Thursday TV: More TV and Film Awards

MunnThe Broadcast Television Journalists Association throws in with the Broadcast Film Critics Association to combine their night of handing out honors with the 23rd Annual Critics’ Choice Award (The CW, 8 p.m.). Olivia Munn, left, hosts the live event. “Feud: Bette & Joan” received the most nominations among the TV shows. “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot will get a special honor.

As “I, Tonya” gains attention at the box office, here’s a documentary special on the facts of the case, “Truth and Lies” The Tonya Harding Story” (ABC, 9 p.m.) featuring the subject herself.

The same week the latest iteration of “America’s Next Top Model” premiered, here’s another variation on the ambition: “Making a Model” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.), hosted by Yolanda Hadid of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

Laurie Metcalf returns as Sheldon’s mother on “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS, 8 p.m.). It is Metcalfe’s daughter Zoe Perry who plays a younger version of herself on “Young Sheldon” (CBS, 8:30 p.m.), tonight’s episode of which focuses on the lad’s personal survey of religion. In a set visit Wednesday, Perry said she’s had years to develop the role. [For more reporting on the TV Critics Association winter press tour, go here].

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Wednesday TV: New ‘Alone Together’

aloneTogetherBenji Aflalo and Esther Povitsky have pretty good chemistry as best friends navigating their fraught social lives as millennials in Los Angeles on the new “Alone Together” (Freeform, 8:30 p.m.). Not only are the stars young grads of such improv groups as Second City and the Groundlings, the series is produced with the help of members of Lonely Island. It may be Freeform’s hippest series yet. And it’s already been renewed for a second season.

Howie Mandel washes his hands and fist bumps comedians at The 3rd Annual Howie Mandel Stand-Up Gala (The CW, 8 p.m.), from the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal last summer. Among the performers are Ron Funches, Cedric the Entertainer and Cristela Alonzo.

On another comedy special, “Animal Crackers” (The CW, 9:30 p.m.) team mascots pull pranks in a show hosted by Dan Marino. First, disarm them of their T-shirt guns.

Neil deGrasse Tyson inevitably shows up during a two hour discussion of black holes in space on a special “Nova” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

WWE heads spoke of female breakthroughs and name changes in the organization in a session Tuesday at the TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour, but this reality show is still called “Total Divas” (E!, 9 p.m.). [More coverage of the TCA sessions can be found here].

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Tuesday TV: Teddy Visits the Amazon

amazonAlec Baldwin plays quite a different president than usual when he provides the voice of Theodore Roosevelt in a documentary about the 1914 adventure trip that almost killed the former president. The joint Brazilian-American expedition with Cândido Rondon.

Eight weeks into the trip, one member of the expedition had drowned, another had committed murder. Roosevelt, after injuring his leg, begged to be left behind to die, but his son Kermit wouldn’t allow it.

The story “Into the Amazon” is told on a new “American Experience” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

The premise of “Undercover High” (A&E, 8 p.m.) is a little creepy: Seven young adults, aged 21 to 26, pose as students at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kan., to see what’s going on among young people. It figures that it’s from the makers of “60 Days In,” about voluntarily breaking into prison.

Tyra Banks returns as host of “America’s Top Model” (VH1, 8 p.m.) as it reaches its 24th season. Judges include Ashley Graham, Law Roach and Drew Elliott.

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Monday TV: David Bowie’s Final Five Years

david_bowie_salute_portrait_a_lToday would have been the 71st birthday of David Bowie, but he died two years ago Wednesday. HBO chooses the birthday to celebrate as it premieres the British documentary “David Bowie: The Last Five Years” (HBO, 8 p.m.) concentrates on his final two albums, “The Next Day” and “Blackstar,” and his off-Broadway musical “Lazarus,” which all seemed to deal with the rock star’s impending death. Filmmaker Francis Whately uses those works as a window back into his remarkable career.

In lieu of any tours or performances of hose albums, the musicians who backed him are reunited, play a bit and talk about the work they did. The producer Tony Visconti is frequently seen, playing back the work, isolating tracks, and reminiscing. It’s a thoughtful look back at a formidable artist.

Already one of the top-rated shows on TV, “The Good Doctor” (ABC, 10 p.m.) resumes its first season. What makes it popular may point the way to the future at ABC, according to ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey. “It’s a show that is hopeful and optimistic and positive and really engages the audience in great ways. So those are going to be things that I’m going to be looking for.”

[Her comments came today at the TV Critics Association winter press tour, my coverage of which can be found here].

Chronic fatigue syndrome is examined in Jennifer Brea’s documentary “Unrest,” making its bow on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m.).

“The Brave” (NBC, 10 p.m.) is also back to resume its initial season.

The guys on “Better Late Than Never” (NBC, 9 p.m.) go to Berlin.

The 22nd season of “Antiques Roadshow” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) begins in Harrisburg, Penn.

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Sunday TV: Sure Predictions for the Globes

goldenglobesThe 75th Golden Globe Awards (NBC, 8 p.m.) are tonight and we have no predictions except that: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will make some goofy choices, TV and movie stars will enjoy hanging out with one another, political points will be awkwardly made and Seth Meyers will probably be sharp and funny as host. Oprah Winfrey may use her platform as recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award to announce her presidential candidacy.

Lena Waithe, an Emmy winner for her work on “Master of None,” has come up with her own series about a raft of characters on the South Side with the ambitious new “The Chi” (Showtime, 10 p.m.). Surprisingly, it begins with the kind of stereotypical violence so long tied to the area. But it shows signs it may shake off early missteps as it goes along.

Waithe, in a session at the TV Critics Association winter press tour Saturday, said the aim of “The Chi” is “showing brown people at human beings. As simple as an idea that is, it is a revolutionary act.

“We’re showing America how to see us,” Waithe said, “as just normal human beings. Not three fifths of a human being, but full fledged human beings.”

[More of my coverage on the TCA winter press tour can be found at the website TV Worth Watching].

Five American women go to Italy to find romance on the new reality series “To Rome for Love” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

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Saturday TV: The Saga of the Coreys

ATaleOfTwoCoreys-watch-desktop-hero-2048x1152Piggybacking on the recent spate of stories of sexual abuse in Hollywood is the new made for TV movie, “A Tale of Two Coreys” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.). It looks at the troubled and entangled careers of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, who first became teen stars in 1987’s “The Lost Boys” and went on to star in “Dream a Little Dream,” its sequel, and a handful of lesser films. Eventually they were in an A&E reality series called “The Two Coreys.”

Feldman is a producer of the film on their lives; versions of them are played by Elijah Marcano and Scott Bosely in the case of Feldman; and Justin Ellings and Casey Leach in the case of Haim, who died in 2010 at the age of 38.

The survivor talks about those days subsequently in “Corey Feldman: Moment of Truth” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.).

Elsewhere, “The Incredible Dr. Pol” (Nat Geo Wild, 9 p.m.) returns for its new season.

On network TV, “Ten Days in the Valley” (ABC, 9 and 10 p.m.) reaches its ninth and tenth days — and the end of its run.

Now it just takes winter to stoke romance on “Love on the Slopes” (Hallmark, 9 p.m.), their latest made for TV movie.

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Friday TV: ‘End of the [Something] World’

the-end-of-the-fucking-world-netflix-696x348The darkness and deep cynicism of a new, streaming coming of age series from the UK is indicated by the asterisks necessary in its title. “The End of the F***ing World” (Netflix, streaming) stars Alex Lawther as a teen who fancies himself a sociopath, to the point where he plans a classroom killing.

He meets his mach, though, in the equally antisocial Jessica Barden, and the two embark on a wild outlaw road trip in the dark comedy.

Also online, the new six part documentary series “Rotten” (Netflix, streaming) looks into the often unappetizing world behind the scenes in the global food industry, from chicken raising to dairy farm shortcuts to the making of ersatz honey.

This has happened for a while: Children helping adults answer trivia questions. Fred Savage hosts and Ricky Gervais faces the small fry to get the answers on the new “Child Support” (ABC, 8 p.m.). Some sort of prizes are involved, as well as some measure of embarrassment.

Soledad O’Brien looks back on high profile cases of the past on “Mysteries & Scandals” (Oxygen, 9 p.m.).

On “Hell’s Kitchen” (Fox, 8 p.m.), the three remaining chefs have to create fancy pasta dishes on the cheap.

A sixth season starts for the animated “The Amazing World of Gumball” (Cartoon Network, 6 p.m.).

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Thursday TV: A New Fox Singing Contest

TheFourTo fill the current lapse  of singing competitions, here’s a new one. “The Four” (Fox, 8 p.m.) begins its brief, six-episode run with four finalists in place. Their duty is to try to keep their places. Challengers audition before a panel of Sean Combs, Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled and label exec Charlie Walk. If they all approve, the new singer will go head-to-head against one of the four of his or her choice. Ultimately, the studio audience decides.  Fergie yells quite a bit as host and as in most such contests, the lights play too big a role on the geometric set.

The sixth and final season of “Nashville” (CMT, 9 p.m.) begins on cable with Hayden Panettiere’s character facing a series of questions and self doubt.

A sixth season also starts for “Project Runway All-Stars” (Lifetime, 9 p.m.).

The 1993 siege on David Koresh’s Texas compound will mark its 25th anniversary this year, so the first documentary to note it is “Truth and Lies: Waco” (ABC, 9 p.m.).

The new 10-episode “Mega Machines” (Science, 10 p.m.) will show how things like roller coasters and cargo planes are made.

It follows the new “Building Giants” (Science, 9 p.m.) about big new structures like stadiums.

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Wednesday TV: Ryan Murphy Calls ’911′

911-3_hires1Ryan Murphy has always innovated in TV and while some of his creations that began big became off-putting, he’s also been able to put out some of the best in recent TV with things like his “Feud” and “American Crime Story.”

Never has he done anything quite so conventional as “911” (Fox, 9 p.m.), a by-the-numbers procedural about a fire rescue team. Good about casting, he’s got a strong one, with Peter Krause,  Connie Britton and Angela Bassett. And while it’s a better than usual version of the show, it’s limited by its insistence on new calls and events to which they rush. One of the first of them has a touch of Murphy craziness — a baby stuck in plumbing.

The anticipated “Black-ish” spinoff, following the oldest daughter as she goes off to school, is called “Grown-ish” (Freeform, 8 p.m.). Tara Shahidi in real life attends Harvard and has visited with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. So she’s a little hard to believe as a dim college slacker amid her buds. The comedy, which is dominated by narration and freeze frame, underachieves. The streaming “Listen White People,” covering the same ground, is better. And so maybe is “The Quad.”

Speaking of disappointment, “The X-Files” (Fox, 8 p.m.) return last year was overwhelming enough to tarnish the memory of the old series. Its return today (not by popular demand), stays on that low level, with the task of recovering from the cliffhanger that hospitalized Scully. A lot of the return to night is devoted to chase scenes and makes one appreciate by comparison how much better a reboot “Twin Peaks” was last year.

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Tuesday TV: ‘L.A. to Vegas’ Fails to Liftoff

LA2VegasA sitcom set on a weekly shuttle to Sin City seems at first as a refreshing take on the workplace comedy. But “LA to Vegas” (Fox, 9 p.m.) is, instead, a largely unfunny exercise populated by one-dimensional characters. Dylan McDermott is the dim, egotistical captain (whose nemesis in episode three, Dermot Mulroney, completes that joke), Kim Matula as the flight attendant who wants more, the hot love interest (Ed Weeks), the gay attendant (Nathan Lee Graham), the stripper (Olivia Jacklin) and the gambler (Peter Stomare) trying to be a lovable cast of misfits. The problem in this first of a raft of midseason shows, there wasn’t a single laugh for me.

Not compared to, say, “The Mick” (Fox, 9:30 p.m.) with which it is paired.

It may be fun for a minute to watch Ellen DeGeneres torture victims who fail to answer quiz questions correctly in her “Ellen’s Game of Games” (NBC, 8 and 9 p.m.). But two hours of it has got to be torture in itself.

Another new competition starting to night is the “Chopped Gold Medal Games” (Food, 10 p.m.), an Olympic style cooking contest with a $50,000 prize.

Three couples agree to get “Married at First Sight” (Lifetime, 9 p.m.) in the season six premiere of the unusual series.

Pittsburgh area homes get refurbished by the brother-and-sister team of Leanne and Steve Ford on the new series “Restored by the Fords” (HGTV, 10 p.m.).

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