Thursday, November 26, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 3:49 PM
Mark Feuerstein and Liza Lapira in a scene from USA's "Royal Pains"

File both of these under guilty pleasures:

For some of us, summer isn't really here till the return of "Royal Pains" (9 p.m. Wednesday, USA), the show about a concierge doctor named Hank (Mark Feuerstein) whose practice is largely limited to the well-heeled who take their sandals to the Hamptons when the weather gets warm.

Nice work if you can get it, sure, but light as "Pains" often is, I find it weirdly addictive. It doesn't hurt that Liza Lapira ("Traffic Light," "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23") is guest-starring as a patient in the season-opener, which finds Hank still recovering from a head injury.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 3:31 PM
Ashley Rickards stars as Jenna in (MTV)

The Season 3 finale of "Awkward" (10 p.m., MTV) is called "Redefining Jenna," which sounds like a decent description of one of my favorite high school shows. Ashley Rickards stars as Jenna, who started her freshman year three seasons ago being redefined by other people (who mistakenly thought she'd tried to commit suicide) and is in a very different place now.

I won't be watching it in real time, though, because I'm a few episodes behind. No need to feel awkward if you, too, have missed any of Season 3. MTV's rerunning every episode Tuesday, starting at 5:30 p.m. So fire up the DVR. For the truly obsessed, there's also a retrospective at 10:30 p.m., "Aftershow. You're Welcome."

Also on TV Tuesday:

POSTED: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 3:33 PM
Aaron Tveit and Daniel Sunjata star in "Graceland"

You can read what I had to say about "Graceland" (10 p.m., USA) and "In the Flesh" (10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, BBC America) in my column.

If you no longer want to wait an entire season of "Survivor" to see people triumph over a carefully edited wilderness, you might want to try "72 Hours" (9 p.m., TNT) in which "teams of strangers are dropped into the wilderness with nothing but a water bottle and a GPS device."

They're looking for a suitcase with $100,000 cash (yes, the quest may be shorter, but the payoff''s smaller).

POSTED: Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 3:29 PM
Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B., Howard Stern and Heidi Klum and host Nick Cannon will be there as "America's Got Talent" returns Tuesday

Since talent shows have long ceased to be about the talent, the focus, as "America's Got Talent" returns Tuesday (9 p.m., NBC10) is on the judges, with Heidi Klum and Mel. B. joining Howard Stern and Howie Mandel at the judges' table.

So, a German supermodel and a British pop star? That's a lot of accents for a show with "America" in the title, but by this time, we're used to having the whole world judge us -- Simon  and the Supernanny taught us.

Feeling smarter than that? BBC America's Bang Goes the Theory" (not to be confused with the CBS sitcom of the similar name) premieres with three back-to-back episodes beginning at 9, with the first featuring a challenge involving homemade biofuels. (Did I mention cows were involved?)

POSTED: Monday, June 3, 2013, 3:31 PM
Charlie Sheen's cable sitcom, "Anger Management," comes to Fox on Monday nights this summer

Remember when Charlie Sheen was the biggest star on Monday nights?

So does Fox.

Sheen, who once ruled the beachfront roost on CBS' "Two and a Half Men," now stars -- after a period of unpleasantness we dont need to rehash here -- in a cable sitcom, FX's "Anger Management." He plays a therapist. Yes, really.

POSTED: Friday, May 31, 2013, 3:57 PM
Comedian Richard Pryor's the focus of a new documentary on Showtime (Steve Shapiro/Courtesy of Showtime)

“It was just amazing to see him live. It’s like saying you saw Coltrane play,” says Robin Williams in “Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic” (9 p.m., Showtime).

Williams is just one of the comedians who pays tribute to the man whom Dave Chappelle calls “undisputed champion of the closed, period, exclamation point” in this freebasing-and-all documentary that’s probably the hottest thing happening inside tonight.

FX, meanwhile, is trying to get viewers in a Will Smith frame of mind on the opening day of his latest movie, After Earth,” with “Enemy of the State” at 5 p.m., followed by back-to-back showings of “Hancock” beginning at 8.

POSTED: Thursday, May 30, 2013, 2:49 PM
John Benjamin Hickey (facing Mads Mikkelsen, seen from back) guest stars on Thursday's "Hannibal" (Brooke Palmer/NBC)

If you're not already counting down the minutes to the championship rounds of the 86th annual National Spelling Bee (live on ESPN from 8-10 p.m.), the season finale of "Mike & Molly" airs more than a week late (8:30 p.m., CBS3). 

Pulled from Monday's schedule last week because it somehow involves a tornado and thus was deemed too close  to the real-life tragedies playing out in Oklahoma, it's on after a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory" at 8, which should help people find it on a different night, since viewers seem to follow Sheldon and Leonard wherever they go.

Also new Thursday: "Save Me" (8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC10), the Anne Heche sitcom that NBC's burning off as fast as it can, and "Hannibal" (10 p.m., NBC10), the drama about the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and his more than slightly deluded FBI consultant friend Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Last I checked, the fate of "Hannibal" still hangs in the balance, with NBC still waiting to see if it will ask it back for next season. I'm still on the fence myself. As much as I love executive producer Bryan Fuller's work, I'd prefer to see this kind of artistry lavished on something that didn't involve so many splashily arranged corpses.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 3:41 PM

Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion High's in the spotlight Wednesday (and probably not in the best way) as ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer reports on "Hidden America: Our Most Dangerous Schools" during her evening newscast (6:30 p.m., 6ABC) and later on "Nightline" (12:35 a.m., 6ABC).

The report, delayed a couple of times by breaking news, has Sawyer taking "viewers inside what has been officially labeled one of the most dangerous high schools in America and reveals what it’s like to teach, to learn and to try to gain a foothold in life there."

In other less-than-upbeat news, Bob Costas revisits the Freeh Report on Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky case on "Costas Tonight" (11 p.m., NBC Sports Network), with former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, who wrote a review of the report,  Wick Sollers, who represents the family of the late Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn among the guests.

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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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