Family Feud on ‘The Middle,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Finale, ‘Rise’
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
The Middle (8/7c, ABC): The neighborhood war is on in an episode titled “Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle.” Which means Brooke Shields is back as Frankie’s (Patricia Heaton) snarling mullet-coiffed nemesis Rita Glossner, matriarch of an unruly tribe that finally crosses the line when they steal Sue’s (Eden Sher) car. Even the Donahues and Bill Norwood (Pat Finn) join in the fight. This has to be more entertaining than Rick’s frustrating crusade against Negan on The Walking Dead.
Fresh Off the Boat (8:30/7:30c, ABC): Another of ABC’s winning family comedies wraps its fourth season with change in the air. Grandma Huang (Lucille Soong) threatens to move out, causing Louis (Randall Park) to panic. And maybe Stephen King should panic, Misery-style, when Jessica (Constance Wu) upends a road trip to try to get the author to endorse her novel.
Rise (9/8c, NBC): The new musical drama has the unenviable task of taking over for This Is Us in the critical post-Voice time period. Angst is very much on the playlist as Lou (Josh Radnor) clashes with the principal over the musical’s budget, with the coach (Joe Tippett) over star/QB Robbie’s (Damon J. Gillespie) schedule, with former drama director Tracey (Rosie Perez) about her attitude—although when Tracey stands up for arts funding after hearing of boosters’ plans for a Jumbotron, I wanted to applaud. Things aren’t much better at home, where Lou contends with a resentful, alcoholic son (Casey Johnson). The most interesting storyline, as usual, involves the kids in the show: not so much sulky Gwen (Amy Forsyth), the coach’s unhappy daughter, but Simon (Ted Sutherland), who’s conflicted about the sexual longings of his Spring Awakening character, even while his parents are raising their own religious/moral objections.
Inside Tuesday TV: Freeform’s Shadowhunters (8/7c) kicks off a third season with the demon hunters yearning to get back to normal. Not likely to happen. … ABC’s black-ish (9/8c) celebrates Pops’ (Laurence Fishburne) 65th birthday, and while planning the party, Dre (Anthony Anderson) sees his dad in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) discovers the downside in attempting a “Year of Yes.” … Lifetime’s Love at First Flight (10/9c) plays matchmaker in the air, as couples get acquainted on cross-country flights, with the chance to get married once the plane lands. Talk about baggage claim. … truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything (10:30/9:30c) returns with the first of six animated episodes that take on historical legends and myths, starting with “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Truth,” which tackles the American Revolution. … Also returning to truTV: the uninhibited late-night The Chris Gethard Show (11/10c), with Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson as guest.