Blood & Treasure
(CBS, premieres May 21, 9 p.m.)
Weary of TV procedurals? Try this Indiana Jones/National Treasure-flavored, globe-trotting romp about an antiques expert (Matt Barr) and an art thief (Sofia Pernas) on the hunt for a pyramid-exploding terrorist whose evil deeds are financed by stealing treasures.
Our summer TV season preview highlights 13 great new shows starring Kevin Costner, 64, Julianna Margulies, 52, Meryl Streep, 69 (playing the maw-in-law of Nicole Kidman, 51, on Big Little Lies), Ann Curry, 62, Ann Dowd, 63, Lucy Liu, 50, and more. READ THE SUMMER TV PREVIEW
Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons
(ABC, May 22, 8 p.m. ET)
Norman Lear, 96, and Jimmy Kimmel, 51, host a 90-minute live performance of Lear's All in the Family, starring Woody Harrelson, 57, and Marisa Tomei, 54, as Archie and Edith Bunker, and The Jeffersons, starring Jamie Foxx, 51, and Wanda Sykes, 55, as George and Louise, and Will Ferrell, 51, as their neighbor Tom Willis.
Elementary, Season 7
(CBS, May 23, 10 p.m. ET)
In the final season's premiere, Scotland Yard consultants Dr. Watson (Lucy Liu, 50, of Ally McBeal and Kill Bill fame) and Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller, Trainspotting) investigate London's tabloid journalism and the case of a model attacked with acid. Meanwhile, Holmes racks his brain to find a way to get back to New York despite his confession last season to a murder he didn't commit.
She's Gotta Have It, Season 2
(Netflix, premieres May 24)
In the second season of the series adaptation of Spike Lee's 1986 debut movie, the artist and lover magnet Nola Darling (DeWanda Wise) struggles with starving-artist wages and gets out of gentrified Brooklyn to visit Puerto Rico and get in touch with herself. READ SPIKE LEE INTERVIEW
The Name of the Rose
(Sundance Channel, premieres May 23, 10 p.m. ET)
In the eight-part series adaptation of Umberto Eco's high-IQ best-selling murder mystery, John Turturro, 62 (The Night Of, The Big Lebowski) takes the role Sean Connery played in the 1986 film version: William of Baskerville, a 14th-century monk trying to solve a string of grisly murders in an abbey. Rupert Everett, 59 (My Best Friend's Wedding) plays F. Murray Abraham's old part, Inquisitor Bernardo Gui, William's scary antagonist. It's like a cross between The Da Vinci Codeand Game of Thrones — only smarter.
Catch Up With
(Netflix, streaming anytime)
Wine Country is a movie you really, really want to love. Crammed with veteran comics — Rachel Dratch, 53, Paula Pell, 56, Amy Poehler, 47, Maya Rudolph, 46, Tina Fey, 48, and Ana Gasteyer, 52 — how could it possibly be anything but hysterical? And yet it's simply never as laugh-out-loud funny as, say, Rudolph's Bridesmaids. Poehler's directing debut plays out over a girls’ weekend in Napa Valley to celebrate a 50th birthday. The film shifts from silly to serious to silly again, covering everything from marital strains to health crises. The stars’ second-nature chemistry is appealing, and an encounter with an artist who paints scenes from the old TV sitcom The Nanny is pretty darn funny. So gather up a few gal pals and enjoy this ensemble's collective charm. Watching it with a glass or two of wine doesn't hurt. —Shelley Emling READ THE CAST OF WINE COUNTRY INTERVIEW
Line of Duty, Season 5
(Acorn TV, streaming anytime)
Britain's top-rated show of 2019 beats American procedurals hands down, and you don't need to watch Seasons 1 to 4 (available on Acorn and Hulu) to plunge right into its tense, zigzagging, paranoid story. Stephen Graham, 45, Boardwalk Empire's Al Capone, is fantastic as John Corbett, an undercover agent embedded in a drug gang who crosses an ethical line or two. As a top cop complains: “Right, so we have a betting-shop robbery … a hijack … narcotics … a rival organized gang framed … three police officers murdered.” Then things get scarier, and Corbett may not be the bad guy (or not the baddest). —T.A.
Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate
(Netflix, streaming anytime)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Lily Tomlin, 79, socks it to you as operator Ernestine and child Edith Ann, and is joined by Jo Anne Worley, 81, Ruth Buzzi, 82, Billy Crystal, Rita Wilson, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Snoop Dogg, Jay Leno, Jon Lovitz, Rita Moreno, Margaret Cho and more. —T.A.
What's My Name: Muhammad Ali
(HBO, streaming anytime)
Boxer Muhammad Ali, one of the top-three titans of American pop culture, gets a documentary equal to the great man's ambition and complexity. It's directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer). —Ken Tucker FULL REVIEW
(Hulu, streaming anytime)
Better than Mike Nichols’ 1970 movie version of Joseph Heller's classic World War II satire, George Clooney's TV miniseries is more faithful to the book. Christopher Abbott (Girls) is good as Yossarian, the bombardier who wants only to survive, and Clooney, 58, is fine as clueless Lt. Scheisskopf. But the standout is Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler, 53, as Yossarian's nemesis, mad Col. Cathcart, a man who “had courage and never hesitated to volunteer his men for any target available.” —T.A.
(HBO, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)
The 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant calamity killed up to 35 times as many people as died at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, but Russia's criminally incompetent, mendacious rulers managed to keep the full dimensions of the needless disaster from being widely known. This extraordinary, fact-based, five-part miniseries captures the Chernobyl experience in a way you won't soon forget. Mad Men Emmy nominee Jared Harris, 57, excels as the scientist in charge of the cleanup, who helped prevent a total meltdown that could've made Eastern Europe uninhabitable and paid with his life for the radiation he (like many doomed heroes on the scene) endured. He's a better actor than his dad, Richard Harris. Stellan Skarsgard, 67, is great as a government official who gradually, reluctantly sees reality, and Emily Watson, 52, is good as a scientist trying to pry open other officials’ closed minds. Though it packs the fascination of a documentary, it's the human drama that makes this one a must-see. — T.A.
The Red Line
(CBS, Sundays, 8 p.m. ET)
Ava DuVernay (Selma) presents a series about a black doctor shot by a white cop in Chicago and the rippling effects on three families involved in the tragedy. ER’s Noah Wyle stars as the widowed husband of the slain doctor. —T.A. READ NOAH WYLE INTERVIEW
(HBO, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET)
If you liked The Favourite, you’ll love this fact-based, hard-to-believe story about Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), who shocked neighbors in Halifax, England, with behavior thought unladylike in 1832: dressing like a man and always in black, running the family coal mine, climbing mountains, studying brain surgery with Frenchman Georges Cuvier and marrying a wealthy heiress. Her secret love diaries, written in code, were discovered and decoded in the 1980s. Sally Wainwright directs her eyebrow-raising life story with sass and style. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)
Bless This Mess
(ABC, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)
Seasoned farm-country folks Pam Grier and Ed Begley Jr., both 69, give a young couple (Parenthood's Dax Shepard and In a World...'s Lake Bell) advice on their move from Manhattan to a run-down farmhouse in Nebraska in this Green Acres- and Northern Exposure-like sitcom. Grier — who plays the town storekeeper, sheriff and theater owner — tells the lovebirds, “The best kind of love ain't happy — the best kind of love is honest.” —T.A.
(CBS, Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)
Will grownups never get tired of NCIS-like military police procedurals? Nope, especially when the casting is as appetizing as Dana Delany, 63, as Col. Glenn Turnbull, top-ranking Marine Corps judge advocate. She's been a stellar performer in military roles ever since China Beach made her famous, and it's hard to imagine The Code won't please its eager audience. —T.A. READ DANA DELANY INTERVIEW
Game of Thrones, Final Season
(HBO, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
At long last, winter really is coming on TV's top fantasy blockbuster, including the Battle of Winterfell, which is bad news for White Walkers and Daenerys Targaryen's clan alike. But good news for fans, and excellent prospects to add to the mere 47 Emmy Awards the epochal hit has already won. —T.A.
Barry, Season 2
(HBO, Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)
In the second season of one of TV’s best shows, acting teacher Gene (Henry Winkler, 73) freaks out after someone shoots his detective girlfriend. He doesn’t know that the murderer is his acting student Barry (SNL vet Bill Hader), who wants to quit being a hit man but keeps having to interrupt acting lessons to kill one more person — including Gene's girlfriend, who'd found out about Barry's deadly occupation. Amusing-though-bloodthirsty mobsters from Chechnya are after Barry, too. The first season won Emmys for Winkler and Hader, plus a best comedy nomination, and the second is equally promising. —T.A. READ HENRY WINKLER INTERVIEW
(Netflix, streaming anytime)
In a straight-shooting chase drama, Kevin Costner, 64, and Woody Harrelson, 57, play the real-life Texas Rangers who, despite carrying a few extra pounds that make it hard to vault fences in pursuit of criminals, managed to track down Bonnie and Clyde. The aging buddies have star power and excellent chemistry, and Kathy Bates, 70, is good as Texas Gov. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.) FULL REVIEW | READ KEVIN COSTNER INTERVIEW
Lacey Terrell/Courtesy HBO
Veep, Season 7
(HBO, Sundays, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 58, won six times as many Emmys for this foulmouthed political satire as she did for Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine. And she plans to end the final season with a dramatic bang: a new presidential campaign for her character Selina as well as countless insults ("You brainless taint-stain!") for her cringing staffers. New cast members include Better Call Saul's Michael McKean, 71, as Iowa's influential governor, and Rhea Seehorn, 46, as a rival candidate's chief of staff; and Keegan-Michael Key, 48, as a Carolina reverend that Selina needs to nab black voters. —T.A.
(Acorn TV, streaming anytime)
When this smart true-crime mystery starring Doc Martin's Martin Clunes aired in England in January, it got over twice the percentage of U.K. viewers that The Big Bang Theory got in the U.S. Based on a book by the London detective who caught Levi Bellfield, killer of two women and a 13-year-old girl, it's as good as Helen Mirren's Prime Suspect — and the crime is solved in three episodes, faster than Yank killer thrillers usually manage. Clunes proves as good at drama as he is at comedy. — T.A. READ MARTIN CLUNES INTERVIEW
(Hulu, streaming anytime)
Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant helped write herself a major career-boosting show that will put fat-shaming people to shame and win everyone's hearts. It stars Bryant as a young journalist, John Cameron Mitchell as her sarcastically perfectionist boss and SNL's Julia Sweeney, 59 — who's just returned to Hollywood after 10 years as a full-time mom — as her diet-obsessed mother. As delightful as Girls, only about a totally nice person. —T.A READ JULIA SWEENEY INTERVEW
(Showtime, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)
The new season of Billions makes for strange bedfellows, as the Showtime hedge-fund drama pivots away from the cat-and-mouse chase between now-former U.S. Attorney General Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti, 51) and billionaire financier Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis, 48) that deliciously defined its first three seasons. Rhoades, relieved of his duties by a Trump-appointed attorney general, and Axe, outmaneuvered by his protégé-turned-rival Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), whose new hedge fund quickly emerges as a daunting rival, need each other now. Rhoades spends the breakneck premiere furiously trading favors to re-establish his Manhattan influence, with Axe emerging as one of his main wheel-greasers. Hard to see where it's going, but that's half the fun of a show that still moves and shakes like a jittery stock market graph.—A.O.
For the People, Season 2
(ABC, Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET)
A sharp, fast, shiny, smart procedural show about opposing New York prosecution and defense teams battling over a case each week — which involves an issue ripped from the headlines — it's also a soapy drama about bedroom politics. Of course, the public defender (the brilliant Hope Davis, 54) and the ruthless prosecutor (Ben Shenkman, 50) have pillow talk about his attempt to get a life sentence for her client, who sent a SWAT team to a rival computer-game player's house and got a U.S. senator killed. If you like other Shonda Rhimes shows like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, bet you'll like this. But you'll wish there were more scenes with the clerk of the court (Anna Deveare Smith, 68), a grownup who won't tolerate nonsense. —T.A.
(FX, Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET, streaming on FXNetworks.com and Hulu)
One of the great contradictions of the #MeToo era is that Better Things, the acclaimed comedy of feminism and single mom-dom returning for its third season, was cocreated by disgraced comic Louis C.K. Now he's bowed out, and the show is fully in the very capable hands of Pamela Adlon, 52, its cocreator and star. Adlon plays Sam Fox, an L.A. actress juggling her career with raising three daughters on her own. The season premiere is a bittersweet, characteristically caustic take on the parental rite of passage of dropping an oldest child off at the first year of college. Adlon, a two-time Emmy nominee for this role who directed all 12 episodes of the coming season, gives the comedic trope rough edges to match her signature gravelly voice. With its star fully taking the creative reins, Better Things is even better. —Austin O'Connor (A.O.)
The Good Doctor
(ABC, Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, streaming on ABC.com and Hulu)
Even though Freddie Highmore, 27, stars as good doctor Shaun Murphy, the viewership of this excellent series has the highest median age (58.6) of the Top 10-rated shows on TV. It’s an intergenerational show that also features Shaun’s adviser, Dr. Aaron Glassman, played by Richard Schiff, 63. “This relationship between Shaun and Dr. Glassman has to do with mentoring and, essentially, parenting,” Schiff tells AARP. Schiff, who portrayed Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, is trying to reboot that classic show with the original cast. READ RICHARD SCHIFF INTERVIEW
The Kominsky Method
(Netflix, streaming anytime, 8 episodes)
TV's best grownup comedy in years — a creative breakthrough for super-showrunner Chuck Lorre, 66 (The Big Bang Theory) — stars Michael Douglas, 74, as an actor whose career isn't going as well as his former acting students’ (Diane Keaton, 72, and Jessica Lange, 69) or his doctor's (Danny De Vito, 73), who says, “It's a great time to be a urologist!” But he has a wonderfully sardonic agent and best friend (Alan Arkin, 84), and they make a team more delightful than Grumpy Old Men's Lemmon and Matthau or Grace and Frankie's Fonda and Tomlin. It captures the sardonic humor with which most people regard aging, and the laughs are rooted in poignant loss and grief, too. It's terrific, Arkin's best work since Little Miss Sunshine and as good as anything Douglas has done this century. READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL DOUGLAS