TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE: “Gotham” debut, 8 p.m., Fox.
Each year, directors and technical people keep getting
better; writers stay about the same. Viewers get dramas that are stunning to
look at, so-so to think about; now “Gotham” is a prime example.
The story is kind of monotone: In Gotham City before Batman,
there’s one honest cop; nastiness and torture prevail. Alongside that is a
potent look and feel. In an elusive time – partly 1940s noir, partly now –
tough men (and a superb Jada Pinkett Smith) growl through their richly
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE II: “Forever” debut, 10:01 p.m., ABC.
This “might seem a little implausible,” Dr. Henry Morgan
(Ioan Gruffud) says. Or a lot; for 200 years, he’s been dying and returning.
Now he’s a medical examiner, with one friend (Judd Hirsch) who understands.
In most hands, this would be nonsense. But Gruffud adds British
precision; the visuals dazzle and the stories are smart. There’s too much
Sherlock-ian know-it-all, but noone said this would be plausible.
TONIGHT’S MUST-SEE III: “The Voice” and “The Blacklist, 8
and 10 p.m., NBC.
Starting their seasons, here are two shows that propelled
NBC back to the top. That starts with Pharrell Williams moving into a “Voice”
chair, alongside Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani.
Then “Blacklist” finds Red still battling Berlin, while
facing a new villain, Lord Baltimore; Liz is bouncing back from confronting her
scheming husband. The brilliant Mary-Louise Parker joins the show.
TONIGHT’S ALTERNATIVE: “POV,” 10 p.m., PBS (check local
Ed Koch’s story is so big and brash that this re-telling is
wildly entertaining. Koch startled his mayoral opponent, Mario Cuomo, by somehow
getting the endorsement of a prime Italian political boss. He gathered black
support by implying he would preserve the neighborhood’s hospital – then closed
He ducked questions of his sexuality (back when that was an
issue), then raged at “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo” signs. Soon, he was prominently
holding hands with former Miss America Bess Myerson. Koch, who died last year
at 88, comments extensively during this jaunty view of past and present.
Other choices include:
“Dancing With the Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. Last week, track
star Lolo Jones was the first celebrity ousted. Now the second week begins,
with a results show Tuesday.
“The Big Bang Theory” season-opener, 8 and 8:30 p.m., CBS.
It’s a double helping of TV’s best comedy. Upset by the Leonard-Penny
engagement, Sheldon has fled; now Amy and Leonard try to retrieve him.
Meanwhile, Penny applies for a job at Bernadette’s company, with Steven Root as
“Scorpion,” 9 p.m., CBS. Already stuffed with geniuses (via “Big
Bang” and “Elementary”), CBS adds more: A high-IQ team is drafted to prevent
disaster; as in “Big Bang,” a beautiful waitress (Katharine McPhee) provides
balance. There’s potential here, but the opener strains believability.
“Sleepy Hollow,” 9 p.m., Fox. Things are never easy for
Ichabod Crane, who ended last season buried in a coffin by his eternal son (the
superb John Noble). Meanwhile, police Capt. Irving is jail on murder charges
and Jenny is in an accident. This epic-looking show should fit well with “Gotham.”
“Dallas” season-finale, 9 and 10 p.m., TNT. Bobby is cheated
by the cartel and links with his former sister-in-law Sue Ellen. Her son John
Ross risks everything; Bobby’s son Christopher rushes to save Elena.
“Under the Dome” season-finale, 10 p.m., CBS. With the dome
closing in, there’s an exit possibility.