Five best-bets for Tuesday, March 19


1) “The Village”
debut, 10 p.m., NBC. Here's a world where neighbors know each other,
interlocking in times of pain or joy. We'd expect this from a
small-town tale or a Hallmark drama ... but this is an apartment
building in Brooklyn. People face massive problems – from teen
pregnancy to old age, from cancer and a war injury to deportation and
the death of a friend. But they face these with a sense of warmth and
community. With one exception – an excessive plot twist at the
end—it's a strong start.

2) “Black-ish,”
9 p.m., ABC. You probalby should catch NBC's “This Is Us” at 9,
to prepare for the emotional ride of “The Village.” But if you
prefer a comedy, here's Dre trying to get his cousin (Oscar-nominee
Quvenzhane Wallis) into his kids' prep school. He objects to being
treated like a charity case.

3) “Mental
Samurai” debut, 9 p.m., Fox. Donovan Hand had a modest career as a
Major League pitcher -- five starts for the Brewers in 2013, three
scoreless innings for the Reds in 2015. Now comes a bigger challenge
– swirling around in a capsule, answering 12 questions in five
minutes. Others – astronaut, lawyer, drag queen and more – also
try. Skillfully hosted by Rob Lowe, the game is sometimes
exhilarating – but one category (memory) lacks play-along appeal
and stops the fun cold.

4) “NCIS,” 8
p.m., CBS. Maybe our calendar is wrong and this is October again.
This episode (a rerun, of course) has a Halloween murder, plus spooky
happenings in the crime lab. Continuing the Halloween mood, Benicio
Del Toro turns into a werewolf in “The Wolfman” (2010), at 8 p.m.
on HBO.

5) “The Story of
God,” 9 p.m. and midnight ET, National Geographic. For most people,
religion requires a blind faith. “I believe there is God ...
because there is me,” host Morgan Freeman said. But tonight, he
meets people who feel they've been directly contacted. One, producer
James Younger said, wasn't a believer before having temporal lobe
epilepsy. “He woke up (and) the walls were vibrating, throbbing
wih energy, and he was just overwhelmed with this sense of universal
love.”

-- Mike Hughes, TV
America