‘The Winchesters’ Origin Story, Battle Rounds on ‘The Voice,’ Early Yuletide on ‘Monarch’
Supernatural fans can experience the backstory of Sam and Dean’s parents in The Winchesters. Charlie Puth, Jimmie Allen, Sean Paul and Jazmine Sullivan mentor the singers as The Voice moves into the Battle Rounds. It’s summer on Fox’s Monarch, but already time to film the family’s annual Christmas special despite all the trauma.
After a remarkable 15-season run that bridged the WB and the CW networks, surely you didn’t think they’d let Supernatural fade away forever. Which explains this origin story for the Winchester brothers’ demon-hunting parents, John and Mary (née Campbell), who meet in 1972 as the series begins, narrated by their son Dean (Jensen Ackles). John (Drake Rodger), fresh off the bus from a Vietnam tour of duty, and Mary follow their meet-cute with a meet-scary, and though he’s a (not terribly convincing) Marine veteran, she’s the one with the monster-clobbering skills, ordering him during their first demon battle to “Stop helping!” They quickly assemble a Scooby Team of their own to solve occult puzzles and save the world from demonic forces, all while John and Mary search for their respective fathers. It’s all very boo-by-numbers, a bland reminder of what a miracle of casting Supernatural was—and the team banter may prompt you to go back for a Buffy rewatch.
Rarely has a series been so misleadingly titled. This international acquisition, starring a sleepwalking Brendan Fraser and Smallville alum Tom Welling (the latter moving on soon to a role in The Winchesters), is amateur hour in every way, from the clumsy action sequences and wooden acting from a polyglot cast to the plodding plotting. It begins with the explosion during launch of a medical data satellite rocket, prompting Elon Musk-style CEO Peter Swann (Fraser, at least aiming for eccentricity) to enlist a cynical private contractor (Welling) to smoke out his enemies. I’ve stepped in puddles with more depth.
This season’s Blind Auditions are history, which means it’s time for the Battle Rounds, where coaches put their singers in head-to-head competition before moving on to the Knockouts. The coaches, following tradition, welcome Battle Advisors to help mentor their prospects. Country star Jimmie Allen (a former American Idol mentor) joins Team Blake, while singer-songwriter Charlie Puth (who formerly aided Adam Levine in 2019) is there for first-time coach Camila Cabello. Team Legend brings aboard R&B singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan, and Team Gwen enlists rapper-singer Sean Paul.
Can the embattled Romans of the Austin country-music scene fake their way through a Merry Little Christmas in the heat of summer? “Nothin’s the same without Mama,” laments widower Albie (Trace Adkins) as he rallies his broken family to film their annual Christmas special—in July. Rebellious Gigi (Beth Ditto) argues to “update it for the under-80 crowd,” having tired of a tradition she likens to “toxic masculinity and the Confederacy.” Further souring the mood: a nosy prosecutor, who wants to question Nicky (Anna Fried), and a revelation from Aunt Nellie (Faith Prince) that sets Allie on his heels.
Inside Tuesday TV:
- FBI (8/7c, CBS): While the team investigates a series of brutal assaults, OA (Zeeko Zaki) isn’t very forthcoming about his own mugging from earlier in the day.
- The Renovator (8/7c, HGTV): Marcus Lemonis (The Profit), who has made a career of saving businesses, turns his analytical focus to the domestic front, where he opens communication to help improve families’ lives through thoughtful home design.
- La Brea (9/8, NBC): It’s not an especially happy reunion for estranged mates Eve (Natalie Zea) and Gavin (Gavin Harris), both prisoners in 10,000 B.C. While they plot an escape, Lucas (Josh McKenzie) is on a mission to the fort to get back supplies the La Brea sinkholers need.
- American Greed (10/9c, CNBC): Guaranteed to boil your blood: the account of a family of fraudsters who purloin millions of dollars of COVID relief funds to buy luxury goods and mansions.
- Becoming Frederick Douglass (10/9c, PBS): Wendell Pierce (The Wire), currently earning raves in a Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, provides the voice of the 19th-century slave-turned-abolitionist in a documentary profile emphasizing how Douglass controlled his public image, using the new art of photography to further his goal of freeing African-Americans.
- New Amsterdam (10/9c, NBC): Sometimes doctors just need to look after themselves, which is why Max (Ryan Eggold) institutes a personal health day for the hospital staff, with mixed results. Will Iggy (Tyler Labine) feel better or worse after going on his first date since his split?
- The Patient (streaming on Hulu): Another intense episode of the kidnapped-therapist thriller digs deep into Dr. Alan’s (Steve Carell) troubled relationship with his devout son (Andrew Leeds), who unbeknownst to Alan is putting up flyers to find his missing dad. He’d better hurry, because serial killer Sam (Domhnall Gleeson) is escalating again, this time at work.
- Iliza Shlesinger: Hot Forever (streaming on Netflix): The comedian, who’ll be competing in the first Celebrity Jeopardy! semifinal on Sunday, performs a typically bawdy stand-up set.
- The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series (Grant Central Publishing, on sale Tuesday): We don’t usually feature books in this space-with all the TV out there, who has time to read?—but we’ll make an exception for this highly anticipated oral history of the blockbuster comedy hit The Big Bang Theory from Glamour’s well-connected Senior West Coast Editor Jessica Radloff. She spent hundreds of hours interviewing the stars and producers, taking them through early casting (and a pilot reshoot) to the emotional series finale and all the backstage drama in between, including the off-camera relationship between series stars Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco. The series airs nightly on TBS, with all 12 seasons available for streaming on HBO Max, and this juicy volume will be for fans what flags were for Sheldon and Amy: a source of endless fascination.