 p.m.). Maia Mitchell, Ross Lynch, Grace Phipps and Garrett Clayton star.
Music has a smaller part in “Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongang” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) where basketball and a perhaps misguided notion of international relations are at work, as the former basketball star tries to forge relations with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un through a friendly tournament there, in what might be the biggest cultural miscue regarding the secretive country until “The Interview.”
A quiz show with a dumb name “Boom!” (Fox, 8 p.m.) doesn’t just give prizes, it penalizes people with wrong answers in the manner of ejector seats like MTV’s old “Remote Control” or slime like that from any number of Nickelodeon shows like “Double Dare.”
Tom Papa hosts the show that had its start on Israeli TV as a bomb-diffusing competition, which seems like poor taste.
A show like “Under the Dome” (CBS, 9 p.m.) was never meant to go past a single season. But amid a lot of fare like the above show, it became a relative summer hit. There followed a second season and some wondering whether they’d ever get from out under the dome. The third season starts tonight with Marg Helgenberger and Eriq La Salle joining in. But at two hours, it’s already wearing out its welcome.
Also back tonight “Rookie Blue” (ABC, 10 p.m.), the flimsy Canadian import that’s already in its sixth season. In the debut, Missy Peregrym gets attacked at home.
There may be a similarity between basic cable dramas, but the new “Mr. Robot” (USA, 10 p.m.) stands out. It’s much darker and cinematic and not about a robot. At least, not yet. It’s about a paranoid young hacker in a hoodie employed by a big corporation with an Enron-like logo and an evil demeanor, who is persuaded to join an underground group that will take the fat cats down.
Christian Slater runs the underground group, operating between rides at Coney Island, and for him it’s the latest in a string of series in which he’s appeared. This one may last a bit longer than the network fare, though, just because of its different tone, with incessant narration, paranoia and a non-traditional looking hero in Rami Malek. There’s also a lot more cussing than usual in these things, which means USA is testing new ground or will bleep what flies on advance copies. It will take a while to figure out whether the series is actually any good though.
A new series on public television, the five-part “First Peoples” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) looks at the earliest migration of homo sapiens on each of the continents, starting with the Americas tonight, showing how early man mingled with Neanderthals more than 55,000 years ago. It also covers the 9,000 year old Kennewick Man, in the news recently as discussions continue whether the skeleton found in rural Washington state should be returned to native people.
Another tribe is formed tonight as a new season of “Big Brother” (CBS, 8 p.m.) begins, full of the usual gang of white folks. Well that’s just among the 14 houseguests who have been announced. Surprise additions are expected. Julie Chen returns to host its 15th year and 17th season, the activities of the group can be seen on live feed. Sorry night owls, “Big Brother After Dark” doesn’t start until Thursday.
“Another Period” (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.), Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome’s lavishly costumed and decorated period piece depicting a high-living household of dim bulbs in Newport, R.I., at the turn of the last century, is equally as wealthy in cast, with no less than a dozen familiar comic faces in tonight’s premiere from Thomas Lennon, Michael Ian Black, David Wain, Kate Flannery, Brett Gelman and David Koechner. It even includes Jason Ritter and Christina Hendricks in her first big role since “Mad Men.”
That they’re mostly mean and stupid, though, doesn’t make for the highest quality comedy, though and a pilot involving Helen Keller devolves into a brawl. I imagine every episode will follow suit into similar shambles. It’s interesting to watch for Paget Brewster as a dowager, using a voice she never gets to use. But it’s kind of sad that Lindhome is leaving behind her old persona and her former Garfunkel and Oates teammate, Kate Micucci, for the much more caustic Leggero in the series.
A new “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) investigates a pervasive culture toward abuse toward women who toil overnight as janitors in office buildings in a collaboration with Univision, KQED, the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and Reveal, an arm of the Center for Investigative Reporting. It builds on their award-winning 2013 collaboration, “Rape in the Fields.”