‘College Bowl,’ Time Jump for ‘David Makes Man,’ Return to ‘Fort Salem,’ A ‘No. 9’ Farce, ‘This Is Pop’
The classic College Bowl format gets a new look, with Peyton Manning hosting. OWN’s artful David Makes Man shifts its coming-of-age hero to adulthood. The young witches of Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem face new enemies in a second season. In streaming: For laughs with a bite, BritBox launches a new season of the cult anthology series Inside No. 9, and Netflix goes on a seven-decade journey of pop-music history.
Capital One College Bowl
As someone who proudly captained my It’s Academic team in high school, the College Bowl format is one of my favorite aspirational TV franchises. In a prime-time revival, NFL pro Peyton Manning (who knows his way around a Bowl) hosts a new version, with his older brother Cooper as his wisecracking sidekick. (Why a show like this needs a sidekick to act dumb is a question maybe better left unanswered.) Teams of brainiacs from 12 top colleges and universities face off to compete for big scholarship money, often in classic rivalries like Auburn vs. Alabama and Minnesota vs. Michigan in the opener. Each round builds to the tense “Two-Minute Drill,” which typically decides the winner. The two teams scoring the most points move on to the quarterfinals, with the others vying for a Wild Card position. And while there are no cheerleaders, each team gets a video pep talk from a famous alum, like Michigan’s Tom Brady—who uses the opportunity to needle his former gridiron opponent. They’re all good sports.
David Makes Man
The acclaimed coming-of-age drama takes a significant jump into the future—or present, as the case may be—as the second season focuses on David Young (now played by Kwame Patterson) as an adult. He’s still haunted by his younger self (Akili McDowell), whose troubled childhood in the Florida projects continues to play out in flashbacks. Night sweats and disturbing visions suggest that David isn’t entirely over his adolescent traumas, and his job as a successful Miami developer creates more inner tension when his latest project promises to change his former neighborhood forever.
This Is Pop
How to classify pop music? It takes this docuseries from Banger Films eight episodes to celebrate the diversity and wide reach of this ever-expanding genre, with episodes devoted to country pop, the influence of Swedish pop and Britpop, the technological innovation of Auto-Tune, the history of protest songs, the rise of large-scale music festivals, the legacy of the hit-making Brill Building and “The Boyz II Men Effect.” Each episode features interviews with breakthrough artists, producers and songwriters to capture the tone and the tunes of the times.
Inside No. 9
Imagine The Twilight Zone as a dark farce, mocking its own genre conventions, to get a handle on this bizarre anthology series, now in its sixth short season of anything-goes storytelling. The number 9 is a vague reference point connecting each of these half-hour vignettes, which tend to mix humor and horror and shocking twists in new and original ways. First up is “Wuthering Heist,” a punny title setting the tone for an offbeat mix of crime caper and commedia dell’arte, with characters wearing elaborate masks as they enact a tale of Tarantino-worthy bloody betrayals. Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) stars as one of the conspirators with a secret. She’s also the narrator who frequently breaks the fourth wall with asides like, “Hey, it’s series 6, you’ve got to allow for a certain artistic exhaustion.” When accused of Fleabag-ging, she corrects: “I was Miranda-ing (as in Miranda Hart).” And then she pratfalls. Trust me, you’ll laugh.
Also streaming on Britbox:
- The penultimate episode of the gripping sixth season of Line of Duty, picking up from the cliffhanger in which Kate (Vicky McClure) and murderous bad cop Ryan (Gregory Piper) were in a standoff, guns pulled on each other, as a mortified Jo (Kelly Macdonald) stands by. When the smoke clears, the fallout will be intense.
Inside Tuesday TV:
- Motherland: Fort Salem (10/9c, Freeform): A second season of the YA supernatural melodrama finds the witches-in-training moving on to the War College, where they consider allying with the terroristic Spree to thwart an ancient band of witch hunters.
- Chopped: Alton’s Maniacal Baskets (9/8c, Food Network; streaming on discovery+): Alton Brown taps into his social-media fan base to conjure the most diabolical ingredients to confound 16 chefs in a five-part tournament hosted by Ted Allen. Joining Brown at the judges’ table: Marcus Samuelsson and Maneet Chauhan.
- Mysteries of Mental Illness (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): A four-part documentary series (concluding Wednesday) tracks the history of how society has dealt with mental illness, including the establishment of psychiatry and the evolving treatment of those who once were confined to asylums and subjected to lobotomies and other extreme medical therapies.
- Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c, HBO): Segments in the monthly sports newsmagazine include David Scott’s report on vaccination efforts on behalf of athletes in the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics and a profile of street skater Alexis Sablone, who will represent the USA at the Tokyo Games in the new Olympic event of skateboarding.