Burt Reynolds’ ‘Gunsmoke’ Days, ‘GMA Day’ Premiere, a Better ‘Saul’
A critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Burt Reynolds in Gunsmoke (1 pm/12c, MeTV): As the New York Times’ obituary of Burt Reynolds recalls, the actor was known to joke that the only Native American he never played was Pocahontas. Part Cherokee, that heritage often factored into Reynolds’ early acting career, much of it on TV — including one of his first significant roles as half-breed blacksmith Quint Asper on the classic Western Gunsmoke for 50 episodes that aired between 1962-65. In honor of the versatile and popular star, who died Sept. 6 at 82, MeTV will replay a “Quint-essential” episode of Gunsmoke each day through Saturday, starting with the Season 8 “Quint Asper Comes Home” from 1962 in which he seeks revenge for his father’s murder. (An episode reported to be his favorite, Season 10’s “Crooked Mile” from 1964, airs Saturday, featuring guest star Katherine Ross as his girlfriend.)
GMA Day (1 pm/12c, ABC, check local listings): ABC expands its Good Morning America franchise into the early afternoon with this third hour of mostly light infotainment, hosted by GMA’s Michael Strahan and former The View regular Sara Haines. Those still mourning The Chew (which this replaces) will likely still be able to get their fill of cooking segments on a show that vows to be fun and even inspiring.
Better Call Saul (9/8c, AMC): There’s quite a bit of forward momentum, at last, in one of the best episodes yet for the uneven fourth season of the Breaking Bad prequel. One of my favorite parts of any episode is the prologue, often showing Jimmy McGill/future Saul (Bob Odenkirk) at an earlier, or later, stage of his evolution, and this week’s doesn’t disappoint. But the real dramatic juice comes from Jimmy realizing that his ambitions for a revival of the Wexler-McGill partnership don’t match Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn). So it’s back to hawking cell phones—if only he can work out a deal with the street thugs who mugged him the last time. Other takeaways: a mesmerizing soliloquy from Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) and the arrival of the Germans who’ll build his underground meth-lab fortress. Under Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) steely supervision, of course.
Inside Monday TV: Streaming highlight du jour: a new six-part season of Australian noir thriller Jack Irish on Acorn TV, starring Guy Pearce as the scrappy lawyer-turned-debt collecting private eye. As the new season begins, he’s once again hit rock bottom, but a case involving foreign students dying at a shady private college gets him back on his feet to expose a global conspiracy… Can you handle the truth that’s out there? To mark the 25th anniversary of The X-Files, BBC America devotes the next five days to a marathon of episodes from all nine seasons, plus the two feature films. The macabre wallow begins at 6 am/5c… Keith Carradine is TCM’s Guest Programmer for the night, and his choices include 1937’s Captains Courageous (8/7c), with his father, John Carradine, playing Long Jack opposite Oscar winner Spencer Tracy, and 1974’s Thieves Like Us (2:30 am/1:30c), in which he was directed by the great Robert Altman. … “America’s Favorite Dancer” will be revealed on the season finale of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (8/7c)… What’s love got to do with it? Bestselling author Nancy Jo Sales investigates the online dating industry in the HBO documentary Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age (10/9c).