“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” 8 p.m., Fox.
“Nine-Nine” is just having some goofy fun. Tonight, however, it
takes a surprisingly serious turn; it does it well ... and even
leaves room for some solid laughs.
As played by Terry
Crews, a former pro football player, Sgt. Terry Jeffords is an
imposing figure. Now he's accosted by a patrolman, before he can say
he's a fellow cop. This is racial profiling, but what can be done?
There are some talky scenes that work only because of Emmy-winner
Andre Braugher's skill as Captain Holt. Alongside them is buoyant
comedy, as Jake and Amy try to watch Terry's kids.
II: “American Experience,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Robert Ripley was
his era's Ed Sullivan – an ordinary guy (bad voice, clumsy manner)
who brought extraordinary things to the public. He turned his
newspaper cartoon into the “believe it or not” empire.
Ripley loved the
exotic – people who walked on fire or ate razor blades, a guy who
walked down stairs on his head. He was like P.T. Barnum, with a
difference: Barnum lied; Ripley traveled the globe to gather proof he
was telling the truth. Here's a rerun of a delightful profile.
“Great News,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., NBC .
for big laughs, “Great News” has mixed success. It spends too
much time on its broadest characters – Chuck (John Michael Higgins)
the newscaster, Carol, the intern (Andrea Martin) – instead of
Carol's likable daughter Katie (Briga Heelan).
result is ragged; tonight's second episode, focusing on Chuck's
war-zone reporting, is so-so. And sometimes, it's quite splendid. The
first episode has Chuck trying to do the news while concealing a
temporary blindness; it's simultaneously ridiculous and hilarious.
ALTERNATIVE: “Victorian Slum House” opener, 8 p.m., PBS.
becomes popular, try to not visit the London slums of the Victorian
era. In this reality show, modern people try to replicate life there.
“It's insane,” one woman says. “This is relentless.”
A retiree (in our
time) has 16 hours of intense work in a bell factory ... an amputee
tries to hand-craft furniture ... kids make matchboxes and sell
flowers; they're copying an 1860s era that had no social security,
disability pay or mandatory schooling. This reality show introduces
life without safety nets.
“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS,. It's time for heroes on horseback. After a Marine is killed in
a national park, the team works with mounted police to probe similar
“The Middle,” 8
p.m., ABC. Wisely, Frankie bought Axl's graduation present months in
advance. Not so wisely, she forgot where she hid it.
9 p.m., Fox. Emerging from its weak start, the show clicked last
week. As ISIS overwhelmed the Yemen capital, guards fled and Michael
and Linc escaped with some other prisoners. Now the guys scramble and
Michael offers an explanation for his missing years. It's a lame one
– as are many of the show's details – but there's enough
excitement to help us forget that it's nonsense.
p.m., CW. Liv keeps munching victims' brains, hoping to land murder
clues. She also temporarily absorbs the victim's personality ... a
problem tonight, when the victim is a dominatrix.
p.m., National Geographic. Last week's terrific opener bounced
between 1894, when Albert Einstein was a student, and 1922, when he
was an esteemed professor in a Germany teeterig toward Hitler. Now we
see his romance with Mileva Maric, the Serbian genius who was the
class' only female . That reruns at 11, sandwiching the 10 p.m.
season-opener of the brainy “Breakthrough.”
Orleans,” 10 p.m., NBC. Pride may have proof that Mayor Hamilton is