Tony Awards or Tony Parker?
Tonight you have to choose between the NBA Finals pitting the San Antonio Spurs against the Miami Heat, at 8 p.m. on ABC, and the ceremony pitting Broadway’s stars against each other, at 8 p.m. on CBS.
The Finals have, besides Parker, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, Manu Ginobili, Chris Bosh and others. Some of you, I know, will be watching the game — the second in the best-of-seven series, which the Spurs lead 1-0 — just to see if King James cramps up again. But it does involve two teams with a lot of NBA success. Fivethirtyeight.com called it the “second-blingiest” Finals in NBA history; based on the championship rings each player possesses, this series has more than any championship series except the Lakers and Celtics in 1987.
The Tonys have Hugh Jackman as host and performances planned by Neil Patrick Harris, Sutton Foster, Alan Cumming and Idina Menzel. That Broadway foursome contains legitimate stage stars, but it’s also worth noting that they are people with screen pedigrees: Harris from How I Met Your Mother, Foster from Bunheads and the upcoming comedy Younger, Cumming from The Good Wife and Menzel from a recurring role on Glee and voice work in the hit movie Frozen.
This illustrates the ongoing dilemma for the Tonys: trying to showcase work from one medium for an audience more familiar with other media. Writer-actress-comedian Rachel Bloom made the point very well in song and video called Nobody Wants To Watch the … Tonys with me. You can find it on YouTube and Bloom’s site, www.racheldoesstuff.com. Some of the video is not safe for work, but lines like these are: “It’s like if basketball were interesting, or the Olympics had Nathan Lane.”
Also of note this week, TNT and USA have fresh series.
At 9 p.m. Monday, Major Crimes — the successor to TNT’s The Closer — kicks off a new run of episodes. And it remains a very good show, as interested in its characters as the investigations that take up parts of their lives. TNT is following Major Crimes with new series Murder in the First at 10 p.m. Murder is a serialized drama following detectives played by Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson as they investigate a case over its 10-episode season.
While Major Crimes has included serialized elements, and shows like The Killing have done season-long arcs, Murder’s creative roots go back close to 19 years. That’s when Murder writer-producer Steven Bochco presented Murder One; that ABC drama also offered expanded cases, with one taking up the entire first season of the show. It was not entirely successful, and the show switched to short arcs in its second season, which also proved to be the last.
USA, meanwhile, is bringing back three series. Royal Pains returns at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Suits at 9 p.m. Wednesday and Graceland at 10 p.m. Wednesday. I watch all these shows regularly, and they are fairly steady entertainment. Still, there are times I wish they were a little less serialized. Is anyone else as tired as I am of Royal Pains’ Boris (Campbell Scott)?
For those of you who believe in Keeping Up With the Kardashians (I don’t), new episodes begin at 9 tonight on E! Says the network: “Following Kim’s road to her European nuptials from Los Angeles to Paris to Florence, to gracing the cover of Vogue with her beautiful family and Khloe opening up to finding love again, the future is brighter and filled with lots of fun, loads of laughs and the always entertaining, outrageous family dynamics” Uh-huh.
E! will follow Kardashians at 10 with the premiere of Escape Club, a “real-life soap opera where men and women abandon their lives and head off to a luxurious paradise on the beaches of the Dominican Republic looking for a new destiny.” Of course.
On a side note, strategies like the Major Crimes/Murder in the First pairing or Kardashians/Escape Club suggests that people are still more than happy to not change the channel after watching a favorite show. As someone who well remembers when you had to get out of your chair to channel-flip, I have to wonder how much this still works.
Oh, yeah. The Millers got a second season. Never mind.
Also resuming is Pretty Little Liars at 8 p.m. Tuesday. It will be followed at 9 p.m. by — wait for it — a new series! That’s Chasing Life, a drama about a twentysomething woman whose plans change after she learns she has cancer.
Then there’s the new season of Sister Wives at 9 tonight on TLC. I am told that “Kody has a chat with Mykelti and her boyfriend John about how the human body works as it relates to love.”
Also at 9 p.m. Monday is Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. Airing on HBO, the 39-minute documentary chronicles the life and work of actor Robert De Niro’s father, at one time a much admired painter whose career went into decline as artistic trends changed around him. The younger De Niro — who is interviewed in the program along with critics, historians and his father’s friends — remains an advocate for the painter’s work, which is richly displayed in the program. From some of the stories about the film, you may think the focus is on De Niro’s father being gay, but that’s a small part of a more nuanced portrait.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.