Saturday TV: Creative Arts Emmy Awards

CreativeArtsEmmysInterest in Sunday’s actual Emmy Awards are stoked by tonight’s presentation of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards (FXX, 8 p.m.) held last week. While a lot of it is technical awards for cinematography, editing costumes, sound editing, makeup, there are also awards for best guest actor in drama and comedy roles. Because it was held last weekend, we know the winners by now, but we won’t spoil it for you, except to say “Westworld,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “This is Us” all do well.

The rarely seen 30-year-old Prince concert film “Sign ‘O’ the Times” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) featuring a lot of the songs from that great albums as well as some skits, gets a showing.

Vanessa Hudgens goes hiking on a new episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (NBC 10 p.m.).

College football dominates prime time with Clemson at Louisville (ABC, 8 p.m.) and Texas at Southern California (Fox, 8:30 p.m.). They cap a whole lot of games listed below.

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Friday TV: Vandalism as True Crime

American VandalAs vital as a genre it’s becoming, the true crime documentary series is also ripe for parody, which it gets today in the Funny or Die-produced send-up “American Vandal” (Netflix, streaming). That it’s about cars that have been spray painted with penises makes it central to Funny or Die humor sensibility (but also recalls Chris Lilley’s “Summer Heights High” on HBO).

A more real documentary is Morgan Spurlock’s latest, “Tough Guys” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) looks at how mixed martial arts became a kind of sport.

It’s been a couple of weeks since there’s been a country music awards show, so here’s the ACM Honors (CBS, 9 p.m.) which celebrates special honorees from the Academy of Country Music Awards,with performances from Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Vince Gill, Kelsea Ballerina, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Hillary Scott, George Strait and Brad Paisley.

The Ballet Hispanico performs “Club Havana” and “Carmen.maquia” on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

Racial injustice on Long Island is investigated in the new online documentary by Yance Ford, “Strong Island” (Netflix, streaming).

Angelina Jolie’s latest war movie adapts a Cambodian memoir, “First They Killed My Father” (Netflix, streaming), about life under the Khmer Rouge.

Amy Landecker and Mae Whitman show up on the latest episode of “Room 104” (HBO, 11:30 p.m.).

The final three — Josh, Christmas and Paul — compete to be the final house of household on the penultimate episode of “Big Brother” (CBS, 8 p.m.). But not before a clip reel reviews the entire season.

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McCain and Kerry Agree on Vietnam

VietnamThere will be scores of community talk-backs associated with the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick opus ”The Vietnam War” that starts Sunday on PBS.

Perhaps none will be as prestigious as the one this week at the Kennedy Center, that featured three Vietnam veterans that rose to heights in the government. There, Sen. John McCain, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel joined the filmmakers and journalist Martha Raddatz on stage to discuss the film and the lessons of the war.

Both McCain and Kerry are close friends of Burns and both had dramatic stories that are a part of the 18 hour documentary that will run over two weeks and with any luck will spark new assessment on what it all meant.

McCain was a POW in North Vietnam from 1967 to 1973; Kerry was a decorated Naval officer who famously threw his medals over the White House fence and testified against the war as a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Both stories are told in the documentary, but interviews with the men are not part of it — extending what Novick called their reliance not on historians or officials but soldiers and first hand witnesses (though they could have qualified as that).

More than that, the two were their respective party’s nominees for President of the United States in what were ultimately losing campaigns in 2004 and 2008.

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‘Better Things’ Gets Even Better

Better-Things-Season-2-Release-DateAs good as the first season was, “Better Things” (FX, 10 p.m.) gets even better as its second season starts tonight.

Pamela Adlon, who stars, co-writes and directs each episode has found a kind of breakthrough in making a series about a woman like herself, who is a struggling actor and a single mom, balancing a trio of eccentric daughters.

Eschewing the rhythms not only of multi-camera sitcoms, but even those of more modern single camera comedies as well, her series, like the series of her writing partner and co-producer Louis C.K., “Louie,” more into the realm of 70s films, where things happened, moved to the next scene, and things weren’t always spelled out for the viewer.

In tonight’s season premiere, she begins by herself in the bathroom, trying to calm herself with breathing, before she enters her rambling home, where there is a party going on.

We figure out on her own the reason her friend (Lucy Davis) is upset is because her ex-boyfriend, a 35 year old European sleaze, has dropped her for Max (Mikey Madison), the teenage daughter of Adlon’s character Sam.

Sam’s doing all she can not to lose it, in fear of losing her. “If I want to have my daughter in my house, I have to have him here,” she explains.

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Also Thursday: Death of a Makeup Artist

KevynAcouinThe makeup artist of celebrities from Cher, Liza Minnelli and Tina Turner to Jennifer Lopez and Janet Jackson is celebrated in the documentary “Kevyn Aucoin: Beauty & the Beast in Me” (Logo, 9 p.m.). Friends and clients that include Cindy Crawford and Amber Valetta appear in the footage of Aucoin, who died in 2002 at the age of 40.

A staple of cable TV lately, patched together true crime specials about celebrated (and much-rehashed) cases comes to network TV as well with the two hour “Truth and Lies: The Murder of Laci Peterson” (ABC, 9 p.m.)

“Bong Appetite” (Viceland, 10:30 p.m.) returns with new episodes.

After last night’s surprise eviction of Alex, there’s another live eviction tonight on “Big Brother” (CBS, 9 p.m.), moving to Wednesday’s finale.

On “Zoo” (CBS, 10 p.m.), the team’s plane crashes in the hybrid zone.

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Wednesday TV: ‘Broad City’ Returns

BroadCity4“Broad City” (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.) returns for its fourth season with its adorable duo Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer looking back on the day they happened to meet in 2011 and, in a meta fashion, also how it could have turned out.

It’s fast moving, brash and funny, and one of the best reflections of ground level living in New York on TV. The two promised never to mention the word Trump on the season, but his picture seems to appear in a few episodes, starting tonight, when his image is on a bus advertising a reality show of the day they call “You’re Fired.”

Just before then, “South Park” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) returns for its 21st season, ready to take on the very latest in the news. Its initial episode is titled “White People Renovating Houses.”

Good to have “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.) back with a new episode, with the host taking on hurricanes and DACA.

The very brief first season of the sitcom “Marlon” (NBC, 9 p.m.) ends after another pair of episodes.

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Two Documentaries on D.C.’s NFL ’80s

New York Giants vs. Washington RedskinsFor the fifth year in a row, the Washington NFL team began its season with a loss Sunday. No news here: it looks like it might be another long season.

Let us turn back, then, to Washington’s 1980s heyday at RFK Stadium, with the help of two absorbing new films in ESPN’s very consistent documentary series “30 for 30″ (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

(Never mind the plainly racist team name and the long struggle to try and change it — which would make a good third documentary. For now it will explain why we’re not using it, as some news organizations have also decided).

The longer of the two films, John Dorsey’s “Year of the Scab,” recounts the year of the NFL strike in 1987, when management of the D.C. team were determined to keep the lucrative weekly games going even without their big stars.

To do so, they quickly hired an all rookie squad of team hasbeens, and many more who never got a shot in the first place — a generally motley crew that also included a guy they sprung from prison on work release to serve as quarterback when the first one chosen briefly quit when rattled by the intense picket lines, where shouts of “Scab!” and other things were thrown.

Indeed, the glass was shattered of one of the first busloads of replacement players arriving at the Herndon, Va., practice site the first day.

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Also on Monday: Big Hurricane Telethon

BeyonceBeyonce, Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jamie Foxx, Blake Shelton, Robert De Niro, Justin Bieber, Jered Leto, J. Balvin, Ellen DeGeneres, Drake, Michael Strahan all show up for “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief” (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, HBO, MTV, CMT, Oxygen, Univision, E! and Bravo, 8 p.m.).

The one-hour, multi network fundraiser for the hurricane relief will also fit in George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, George Strait and Matthew McConaughey. The telethon originates from Los Angeles, New York and Nashville with a live finale performance from George Strait and Friends in Texas.

Proceeds will go to seven different relief funds. Donations can be made at

The sixth and final season of “The Mindy Project” (Hulu, streaming) begins with Mindy Kahling’s character reluctantly married to Bryan Greenberg, and others in the cast dealing with issues at work. But the series misses her original crush Chris Messina, who with any luck will return before it’s all over.

There are a few shocking turns before the final two episodes of the excellent ”Top of the Lake: China Girl” (Sundance, 9 p.m.). The earlier four episodes are online at

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A More Admirable Display of Love

my-love-dont-cross-that-riverOn the finale night for a show that reflected only the most shallow charade of love, “Bachelor in Paradise” (ABC, 8 p.m.), where dim folks coupled up mostly in order to stick around the resort, there’s an opportunity to glimpse actual lifelong love from a couple on the other side of the globe.

“My Love, Don’t Cross That River” is a simple and profoundly moving examination of a couple that’s been together 75 years. The beautifully shot film by South Korean director Jin Mo-young makes its bow tonight on “POV” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

Their faces are a cascade of wrinkles, their movement has become more limited, but from the first time of glimpsing Jo Beong-man and Kang Gye-yeol in a rural South Korea, it’s clear that they still get a kick out of one another.

Jo first offers to sweep up leaves, before throwing them playfully on his wife, who throws some back, laughing (How one’s partner reacts to having something thrown their way is a fine test of compatibility Chris Harrison has never tried).

As seasons change, snow falls on their beautifully simple rural hut and of course, they’re tossing snow at one another while shoveling. Come spring, it’s water from the nearby spring that’s splashed back and forth.

The old folks know how to have fun. But they also work hard, helping one another when they are gathering firewood nearby (and carrying them in impossibly big bundles).

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Also on Monday: Solicitor to Barrister

Newtons-Law_Claudia-Karvan-on-Acorn-TV_0421-copyAn Australian import becomes part of the mostly British lineup on the online service Acorn with  “Newton’s Law” (Acorn TV, streaming) in which Claudia Karvan plays suburban solicitor Josephine Newton, who tries to return to her career as a barrister. It’s from he creators of “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.”

The middle two episodes of “Top of the Lake: China Girl” (Sundance, 9 p.m.) bring the murder case closer to the brothel where Robin’s daughter Mary is associated. Catch the first two episodes online.

On the new series “I Am Frankie” (Nickelodeon, 7:30 p.m.), Alex Hook plays a teenage girl who tries to fit at high school in despite actually being a computerized android.

The second season finale of “Preacher” (AMC, 9 p.m.) has the trio planning to leave New Orleans. It’s followed by a Chris Hardwick-hosted chat show about it, “Talking Preacher” (AMC, 10:15 p.m.).

The final episode of “Hooten and the Lady” (The CW, 9 p.m.) airs. It had the lowest ratings of any summer series on The CW — a 0.20 rating, or 937,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic. It takes pretty low ratings to get anything canceled on the CW.

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