Wednesday, December 17, 2014

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 3:41 PM
Danielle Desroches and Tracey Noonan pitch the entrepreneurs on "Shark Tank" on their cupcakes-in-a-jar business (Adam Taylor/ABC)

I spent last Friday night watching Boston's ABC station, WCVB, online for what turned out to be the best coverage available of the capture of the second suspect in the marathon bombing. On TV, meanwhile, plenty of things were being pre-empted for the the bombing story, including the episode of NBC's "Grimm" in which Portland is threatened with a volcano.

The volcano alert's back on as "Grimm" returns (9 p.m., NBC10) with an episode that was briefly available online until the network decided to air it a week late instead.

But if you saw it, then you might want to see the generally volcano-free "Shark Tank" (9 p.m., 6 ABC), where cupcakes in a jar are among the ideas being pitched this week. (Some of us prefer to apply them directly to our hips, but if others want to keep cupcakes in jars, it's fine with me.)

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 3:05 PM
We'll see more dinners with the Bravermans as "Parenthood" returns next season

Fans of NBC's "Parenthood" won't have to sweat it out until the fall schedule announcements in mid-May.

The network announced Friday that it had ordered a full 22-episode season for "Parenthood" -- its biggest for a while -- guaranteeing us even more time with the Bravermans next season.

Also getting early renewals (and full-season orders): "Revolution," "Chicago Fire," "Grimm" and "Law & Order: SVU," which will enter its 15th season this fall.

POSTED: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 4:21 PM
Guillermo Diaz and Kerry Washington in a scene from Thursday's "Scandal" on ABC (Ron Tom/ABC)

With the advent of May sweeps  -- which, yes, don't always wait for May -- you probably don't need help finding something to watch Thursday, because almost everything on the broadcast networks is new, with the exception of an 8:30 p.m. rerun of NBC's "The Office," which will be followed at 9 by a new one that includes another appearance by Roseanne Barr as Andy's new agent.

But "Scandal" addicts -- you know who you are -- may be particularly happy to learn that the reruns are over and that Thursday's episode (10 p.m., 6 ABC) will feature a highly charged scene between Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), who can't seem to remember that he's supposed to be the president of the United States, not just Olivia's stalker. Oh, and we're also going to learn more about Huck (Guillermo Diaz). So there's that.

Can we pause here for a moment to admire the way "Scandal" has managed to reverse Olivia and Fitz's roles in the hospital scene? Because it seems like just a few months ago that he was in the bed and she was the one visiting him. Come to think of it, a lot of things in "Scandal" seem to happen in that hospital. (See clip below.)

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POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 3:49 PM
Richard Thomas plays an FBI supervisor in FX's "The Americans" (Craig Blankenhorn/FX)

One of the great pleasures of this first season of FX's '80s spy drama "The Americans" has been the opportunity to see Richard Thomas somewhere other than the Hallmark Channel.

Wednesday's episode -- the next-to-the-last of the season -- features plenty of face time for the former "John Boy" Walton, who plays FBI agent Frank Gaad. It also includes  the return of Caspar Weinberger's clock, which fans of the show may recall as having been bugged earlier this year.

The late defense secretary remains offscreen, but his wife is briefly a character in the show. For those who wonder about the real Jane Weinberger, who died in 2009 at the age of 91, Wikipedia reports that she published more than a dozen books, many of them for children, but omits mention of any incident involving a clock planted in her home by Russian spies. (Go figure.)

POSTED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 4:22 PM
Theo James (left) and Chi McBride in Tuesday's "Golden Boy" on CBS (Jeff Neumann/Warner Bros.)

With FX's "Justified" off until next year, it may be time to take another look at  "Golden Boy" (10 p.m., CBS 3) ,a cop show with a twist.  We already know where the show's ambitious title character, homicide Detective Walter Clark (Theo James). will be in seven years -- the commissioner's office.

But it's the getting there that matters (and seeing who survives the ride). I watch this one sporadically, and mostly for Chi McBride, who plays Clark's older and wiser partner. Fans of straightforward cop shows can easily ignore the gimmick and enjoy the show's "NYPD Blue" vibe.

Some other things you may want to check out:

POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013, 3:33 PM
Lily Tomlin with one of the creatures she loves (Lisa Jeffries/HBO)

"An Apology to Elephants," as you might guess from the title, is not pro-circus.

It's not totally anti-zoo, however.

Narrated by actress Lily Tomlin -- who introduces herself by saying, "I'm Lily Tomlin, and I love elephants -- this short HBO documentary, which premieres at 7 p.m. Monday, delves into the methods used on elephants in captivitiy, starting when they're just babies, to train them to do the tricks many of us grew up accepting as a form of entertainment. It also visits a sanctuary for elephants in California.

POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2013, 3:29 PM
David Giuntuli in Friday's "Grimm." (Scott Green/NBC)

Note: Depending on news developments, broadcast networks may be pre-empting some or all of their schedules Friday night for coverage.

It's been a while since I've caught an episode of NBC's "Grimm," which ironically has been one of the brighter spots on the network's schedule this season. (On Friday, NBC announced it was moving "Grimm" to 10 p.m. Tuesdays starting April 30 to replace "Ready for Love.")

But after a week of real-life grimness, an episode in which Nick (David Giuntoli) attempts to keep a volcano from burying the city of Portland might actually feel like a bit of relief.

POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2013, 9:23 AM
Landon Laboiron and Bill Skarsgard in Netflix's "Hemlock Grove"

It's probably not the best news for Eli Roth's "Hemlock Grove" that I didn't hate it -- and not just because "didn't hate it" will never make it as a pullout quote in any ad, as much as I might long to see it there.

But that I, too much of a wimp to have seen Roth's "Hostel" movies, would have made it through three episodes of his new series for Netflix without looking away once suggests the show's target audience might be a little disappointed.Yes, there's some grisly stuff, including the evisceration of a young girl's corpse, but nothing more disturbing, frankly, than you might have seen on NBC in this week's episode of "Hannibal."

Not that that's not plenty disturbing.

About this blog
As the TV critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, I've always believed my job is less about thumbs -- up or down -- and more about the conversation. Because the more choices we have, the fewer people in our lives know what we're talking about when we say, "Did you see that?" And that's when television really starts to get interesting. Reach Ellen at

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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