What’s Worth Watching: The Boys of ’36 on PBS, America’s Got Talent, Animal Kingdom and more.
The Boys of ’36 (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Who doesn’t love a good underdog story, especially at Olympics time? It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying come-from-behind triumph than the one told in a new American Experience documentary, well timed to air just a few days before the Rio Games get underway. Listing among its producers NBC Olympics correspondent Mary Carillo, this will be familiar to those who’ve read The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. That best-seller’s author, Daniel James Brown, is among those interviewed in an inspiring if glancing 80th-anniversary history of the Depression-era rowing crew from the University of Washington. Composed of working-class men from modest backgrounds, the team upstaged Ivy League rivals on its way to earning gold at an Olympics dominated by Nazi hosts. Newsreel footage of their victory is thrilling, making you hope a long-in-development movie version someday comes to pass. These heroes deserve it.
T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Another Olympics-themed special, courtesy of Independent Lens, profiles Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, who won boxing gold at age 17 in 2012, the first year women were allowed to compete in the sport at the Games. Still ranked #1 in the world, she’s favored to repeat in Rio.
Inside Tuesday TV: Three “Golden Buzzer” recipients compete in the second week of live shows on NBC’s America’s Got Talent (8/7c). . . . As TNT’s Animal Kingdom (9/8c) nears its season finale, young J (Finn Cole) is on the ropes with the cops as his family makes their biggest score yet. . . . Lauren Conrad looks back at the least real of all reality shows, hosting MTV’s The Hills: That Was Then, This Is Now (9/8c), a 10th-anniversary retrospective. . . . The Mindy Project‘s Ike Barinholtz returns to his old stomping grounds of The CW’s MADtv (9/8c), along with fellow veteran Bobby Lee. Not that anyone seems to be noticing.