“Top Chef: DC,” “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular,” “No One Dies in Lily Dale”

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“Top Chef: D.C.” 

Wednesday 9pm, Bravo

The new season of Bravo’s popular cooking competition snuck up on me. But now that we’re a couple episodes in, two things are clear. First, there’s a lot of talent in this crop of chefs. Second, the show has the exact same problem it had last time around, specifically that it’s blatantly obvious who the finalists will be from the get-go. We all knew who the Final Four would be in the “Las Vegas” installment by the third episode, and it was pretty boring watching the others get picked off one by one. This time it almost has to come down to insufferable culinary prodigy Angelo and his intense foil, the equally talented Kenny. But I’m personally rooting for plucky former IHOP chef Tiffany.

 

“Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular”

Sunday 9pm, NBC

In this age of massive economic shortfalls and slashed municipal budgets, why can’t we, as a nation, forego July 4 fireworks displays? I understand that they’re patriotic, that they’re pretty, and that they practically define Independence Day, but they cost tens of thousands of dollars apiece—at least —and for what? To blow up some gunpowder for 10 minutes? How is that a good use of money? Obviously, it’s too late this year, but going forward I’d recommend that we all agree to save the cash our towns and cities would regularly spend on fireworks and instead give it to the schools, where it’s really needed. If you need your fireworks fix, you can tune in to the annual New York City display, broadcast by NBC. It’s not like you’re getting to see the explosions up close anyway.

 

“No One Dies in Lily Dale” 

Monday 9pm, HBO

Since I’m originally from upstate New York, I know all about Lily Dale, a small community south of Buffalo. For those not in the know, Lily Dale is unique in that it is home to a collection of psychic mediums who welcome strangers seeking to communicate with their dead loved ones. It’s not a joke; more than 25,000 people come to Lily Dale every year searching for answers. This new documentary offers a portrait of both the grieving pilgrims seeking solace in the town, and the psychics themselves, some of whom are just as conflicted about their abilities as the skeptics who pay them a visit.

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