By Hal Boedeker
5:26 PM EDT, July 21, 2013
The summer's biggest series, "Under the Dome" and "America's Got Talent," enter new phases this week. And Turner Classic Movies celebrates Mel Brooks for a night.
Here's a look at the week's highlights;
Drama: "Under the Dome," based on the Stephen King novel, delivers its strongest episode yet at 10 p.m. Monday on CBS. The trapped townspeople experience a bit of good news when the military brings in their loved ones for a visitors' day. All they can do is mouth words and write notes because the dome separates them. But the visit signals that something very traumatic is coming. The episode draws on the powerful chemistry of Mike Vogel as mystery man Barbie and Rachelle Lefevre as determined editor Julia. Dean Norris runs the dramatic gamut as shifty town leader Big Jim. "Under the Dome" even manages to celebrate singer Skeeter Davis. It's no surprise that this compelling series has connected with viewers.
On USA, the guest stars include Gary Cole on "Suits" at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Laura Benanti on "Royal Pains" at 9 p.m. Wednesday and Tim Matheson on "Burn Notice" at 9 p.m. Thursday.
On TNT, the guest stars include Tom Berenger on "Major Crimes" at 9 p.m. Monday and Sharon Lawrence on "Rizzoli & Isles" at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Reality: "America's Got Talent" delivers its first live show this season at 9 p.m. Tuesday on NBC. Twelve acts perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The results will be revealed at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
On "So You Think You Can Dance," the top 16 dancers perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Fox.
"Hell's Kitchen" names its winner in the two-hour season finale at 8 p.m. Thursday on Fox. Mary Poehnelt of Belchertown, Mass., will go to the final two, Gordon Ramsay has announced. The other two competing for a spot against her are Jon Scallion of York, Pa., and Ja'Nel Witt of Houston. (If you need more Ramsay, Fox offers two hours of "MasterChef" at 8 p.m. Wednesday.)
CBS' "Big Brother" will continue to stir controversy and drop contestants in episodes at 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Thursday. What happens when Julie Chen tells two women they've lost their jobs in the outside world for despicable comments and behavior?
"The Bachelorette" delivers its "Men Tell All" special at 8 p.m. Monday. You know the routine: The rejected men will share their pain and gossip for two hours.
Mel Brooks: You say Frankenstein. I say "Fronkensteen." Let's not call the whole thing off.
The whole thing is TCM's celebration of Brooks, the writer-director of "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles." The Wednesday salute takes several forms.
Brooks receives the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in a special that plays at 8 p.m. (It repeats at 12:30 a.m. Thursday.)
"The Twelve Chairs," one of Brooks' best but lesser-known films, screens at 9:30 p.m. Frank Langella, Ron Moody and Brooks star.
TCM offers Brooks' witty interviews with Johnny Carson at 11:15 p.m. and Dick Cavett at 3:45 a.m. Thursday. The documentary "Excavating the 2000 Year Old Man" explores the routine created by Brooks and Carl Reiner. The 44-minute film plays at 11:30 p.m.
"The Producers," the 1968 classic that won Brooks a writing Oscar, plays at 2 a.m. Thursday. Brooks gave the world the unforgettable "Springtime for Hitler" routine. Laughing at the Nazis is another way to beat them, Brooks says.
Brooks keeps winning.
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