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story.lead_photo.caption Alicia Silverstone stars as Bonnie Nolan, a newly single mom struggling to adjust to life in the ’70s in Paramount Network’s new half-hour comedy/drama American Woman.

Unusual for a Thursday night in the first week in June, TV has several worthwhile shows either premiering or returning.

And that doesn't even include an encore of the delightful Up Among the Hills: The Story of Fayetteville at 6:30 p.m. on AETN.

Full disclosure: I was born in Fayetteville and went to grad school there, so filmmaker Larry Foley's documentary about the town especially resonated with me, as I'm sure it did with the film's narrator, former resident Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, back to the new stuff.

American Woman debuts at 9 p.m. today on Paramount Network. A reminder: Paramount Network is fairly new, having been re-branded from Spike in January. Viacom is the owner and aims to make it the home of original scripted series. American Woman is the latest example.

The half-hour comedy/drama is inspired by the real-life childhood of actress/socialite Kyle Richards (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) and is executive produced by John Wells (Shameless, ER, The West Wing).

Season 1 will have 12 episodes rated TV-14 and "is set amid the sexual revolution and the rise of feminism in 1975 Los Angeles."

The series follows the self-awakening of Bonnie Nolan (Alicia Silverstone, Clueless) whose idyllic life is dramatically changed when she discovers her husband is having an affair. When confronted, he sneers dismissively, "This is a marriage, not a democracy."

I know. It was the '70s.

Bonnie turns to her best friends, Diana (Jennifer Bartels, Broken) and Kathleen (Mena Suvari, American Beauty) to help her figure out how to leave her marriage and raise her two young daughters, Becca and Jessica (Makenna James, Lia McHugh), by herself.

Dramedy ensues as all three "discover their own brand of independence in a glamorous and ever-changing world that is reluctant to give it to them."

I've seen the exposition-heavy premiere and as a card-carrying baby boomer who went from age 21 to 30 in the '70s, the pop culture references (Lee Majors and Linda Ronstadt are invoked) seem heavy-handed. The fashions, hairstyles and golden oldies soundtrack would have been sufficient to set the stage.

That and the fact that everyone is smoking and drinking incessantly.

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger premieres at 7 p.m. today on Freeform. Another reminder: Freeform is the Disney-owned former ABC Family Channel that was re-branded in 2016 to target teens and young adults.

Cloak & Dagger is a TV-14 science fiction adventure set in the Marvel Universe just as seven others currently on ABC, Netflix and Hulu.

It follows the teen angst and budding interracial romance of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt, Kickin' It) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph, Broadway's The Lion King), two damaged misfits who discover they have superpowers that seem to work best in tandem.

Tandy is a former child of privilege who has become a runaway street kid in New Orleans. She can zap out shards of white crystal. And Ty, who is seemingly well-off, keeps to himself and has the ability to engulf others in darkness. Both are terrified of their uncontrolled new abilities.

The most refreshing thing about this Marvel series is that it's character-driven without having campy undertones or being overly introspective. The first season will have 10 episodes.

• The Four: Battle for Stardom returns for Season 2 from 7-9 p.m. today on Fox. There will be 10 episodes.

If you watched the first season, then you know the twist in this vocal competition begins with already having four "winners" who must defend their seats from challengers in front of a panel of music industry experts.

Returning Season 2 judges are DJ Khaled, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Meghan Trainor. Fergie returns as host.

Music executive Charlie Walk, who was the fourth judge last season, left before the finale following allegations of sexual misconduct. He denies the charges.

Mysteries at the Museum, 8 p.m. today on Travel Channel. This is a fascinating, long-running educational series that may be flying under your radar. Hunt it down and check it out.

Host Don Wildman takes viewers into some of the world's greatest museums to reveal secrets from the past. Using in-depth interviews, archival footage and occasional re-creations, Wildman never ceases to be entertaining as well as informative.

Season 20 kicks off with segments investigating a vehicle repair on the surface of the moon, a pair of opera-loving sisters who took on the Nazis and the story behind billiards.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

Weekend on 06/07/2018

Print Headline: Documentary, American Woman debut tonight

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