Celebrating ‘Wicked,’ ‘Frontline’ Investigates Facebook, Big Cats on Animal Planet
A critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
A Very Wicked Halloween (10/9c, NBC): As the smash-hit musical celebrates its 15th year on Broadway, still defying box-office gravity, original stars Idina Menzel (winner of a Tony as Elphaba) and Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) return to host a tuneful tribute with songs from the celebrated Stephen Schwartz score. Guests include Ariana Grande and Pentatonix.
The Facebook Dilemma (9/8, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Over two nights (concluding Tuesday), TV’s most essential investigative documentary series Frontline takes on the social-media giant and its impact on democracy and privacy. Producer James Jacoby and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest provide a history of the many warnings Mark Zuckerberg’s global behemoth received, but didn’t heed, resulting in multiple crises of unintended consequences — with millions of users’ data compromised, and during the last election, with “fake news” and disinformation disseminated on the platform, disrupting the democratic process.
Other documentaries of note: PBS’s Independent Lens launches a new season with Wildland (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), an intimate account of a firefighting crew in Oregon… HBO’s Outside the Bubble: On the Road with Alexandra Pelosi (8/7c) sends the filmmaker across the U.S. for frank conversations with citizens from all sides of the political and cultural spectrum to get a handle on our polarized society… Smithsonian Channel’s The Lost Tapes series revisits the Clinton Impeachment (9/8c) from 1998, using only film and audio of the time, without commentary, to replay the scandal that echoes through today’s displays of political acrimony. The episode features never-before-televised recordings from historian Taylor Branch, a confidant of President Clinton at the time.
Big Cat Tales (Animal Planet, 8/7c): Lions and leopards and cheetahs, oh my! These majestic animals are the focus of a five-night series (through Friday) studying the prides and families who live on the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. In the first episode, “Rebirth in the Mara,” Jonathan and Angie Scott return to the reserve to revisit the Marsh Pride, which they have followed and studied for 40 years.
Inside Monday TV: Acorn TV streams the final episode of the Australian family saga A Place to Call Home… The knockout rounds begin on NBC’s The Voice (8/7c)… Damon Wayans moonlights from Lethal Weapon to visit son Damon Wayans, Jr., on CBS’s Happy Together (8:30/7:30c), playing — what else — Jake’s dad… Ben Vereen guests on CBS’s Magnum P.I. (9/8c) as a tycoon who hires Magnum (Jay Hernandez) to locate the lost love of his life after she reaches out to him, despite having died 30 years ago… With the midterm elections just a week away, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (11/10c) heads to the battleground state of Florida for a week of shows from Miami Beach’s Jackie Gleason Theater.