Thursday TV: The Games Networks Play

game nightJane Lynch hosts a sixth season for “Hollywood Game Night” (NBC, 9 p.m.). The names of the players tonight may not be recognizable, but the faces certainly will be, culled from shows like “American Ninja Warrior,” “The Good Place” and “Superstore.” The return comes on a night already full of games like “The Wall” (NBC, 8 p.m.), “Holey Moley” (ABC, 8 p.m.), “Spin the Wheel” (Fox, 9 p.m.),

A second season begins for “The Outpost” (CW, 9 p.m.), the fantasy series with Jessica Green and Jake Stormoen.

Dale pops up on a new episode of “Baskets” (FX, 10 p.m.).

“Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” (MTV, 8 p.m.) is back for a third season, starting in Las Vegas and then returning to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore. But they’re covering all of the real-life drama in the characters as well, showing up at a tax evasion trial in  an episode titled “The United States vs. The Situation.”

The big question on “Big Brother” (CBS, 9 p.m.) this season seems to be: how fast can they evict all the people of color? Tonight, either Kemi or Jessica is next.

Two pasty dudes invade “Love Island” (CBS, 8 p.m.) and go on dates with women that viewers decided last night.

An award-winner at the Toronto International Film Festival, Ho Wi Ding’s “Cities of Last Things” (Netflix, streaming) makes its U.S. premiere. A co production of film companies from Taiwan, China, France and the U.S., the Mandarin-language film is subtitled in English.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Wednesday TV: New Comedy ‘Florida Girls’

pop-tv-florida-girlsPop, the U.S. home of Canada’s “Schitt’s Creek,” brings another comedy about poverty level living. “Florida Girls” (Pop, 10 and 10:30p.m.) celebrates the life of 20-something girls struggling to survive in the gritty beach settings based on Clearwater. Laura Chinn, a former writer on “The Mick” recalls her own growing up in a place where young women couldn’t afford to finish their tattoos and took jobs as bar mermaids in shady theme bars. Chinn also stars alongside Melanie Field, Laci Mosley and Patty Guggenheim.

A third season of “Snowfall” (FX, 10 p.m.) begins amid the crack epidemic of 1984. Damson Idris stars as the rising drug dealer in gritty Los Angeles.

From the same era (and that of “Stranger Things” for that matter) is “Battle of the 80s Supercars with David Hasselhoff” (History, 8 p.m.), in which the Hoff gets to race Erik Estrada.

“Harlots” (Hulu, streaming) is back for its third season, with Jessica Brown Findlay’s character Charlotte rising in the organization.

The second half of “I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter” (HBO, 8 p.m.) may be more intriguing than the first, with all manner of reasons for her behavior, urging a boyfriend’s suicide via texts. Among them, drugs, gaining attention, and TV’s “Glee.” The concluding half also has the verdict, which viewers have presumably forgotten.

The world champion U.S. women’s soccer team is feted with a Ticker Tape Parade (Fox Sports 2, ESPNU, 9:30 a.m.) from New York. Then they fly to Los Angeles where there will be more celebrations amid the 2019 ESPY Awards (ABC, 8 p.m.), hosted by Tracy Morgan.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Tuesday: Behind Her Suicide-Urging Texts

i_love_you_now_dieErin Lee Carr, daughter of late New York Times correspondent, turns in an intriguing two part documentary on the celebrated case of a Massachusetts teen charged in the connection with the death of her boyfriend, who, texted him encouraging his suicide. Titled “I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter” (HBO, 8 p.m.), it would seem an open and shut case. But Carr looks further, raising questions in a number of areas, from how teenage girls are regarded, to the anti-depressants both were on, to her addiction to the TV show “Glee” in a fascinating investigation.

One would think it’s risky, after the failure of Fox’s recent reboot of “Temptation Island” there would be much hope for “Love Island” (CBS, 8 p.m.). It’s based on a cheeky UK hit, but the U.S. version of dating show in Fiji may get old fast, as it airs five nights a week after tonight’s premiere.

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game (Fox, 8 p.m.) is played in Cleveland. The American league has won the last six games.

Emerging after laying low a year due to an ex-girlfriend’s complaints, the comic Aziz Ansari has some observations to share in an Spike Jonze-directed new standup special that seems to use a lot of unusual angles,  “Aziz Ansari Right Now” (Netflix, streaming).

In the new, six-part limited series “The Disappearance” (WGN, 10 p.m.), a boy goes missing on his 10th birthday.

Part two of “Chasing the Moon” on “American Experience” (PBS, 9 p.m.) looks at the early Apollo program.

Biography looks at the 70s icon on the 10th anniversary of her death in “Farrah Fawcett Forever” (A&E, 9 p.m.).

Two new TV talent competitions debut tonight. On “Bring the Funny” (NBC, 10 p.m.), judges that include Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen and Jeff Foxworthy, look for a new comedy act. On the new “The Next Big Thing” (BET, 10 p.m.) which is screening 21 R&B and hip-hop hopefuls to get down to a field of 12. Charlamagne Tha God hosts; among the mentors are Lil’ Kim, Tamar Braxton Remy Ma and the late Nipsey Hussle.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Monday TV: Bang, Zoom, to the Moon

MoonThe 50th anniversary of the moon landing is July 20, but it will take nearly two weeks to get all the specials in. “Chasing the Moon” is a three-part documentary on “American Experience” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) that steps back to look at all the steps to reach the seemingly-impossible goal.

“The Armstrong Tapes” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.) is a documentary about the man who made that first step on the mon, Neil Armstrong, who wasn’t known to give a lot of interviews.

Oddly, it’s paired with a documentary about the 1986 mission that stalled the space program “Challenger Disaster: The Final Mission” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.).

The moon of another planet is considered in the documentary “Explorer: Journey to Europa” (National Geographic, 8 p.m.) that turns the attention toward Jupiter.

There is also a space-themed “Antiques Roadshow” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings).

Miss Trump’s Fourth of July speech? “Chuck Norris’ Epic Guide to Military Vehicles” (History, 9 p.m.) won’t be too far off.

It comes alongside a doc about the abandoned development of a civilian craft, the 30th anniversary Corvette, in “The Lost Corvette” (History, 10 p.m.).

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Sunday TV: Whole Lot of Movie Highlights

Titanic, 1997They’ve already stylishly dissected the decades from the 60s to the 2000s, now Tom Hanks and his production team of Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog take a much broader look at “The Movies” (CNN, 9 p.m.) in a six-part series that covers the last half century. That means parsing through flicks we know quite well and may be more nostalgia trips than actual indications of greatness.

Though it will doubtlessly be well-done and entertaining, it looks like an expanded one of those montages they make for the Oscars that try to remind people why they like the art form.

“Endeavour” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) ends its short season of feature-length mysteries with a case of a tower block collapse.

Some of the winners of this year’s Peabody Awards get to talk about their projects on “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” (FX, 10:30 p.m.) hosted by Hasan Minhaj, including the creators of “Pose” and “Random Acts of Flyness.”

There is something about summer and stunt programming. First it was a high-wire stunt, and now it’s “Evel Live 2” (History, 9 p.m.), in which a pair of motorcyclists, Axell Hodges and Vicki Golden, attempt three stunts in the style of Evel Knievel. Travis Pastrana and Matt Iseman host the live event, which has its own pre-show, “Evel Live: Behind the Scenes” (History, 8 p.m.).

The biggest sports event on TV today is the women’s soccer world cup final, it’s U.S. vs. Netherlands (Fox, Telemundo, 11 a.m.) from France.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Saturday TV: ‘The Battle of Algiers’

THE-BATTLE-OF-ALGIERS1520It’s an Algiers double feature on Turner Classic Movies with Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 “The Battle of Algiers” (8 p.m.). Ana DuVernay introduces the influential film about the Algiers overthrow of the occupying French Foreign Legion in 1957, shot on the streets it took place.

It’s paired with the 1938 crime film “Algiers” (10:15 p.m.) with Charles Boyer, Sigrid Gurie and Hedy Lamarr.

Then comes the midnight noir, “The Tattooed Stranger” (midnight), about a Central Park murder, and two topical films from the late 70s and early 80s, “The China Syndrome” (1:30 a.m.) with Jane Fonda and Jack Lemon, and “Absence of Malice” (3:45 a.m.) with Paul Newman and Sally Field.

The comedian talks about his considerable weight loss on his stand-up special “Lavelle Crawford: New Look Same Funny!” (Showtime, 10:35 p.m.).

Party pools are the focus of “Best. Pool. Ever.” (HGTV, 10 p.m.), which may also be the goal of “Pool Hunters” (HGTV, 9:30 p.m.), making its premiere. There’s also a new show about homeowners who want to expand an existing watering hole, with “Supersize My Pool” (HGTV, 9 p.m.). And the evening begins with “Pool Kings” (HGTV, 8 p.m.).

Rami Malek performs his Oscar-winning role as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury as “Bohemian Rhapsody” (HBO, 8 p.m.) has its premium cable debut. Also premiering tonight: the dystopian thriller “Hotel Artemis” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) with Jodie Foster and Sterling K. Brown, and the horror flick “The Possession of Hannah Grace” (Starz, 8 p.m.) with Shay Mitchell, Grey Damon and Kirby Johnson.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Friday TV: Lifetime Movies Gone Wrong

Wrong-1Cindy Busby stars as a manic new stepmom in the made-for-TV “The Wrong Stepmother” (Lifetime Movies, 8 p.m.), which also features Vivica A. Fox, Corin Nemec, Tracy Nelson, Calli Taylor and McKinley Blehm.

It’s the first of four consecutive Friday night movies featuring and produced by Fox. Coming up this month are: “The Wrong Boy Next Door,” “The Wrong Mommy” and “The Wrong Tutor.” Which are not to be confused with the other actual Lifetime movies, “The Wrong Student,” “The Wrong Car,” “The Wrong Woman,” “The Wrong Son,” “The Wrong Boyfriend” and “The Wrong Mother.” Which all sounds like pretty much the wrong direction.

Obviously not a big day for new content on TV. It’s the rare Friday when even Netflix doesn’t have one new title to unleash, let alone the usual half dozen. They probably are counting on you to finish up season 3 of “Stranger Things” (Netflix, streaming), which dropped yesterday. Its horror bits are pretty cheesy, but I can see why people enjoy this cast and the 80s details.

On “Los Spookys” (HBO, 11 p.m.), the group agrees to help the U.S. ambassador fake her own abduction in order to get the visas they need to get to Hollywood. But something goes wrong with an enchanted mirror.

Elsewhere, “Savage Builds” (Discovery, 10 p.m.) an Excalibur sword.

It’s Earth against the Galaxy-Hopping Hate-Beast That Eats Planets, a monster with a terrible name, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Thursday: Strange 4th, ‘Stranger Things’

strangerThe little kids on “Stranger Things” (Netflix, streaming) are now gangly teens in season three of the popular sci-fi series and they’re hanging around a lot in the mall. The 1980s setting certainly invites the Spielberg touches, though the new season is supposedly more influenced by “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Stranger yet is the real life politicization of the Fourth of July celebration in D.C. into more of an ostentatious Red Square-style military display and self-produced salute to the current president. Yet, most all commercial networks are declining to air his “Salute to America” (Fox News, CSPAN, 6:30 p.m.), save for his loyal, state TV-style mouthpiece.

The traditional Washington celebration “A Capitol Fourth” (PBS, 8 p.m.) continues on the other end of the Mall, with John Stamos hosting and Carole King appearing (making it clear it’s not to do with the ego fest desecrating the Lincoln Memorial). She will be appearing with the Broadway cast of “Beautiful” starring Vanessa Carlton.

The event will also feature Vanessa Williams, Yolanda Adams and The O’Jays (who may be tempted to sing their hit that was co-opted as the theme to “The Apprentice”). Plus: violinist Lindsey Stirling, Broadway’s Keala Settle, country’s Lee Brice, Colbie Caillat and her band Gone West, and recent “American Idol” winner Laine Hardy, recent winner of “The Voice” Madelyn Jarmon, and Angelica Hale of “America’s Got Talent.” (So: two more reality stars than the other event).

Avoiding the Capital altogether is “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” (NBC, 8 p.m.) with Luke Bryan, Khalid, Maren Morris and Brad Paisley. Derek Hough and Ciara host.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Wednesday TV: The Original Romanovs

Last Czars“The Romanoffs” were already the subject of Matthew Weiner’s streaming series, now they are the subject of the more historical re-dramatization “The Last Czars” (Netflix, streaming), a British series filmed in Lithuania about the fall of the Russian family that stars Ben Cartwright and Susanna Herbert (pictured) but also includes a number of historian talking heads.

Mike Leigh’s new film “Peterloo” (Amazon, streaming) recreates a bloody incident 200 years ago this summer in Manchester, England, when volunteer soldiers attacked 100,000 working class protesters seeking universal suffrage. Rory Kenner, Maxine Peake and Neil Bell star.

“Nova” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) takes a look into a black hole.

There’s a character named Nova on “Queen Sugar” (OWN, 9 pm.), who is having a book launch.

A second season starts for the Australian reality show “Yummy Mummies” (Netflix, streaming), which follows a trio of models turned mothers with lifestyles so indulgent it could be a Chris Lilley parody.

How excited should hospitalized kids be to meet Hootie? Darius Rucker is one of the country stars taking part in “CMT Hometown Heroes” (CMT, 10 p.m.).

“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” (CBS, 9 p.m.), the summer spin-off that discusses actual cases, focuses on the conviction of a Navy police officer in his girlfriend’s death.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed

Tuesday TV: How the Speed Eaters Do It

GoodBadHungryAmid the excesses planned for July Fourth celebrations is the culinary competitions televised on ESPN each year — the hot dog eating contest, a speed eating spectacle sure to cause fireworks in the stomach.

To prepare this year, there is a documentary about the lives of professional competitive eaters on “30 for 30: The Good, The Bad, The Hungry” (ESPN, 8 p.m.). Now before the dogs go flying, you can get to know the personalities behind the intense competition between Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi.

Along the same lines, “Man v. Food” (Cooking, 10 p.m.) returns, but with host Casey Webb taking on sushi instead of frankfurters.

“Tales” (BET, 9 p.m.), the show that dramatizes hip-hop songs, returns with a new track this time from Kanye West, “Brothers.”

There are two new installments to the Bangkok Love Story series online, “Objects of Affection” (Netflix, streaming), about a woman with multiple personalities who witnesses a double murder, and “Plead” (Netflix, streaming) about a blind fortune teller who gives a too-accurate prediction.

Eartha Kitt meets Lady Bird Johnson on a new “Drunk History” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.).

The first veto competition of the season on “Big Brother” (CBS, ) may lead to saving Cliff or Kathryn, who are the season’s first nominees for eviction.

Read More »

Posted in What's On TV | Comments closed