“This is Us” debut, 10 p.m., NBC.
Here is one of the
best pilot films in years ... but we don't want to reveal too much.
You'll meet some wonderfully mismatched people. There's a
sweet-spirited couple, awaiting childbirth ... a handsome TV star in
an awful show ... a rich man probing his roots ... a woman despairing
her weight and her life. Savor some great moments – especially from
Gerald McRaney as a kindly doctor – and see how it fits together.
We're not sure where it can go, but it's a great start.
“Bull.” 9 p.m., CBS.
Long before he
became Dr. Phil the advice-giver, Phil McGraw was a consultant,
telling lawyers how to choose and work a jury. So now CBS has created
a character a lot like him; it cast former “NCIS” star Michael
Weatherly, then wedged the show between the two “NCIS” hours.
That seems logical.
But somewhere in
there, any warmth or humanity was squeezed out. A fun guy in “NCIS,”
Weatherly plays a cold figure here. “Bull” has lots of high-tech
devices, but little sense of human inhabitants.
ALTERNATIVE: “Defying the Nazis,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS (check local
Like many people,
Waitstill and Martha Sharp spoke out against evil; he was a Unitarian
minister, decrying the rise of Nazi Germany. And unlike most people,
they did something about it. Using codes and cover-ups, they managed
to help hundreds of Jewish children reach freedom.
They left their home
(and children) for long stretches, while doing risky spy work. It's a
great story of regular people triumphing; beautifully by Artemis
Joukowsky (the Sharps' grandson) and Ken Burns.
“Dancing With the
Stars,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. It's time for the season's first ouster.
“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. The ratings-champion opens its 14th season with a
reworked cast. Now that Michael Weatherly is gone, Duane Henry
becomes a regular and there are new roles for Jennifer Esposito and
for Wilmer Valderrama ... who plays a guy who disappeared when
Nine-Nine,” 8 p.m., Fox. The first two seasons have been mixed –
praise, two Golden Globes, an Emmy and so-so ratings. The third
starts with Jake and Captain Holt in Witness Protection in Florida.
Their only contact is a federal marshal (Maya Rudolph) ... until a
video goes viral.
“New Girl,” 8:30
p.m., Fox. Last season ended with big laughs and big plot moves –
Schmidt and Cece married, Winston and police colleague Aly started a
long-distance relationship and Nick plunged into a romance ... just
as Jess realized (again) that she wanted him. Now Nick is back,
Winston is adjusting and the newlyweds are having trouble finding
their first home.
9 p.m., Fox. A disappointment (in quality and ratings) last year,
“Scream” was given a second chance to try again, with the same
characters in a different setting. Jumping ahead years, the dean
(Jamie Lee Curtis) starts a hospital with hunky doctors (John Stamos
and Taylor Lautner) and many of her old students (Emma Roberts,
Abigail Breslin, Lea Michele, Keke Palmer).
Orleans,” 10 p.m., CBS. Vanessa Ferlito joins the cast as a special
agent who's here (at first) to investigate the team. It has other
concerns, with a sniper targeting crowds.
SHIELD,” 10 p.m., ABC. Hydra has been defeated, SHIELD is
legitimate ... but the world thinks Coulson is dead. He has to go
back to field work (paired with Henry Simmons), with the team waiting
for a new boss.Also, May (Ming-Na Wen) trains strike teams.