Today’s Top TV Picks – Friday July 17


Today’s Top Picks


1

Chopped

7 p.m. on COOKING

Host Ted Allen kicks off a five-episode “Grill Masters” competition, which airs tonight in its entirety. In the opener, “Kansas City,” big flavors meet big personalities as regional rivals from this midwestern city’s thriving barbecue world compete. The basket for the appetizer round holds double-cut pork chops, then a bubbly surprise in the second basket prompts the chefs to bring the sweet to their entrees. Alex Guarnaschelli and Amanda Freitag are guest judges.


2

Playing With Fire

8 p.m. ET on EPIX – Premiere

Andy Fickman’s 2019 family comedy follows a group of California smokejumpers — specially trained woodlands firefighters who parachute into blazes — who assume responsibility for watching over three kids in the aftermath of an accident. John Cena stars as the team’s commanding officer, and such comedy pros as John Leguizamo, Judy Greer and Keegan-Michael Key help keep the laughs coming. Dennis Haysbert also co-stars.


3

Waves

8 p.m. ET on SHOWTIME – Premiere

Trey Edward Shults wrote, directed, produced and co-edited this shattering 2019 drama, which received only a limited release in theaters yet earned widespread critical acclaim, including being named one of the year’s 10 best movies by the National Board of Review. Set in South Florida, the film stars Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“Godfather of Harlem”) as Tyler Williams, a popular high school athlete whose father, Ronald (Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”), constantly pressures him to excel. Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell and Renée Elise Goldsberry also star.


4

Great Performances at the Met

9 p.m. ET on PBS

“Porgy and Bess,” George Gershwin’s towering American opera about life on Catfish Row, a black tenement in Charleston, S.C., comes to thrilling life in this critically acclaimed production staged by James Robinson, with David Robertson conducting. Eric Owens and Angel Blue take the title roles of Porgy, a crippled beggar, and Bess, the beautiful woman he loves; the enormous cast also includes Frederick Ballentine as the drug dealer Sportin’ Life, with other roles filled by Denyce Graves, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore and Alfred Walker.

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