‘Lone Star’ Chaotic Carnival, ‘Auto’ Revs Up, Marlee Matlin Directs ‘Accused,’ ‘Masters’ Profiles Roberta Flack

9-1-1: Lone Star opens its fourth season with chaos at a county fair—and a possible love connection. NBC’s American Auto comedy brings aboard Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet as a crisis manager. Marlee Matlin directs a potent episode of Fox’s Accused anthology about a deaf surrogate mother who steps in on behalf of a deaf infant. American Masters kills us softly with a profile of singer-activist Roberta Flack.

Gina Torres in '9-1-1: Lone Star'
Jordin Althaus/FOX

9-1-1: Lone Star

Season Premiere

The more extreme the emergency, the better the episode of the Texas-based 9-1-1 spinoff. So it is for the Season 4 premiere, when a severe storm and subsequent heat surge creates so much havoc at a country fair—an airborne port-o-potty, a disabled Ferris wheel, assorted heat strokes—that one of the 126 crew even likens it to the volcanic eruptions from Season 2. One side effect: Tommy (Gina Torres) treats a single dad (her Suits co-star D.B. Woodside) who sparks her interest. On the other end of the romance spectrum, T.K.’s (Ronen Rubinstein) and Carlos’ (Rafael Silva) wedding planning hits a speed bump because of a secret from Carlos’ past.

Ana Gasteyer as Katherine in American Auto
Jordin Althaus/NBC

American Auto

Season Premiere

The corporate chicanery within the fictional Payne Motors is so out of control it makes Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter seem smooth by comparison. As the second season of the dysfunctional workplace satire gets underway, embattled CEO Katherine (Ana Gasteyer) enlists Ian (Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet), a crisis manager, to navigate the company through the latest storm of bad publicity involving the C-suite’s coverup of defective auto parts. While Sadie (Harriet Dyer) gets flop sweat during press conferences and corporate counsel Elliot (Humphrey Ker) develops hives among other manifestations of woe, with falling stock prices and leaked memos, is there any way Katherine and her team can keep their jobs? (The unanswered question: Why would they even want to?)

Stephanie Nogueras and Megan Boone in the 'Ava’s Story' episode of 'Accused'


Marlee Matlin sets a compassionate tone in her direction of an emotionally loaded episode of the legal anthology. Her empathy is clearly with Ava (Stephanie Nogueras), a young deaf woman acting as surrogate for a young couple (The Blacklist’s Megan Boone and Aaron Ashmore). When the baby is born deaf—there’s a history in the biological mother’s family—Ava takes extreme measures to prevent the parents from going forward with a surgical procedure on the infant. The Walking Dead’s Lauren Ridloff co-stars as a deaf lawyer who’s committed to getting a jury to see Ava’s side of things.

Roberta Flack
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

American Masters

Her songs have stood the test of the time, with the success of “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly” making Roberta Flack the first artist to win the Grammy for Record of the Year two years in a row (1973 and 1974). American Masters uses Flack’s own words and musical archives to profile the classically trained performer and civil-rights activist, with commentary from Jesse Jackson, Clint Eastwood (who famously used “First Time Ever” in his movie Play Misty for Me), Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Peabo Bryson and more.

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