Wednesday TV: Rick Moranis’ Slight Return

MoranisFollowing a self-imposed retirement to raise a family, comedy’s Rick Moranis hasn’t starred in a movie since the second  “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” sequel, which went straight to DVD in 1997.

Though he’s been heard from only sporadically since (as voice of a mouse on “Brother Bear” and a couple of comedy albums) he returns to network TV tonight, in voice only, on an episode of “The Goldbergs” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

Moranis reprises his voice as Dark Helmet that first appeared in Mel Brooks’ 1987 spoof “Spaceballs” in a dream sequence of young Adam Goldberg, who wants to make a sequel.

Among other guest stars, Nathan Fillion appears as himself on the second season finale of “American Housewife” (ABC, 9:30 p.m.) ends its second season with Katie and crew tracking down Nathan Fillion at a “Firefly” convention to ask if he can come to their school’s spring gala.

On the fifth season end of “Chicago P.D.” (NBC, 10 p.m.), Woods looks to take down Voight.

A baby shower changes Offred’s relationship with Serena Joy on “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu, streaming).

Philip and Elizabeth join for an unusual operation on “The Americans” (FX, 10 p.m.).

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Tuesday TV: Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

rohingya-huts-on-fireFor uncomfortable viewing, there’s nothing close to tonight’s “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings), and Evan Williams reporting on the Myanmar military’s violent attacks on its Rohingya Muslims that has the appearance of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The most chilling parts of the report, “Myanmar’s Killing Fields,” are based on footage taken by citizen activists. Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has been a disappointment in preventing the violence, UN officials say.

Pauley Perrette’s beloved character Abby was one of the best things about “NCIS” (CBS, 8 p.m.) and tonight is her last episode. Fans worry whether she’ll be killed off or reassigned, though the description of the episode speaks of an NCIS member who is a hitman’s target.

It’s not just about Apu any more: The comedian has a new standup comedy special, “Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives” (Netflix, streaming).

On “Civilizations” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings), the intersections of civilizations centuries ago were captured in art.

A threat is made on Riggs’ life on the second season finale of “Lethal Weapon” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

“Roseanne” (ABC, 8 p.m.) goes to their Muslim neighbors when their wifi goes out.

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Monday TV: ‘Lens’ Inside ‘No Man’s Land’

NoMansLandFor the documentary “No Man’s Land,” filmmaker David Garrett Byers got access inside the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve in Oregon — a 41-day standoff in 2016 in which the armed militia just got more paranoid.

The leader was Ammon Bundy, part of the standoff at his father’s Nevada ranch two years earlier. The film makes its debut on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

In another documentary tonight, the experience of three families dealing with a child’s severe mental illness are explored in the film “A Dangerous Son” (HBO, p.m.).

It’s not like the institution actually made one, but the special “Smithsonian Time Capsule: 1968” (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.) selects a dozen artifacts that best represent the tumultuous year a half century ago. They range from a Vietnam soldier’s uniform and a Martin Luther King banner ignited by a museum visitor to a Pringles can and a peace sign.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt tags along to Kenya on the season premiere of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

On the new “Keeping Faith” (Acorn, streaming), a woman in Wales tries to find out what was behind her husband’s disappearance.

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Sunday TV: New Starz Series ‘Vida’

VidaThe new “Vida” (Starz, 8:30 p.m.) stars Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera as estranged Mexican American sisters who return to East L.A. after their mother’s death. There they find out about things they didn’t know about their mother’s life and have to decide to do with the bar she ran with her wife.

The vibrant series from Tanya Saracho touches on a number of issues from gentrification to assimilation and a decent amount of divisions in the community.

The six-episode series comes alongside another new half hour show, “Sweetbitter” (Starz, 8 p.m.) with Ella Purnell starring as a long woman who moves to New York and becomes part of the restaurant industry, based on Stephanie Danler’s popular novel.

The second season of “I’m Dying Out Here” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) the series about comedians in the 70s trying to make it in the 70s, adds Brad Garrett as a comedy legend and club owner, who finally gives Melissa Leo someone to play opposite. As for the group of comics, success doesn’t seem to make those who do make it any more likable.

Rapper Meek Mill give his first interview since being released from jail on “Dateline” (NBC, 7 p.m.).

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They Give Rock a Bad Name

Lauryn HillThough the first induction ceremonies of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than 30 years ago boasted the biggest guns and most wide ranging jam sessions, they were private affairs only filmed for posterity and never aired in full.

By the time the Hall got an idea to televise the event after the fact, it had become a more planned event, with lesser artists participating in rote and rehearsed jams.

There’s no jam at all in The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (HBO, 8 p.m.), and there’s so much cheese in the selections, only salutes to Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe gets some soul into the event.

In addition Little Stevie Van Zandt came on stage to introduce a new feature — a shout out to five singles that were important to the development of rock ’n’ roll from groups that may or may not ever make it to the Hall themselves.

The mention of what some think is the first rock ’n’ roll record, Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88,” as well as indelible tracks like Link Wray’s “Rumble,” Chubby Checker’s “The Twist,” The Kinsmen’s “Louie Louie,” Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” makes one wonder: Why wouldn’t they all be part of the Hall of Fame?

What was once a forum to honor the obvious masters and pioneers of the form — Chuck Berry, Elvis, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, The Beatles, The Stones and Dylan — is now a place where mediocrities with loads of sales are allowed in.

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Also on Saturday: Kentucky Derby, Etc.

DerbyIt’s probably a good day to stay inside, to avoid people hopped up on mint juleps or margaritas, as The Kentucky Derby (NBC, 2:30 p.m.) coincides with Cinco de Mayo for the first time in a while.

Despite four hours of coverage, the actual race itself, with a post time of 6:46 p.m. EDT, runs for a couple of minutes. Among the interesting horse names this year are Free Drop Billy, My Boy Jack and Instilled Regard.

And what is there on about Cinco De Mayo? Nothing.

The documentary “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (Starz, 8 p.m.) looks at the man who, as Deep Throat, provided information that helped bring down Richard Nixon.

A pair of basements outside of Baltimore get makeovers on “Trading Spaces” (TLC, 8 p.m.).

“Nate and Jeremiah by Design” (TLC, 9 p.m.) helps a woman plagued by unreliable contractors.

Eric negotiates the release of an arms dealer’s son on “Ransom” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

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Friday TV: Cold War Jazz Ambassadors


The coolest weapon in America’s Cold War may have been the efforts by the U.S. State Department to show off the country’s jazz greats in international tours that would counter the bad press the Soviet Union was spreading about U.S. racial discrimination.

Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Dave Brubeck and their bands all took part as cultural ambassadors, helping the causes of civil rights at the same time.

“The Jazz Ambassadors” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) includes interviews with Quincy Jones and Adam Clayton Powell III. Leslie Odom Jr. narrates.

On the new “A Little Help with Carol Burnett” (Netflix, streaming), the 85-year-old comedy legend takes the role of a 21st century Art Linkletter, sitting with precocious kids to chat about various topics. She’s joined by comic Russell Peters and a different celebrity each time, starting with Lisa Kudrow.

Burnett is a master at these interactions and the show is certainly a cut above Steve Harvey’s similar interactions on “Little Big Shots.”

Think of it as the opposite of “End Game” (Netflix, streaming) another new show about terminally ill patients sharing their thoughts (but not with celebrities).

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Thursday TV: A Gildersleeve Afternoon

throckmortonLet us now praise “The Great Gildersleeve” (TCM, 3 p.m.).

First introduced on the “Fibber McGee and Molly” radio show in 1939, the pompous Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve and his trilling voice, as played by the mustachioed Harold Peary, became popular enough to star in his own radio show and into a handful of feature films all showing this afternoon on Turner Classic Movies. Another generation may know the Gildersleeve catch phrases when they were borrowed by Bugs Bunny in Looney Tunes.

The Gildersleeve opus, which includes “Look Who’s Laughing” (noon), “Here We Go Again” (1:30 p.m.), “Gildersleeve’s Bad Day” (4:15 p.m.), “Gildersleeve on Broadway” (5:30 p.m.) and “Gildersleeve’s Ghost” (6:45 p.m.) are part of the network’s salute to movie series of an earlier era.

It spilled over this morning with the rest of the Maisie series, “Maisie Goes to Reno” (6:45 a.m.), “Up Goes Maisie” (8:30 a.m.) and “Undercover Maisie” (10:15 a.m.).

Tonight, on what would have been his 86th birthday, former host Robert Osborne is honored on Turner Classic Movies with as well as a replay of the 2014 “Private Screenings: Robert Osborne” (8 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.) in which the movie buff is interviewed by Alec Baldwin. Later is the2015 “Robert Osborne’s 25th Anniversary Tribute” (11:30 p.m.), and the evening also includes two of Osborne’s favorite films, William Wyler’s “Dodsworth” (9:30 p.m.) and Otto Preminger’s “Laura” (12:30 a.m.). Later, Osborne does the interviewing on “Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli” (2:15 a.m.) and “Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine” (3:15 a.m.).

Elsewhere, “Atlanta” (FX, 10 p.m.) recalls middle school days.

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Wednesday TV: Serena Williams at Home

cq5dam.web.1200.675-2The life of tennis champ Serena Williams, including her marriage to Reddit inventor Alexis Ohanian, her complicated pregnancy and her eventual return to competition is the basis of the new five-part documentary series “Being Serena” (HBO, 10 p.m.). Shot in 2017 by HBO Sports, it’s full of that kind of limitation – lots of plinky piano music and obvious voice over, which, with the glossy photography make it seem like an American Express ad waiting to happen.

Elizabeth gets a sudden out of town assignment on “The Americans” (FX, 10 p.m.).

The post-alien invasion saga “Colony” (USA, 10 p.m.), with Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies, returns for a third season, which picks up six months after their escape from occupied Los Angeles.

Fewer aliens are involved in the sixth season return of “Misfit Garage” (Discovery, 9 p.m.).

A third episode of the second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu, streaming) becomes available.

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.) never has a slow week.

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Tuesday TV: John Mulaney Standup Show

MulaneyWith a previous special and a recent “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig under his belt, the comic presents the best of a recent multi-day stand at Radio City Music hall on “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City” (Netflix, streaming).

A new “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) reported by Laura Sullivan and Rick Young looks into the years of neglect and Wall Street greed that made the damage from Hurricane Maria even more devastating that it could have been. It ends on a hopeful note – with a local man who raised money to buy a truck and did research on how to restring wire himself.

Investigators on the new “Hunting Nazi Treasure” (American Heroes Channel, 10 p.m.) track down stolen works of art during World War II.

The finale of “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.” (USA, 10 p.m.) may well begin without solving the crimes.

The relationship of religion and art is explored on episode three of “Civilizations” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings); “First Civilizations” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) looks at Ancient Egypt.

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