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Weekend TV offers virtual graduation, murder mysteries

Posted 5/15/20

By Kevin McDonough

Here's something you don't see every day. Since the pandemic has closed so many schools, and social distancing doesn't allow for mass gatherings, "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" (8 p.m. …

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Weekend TV offers virtual graduation, murder mysteries

Posted

By Kevin McDonough

Here's something you don't see every day. Since the pandemic has closed so many schools, and social distancing doesn't allow for mass gatherings, "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" (8 p.m. Saturday, CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, Univision, Freeform, CNN, MSNBC) offers students a "virtual" ceremony.

Organized by the LeBron James Family Foundation, it will feature a series of distinguished commencement speakers.

Look for addresses from former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well participation by the Jonas Brothers, Bad Bunny, H.E.R., Charli D'Amelio, Megan Rapinoe, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams and Malala Yousafzai.

The event's website (https://www.graduatetogether2020.com/#shareyourstory) has encouraged students to upload their yearbook pictures, memories and teacher appreciations.

In addition to the networks listed above, "Graduate Together" can also be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.

As strange as it sounds, the peculiarity of this year's graduating events will certainly make them more memorable. Years from now, the class of 2020 will be able to look back at how they showed resilience during a difficult time.

• A convenient corpse will open any door. Series with complicated situations, unusual settings or speculative takes on a tech-heavy future or descent into dystopia are easier to approach when wrapped up in a murder mystery.

Recently, this technique has allowed the FX on Hulu series "Devs" to explore mind-bending questions of time, fate, predestination and reality. Amazon Prime's comedy "Upload" presented a brave new world of a consumer-friendly afterlife, also swaddled in a whodunnit.

This weekend, two new series present a mystery cadaver as their first course. The strenuously contrived "Snowpiercer" (9 p.m. Sunday, TNT, TV-MA) envisions a frozen future where the only survivors of an environmental disaster continuously circle the globe on a super train with 1,000 cars. Most of the passenger service caters to the Grey Poupon crowd, but way back in steerage, a seething demimonde of starving stowaways plot revolution. When not tending to their pet rats! If you guessed this series was based on a movie adapted from a comic book, you would be right.

Things only get interesting when one of the rebels (Daveed Diggs) is dragged to the nicer cars due to his earlier career as a homicide detective. It seems there's a killer loose among the posh set! His reluctant assistance to the corporate authorities and the hospitality director (Jennifer Connelly) is the only story element that elevates "Snowpiercer" from dismal adolescent tripe.

• Jerry Bruckheimer goes to Provincetown. OK, that's not the plot to "Hightown" (8 p.m. Sunday, Starz, TV-MA). But it sums up the series nicely.

The Massachusetts fishing village at the very end of Cape Cod has been a gay resort for decades, a place where blue-collar locals rub shoulders with flamboyant visitors. Add a murder mystery and you have the perfect place for prolific producer Bruckheimer ("Top Gun," "Bad Boys," "CSI") to mix sex, violence and frantic stereotyping.

Monica Raymund ("Chicago Fire") plays Jackie Quinones, a hard-drinking, drug-guzzling woman who sees Provincetown as her own personal lesbian Disneyland, a tourist trap that brings her new conquests every night.

Between trysts (and hangovers), she's also a cop, or rather, a lowly agent for the National Marine Fisheries service. Her day job of busting fishermen for oversized lobster hauls soon gets more exciting when a dead body is found at low tide. It seems the victim was linked to the local drug trade and that Jackie may know more about the victim and her circle than she first lets on.

"Hightown" is shot on location on Cape Cod, so look out for plenty of Boston accents among the cops, dealers and junkies. Like most Bruckheimer productions, this mystery is competently made, if overly slick in a way that has nothing to do with its locale. There's no reason this couldn't be made in California or any other generic Beach Town, USA.

There's a reason series like "CSI" run for 12 million seasons. They stick to a formula that people like.

SATURDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

• A college freshman meets the sister she never knew she had in the 2020 shocker "Twisted Twin" (8 p.m., Lifetime, TV-14).

• Star of Paramount's popular Western "Yellowstone," Kevin Costner appears in "No Way Out" (8 p.m., Starz Encore), followed by "Dances With Wolves" (9:55 p.m.).

• ABC repeats an NBA game (9 p.m.) from April 13, 2016, when L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz.

• A marriage therapist loses her magic touch in the 2017 romance "How to Train Your Husband" (9 p.m., Hallmark, TV-PG).

SUNDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

• Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS): Interviews with Fed Chair Jerome Powell and whistleblower Rick Bright; speculation on ways the pandemic might alter economic and social systems.

• Tom Cruise stars in the 1996 adaptation of the TV series "Mission: Impossible" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

• Ryan Seacrest hosts the season finale of "American Idol" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG). "Taylor Swift City of Lover Concert" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) follows.

"Vice" (8 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA) looks at troubles in Burkina Faso.

• Harry is reassigned to help Polish resistance on the season finale of "World on Fire" on "Masterpiece" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-14, check local listings).

• Eve receives an icy welcome from her in-laws on "Killing Eve" (9 p.m., AMC, BBC America, TV-14).

• Dominick encounters a tough social worker on "I Know This Much Is True" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).

• "Downton Abbey" fans who can't get enough might enjoy "An American Aristocrat's Guide to Great Estates" (9 p.m., Smithsonian).

• Family issues derail Axe's big project on "Billions" (9 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).

• A peace offering may prove fatal to Charles on "Belgravia" (9 p.m., Epix, TV-14).

• Emma trips on "Vida" (9 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).

• Random acts of kindness on "Insecure" (10 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).

• L.A.'s Nazis make their presence known on "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels" (10 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA).

CULT CHOICE

A Confederate engineer (Buster Keaton) goes to dangerous lengths to retrieve his stolen locomotive in the 1926 silent comedy "The General" (8 p.m. Saturday, TCM, TV-G). Keaton's films and remarkable stunt work are the subject of a 2018 documentary "The Great Buster: A Celebration" (9:45 p.m., TCM, TV-G).

SATURDAY SERIES

"48 Hours" (9 p.m., CBS) * "Dateline" (9 p.m., NBC, r) * "Celebrity Watch Party" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) * A vintage helping of "Saturday Night Live" (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).

SUNDAY'S SERIES FINALES

When the dog bites on "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) * A bitter hero returns on "Batwoman" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * School politics on "Duncanville" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Louise mentors on "Bob's Burgers" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) * Reluctant partners on "Supergirl" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG) * Stewie's books irk Brian on "Family Guy" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).

© 2020, United Feature Syndicate