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Archive: May, 2013

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 world...case 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.


Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

POSTED: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 5:33 PM

The first day of the summer season, and it's a jungle out there already, with NBC tossing "Save Me," its leftover midseason sitcom with Anne Heche, on to the Summer Burn-Off Theater barbie at 8 and 8:30 p.m. -- you can read my review here --  and Fox at 9 launching "Does Someone Have to Go?" a "reality" series in which businesses allow employees to decide which of their colleagues isn't cutting it -- and to do something about it.

Originally, this one was to be called  "Someone's Gotta Go," and had companies in trouble letting workers vote on who got fired, but in this economy, even Fox apparently thought that might not fly. So now it's possible that no one will get the ax. But still, if this is your idea of entertainment, you must really miss the days when lions and Christians got together.

Meanwhile, ABC continues to play it safely Canadian for the summer, with its new police drama, "Motive" at 9 (I kind of liked it, but forgot it almost immediately afterward), followed by the return of "Rookie Blue," which in its fourth season probably should be called "Veteran Blue."


POSTED: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 2:45 PM
Jessica Walter and Jeffrey Tambor in scene from new episodes of "Arrested Development" (Sam Urdank/Netflix)

Here’s one way “Arrested Development” on Netflix will be different from the show Fox canceled seven years ago: It won’t have to leave room for commercials.

Or even fit in a half-hour.

Which apparently surprised “Arrested” creator Mitch Hurwitz.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 4:10 PM
Connie Britton performs in the season finale of ABC's "Nashville" (Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC)

A moment of silence, please, for the 2012-2013 season, which ends Wednesday with a bunch of finales, closing out:

-- Season 14(!) for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC10).

-- Season 8 for "Criminal Minds" (9 p.m., CBS3).

POSTED: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 3:38 PM
(Reggie Lee (left) and David Giuntoli in scene from Tuesday's season finale of "Grimm" on NBC)

Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien talks to correspondent Andrea Kremer about how challenges close to home prepared him to deal with the turbulence in the program -- following the revelations involving Jerry Sandusky -- on Tuesday's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" (10 p.m., HBO).

PBS' lively "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal" (9 p.m., WHYY 12)  -- or as I call it, history on a Harley -- looks at the 14th Amendment and what it means to causes as diverse as same-sex marriage and immigration reform.

And in the season finale of "Grimm" (10 p.m., NBC10), Nick (David Giuntoli) looks into a series of attacks linked to Portland's "undead" (why do we never see these people on "Portlandia"?). Shohreh Aghdashloo and James Frain guest-star.

POSTED: Monday, May 20, 2013, 4:16 PM
Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks perform their "2,000-Year-Old Man" routine (Courtesy of Photography by William Claxton Courtesy Demont Photo Management, LLC)

Fox has a brand-new sitcom, "The Goodwin Games," premiering at 8:30 p.m., but the funniest show on TV Monday night is likely to be on PBS.

"American Masters' (9 p.m., WHYY 12) presents a 90-minute look at the genius behind "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles" in "Mel Brooks: Make a Noise," and though there are plenty of famous talking heads, including his friend and occasional collaborator Carl Reiner, some of it is Brooks telling stories. Which, since he's never authorized a biography, means this might be your best chance to hear them.

We can either look at "The Goodwin Games," produced by the same team as CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," as a comedy leftover -- it was part of the slate announced by Fox a year ago -- or as an example of the network's renewed commitment to year-round programming.

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 graye@phillynews.com.

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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