“American Masters,” 8-10 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
short, passionate life is the perfect basis for a biography. It had
rich contrasts; “she was like a little-girl-lost and then she would
be as strong as a mountain lion,” one bandmate says in this
compelling film. It had huge highs, deep lows and powerhouse music.
That story is told
with extraordinary subtlety and warmth. There are great clips, of
course, rippling with Joplin's music. There are vivid comments from
her brother and sister, her friends and the people who helped mold
music in the late-1960s. And adding depth are the warm letters ths
Joplin sent home.
II: “Person of Interest” season-opener, 10 p.m., CBS.
case-of-the-week show, “Person” turns its final season –
Mondays and Tuesdays for 13 episodes – into a fate-of-the world,
sci-fi epic. The all-knowing Samaritan is desperate to get the
machine; it tracks Finch and Reese (Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel)
and the hacker whiz Root (Amy Acker).
At times, the good
guys seem too omnipotent, the bad guys too inept. Still, credit
“Person” with saying farewell in a big way. This hour offers
Finch's deep emotion toward his fiancee (via flashbacks with
Emerson's real-life wife, Carrie Preston) and toward his machine. It
also has fierce, gun-toting action.
ALTERNATIVE: “Grandfathered,” 8:30 p.m., Fox.
In a three-episode
stretch, the show confronts its biggest obstacle – making the
handsome and successful Jimmy (John Stamos) seem sympathetic.
That started last
week, with the news that his grumpy dad had died. Tonight, his
friends – including lovers current (a corporate mogul) and long-ago
(mother of his son) -- try to break through his unblinking surface.
It's a farily good episode that turns terrific in the final minutes.
ALTERNATIVE II: “The Night Manager,” 10 p.m., AMC.
The first time AMC
tackled international intrigue, it bogged down. The mysteries of
“Rubicon” were stretched on endlessly; viewers weren't sure
anything would ever be resolved.
Here's the opposite
– a John le Carre novel (yes, with an ending), told in six fairly
brisk episodes. This one, the third, finds a loner and ex-soldier
(Tom Hiddleston) embedded in the secret operation of an arms dealer
(Hugh Laurie). We can grumble that things seem too easy, but this is
still a lushly filmed and intelligent tale that lets great actors –
including Tom Hollander as a top aide – collide.
“The Voice,” 8
p.m., NBC. On Monday, viewers heard the top 10 and voted. Tonight,
eight of them are safe; the other two perform for the judges, with
“New Girl,” 8
and 9 p.m., Fox. Jess is scrambling to fix Cece's wedding dress in
the first episode and meets her boyfriend's female friend in the
second. Meanwhile, Nick frets about inviting their former loftmate
Reagan to the wedding; Winston and Ally are finally together, but try
to keep it secret.
“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. It's a busy time for Gibbs: He questions a teen who stopped a
home invasion and he brings a Marine's wife to the White House to
meet Michelle Obama, as part of a program for soldiers' families.
Also, Vance and Fornell go to London, in the aftermath of the escape
of a British spy.
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. A Navy man, visiting his family's
century-old restaurant in the French Quarter, is the target of an
explosion. That story offers a chance to view New Orleans vibrant
food culture; the hour includes three real-life chefs and music by
Guy Clark, Jr.
p.m., CW. After starting powerfully – a deadly virus spreading from
an Atlanta hospital – the story has stagnated. A containment zone
was set up and re-enforced; efforts to amp up the drama are fairly
interesting, but seem to overemphasize bad behavior in time of
p.m., PBS (check local listings). Two reporters visit dangerous turf.
Feras Kilani goes to Benghazi, birthplace of the Libyan uprising and
now torn by ISIS and warring militias; Safa Al-Ahmad views fighting