TV picks for Aug. 31 through Sept. 4: 'Houdini,' Amazon, 'Frozen,' Halle Berry

  • Updated: August 30, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Academy Award winner Adrien Brody stars as ace magician Harry Houdini


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Vanishing act

Adrien Brody falls short of making history’s greatest magician reappear in “Houdini,” an ambitious two-part miniseries that tries too hard to capture every aspect of a full life. Sometimes, the worst thing a film can do is try to cram in too much information, as if it’ll get demerits for leaving out key chapters. The 1953 version starring Tony Curtis may not be as historically accurate, but it’s a lot less exhausting and a heck of a lot more fun. Sometimes a simple card trick can be more memorable than an overstuffed stage show. 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, History

You be the judge

Ever thought you could program shows better than those simpletons in Hollywood? Here’s a chance to prove it. For the third time, Amazon is giving consumers a chance to provide feedback on pilots, the most popular of which will be picked up for series. This batch of five includes such big names as Ron Perlman, Dana Delany, Mena Suvari, Paul Reiser and Minnesota’s own T.R. Knight, left. Streaming at

The heat is on

Disney knows when it has a good Cinderella story. First the company announced that lead characters from its megahit “Frozen” would be woven into the story line on “Once Upon a Time,” which airs on the Disney-owned ABC network. Now it’s dedicating an hour of prime time to “The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic.” If this trend continues, look for Anna and Elsa to be the new hosts of “20/20.” 7 p.m. Tuesday, KSTP, Ch. 5

Berry, berry good

Much has been made of Halle Berry’s summer fling with network TV in “Extant,” but it’s not the Oscar winner’s first flirtation with the small screen. In 2005, she starred in “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God,” based on the Zora Neale Hurston novel. Berry also starred alongside Leah Remini in a 1989 “Who’s the Boss” spinoff, “Living Dolls,” but we’ll save that for another day. 7 p.m. Thursday, Aspire

Neal Justin

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