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TV shows for the weeks of August 18th and 25th

TV shows for the weeks of August 18th and 25th — A day-to-day guide to notable programs, from the Wall Street drama ”Bull” to an A&E ”Biography” on Janis Joplin

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TV shows for the weeks of August 18th and 25th

TUESDAY August 15

Beating Darren Star’s upcoming Fox drama The Street to the same turf, the cable network’s first original series seems better suited to CNBC, as it concerns a hotshot broker (George Newbern) who breaks away from his grandpop’s old money firm. The pacing is predictably frenetic, but it’s the blue chip cast — including New York Undercover‘s Malik Yoba and Murder One‘s Stanley Tucci — that gives Bull its kick. B
Bruce Fretts


This Bio surveys the same well harvested territory that sister Laura Joplin and publicist Myra Friedman covered in their dueling 1992 memoirs (both women are interviewed here). Still, vivid home movies and interview footage of the conflicted ’60s superstar elevate the documentary — and the life it examines — from the cliché to the human. B+
Joshua Rich

SUNDAY August 20

Norman Lear’s landmark 1974 CBS series introduced America to prime time’s first inner city African American family. But the real dyn-o-mite was exploding off stage, where contract squabbles, jealousy over star status, and concerns about black culture being portrayed by a mostly white writing team made the actual good times seem few and far between. While the rise and fall of the influential Maude offshoot certainly makes for compelling viewing, it would’ve been nice to hear directly from series stars John Amos and Jimmie Walker instead of relying almost exclusively on writers and secondary characters. And is it just us, or is there something a tad unsettling about hearing actor Johnny Brown proudly proclaim ”I will always be Bookman”? B

THURSDAY August 24

This sleek Jason Priestley directed update of 1942’s Moontide stars Nicholas Lea as a Tinseltown big shot who wakes up convinced he’s a killer. Holt McCallany plays the interloper willing to keep his secret… for a price. B
Mike Flaherty

FRIDAY August 25

Debbie Allen helms this estrogen fest profiling the courageous deeds of everyday females. In this ep, we meet a dance instructor dealing with her family’s multiple health battles, and a biracial artist in Brooklyn. Although these ladies have undoubtedly contributed to their communities, their bios are less than compelling, so these cool women get a lukewarm… B-.
Cherise Bathersfield

SUNDAY August 27

The comic book Witchblade has attracted a large fanboy following for the sexy drawings of its heroine, police detective Sara Pezzini, who wears an ancient metal glove — the Witchblade — that gives her superpowers. This TV movie hired the appropriately sultry Yancy Butler as Pezzini, but then swaddled her in loose leather jackets and jeans, and watered down the supernatural stuff with what plays like a rejected NYPD Blue script. Once again, Hollywood screws up what seemed like a surefire comic book property. C-
Ken Tucker