Monday TV: Disapproving ‘Approval Matrix’

approval_matrixThe adaptation of New York magazine’s reliable and smart back page feature into a TV show is just the kind of thing that would land it in the middlebrow/despicable field. Why ruin the delicately charted cultural notes of a week into another cable chattiest — especially run by a host who is not entirely clear of the distinction between lowbrow and highbrow?

Entirely self-satisfied comedian Neal Brennan hosts “The Approval Matrix” (Sundance, 11 p.m.) with an opening night panel that includes Julie Klausner, Willie Geist, Whitney Cummings and Matt Roush discussing the golden age of TV and diversity in casting (this from an all white panel). It involves trying to reach consensus on where to place blocks on the matrix, like it’s some sort of game show. I’m against it because he doesn’t like “Louie.”

One of television’s oldest franchises, which continues in spirit in all manner of contemporary reality prank shows, “Candid Camera” (TV Land, 8 p.m.) is back with a new edition, this one co-hosted by originator Alan Funt’s son (or maybe grandson by now), Peter Funt, along with Mayim Bialik of “Big Bang Theory.” Together they continue to play tricks on the unsususpecting public. They also use celebrities such that Megan Hilty brings in her car to get fixed, though it doesn’t seem to have an engine at all.

It’s clear by now that “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (NBC, 8 p.m.) is an attempt to get the Aussie outdoorsman and some hunky Hollywood type shirtless in the woods. This week, it’s Channing Tatum at Yosemite National Park.

I suppose such cheesecake is intended to attract the kind of audience already enamored by the hunks on “Bachelor in Paradise” (ABC, 8 p.m.), a frolic that would seem more fun if it weren’t on for two hours.

Asghar Farhadi’s esteemed drama about an Iranian divorce in Paris, “The Past” (Starz, 10 p.m.), gets a cable showcase, starring Ali Mosaffa and Berenice Bejo.

The finale of “Murder in the First” (TNT, 10 p.m.) seems to promise that the case that’s been investigated throughout the debut season will be solved.

In Chester’s Mill as in Gaza, the answer to “Under the Dome” (CBS, 10 p.m.) may lie in its tunnels.

They’re doing a clip show on “American Ninja Warrior” (NBC, 9 p.m.) — and it’s still two hours.

The Hotel Chester in Starkville, Miss., gets a visit from Gordon Ramsay on “Hotel Hell” (Fox, 9 p.m.). He’s a busy guy, having presided earlier over the Top 10 on “MasterChef” (Fox, 8 p.m.), who divide into team to cook for a football stadium.

That fantastic comic Padma Lakshmi guest stars on “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (The CW, 8 p.m.).

April’s stalker is revealed on “Mistresses” (ABC, 10 p.m.).

“Brain Games” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.) looks at how anger affects a brain.

It’s Marlon Brando day on Turner Classic Movies with “Mutiny on the Bounty” (6 a.m.), “The Young Lions” (9:30 a.m.), “Sayonara” (12:30 p.m.), “The Teahouse of the August Moon” (3 p.m.), “A Streetcar Named Desire” (8 p.m.), “The Wild One” (10:15 p.m.), “On the Waterfront” (11:45 p.m.), “Julius Caesar” (1:45 a.m.) and “The Formula” (4 a.m.).

Baseball today includes Mets at Philadelphia (MLB, 1 p.m.) and Dodgers at Atlanta (ESPN, 7 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly & Michael: Ethan Hawke, Elisabeth Moss, Brooklyn Decker. The View: Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Bell Biv Devoe, Arsenio Hall. The Talk: Kathy Griffin, Shawn Hatosy, Marie Osmond. Ellen DeGeneres: Kunal Nayyar, Wolfgang Puck, Cheryl Burke (rerun). Wendy Williams: LeAnn Rimes, Eddie Cibrian (rerun).

Late Talk

David Letterman: Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Sam Smith (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Katie Holmes, Chris Hardwick, OneRepublic. Jimmy Kimmel: Gordon Ramsay, Bobcat Goldthwait, Common (rerun). Seth Meyers: Jeff Bridges, Riki Lindhome & Kate Micucci, Strand of Oaks. Craig Ferguson: Jim Gaffigan (rerun). Carson Daly: Aisha Tyler, Deap Vally, Tokyo Police Club (rerun). Tavis Smiley: Sonia Nazario (rerun). Jon Stewart: Sonia Nazario (rerun). Stephen Colbert: Campbell Brown (rerun). Arsenio Hall: Tracy Morgan, Nick Cannon, Ernestine Johnson (rerun). Conan O’Brien: Will Arnett, Anna Camp, Benjamin Booker. Chelsea Handler: Megan Fox, John Caparulo, Fortune Feimster, Kurt Braunohler.

 

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