“Mars” debut. 9 p.m., National Geographic; rerunning aat 12:01
Here is epic
storytelling, merging fact, fiction and two time frames. The core is
in 2033, with an international mission to Mars. Supplies have been
dropped there; now people must land and find them.
This is a solidly
crafted story, with strong drama and believable characters. As a
bonus, “Mars” often flashes back to 2016; authors, astronauts and
scientists explain the reality behind a compelling drama.
II: “Conviction,” 10:01 p.m., ABC.
At a time of
re-fractured race relations, we need hours like this – an
always-emotional, often-intelligent view of the divide. The team
re-opens the case of a black protestor, accused of shooting a white
cop. Some clues are too easy and some strain credibility; still, the
ideas and passions are potent.
In particular, they
bombard Maxine Bohen, a black cop who keeps facing assumptions on
both sides. She's played by Merrin Dungey, whose sister Channing runs
ABC. (Don't assume any nepotism; Merrin has been busy on every
network.) It's a perfectly modulated performance in a tough but
ALTERNATIVE: “The Voice,” 8-10:01 p.m., NBC.
In a quick-paced
episode last week, “Voice” trimmed from 20 people to 12. Now -- with Garth Brooks visiting today and Tuesday-- the
pace eases a bit: Tonight, they'll sing and viewers will vote; on
Tuesday, one person will be sent home.
The line-up includes
five women and seven men – two of them familiar. Billy Gilman, 28,
was the youngest person to reach Billboard's country chart, back when
he was 11. Sundance Head, 37 (the son of singer Roy Head) finished
13th on “American Idol” in 2007, when the show was at
ALTERNATIVE II: “Soundbreaking” debut, 10 p.m., PBS.
After hearing the
voices on NBC, switch to the start of this brilliant look at the
people who mold the records. This sprawls over eight weekdays
(through Nov. 23), but the opener is a perfect summary.
Here are record
producers as opposites (classically trained George Martin with the
Beatles, Sam Phillips with early black greats) or despots (Phil
Spector creating the “wall of sound”). And here are the
performers – Joni Mitchell, Sly Stone, Dr. Dre – as their own
producers. It's a dizzying journey.
AND YET MORE (in a great night): “Explorer,”10:01 p.m., National Geographic,
rerunning at 1:01 a.m.
For 35 years (with
pauses), this has brought global documentaries. Tonight, it launches
a new format and a clever host, Richard Bacon; he interviews Erin
Brockovich and introduces segments.
There's a story
about an Indonesian area where the dead are kept at home for years;
there's also a panel – including comedian Larry Wilmore and
undertaker Amy Cunningham – on death. Also: Profiles of people who
clean up nuclear waste and a librarian who protected books and
artifacts from the al-Qaida.
“Close to the
Enemy,” any time, www.acorn.tv.
The setting is a once-splendid hotel. After World War II, a British
officer must charm a German scientist into co-operating; that won't
be easy, since the scientist and his daughter were rudely snatched
from their beds. This is an odd and interesting character piece from
Stephen Poliakoff (“The Lost Prince”), with Alfred Molina, Angela
Bassett and more.
"Tucker Carlson Tonight," 7 p.m., Fox News. Carlson takes over the former Greta Van Susteren spot; Brit Hume had been filling in temporarily.
“Dancing With the
Stars,” 8-10:01 p.m., ABC. It is possible, apparently, for Derek
Hough to not be near the top. Last week, he and Marilu Henner were
ousted; the sixth place finish matched the worst ever for Hough,
whose previous 15 times included six championships and 13 times in
the top four.
p.m., Fox. After all the worthy crimesolving he's done – here and
on other shows – Michael Chiklis has suddenly gone wild; he plays
an infected cop who bypasses the law and executes crooks. In a solid
episode, Jim Gordon tries to stop him; also, Ivy leads Bruce and
Selina into danger.
“2 Broke Girls,”
9 p.m., CBS. French Stewart guests as a bartending instructor.
Caroline must scramble to pass the test alone, after Max comes down
with chicken pox.
“The Odd Couple,”
9:30, CBS. The show finds two reasons for batches of odd people:
Dani, newly promoted, must hire her own replacement; also, Felix
tries to help Emily, who misses England.
10:01 p.m., NBC. Now the team chases Flynn to Nixon-era Washington at
the time of Watergate. It starts to get hints of Flynn's motivation;
also, Wyatt's tragic past erupts.