Friday TV: ‘Lady Dynamite,’ Foo Fighters

Lady Dynamite | Season 2 Date Announcement [HD] | NetflixMaria Bamford’s bold and experimental “Lady Dynamite” (Netflix, streaming) returns for its second season, with her character living with a new boyfriend and having a new job at a streaming service, perhaps like the one she’s on.

Something different for Friday night public TV arts programming — the Foo Fighters performing a big rock show at the Acropolis in Athens in an “Landmarks Live in Concert” on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith hosts.

College basketball tips off for the season with a slew of games. Among them: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia (ESPN, 6 p.m.), Memphis vs. Alabama (CBS Sports, 6:30 p.m.), Fairleigh Dickinson at Seton Hall (Fox Sports 2, 6:30 p.m.), Northern Iowa at North Carolina (ESPNU, 7 p.m.), Columbia at Villanova (Fox Sports 2, 8:30 p.m.), Pittsburgh at Navy (CBS Sports, 9 p.m.), Tennessee State at Kansas (ESPNU, 9 p.m.) and Georgia Tech at UCLA (ESPN, 11:30 p.m.).

Rebecca makes a visit home to Westchester on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (The CW, 8 p.m.).

Donna Brazile, Sarah Silverman, Chris Matthews and Michael Moore are on a new “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

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Dhani Harrison, Summer Moon at U Street

IMG_4861There were more grey-haired types than usual at the Dhani Harrison show Tuesday at the U Street Music Hall.

Were they suddenly interested in dense, synth-heavy 21st Century anthems from a guy becoming known for his sprawling soundtrack work? Excited about his solo album “In///Parallel”? More likely they were taking a night off the Fab Faux circuit to check out one of the more authentic chips off the old Beatles block.

Harrison, at 39, looks a lot like his dad, and he sounds even more like him, especially in those keening high ranges, than anybody else around. Those who have seen him on any of the various George Harrison tributes know he can hold his own on guitar against some of the all time greats as well.

All of that, plus the chance to see him in a club likely no bigger than the Cavern (and also downstairs!) brought the oldsters out midweek, along with the younger fans, who more likely know of Harrison’s work with his previous bands, thenewno2; Fistful of Mercy, with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur; or amid the Los Angeles collective that included the two acts that have joined him on tour, Summer Moon and Mareki.

It was solely Summer Moon that opened the night (though Mareki popped out to help sing one tune with the headliner).

Summer Moon is fronted by Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture, who came out as if a week late to Halloween, in a golden cape and headband. It was quite a lineup for a middling opening band, with Noah Harmon of Airborne Toxic Event on guitar and Camilia Grey of Uh Huh Her on keyboards. She was actually a better vocalist than Fraiture, but he led on everything even when he couldn’t quite remember the lyrics. “The great thing about you not knowing the songs, is that you don’t know when we fuck up,” he said at one point.

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Thursday TV: The 300th ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

greys-anatomy-300-episode-meredith-grey-seattle-alex-karev-4Somehow “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, 8 p.m.) has reached its 300th episode, bypassing “Murder, She Wrote,” “Fraiser,” “Perry Mason” and “Cheers” in longevity. Started in 2005, it spends tonight’s show dealing with with a possible metaphor, a roller coaster accident, and remembers some of the original cast members, long since gone.

Sam goes on a trip with her daughters on “Better Things” (FX, 10 p.m.).

The Penguin seeks revenge on “Gotham” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

Slide returns on “Arrow” (The CW, 9 p.m.).

Thursday Night Football has Seattle at Arizona (NBC, 8:20 p.m.).

Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are guests on a town hall discussion hosted by Alisyn Camerota, “Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America” (CNN, 9 p.m.).

The bad news is that it’s already the season finale for “Nathan for You” (Comedy Central, 9 p.m.). The good news is that the episode, about helping a Bill Gates impersonator, is two hours long.

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Wednesday TV: A Cloud Over the CMAs

CMAThere may be a whole different tone to the CMA Awards (ABC, 8 p.m.) this year because of the recent shootings, including one at a big country music festival. Organizers have attempted to steer away from the tragedy, initially forbidding journalists from asking about Las Vegas, before backing down.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return to host. Performers include Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Brothers Osborne, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan and Pink.

Longtime sports reporter Hannah Storm directs a documentary on the life of race car driver Danica Patrick, ”Danica” (Epix, 8 p.m.).

Back for its second season is the appealing series about raising a son with autism, “The A Word” (Sundance, 10 p.m.), with Christopher Eccleston and Morven Christie.

Additional pressure is on applicants as are filmed for a new series “The Job Interview” (CNBC, 10 and 10:30 p.m.).

“Storage Wars” (A&E, 9 p.m.) begins its 11th season. Haven’t people learned not to lose their good stuff in storage lockers by now?

Back for its second season is the unusual father-son travel team, “Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour” (A&E, 10 p.m.). First stop: Key West and Mar-a-Lago.

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Tuesday TV: ‘Damnation,’ ‘Long Road’

damnationThe new series “Damnation” (USA, 10 p.m.) takes place in the Depression-era Midwest, when a visiting preacher, played by Killian Scott,  tries to stir up a working class strike. But a strikebreaker (Logan Marshall-Green) has also been sent to the town for an inevitable clash.

National Geographic is partial to a good war yarn and “The Long Road Home” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.), based on Martha Raddatz reporting on an ambush of American soldiers in Baghdad in 2004, is one that’s been turned into an eight-part miniseries, with a cast that includes Jason Ritter, Michael Kelly, Jeremy Sisto, Kate Bosworth, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Sarah Wayne Callies.

The rise and fall of Ric Flair, the over-the-top pro wrestler who began believing his own hype is told on a new “30 for 30” (ESPN, 10 p.m.).

The two-part history of the magazine “Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge” (HBO, 9 p.m.) gets less exciting, as the magazine did, in recent decades when he shamelessly covered boy bands and Britney Spears, tried to redefine itself as Yuppie, delved more into politics, and lost its reputation with the 2014 story on campus rape it had to retract.

Just as “Vice Principals” is about to end, here comes the second season of the amusing comedy “Teachers” (TV Land, 10 p.m.), with a couple of single teachers on the make.

Amy’s rich uncle comes to visit on “At Home with Amy Sedaris” (truTV, 10:30 p.m.), but she doesn’t have much money.

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Daniel Kitson’s D.C. World Premiere

daniel-kitsonThere was sufficient buzz about the booking of a new Daniel Kitson show at Studio Theatre this season that they would apparently take anything.

The British storyteller, the darling of Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has already whipped up his own fervent fan base in New York to the degree that he doesn’t have to do interviews or any other publicity. There are no programs to hand out; the tickets just say “kitson.” He doesn’t even have to tell a booking theater exactly what he’ll be performing.

Kitson, 40, comes right out and explains all that in a leisurely start to the two hour “A Short Series of Disagreements Presented Here in Chronological Order,” which he begins by darting on stage in his rumpled worksheet and ball cap, saying “Hullo” brusquely and taking his seat at a wooden desk lit by an overhead bulb, in the manner of monologuists before him like Spalding Gray.

In addition to his notebook, to which he refers frequently, there is a laptop, from which he plays audio phone messages (that allow him to take a breath) and a series of the dullest slides you’d ever want to see. All to illustrate the story which he eventually begins telling – about a late night bicycle accident he happens upon, his curiosity about the young woman whisked away in an ambulance and his detective work regarding the cycling club that she may or may not be a part of.

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Rolling Stone Pages Through 50 Years

RollingStoneThe 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone is being marked a number of ways, from a biography that publisher Jann Wenner has already disavowed (and is being well-reviewed) to this two part documentary from Alex Gibney and Blair Foster, “Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge” (HBO, 9 p.m.) that takes a swing from its heyday.

While it isn’t quite clear from the beginning, the approach is episodic, based on individual major stories it’s covered. That isn’t readily apparent until pretty far into a foray into rock ’n’ roll groupies, whose emphasis at first seems pointed at the nudity and sexual content HBO usually offers in series like “The Deuce.” Then it switches to another segment in which a topic is reported in full, from issues that are already memorable.

Wenner’s relationship with John Lennon was crucial to the magazine’s credibility; a picture of him from the set of “How I Won the War” was famously on the first cover in July, 1967. The full length, very frank interview two part with Lennon in 1970, in which he tears away ferociously from his Beatles image would be thought to be the breakthrough. But it actually came earlier, when the magazine agreed to include the nude photos of Lennon and Yoko Ono from the “Two Virgins” album cover that was banned so many places.

The music chosen to back the segments is particularly well chosen, and often played in full. It shows how well it covered the scene in San Francisco, where it was based, but also the political and cultural changes that came with the rock generation.

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Finding the Voice of John Coltrane

chasing-trane-the-john-coltrane-documentary-tiff-2“Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) kicks off its 16th season with what would be a perfect “American Masters.” The absorbing and uplifting biography of jazz giant John Coltrane by director John Scheinfeld could fit as any well-done public television biography.

But this one has the advantage of Coltrane’s sublime and groundbreaking saxophone sound. Working with the family of the musician, there are a lot of revealing home movie and archival footage and the words of Coltrane — from interviews or writings — are spoken with cool authority by Denzel Washington.

A sideman to Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, the Southern-born Coltrane grew to create his own signature sound and approach to jazz. So it didn’t take much to get top musicians on board to comment on the work and in some cases, their working with him, from McCoy Tyner to Sonny Rollins. But also eager to chime in on his influence are players from Waye Shorter to Kasami Washington to the ever quotable Wynton Marsalis. Also joining in, Carlos Santana, the rapper Common and a sax player who is also a former president, Bill Clinton.

There is pain in some Coltrane work, but just as often ecstasy and joy. He had his demons and he lost some jobs along the way. But throughout, it’s clear through the film that he was forging his own path through jazz to his own style of communication.

Jazz is not often presented or even introduced on television; bio films are full of cliches. It’s amazing though, that in this 50th year since the death of ‘Trane at 40, there hasn’t been a filmed biography of any type until now.

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Also on Monday: Hollywood Blacklist

HollywoodOnTrialThe Hollywood Blacklist gets a good look on Turner Classic Movies Mondays and Tuesdays this month, starting with the documentary “Hollywood on Trial” (8 p.m.). It leads to the films by some of the Hollywood Ten — Dalton Trumbo, screenwriter of “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes” (10 p.m.) and “Tender Comrade” (midnight), Edward Dmytryk and Adrian Scott’s “Crossfire” (2 a.m.), and Samuel Ornitz’ “One Man’s Journey” (3:45 a.m.).

Earlier the day is entirely given up to the George Sanders mystery series, “The Gay Falcon” (6 a.m.), “A Date with the Falcon” (7:15 a.m.), “The Falcon Takes Over” (8:30 a.m.), “The Falcon’s Brother” (9:45 a.m.), “The Falcon Strikes Back” (11 a.m.), “The Falcon in Danger” (12:15 p.m.), “The Falcon and the Co-Eds” (1:30 p.m.), “The Falcon Out West” (2:45 p.m.), “The Falcon in Mexico” (4 p.m.), “The Falcon in Hollywood” (5:15 p.m.) and “The Falcon in San Francisco” (6:30 p.m.).

Monday Night Football has Detroit at Green Bay (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.).

Past winners join the remaining contestants of “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC, 8 p.m.) possibly just to provide the missing star power.

“Ride with Norman Reedus” (AMC, 9 p.m.) takes a second night’s trip, going to South Carolina with Dave Chappelle.

Australian Charlie Goldsmith, who uses energy to mend people on the new show “The Healer” (TLC, 10 p.m.). On his first episode, he tackles Jennifer Grey’s neck pain.

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Sunday TV: Frankie Shaw’s New ‘SMILF’

smilfWe will refrain from using the fake word “dramedy” to describes comedy with pathos, but the new , unfortunately named “SMILF” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) falls into that category. It stars, written by and directed by Frankie Shaw, who herself is a single mom. The series is about a woman on the verge of poverty in Boston, struggling to be an actor and having more problems than she should be raising a biracial son. The comedy comes from her shambling, poorly thought out decisions (and in the pilot, her needless worries about her body). There are very good performances in the corners of the show, with Rosie O’Donnell as her depressed mom and Connie Britton as a privileged, distracted mother who relies on Frankie’s character as a tutor and kind of all around domestic helper.

A likely factor in its appearance is to make “Shameless” (Showtime, 9 p.m.), which revels in its poverty and poor choices, less of an orphan on Sunday nights. It returns tonight for its eighth season with William H. Macy’s Frank trying to sober up and Emmy Rossum’s Fiona trying to become a landlord.

Following the glossy, alluring first season that featured Riley Keogh in a breakout performance, “The Girlfriend Experience” (Starz, 9 p.m.) for its second season follows two different stories for the series, based on the original movie by Stephen Soderbergh, who remains an executive producer. One, stars Louisa Krause, as escort to the head of a powerful D.C. super PAC operator, played by Anna Freil, for a story that covers the underbelly of financing and politics more than sex.

The other has Carmen Ejogo as a former crime lord mistress now in protective custody in New Mexico and under the eye of U.S. Marshals. Each show runner, Amy Sieimetz and Lodge Kerrigan, tackles their own story; neither intersect. It’s a new way of telling stories anyway.

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