“The Muppets” debut, 8 p.m., ABC.
By now, Kermit the
Frog is a global treasure. He's been in show business for 60 years,
been famous since “Sesame Street” began 46 years ago. He's in a
Smithsonian museum, near Archie Bunker's chair.
And he's back on the
air, in a show that comes close to the joyous wit the late Jim Henson
mastered. Kermit is producer of a lateniight talk show hosted by his
ex-lover Miss Piggy. That allows for heckling, pre-show chaos, guests
(Elizabeth Banks tonight), music acts (Imagine Dragons) and outside
stories. Fozzie, often semi-ignored, gets his own controversy, with a
II: “NCIS” season-opener, 8 p.m., CBS.
Last season ended
fiercely, with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) shot by Luke, the boy he had
helped and a terrorist group had manipulated. Now Gibbs' life wobbles
in the hands of an eccentric surgeon -- a big, splashy role for Jon
Cryer, who will be back. Meanwhile, Tony hunts the villain in charge.
That part of the
story whisked past us way too quickly. Still, the scenes with Gibbs
pondering (sometimes via imagination) his life, are skillfully played
and solidly emotional.
“Scream Queens” debut, 8-10 p.m., Fox.
scares (“American Horror Story”) and laughs (“Glee”), Ryan
Murphy has combined them. He created an overwrought sorority, stuffed
it with young stars -- Lea Michele, Keke Palmer, Emma Roberts,
Abigail Breslin, etc. -- and dumped a killer in their midst.
That's a good idea
that often goes bad. The sorority scenes are terribly one-note,
quickly losing their fun. The show only works when we get its few
smart characters – a sorority newcomer (Skyler Samuels) and the
non-nonsense dean perfectly played by the original scream queen,
Jamie Lee Curtis.
ALTERNATIVE: “On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam,” 10 p.m., PBS
(check local listings).
The men of Morenci
often left for the military. In this Arizona mining town, patriotism
was high and career options were low. In 1966, nine football
teammates joined the Marines; six died in Vietnam.
skillfully leaps between that story and the one of Everett Alvarez
Jr., a pilot who spent eight-and-a-half brutal years as a prisoner of
war. There are strong moments from Alvarez, his sistert (who became a
prominent anti-war activist) and the people left behind in Morenci.
This also views a system that often skipped college kids, while
pushing working-class guys into the infantry.
“Fresh Off the
Boat” season-opener, 8:30 p.m., ABC. Eddie's mother isn't likely to
go on vacation – or to spend any money – but now the family goes
to Gator World. Fun (but repetitious) moments follow.
“Dancing With the
Stars,” 9 p.m., ABC. “Agents of SHIELD” will have to wait until
next week. Tonight, “Stars” wraps up a two-day event, with one
celebrity dumped each night.
Orleans” season-opener, 9 p.m., CBS. After a military convoy is
bombed in New Orleans, Pride (Scott Bakula) goes undercover.
debut., 10 p.m., CBS. Brian is a musician, handsome and rootless.
Then he happens upon a pill that gives him immense (but brief)
powers. “Limitless” is adapted from a 2011 film that starred
Bradley Cooper – who is one of this show's producers and has a role
late in tonight's hour. Still, it lacks starpower or movie might;
Jake McDorman is OK, but doesn't make Brian anyone to care about.
“Best Time Ever,”
10 p.m., NBC. Last week's opener was an odd hodge-podge – some
clever hidden-camera stunts, a so-so game, a tedious tower race and a
big music number. Much of that was salvaged by Neil Patrick Harris'
charm; now the second try (following “The Voice”) can try to
build from there.
Executioner,” 10 p.m., FX. At timrs, this reflects Kurt Sutter's
“Sons of Anarchy,” with terse dialog and fierce action. Too
often, however, Sutter has written himself into a corner. His hero
has taken the identity of a guy hired to torture and execute; there's
no good way to get out of this.