Saturday TV: Drag Wedding Advice

DragMeBridezillas and stars on “Say Yes to the Dress” (TLC, 8 p.m.) should have thought to it a long time ago: Prospective brides getting styling advice from a group of drag queens. In this case, the four fairy godmothers — Alexis Michelle, Bebe Zahara Benet, Thorny Thor and Jujubee — come to the rescue of a bride-to-be-named Emily on “Drag Me Down the Aisle” (TLC, 9 p.m.). It’s only a special now, but will likely be a series in no time.

Another angle on matrimony is found on the new “Family or Fiancé” (OWN, 10 p.m.).

Last year’s sequel “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (HBO, 8 p.m.), with Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt, makes its premium cable debut, as does “Winchester” (Showtime, 9 p.m.), about the haunted house built by the gun heiress, with Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook.

Cashing in on the recent unpleasantness caused by the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” are replays of “Michael Jackson: The Jury Speaks” (Oxygen, 9 p.m.), about the 2005 trial, and the “Michael Jackson Mysteries & Scandals Special” (Oxygen, 10 p.m.).

Jodie Sweetin stars as a woman who becomes interested in a newcomer to town played by David Haydn-Jones in the made-for-TV romance “Love Under the Rainbow” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) A look at some of the other romances coming up is covered in the “2019 Spring Fever Preview Special” (Hallmark, 10 p.m.).

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Friday TV: Gervais’ New ‘After Life’

afterLifeIn his latest series, “After Life” (Netflix, streaming), Ricky Gervais stars as a grumpy misanthrope contemplating suicide after his wife dies. Alternately acerbically funny and heartbreaking, it provides a good outlet for his scathing and dark wit.  Some of his co-stars from past series join him, including Kerry Godliman, David Earl, Ashley Jensen and Diane Morgan.

A second season starts for “Tin Star” (Amazon Prime, streaming), starring Tim Roth as a Brit who is police chief in the Rockies.

Also going West is the character in the film “Juanita” (Netflix, streaming), starring Alfre Woodard as a woman who seeks to escape her city life and adult kids by taking a bus to Montana.

The VH1 Trailblazer Awards (VH1, 9 p.m.) marks International Women’s Day by giving honors to director Ava DuVernay, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, author Margaret Atwood and the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke.

The South African series “Shadow” (Netflix, streaming) stars Pallance Dladla as an ex-cop with an inability to feel pain, who continues to catch Johannesburg offenders the police there can’t.

In the French film “Lady J” (Netflix, streaming), a widow seeks revenge on a lustful marquis. Writer-director Emmanuel Mouret adapts a story from the novel “Jacques the Fatalist” by Denis Diderot.

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Thursday TV: Forcing ‘Big Bang’ Laughs

BigBangI had the opportunity to witness a run-through of tonight’s episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS, 8 p.m.) when I was out in Los Angeles last month. It was oddly fascinating as the cast walked through the story of Penny and Bernadette at a sales convention, and Wolowitz staying home to babysit.

What was funny was to see a 2019 comedy set up the way “I Love Lucy” invented contemporary sitcoms, with parallel sets (some of them built for that particular episode; others the familiar home base used each week). For the run-through, there would be one scene, partly unseen by the audience way on one end of Warner Bros’ Stage 25, then they’d cut and walk down all the way to the other end for a scene that was still unseen for its extreme angle.

Oddest of all was a group who followed all the action whose job it was to force laughs at all the spots the script assumed there would be laughs. Strange,  especially since, frankly, not much of it raised an honest titter in the stands. The guest stars of the show literally phoned their parts in – Christine Baranski as Leonard’s mom, and, with a single “Wah” Pamela Adlon providing the baby’s voice.

For all the hubbub over “Big Bang Theory” and its final season, Adlon’s is the better half hour with her “Better Things” (FX, 10 p.m.), which returned last week for a new season. Tonight, she’s a victim in a zombie movie, coping mostly with the heat.

The single word description for tonight’s “Broad City” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) could probably fit most episodes: “Shenannigans.”

Your TGIT shifts tonight with the second season premiere of “For the People” (ABC, 10 p.m.), the legal drama full of young people working for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the return of the firehouse yarn “Station 19” (ABC, 9 p.m.), which involves an overturned car. Starting the night off is a new “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC, 8 p.m.), in which Maggie reveals more about her personal life.

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Wednesday TV: Two Hours of Ramsay’s 24

RamsayTwo restaurants in Los Angeles are renovated and given new menus in the two-hour second season finale of “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell & Back” (Fox, 8 p.m.).

The 11th season premiere of “The Real Housewives of New York City” (Bravo, 9 p.m.) has a lot to deal with, from Bethenny’s mourning of her boyfriend to Luann getting out of rehab for the second time and embracing a new addiction, cabaret.

Melting habitat is a problem in “My Journey with a Polar Bear” (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.).

A second episode finally occurs on “Whiskey Cavalier” (ABCC, 10 p.m.), where Scott Foley runs into his old “Scandal” castmate Bellamy Young.

“American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.) auditions continue in Idaho, Kentucky and Los Angeles.

Archie meets a runaway at the gym on “Riverdale” (CW, 8 p.m.).

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS, 10:30 p.m.) once more has too much material to choose from.

Now there’s two people on the Edge of Extinction on “Survivor” (CBS, 8 p.m.).

On “All American” (CW, 9 p.m.), Spencer doesn’t want his dad to return.

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Tuesday TV: Morgan Freeman vs. The Devil

SearchForTheDevilWho is the devil? The third season of “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.) begins with the deep-voiced actor making inquiries and running up the frequent flyer miles by talking with an exorcist priest in Rome and a Buddhist lama in Nepal

When we last left “The Bachelor” (ABC, 8 p.m.) on Monday, Colton Underwood had finally jumped the fence, a scene they’ve been teasing all season. Host Chris Harrison was looking for him in the Portuguese coastal town like he was a lost labrador. Presumably they find him in time for a two hour “Women Tell All” session in which he’s probably no more articulate about his choices than he’s been so far.

We already have a “Dr. Pimple Popper” (TLC, 10 p.m.), so why not a gross dude doctor as well? So opposite her is “The Toe Bro” (A&E, 10 p.m.) in which Dr. Jonathan Tomines treats ugly foot cases.

Hasn’t there already been a few other shows named “Deadly Recall” (Investigation Discovery, 10 p.m.)? This one features Pat Postiglione, a detective with a photographic memory.

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Monday TV: Oprah’s Stab at ‘Neverland’

oprah-after-neverland-1920x1080.jpg“Leaving Neverland” (HBO, 10 p.m.) reaches its conclusions with some of its most damning evidence: Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck don’t hear from Michael Jackson after they’ve effectively been replaced by other little boys, but get calls once he wants to testify in his behalf after two other families charge him with abuse. And if there is more to discuss about the case, it will be immediately afterwards on “Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland” (HBO, 10 p.m.), in which the two are further interviewed in what must be Oprah’s first assignment with the premium cable network.

Dr. Drew is on the case as well in a half hour special, “E! News Investigates: Leaving Neverland” (E!, 7 p.m.).

The miniseries based on the Black Dahlia case in Los Angeles, “I Am the Night” (TNT, 9 p.m.), has its series finale amid the time of the Watts riots.

It’s the night you’ve been waiting for on “The Bachelor” (ABC, 8 p.m.) when fantasy suites occurs with the final three while they’re in Portugal.

“Summer House” (Bravo, 10 p.m.) returns for a third season, after you’ve completely forgotten about the Hamptons layabouts.

A new series, “America’s Hidden Stories” (Smithsonian, 8 p.m.) looks at key moments in history with new investigative techniques, starting with the Salem witch trials.

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An Untimely Concert from the Jacksons

IMG_6632It was an auspicious moment in Jacksons history Friday, happening in a snowy and frozen remote corner — a rural Minnesota casino, in one of just a couple of scheduled U.S. dates this year.

Only two days later, a world of Michael Jackson fans would be confronted with some ugly accusations in a long, thoughtful and still shocking documentary on HBO, “Leaving Neverland.” More than one critic has said you would never respond to his music the same again.

And certainly, scenes like those that popped up before the show in the carpeted ballroom, of stage mothers proudly shooting a portrait of a son dolled up in Jackson leathers and fedora, would be unseemly and distasteful as a Bill Cosby concert.

The Jacksons, who still tour here and there, had done their rounds of interviews denying the content of Dan Reed’s four hour opus, repeating their denials after the show at the Treasure Island Casino in southern Minnesota. “Just check the facts,” said Tito Jackson. “They’re only in it for the money,” he says of the two men who claim Michael used them for sex for decades.

He didn’t think the video, true or not, would affect the livelihood of the brothers Michael left behind long ago.

True, they had had strained relations with the most famous member of the family since the disastrous ”Victory” tour 34 years ago — which Michael said he did only to help prop up his brothers’ struggling career. But they stood behind him during the trial of 2005, in which he was found not guilty (in part by testimony by the documentary subjects who now say they were lying under oath).

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Sunday TV: Climbing Heights, Hero Lows

Free SoloThe heights and depths of human possibility are explored in two extraordinary documentaries tonight.

The uplifting one — way, way and sometimes uncomfortably too far up — is “Free Solo” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.), a week after it won its oscar. It’s the sensitive story of Alex Hannold’s determination to climb the famous face of Yosemite’s El Capitan without ropes or equipment. It’s brainy, harrowing and even has a little romance, as a new girlfriend aids his dream. The filmmakers, too, are friends and try to determine whether they are encouraging the dangerous behavior by attempting to chronicle it. And chronicle it they do, in breathtaking photography. Tonight’s premiere is commercial free.

The super disheartening two-part documentary is “Leaving Neverland” (HBO, 8 p.m.), which got its own attention at Sundance and has lately been included in news cycles. In it, two grown men, one of them famous choreographer Wade Robson, change the stories they’ve long been telling others, including families and courts, that Michael Jackson did not molest them when they stayed over his house in Neverland.

Robson and James Safechuck, who first appeared with the tarnished king of pop in a Pepsi commercial, tell their stories thoughtfully and carefully, but in wincing detail. The real villains are their clueless and starstruck mothers, who allowed it all to occur because they were seduced by the lavish lifestyle. Can we ever listen to “Billie Jean” again? Even big fans owe it to themselves to consider the stories before wholesale dismissal causes to become as blind as the mothers. Part two is Monday.

Are there are still singers who somehow haven’t been discovered? The 17th season of “American Idol” (ABC, 8 p.m.) — and the second on this network — begins with fixed chairs and the same judges from last time – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Auditions begin in Kentucky, Idaho, Los Angeles, New York and Denver.

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Saturday TV: The Gender-Benders of ’82

tootsie-1982-movie-review-dorothy-michaels-dustin-hoffman-crossdressingBefore Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscars is over, they present a couple of the award-winning gender bending roles, both from the same year, 1982: “Tootsie” (8 p.m.) and “Victor/Victoria” (10:15 p.m.). Then comes a couple of the best coming of age films, “The Graduate” (12:45 a.m.) and “The Last Picture Show” (2:45 a.m.).

Earlier in the day are all the sci-fi films that got nominations over the years — “Marooned” (8 a.m.), “The Time Machine” (10:15 a.m.), “Forbidden Planet” (noon), “Them!” (2 p.m.), “Destination Moon” (3:45 p.m.) and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (5:30 p.m.).

Competing cooks spark romance as well in the made-for-TV movie “Just Add Romance” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.) with Meghann Fahy and Luke Macfarlane.

The other new original film tonight is less cheery. “The Killer Downstairs” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.) is about a woman whose new basement tenant is a suspicious stalker.

“Love & Marriage: Huntsville” (OWN, 10 p.m.) ends its first season with the real estate enterprise as shaky as some of the relationships.

The Craigslist killer is featured on “I Lived with a Killer” (Reelz, 11 p.m.).

“Your Worst Nightmare” (Investigation Discovery, 10 p.m.) looks at the abduction of a 13-year-old.

It’s a missing high-end escort on the scripted drama “Ransom” (CBS, 8 p.m.), the only new program on network TV tonight.

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Friday TV: Let’s Salute the Losers

losers-netflixFunny that few have concentrated on the teams and sports stars who failed to win the big game. But now there’s “Losers” (Netflix, streaming), a new documentary series that chronicles those who went down but might have learned a lesson from not winning. (Yes, some of it is animated).

Losing is not an issue in the eight-part documentary “Cricket Fever: Mumbai Indians” (Netflix, streaming) following the three-time championship winners.

The new film “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (Netflix, streaming) is based on a true story about a 13 year old boy in Malawi who saves his family and village from famine. Maxwell Simba plays the young man who builds his village a windmill after reading about it in a library in the directorial debut of the actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Hey, it’s Women’s History Month, which “American Masters” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) helps kick off with a portrait of the long-running feminist and activist singer “Holly Near: Singing for Our Lives,” which features interviews with Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Kevin Bacon, the late Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers

In the new British series  “The Widow” (Amazon Prime, streaming), Kate Beckinsale portrays a woman who rethinks whether her husband is really dead.

Meek Mill, Jamie Foxx, Jerrod Carmichael, Antonio Brown and 2 Chainz join Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Maverick Carter in the second season premiere of “The Shop” (HBO, 10:30 p.m.) taped during NBA All-Star Weekend.

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