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Madam Secretary and The Good Wife turn Black-ish in Gotham; TV this week

- September 21st, 2014

Tea Leoni in Madam Secretary

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Sept. 21

1 Gotham
Debut
The Riddler, the Penguin, Catwoman, they’re all here in their formative years, prowling the dark streets under the suspicious eye of Det. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie).
When: Monday on Fox, CTV

2 The Big Bang Theory
Eighth-season debut, back-to-back new episodes
Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) make an unexpected trip to Arizona to fetch Sheldon (Jim Parsons), while Penny (Kaley Cuoco) interviews for a new job.
When: Monday on CBS, CTV

3 Black-ish
Debut
Dre (Anthony Anderson) is close to becoming the first African American senior VP at his firm, just as his son Andre Jr. (Marcus Scribner) declares he’s converting to Judaism.
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

4 The Blacklist
Second-season debut
Mary-Louise Parker and Krysten Ritter guest-star as Red (James Spader) faces a new threat from a man named Lord Baltimore and Liz (Megan Boone) tries to move forward.
When: Monday on NBC, Global

5 The Good Wife
Sixth-season debut
Despite pressure, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is determined not to run for State’s Attorney. Instead, she’s beating Hillary Clinton to the punch and officially running for president. I kid.
When: Sunday on CBS, Global

6 Scorpion
Debut
Katharine McPhee plays a waitress with a supposedly challenged son. But an encounter with a group of geniuses during a crisis opens her eyes to new theories about her boy.
When: Monday on CBS, City

7 Madam Secretary
Debut
Tea Leoni (pictured above) stars as U.S. Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord. Question: Why are there so many TV shows about American government when so few Americans actually vote?
When: Sunday on CBS, Global

8 How To Get Away With Murder
Debut
Every year professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) selects the smartest students to work at her law firm. But she represents only the most hardened, violent criminals.
When: Thursday on ABC, CTV

9 Saving Hope
Third-season debut
After being stabbed in the heart in the season-two finale – literally, not romantically – Dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance) has a profound experience in the liminal space.
When: Monday on CTV

10 Sleepy Hollow
Second-season debut
Abbie (Nicole Beharie) is stuck in purgatory, Ichabod (Tom Mison) is buried alive and Katrina (Katia Winter) is kidnapped by the headless horseman. Just another day in paradise.
When: Monday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Maslany, McConaughey, Margulies earn nominations for 2014 TCA awards

- May 27th, 2014

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Orange and True.

That would be one way to describe the list of nominees for the 30th annual Television Critics Association Awards, which were announced Tuesday.

Two new shows – Orange is the New Black (Netflix) and True Detective (HBO, HBO Canada) – were included among the five nominees for the prestigious program-of-the-year award. The others were Game of Thrones (HBO, HBO Canada), The Good Wife (CBS, Global) and defending champion Breaking Bad (AMC).

As logic would dictate (although you never can be too sure with critics), Orange is the New Black and True Detective also were nominated in the outstanding-new-program category, alongside Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, City), Fargo (FX, FXX Canada) and Sleepy Hollow (Fox, Global).

Nominees for individual achievement in comedy were defending champ Louis C.K. (Louie), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation).

Nods for individual achievement in drama went to defending champ Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Matthew McConaughey (True Detective) and Matthew Rhys (The Americans).

The eligibility period for the 2014 TCA awards was from May 15, 2013 to May 15, 2014. The awards will be handed out on July 19 at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Barbara Walters has Rosemary’s Baby; must-sees for the week of May 11

- May 10th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of May 11

1 Penny Dreadful
Debut: Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton star in this horror series set in 1890s London, England that incorporates well-known fictional characters from the era (Dorian Gray, for instance).
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Movie Central

2 The View
Barbara Walters, 84, makes her final regular appearance on the daytime talk show she co-created. Then in primetime, ABC will air a two-hour special celebrating the highlights of Walters’ lengthy career.
When: Friday on ABC, CTV

3 Rosemary’s Baby
Debut: Based on the 1967 novel/1968 movie, this is a two-part mini-series starring Patrick J. Adams, Zoe Saldana and Jason Isaacs. The plot kind of reminds me of the cancelled series 666 Park Avenue.
When: Sunday and Thursday on NBC

4 The Blacklist
First-season finale: After the crash of a prisoner transport plane, the escapees are running wild. Didn’t the Clash have a song about that? Anyway, Liz (Megan Boone), of course, turns to Red (James Spader).
When: Monday on NBC, Global

5 The Big Bang Theory
Seventh-season finale: With his entire world descending into uncertainty, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) considers a major change. And as we all know, change does not come easily or naturally to him.
When: Thursday on CBS, CTV

6 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
First-season finale: Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team risk everything to stop Garrett (Bill Paxton) and HYDRA. Garrett and Hydra, sounds like something that should be winning a Grammy, am I right?
When: Tuesday on ABC, CTV

7 Nashville
Second-season finale: As the album by Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) climbs the charts, Rayna (Connie Britton) plans a free concert to promote her own album. Wait a minute – there are still albums?
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

8 Never Ever Do This at Home
Season-two debut with back-to-back episodes: Teddy Wilson and Norm Sousa are causing more mischief in a way that lives up to the title of the series. Like, um, painting a house with a cannon.
When: Monday on Discovery

9 Riot
Debut: This game show, which takes place on a set that’s built on a 22-degree angle, sees celebs participating in song and sketch challenges. Executive produced by Steve Carell, who appears in the first episode.
When: Tuesday on Fox

10 Oprah’s Master Class
Fourth-season debut: Grammy and Emmy winner Justin Timberlake discusses his influences and life lessons. Unless those influences and life lessons start and end with Oprah herself, she’ll be pissed.
When: Sunday on OWN

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Take a Turn into Silicon Valley and play a Game of Thrones with the Veep; TV must-sees for the week

- April 5th, 2014

Dragon in Game of Thrones

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 6

1 Game of Thrones
Fourth-season debut: Veterinary medicine figured out “dog years” versus “people years. But what of “dragon years?” When do dragons become adults? I’m just waiting for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to turn loose those fire-breathers.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

2 Turn
Debut: Based on the book Washington’s Spies by historian Alexander Rose, this drama set in the 1770s tells the tale of fledgling new-world espionage as the American Revolution becomes a reality. With Jamie Bell, Heather Lind and Samuel Roukin.
When: Sunday on AMC

3 Silicon Valley
Debut: Created by Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butt-Head), this live-action series is about nerdy but brilliant high-tech dudes who are on the cusp of successes they couldn’t possibly handle. Sort of The Big Bang Theory on steroids.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

4 Veep
Third-season debut: Last time we saw VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), she had been handed an opportunity to run for president in the next election. But she doesn’t exactly connect with everyday voters a la Rob Ford, as we soon will see.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

5 The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over
Debut: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks are among those saluting the DC5 in this new documentary. With 14 top-20 hits in the U.S., the DC5 appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 18 times, more than any other British Invasion group.
When: Tuesday or Friday on most PBS affiliates

6 The Haves and the Have Nots
Canadian debut: Drama series from Tyler Perry is about a rich Georgia family and the servants who serve them. John Schneider – yes, from The Dukes of Hazzard – stars as a powerful judge and family patriarch who is leading a double life. Hey, who isn’t?
When: Tuesday on OWN

7 Jacked
Debut: Jeremy Patterson is the hurricane slayer. Well, no, he doesn’t stop hurricanes. But Patterson and his rag-tag team travel across the continent, raising hope by raising hurricane-damaged houses that many thought were beyond salvage. One inch at a time.
When: Monday on Discovery

8 Win, Lose or Draw
Canadian debut: A revamped version of the 1980s game show, this one is hosted by Justin Willman and features young and current Disney stars teaming up with kid contestants. This definitely is a more high-tech version than the original, though.
When: Monday on Family

9 Being Human
Series finale: It’s a wrap, folks, as this show has been cancelled. In the final episode, Sally (Meaghan Rath) makes a major sacrifice to stop her vision of Aidan (Sam Witwer) killing Josh (Sam Huntington) from coming true.
When: Monday on Space

10 Disaster Decks and Decked Out
Season-two/season-four debuts: One deck-based series wasn’t enough for Paul Lafrance. He needed two, with double episodes of each, airing back-to-back-to-back-to-back. This could lead to some crazy crossover episodes, with famous decks making guest-appearances on the other show.
When: Tuesday on HGTV

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Does The Walking Dead still Reign? TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 13

- October 12th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ top 10 TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 13:

1 The Walking Dead

The first episode of the fourth season is titled 30 Days Without an Accident. So why am I thinking the streak is about to end? Followed by the return of wrap-up show Talking Dead.

When: Sunday on AMC

2 Reign

Series debut: Danger, intrigue and romance lurk around every castle corner for Mary Queen of Scots, played by Adelaide Kane. Doesn’t quite pay attention to history, but hey, who does?

When: Wednesday on M3; Thursday on CW and CTV Two

3 The Big Bang Theory

The always awkward relationship between Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) gets even more weird when she takes a job at his university.

When: Thursday on CBS, CTV

4 The Blacklist

Red (James Spader) informs the FBI that the kidnapping of a key witness may have been perpetrated by a criminal known as the Stewmaker. Mmmmmm, stew.

When: Monday on NBC, Global

5 The Biggest Loser

Society does not appear to be running out of contestants for this inspirational show that literally burns fat. Ruben Studdard – a winner back when American Idol still mattered – is on board.

When: Tuesday on NBC, OMNI

6 How I Met Your Mother

As the final season continues, Lily (Alyson Hannigan) helps Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) pick a side in a fight between his mom and Robin (Cobie Smulders).

When: Monday on CBS, City

7 Super Fun Night

A law-firm executive urges Kimmie (Rebel Wilson) to act more professionally, but that won’t sit well with Marika (Lauren Ash) or Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira).

When: Wednesday on ABC, City

8 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish

Series debut: The title pretty much says it all. Vanilla Ice is on a mission to learn the lost art of hand craftsmanship. Feel free to insert your own joke here.

When: Sunday on DIY network

9 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A woman who is behind a series of high-stakes heists holds a troubling secret that has the potential to ruin Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).

When: Tuesday on ABC, CTV

10 Ironside

Holly (Spencer Grammer) and Ironside (Blair Underwood) follow the trail of a professional poker player with a drug problem. Wow, that really narrows it down. I kid, I kid.

When: Wednesday on NBC, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca