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'Jazz Ambassadors' is a story of music, diplomacy, race

By Kevin McDonough Like the best history documentaries, "The Jazz Ambassadors" (10 p.m., PBS, check local listings) challenges our notions about the past. It explores several bygone eras, a time when the world was divided by the Cold War, a time … more

Sheldon attempts to end a family feud on 'Big Bang'

By Kevin McDonough Sitcoms have never been about consistency or character development. Time was, folks would simply disappear or end up getting played by another actor, as in the two Darrins from "Bewitched," a situation lampooned when a second … more

'Being Serena' offers intimate look at tennis great

By Kevin McDonough Are sports stars interesting outside of the arena? The five-part documentary series "Being Serena" (10 p.m., HBO, TV-PG) follows one of the most dominant athletes of her generation. It begins tonight with her sudden discovery … more

'The Middle' gets a little closer to its finale

By Kevin McDonough Hey, it's May! Time was, May was a pretty big deal in the TV universe, the month when shows wrapped up their seasons, and networks offered big movies, miniseries and events in the programming razzle-dazzle known as sweeps. … more

Cameron hosts A-list sci-fi series

By Kevin McDonoughWhen you're king of the world, everybody wants to appear on your show. "James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction" (10:05 p.m., AMC, TV-14) takes a six-episode tour of the genre. It … more

Documentary explores history, influence of Barbie

By Kevin McDonough Who's short, beloved, loathed, coveted, discarded and controversial? Not to mention nearly 60 years old! The documentary "Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie" begins streaming on Hulu today. "Tiny" explores the history and … more

Andie MacDowell is right at home in 'The Beach House'

By Kevin McDonough For its network and its star, "The Beach House" (9 p.m. Saturday, Hallmark, TV-PG) presents a comforting return to form. This Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation based on a novel by Mary Alice Monroe adds a few emotional … more

Marlee Matlin joins cast of returning 'Quantico'

By Kevin McDonough "Quantico" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) returns after nearly a year. Have fans been eagerly awaiting its return? Even after the departure of "Scandal," ABC is still awash in conspiracy-laden dramas. Both "Quantico" and "Designated … more

'Handmaid's Tale' returns with relentless brutality

By Kevin McDonough Blessed be? Streaming on Hulu, "The Handmaid's Tale" was among the most acclaimed TV series of 2017. While some saw it as an allegory for contemporary politics and the MeToo movement, the series hewed pretty closely to the 1985 … more

Banderas becomes Picasso for new season of 'Genius'

By Kevin McDonough Some words are so overused and misused, they set my teeth on edge. "Surreal" tops my list. It seems everything out of the ordinary is now likened to an early-20th-century art movement. Particularly in sports commentary. As in, … more

Corden's celebrity karaoke: Make it stop!

By Kevin McDonoughCall me a killjoy. I recoil from the forced frivolity of James Corden's celebrity singalongs. Tonight on "The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special" (10 p.m., CBS), the … more

Documentary 'Mercury 13' is a tale of dreams denied

By Kevin McDonough They had "The Right Stuff," but it didn't matter. Netflix begins streaming the documentary "Mercury 13" (TV-PG) today, a tale of missions deferred and dreams denied. "Mercury 13" follows the stories of the women who passed … more

Playthings revolt as HBO's 'Westworld' returns

By Kevin McDonough Fans of thought-provoking, visually lavish entertainment are in luck. "Westworld" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA) returns for a second season. In its first year, "Westworld" combined the widescreen beauty of a Western with the musings of … more

ABC bids farewell to political thriller 'Scandal'

By Kevin McDonough ABC's Shondaverse will shrink before it disappears. "Scandal" (10 p.m., TV-14) wraps up its seventh and last season with an episode written by creator Shonda Rhimes. Coverage of all things "Scandal" begins on ABC with "Good … more

A president under siege on 'Designated Survivor'

By Kevin McDonough The leak of illegal tapes, mysterious computer hackers and questions about the president's fitness for office provide the backdrop of tonight's "Designated Survivor" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14). President Tom Kirkman (Kiefer … more

'Civilizations' offers a history of 20,000 years of art

By Kevin McDonough Traditional television has entered a "greatest hits" phase. The ratings success of "Roseanne" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) will only encourage other networks to follow suit. The notion of a "new" "Murphy Brown" makes me sad. It … more
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