Wednesday: ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Returns

UnsolvedFrom the producers of “Stranger Things” comes the new take on the old series “Unsolved Mysteries” (Netflix, streaming), again inviting viewers to solve the mysteries and bring solutions to various unexplained deaths, missing person cases and a paranormal event. Robert Stack is no longer around to host but the chilling music of the old NBC series (that moved to various cable networks) is still there. The first six of the 12-episode season are available today. The others? It’s an unsolved mystery.

On the new “Say I Do” (Netflix, streaming), a team of experts plan dream weddings for deserving couple who have been dragging their heels when it comes to going down the aisle.

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.) goes all out for the U.S. Postal Service today, vowing to buy a stamp (up to 10,000) for every time “MailedIt is used today.

The schmaltzy hitmaker is at the center of a new documentary “David Foster: Off the Record” (Netflix, streaming).

The documentary “Born to Play” (ESPN, 9 p.m.) focuses on a season of a women’s tackle football team, the Boston Renegades.

Here’s a summer teen beach romance flick from Italy, “Under the Riccione Sun” (Netflix, streaming).

Second seasons come for the animated preschooler’s series “Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt” (Netflix, streaming) and for the moody Finnish crime drama “Deadwind” (Netflix, streaming).

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Tuesday TV: The Mystery Atop Everest

EverestThe documentary “Lost on Everest” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.) looks into the 1924 disappearance of early Everest pioneer Sandy Irvine and the mystery over whether he and George Mallory were the first to ascent to its summit. Climber Mark Synnott hosts with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk.

It’s followed by “Expedition Everest” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.), in which a team of scientists lead an expedition up the mountain to install the world’s highest weather stations. Tate Donovan narrates.

The struggles of the LGBTQ community in the the Russian republic of Chechnya are recounted in the documentary “Welcome to Chechnya” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

The two part documentary “And She Could Be Next” winds up with the aftermath of the 2018 elections on “POV” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

It’s still unusual to see an hour-long standup comedy show on broadcast TV, but here’s “Barry Brewer: Chicago, I’m Home” (CW, 9 p.m.), recorded in the Windy City.

“The Genetic Detective” (ABC, 10 p.m.) ends her brief first season.

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Monday TV: When Women of Color Run

AndSheCouldA timely “POV” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) presents a two port documentary following the grassroots efforts of women of color running for office in 2018. Among those filmed for “And She Could Be Next” by Grace Lee and Marjan Safina were such household names as Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Rashida Tlaib, the candidate for U.S. Congress from Michigan.

But there was also a woman running for California State Senate, and a 19 year old running for country commissioner in Illinois. All face special challenges struggling to be a part of a system not devised for people like them. Part two runs Tuesday.

Children get informed on the recent reckoning on “Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special” (Nickelodeon, 7 p.m.), hosted by Alicia Keys.

A detective team also roiled by a love triangle is at the heart of the Danish series “The Sommerdahl Murders” (Acorn TV, streaming), starring Peter Mygind, Laura Drasbek and André Babikian.

“Robot Chicken” (Cartoon Network, midnight) returns for its 10th season.

Every child’s game is being turned into adult competition. Following “Floor is Lava” (Netflix, streaming), here’s “Cannonball” (NBC, 10 p.m.) about making the biggest splash in the pool.

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True Crime and a Whole Lot More

ill-be-gone-in-the-dark-hboThe documentarian Liz Garbus must have felt an intense kinship to Michelle McNamara, a true crime blogger who kept amassing information on a topic in order to fashion it into compelling art. For her latest film, she tackles McNamara’s obsession with a prolific rapist and killer in California in the 1970s and 80s that became the Golden State Killer, that led her to trade information with police and amateur sleuths over the years to try to solve it.

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” (HBO, 10 p.m.) gets all of that information, including many new interviews with survivors and crusty investigators, creepy drive-by footage of the neighborhoods the killer stalked, collages of crime scene shots and piles of photos of the victims’ earlier, happier lives in a way that hews so closely to McNamara’s 2018 bestseller that passages are read aloud (by Amy Ryan).

There are also years of tapes, texts, podcasts, home video and telephone messages about the case, but also about her home life with comedian Patton Oswalt, her relationship to her mother, the progress of her writing, the size of the Thanksgiving turkey, the death of her father, and even the computer-generated CVS messages to pick up a prescription.

Garbus’ most artful touch may come in entwining scenes from a McNamara favorite, “Creature from the Black Lagoon” in explaining her compulsion of the subject.

But what might have been a fascinating feature length documentary becomes (possibly in order to fill the requirements of the network), a six hour docuseries fairly drowning in the details. Watching it all practically requires the viewer to become the obsessive at the center of the story. It pulls you in, yes, but it also reminds you of the ghoulishness at the heart of these fixations on true crime.

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Also on Sunday: BET Awards on CBS

rihanna-bet-2019The comedian Amanda Seales hosts The BET Awards 2020 (BET, CBS, 8 p.m.), where performers include Alicia Keys, Chloe X Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legends, Lil Wayne and Usher among others. The pandemic means the ceremony will be socially distanced (and not like last year’s event with Rihanna, pictured above).  But it also means, because of general lack of broadcast content, it will also be simulcast on network TV for the first time, on CBS.  Drake leads all nominations with six; Meghan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch follow with five each; Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Lizzo and Da Baby have four.

The season for “Penny Dreadful: City Angels” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) ends just as “Perry Mason” (HBO, 9 p.m.) picks up a lot of its tropes and setting.

“Black Monday” (Showtime, 8 p.m.) picks up with the final four episodes of the season; it had paused its post-production during the pandemic. So that’s why it’s Halloween.

a new season begins for the fishermen on “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” (National Geographic, 7:30 p.m.).

Old Aztec pyramids are studied and a new replica is built on the special “Lost Pyramids of the Aztecs” (Science, 8 p.m.).

The documentary miniseries “World War II: Race to Victory” (History, 9 p.m.) ends its run with D-Day.

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Saturday TV: Beatles, Dylan and Concert

dont-look-backYou can’t quite beat the double bill of The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

It happens tonight on Turner Classic Movies with the pairing of the timeless “A Hard Day’s Night” (8 p.m.) followed by the less-often seen “Don’t Look Back” (10 p.m.), the revealing look at Bob Dylan at his most mercurial, amid his 1965 British tour. It was from D.A. Pennebaker, who died last year at 94.

Just as Covid-19 cases are peaking again in the U.S., here comes another worldwide relief concert. Dwane “The Rock” Johnson hosts “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future — The Concert” (MSNBC, NBC, 8 p.m.), meant to show the disproportionate impact the virus has had on marginalized communities.

Performers include Coldplay, Chloe x Halle, Christine and the Queens, J Balvin, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, The Roots and Lin-Manuel Miranda with some of his colleagues from “Hamilton.” Online discussions precede the music.

Renée Zellweger’s Oscar winning portrayal of Judy Garland on “Judy” (Epix, 8 p.m.) makes its premium cable debut as does the Stephen King adaptation “Doctor Sleep” (HBO, 8 p.m.), a kind of sequel to “The Shining,” starring Ewan McGregor.

The German sci-fi series “Dark” (Netflix, streaming) returns for its third and final season.

A trio of rare Dhole canines make a cross-country trip to “The Zoo” (Animal Planet, 8 p.m.).

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Friday TV: The Eurovision Contest for Now

eurovision-song-contestThe pandemic meant no Eurovision Contest this year. In its place is a Will Ferrell spoof, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (Netflix, streaming). He stars with Rachel McAdams as an Icelandic act that seems like half of Abba but is in contention in the worldwide competition. Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens and Demi Lovato all appear; the music is overseen by pop savant Savan Kotecha.

Gloria Steinem has already been portrayed dramatically this season by Rose Byrne in “Mrs. America.” Tonight, Christine Lahti puts on the aviators in the stage play “Gloria: A Life” tonight on “Great Performances” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings). The play, written by Emily Mann, is directed by Tony-winner Diane Paulus,

A pandemic era awards shows brings remotely shot acceptance speeches. But The 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (CBS, 8 p.m.) were never remotely entertaining in the first place. “General Hospital” is up for the most awards — 23, followed by “Days of Our Lives” (22), “The Young and the Restless” (21) and “The Bold and the Beautiful” (13).  Sharon Osbourne and Marie Osmond of “The Talk” will host.

Things were very different, maybe even carefree, 20 years ago. So there’s a replay of the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards (MTV, 8 p.m.), hosted by Shawn and Marion Wayans, with appearances by Britney Spears, Eminem, Janet Jackson, N Sync, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and DMX

Stars of “Pose” gather to sing, tell stories and raise awareness for LGBTQ causes on a two-network “Pose-A-Thon for Pride” (Freeform, FX, 10 p.m.).

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Thursday TV: ‘Search Party’ Found Again

SearchPartyThe third season of the funny (and lately missing) “Search Party” (HBO Max, streaming) moves from TBS to the newish service, extending the story of Alia Shawkat’s Dory and her hipster friends in Brooklyn as a criminal trial begins. For all the hoopla over its other holdings, this is one of the few titles that is the real selling points of HBO Max.

A new season of Jordan Peele’s version of “The Twilight Zone” (CBS All Access, streaming) begins, with participants in the anthologies stories (which in season one were straight up remakes of Rod Serling’s originals) include Tony Hale, Billy Porter, Topher Grace and Sky Ferreira.

The beloved animated show “Adventure Time” produces a spinoff “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” (HBO Max, streaming), where Finn and Jake find themselves in new surroundings.

The superhero saga “Doom Patrol” (HBO Max, streaming) returns for a second season. The first season ran on the DC Universe streaming service.

The one hour special Variety’s Power of Women: Frontline Heroes (Lifetime, 10 p.m.) salutes doctors, nurses, teachers and others on the front line – though it’s sponsored by the magazine that honors celebrities, so there are a few that get awards for humanitarian efforts, including Cate Blanchett, Patti LuPone and Janelle Monáe. Robin Roberts hosts the event, rescheduled from earlier this month “in deference to recent cultural and societal events.”

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Clubs Eye Pandemic Reopenings

As phase two kicks in (even as coronavirus cases spike), clubs are tip-toeing toward reopening, but not without as many regulations as an airplane ride – or perhaps more so.

The venerable Birchmere Music Club in Alexandria, Va., announced plans to reopen July 10 with the Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band – not one of the biggest draws in the club’s history. Still, there won’t be room for a packed hall. Tickets are $15 (well $20 with tax and facility fee), but there is also a $25 food and beverage minimum plus a $5 Covid fee. So fifty bucks per person for a band you don’t know; wait until somebody big comes.

Masks are mandatory whenever not in your seat (to which you’ll be escorted); no more finding your own seat at the general admission venue.

Each show will begin at 7:30 p.m. and end by 9 p.m., with no opening act and one set. And if you want merch, good luck there, too, since they’re limiting the number of people in that section.

There’s still a risk of catching the virus in crowds, of course, so your $50 will also come with your own risks.

At D.C.’s flashiest recent venue, the Anthem, the next live show is listed as Nathaniel Rateliff July 31. But in the meantime, they’ve started an outdoor Camp Athem involving reserved outdoor table on the city’s Wharf. Each table, seating up to six, is covered by a cabana tent, rentable for a $250 minimum per table, with a 20 percent gratuity added. Guests can only stay two hours; no table hopping! Food must be ordered with drink, per the city’s orders. And no performances.

At City Winery, the first live show listed are two shows by Dwele July 25, where tickets range from $48 to $65. But later shows don’t look too bad. A Marshal Crenshaw show with the Bottle Rockets Sept. 3 is $28-$35.

Still, as they explain in the kind of safety video they play on planes, there are far fewer tables six feet apart resulting in “much smaller capacity”; everybody gets a temperature check at the door and a wellness questionnaire. Masks are required when not at a table (and they’ve got branded ones for sale).

Buckle up!

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Wednesday TV: Investigating Abuse

Athlete AIf one can stomach another documentary about the horrible abuse of the young women in the USA Gymnastics team, “Athlete A” (Netflix, streaming) follows the Indianapolis Star team of reporters uncovering more abuse and coverups by the underlying organization.

Jorge Garcia of “Lost” stars as a former child star who has become a hermit as an adult in Gaspar Antillo’s “Nobody Knows I’m Here” (Netflix, streaming). The Spanish-language film also stars Millaray Lobos and Luis Gnecco.

“Crazy Delicious” (Netflix, streaming) is a British import, in which Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal and Niklas Ekstedt are judges in a food competition where chefs whip up jazzy foods from an edible set. Jayde Adams hosts.

In the new “Hot Mess House” (HGTV, 8 and 8:30 p.m.), organization expert Cassandra Aarssen takes video tours of cluttered houses and offers decluttering advice.

The 10-episode, self-shot spin-off “Married at First Sight: Couples’ Cam” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.) ends its run.

Kelly Clarkson visits “Jay Leno’s Garage” (CNBC, 10 p.m.).

Six new contestants compete in “Ultimate Tag” (Fox, 9 p.m.).

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