Worth Watching: D-Day on TCM, ‘Memphis Belle’ Restored in HBO Documentary, ‘Elementary’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Never Surrender: WWII in the Movies (Turner Classic Movies, starts at 7:30 am/6:30c): On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, TCM launches a month-long series of World War II movies airing on Thursdays in 24-hour marathons. The first film in this week’s lineup is Screaming Eagles from 1956, about paratroopers preparing for D-Day, and culminates in prime time with 1962’s Oscar-winning The Longest Day (8/7c), Darryl F. Zanuck’s epic recreation of the Allied invasion on D-Day, with an almost absurdly all-star cast including John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum and many, many more.
The Cold Blue (8/7c, HBO): One of the great documentaries to emerge from WWII was director William Wyler’s The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, capturing the war from the air as Wyler and crew flew dangerous combat missions on B-17s. In this new film, director Erik Nelson takes advantage of raw color footage shot by Wyler’s team that was recently discovered in the National Archives vault, using restored materials and outtakes to produce a new documentary about the lives of the heroes from the Eighth Air Force. The Cold Blue also features interviews with nine surviving members, now in their 90s, reflecting on their “death row” missions over Europe. Thrilling then and now.
The Battle of Normandy: 85 Days in Hell (8/7c, Smithsonian Channel): Another in-depth account of the Normandy invasion comes from local native Dominique Forget, who curated from more than 100 hours of unseen archival footage of the D-Day battle. Sources include amateur home movies and outtakes from a crew led by director George Stevens, who followed soldiers in order to film their landings and battles in real time.
Elementary (10/9c, CBS): When we last saw Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller), he was surrendering to the FBI, announcing his presence in the U.S., where he has been banned. Naturally, there’s a method to his impulsive madness, and as he pulls strings to secure a legal foothold to staying stateside, he and Watson (Lucy Liu) momentarily suspend their investigation into the circumstances of Capt Gregson’s (Aidan Quinn) shooting to look into a puzzling new case. The crime scene is a storage facility that acts as a “foreign trade zone,” exempt from U.S. Customs, which points to international shenanigans.
Inside Thursday TV: It’s a draw in the Stanley Cup Finals (8/7c, NBC), with the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins tied at 2 wins each. The fifth game, on Boston’s turf, will be, as they say, pivotal… A fourth season of USA’s Queen of the South (10/9c) finds drug queenpin in the making Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga) setting up shop in the Big Easy — though there’s nothing easy about her partnership with Camila Vargas (Veronica Falcon) and her cartel… truTV’s The Carbonaro Effect (10/9c) returns to celebrate its 100th episode, with magician prankster Michael Carbonaro entertaining and bewitching a live studio audience.