Worth Watching: 'Good Doctor' Returns Amid Chaos, Fox's 'Passage,' the Real-Life 'Dirty John'
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
The Good Doctor (10/9c, ABC): The hit medical drama closed out 2018 with multiple cliffhangers as the hospital went into quarantine lockdown: an infected doctor, an endangered pregnant woman, and poor Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) rendered almost catatonic, retreating into a fetal crouch as he’s bombarded by sound and strife. The crises continue to build in the winter premiere, with some wins and losses and conflicts between fathers, sons, mentors and protégés. Watching from the outside: Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) and Sean’s friend Lea (Paige Spara), who debate whether to let the young doctor know of Glassman’s latest diagnosis.
The Passage (9/8c, Fox): It’s a slow road to apocalypse in the absorbing, but derivative, opening chapter of this Stephen King wannabe, based on the epic horror trilogy by Justin Cronin. With much foreshadowing of bad tidings to come, The Passage opens with a chase. The target: spunky, orphaned Amy (Saniyya Sidney), who’s sought by the top-secret Project NOAH lab as a test subject for a vampire-derived virus that could either cure all ills or wipe out humanity. (Guess which way this is headed?) Her captor, Agent Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), soon becomes Amy’s protector, as he begins to expect the worst about his NOAH bosses. The monsters are terrifying, and the chemistry between Sidney and Gosselaar is winning.
Dirty John: The Dirty Truth (8/7c, Oxygen): If you’re still reeling from Sunday’s final chapter of Bravo’s addictive Dirty John true-crime drama, sister channel Oxygen offers a two-hour companion wallow in a documentary that dives into psycho John Meehan’s trail of unhappy conquests before he seduced and bedeviled Debra Newell. Among the subjects interviewed: detectives in Ohio and Orange County, John’s first wife Tonia and her daughters Emily and Abigail.
Inside Monday TV: Streaming service Britbox premieres a ninth season of fan-favorite mystery series Vera, starring Brenda Bletheyn as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, with episodes available within hours of their U.K. debut… Joey Fatone hosts Game Show Network’s newest Monday-Friday show, Common Knowledge (5:30 pm/4:30c), which pits teams of three in a contest to answer practical questions we all should know, but probably don’t… Happily married Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) appear on ABC’s The Bachelor (8/7c) to offer performance tips to eight of the ladies as they prepare “first-time” monologues. A dozen more head to “Camp Bachelor” where comedian Billy Eichner coaches them through challenges. Are we sure this isn’t a lost bonus episode of Difficult People?… In what is likely a series as well as first-season finale of CBS’s Happy Together (8:30/7:30c), Jake (Damon Wayans, Jr.) and Claire (Amber Stevens Ward) take a rare trip into the fast lane to attend Cooper’s (Felix Mallard) intimate concert of new music… High school is back in session for a third season of irreverent truTV comedy Those Who Can’t (10/9c), with Fairbell (Andrew Orvedahl) faring surprisingly well as principal—until an uptight new guidance counselor arrives on the scene.