Worth Watching: Drafting 'Kids' to Vietnam, Ray Romano Stand-Up on Netflix, 'American Soul'
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
The Kids Are Alright (8:30/7:30c, ABC): An exceptional episode of my favorite freshman TV comedy perfectly blends humor and serious sentiment as two of the eight Cleary boys — budding activist eldest son Lawrence (Sam Straley) and insecure second-in-line Eddie (Caleb Foote) — learn their number is up in the Vietnam draft of 1972. (This Is Us used the “ceremonial and darkly absurd” ritual of announcing the draft on TV for more serious effect earlier this season.) Gung-ho dad Mike (Michael Cudlitz) and quietly rattled mom Peggy (Mary McCormack) can’t openly share their concerns — as Peggy quips, “At the very least, they should let me pick which two we send. That would keep these kids in line.” It’s a poignant look at parents suddenly seeing their kids as adults, and sons facing responsibility and what they see as their obligation to family and country.
Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner (streaming on Netflix): The Everybody Loves Raymond star, who has expanded his range in diverse cable series (most notably Get Shorty on Epix), returns to the stand-up stage with his first special in 23 years. Reflecting on age, friendship and marriage, he performs two sets on the same night: at New York’s Comedy Cellar, and literally around the corner at the Village Underground.
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American Soul (9/8c, BET): This nostalgic new drama series warmly remembers an iconic TV hit, going behind the scenes of the dance-music classic Soul Train as it’s launched into national syndication in the early 1970s. Train is the passion project of visionary Don Cornelius (Sinqua Walls), who puts it all on the line to achieve his dream, wooing major talent onto his show to make it legit — Kelly Rowland plays Gladys Knight in the premiere — and convincing Southern stations to carry the program.
State of the State of the Union: Most broadcast and all news networks will carry the rescheduled State of the Union address to Congress live (9/8c, 6 PT), followed by the Democratic response from Stacey Abrams of Georgia. Stay up for live commentary from several of the late-night shows, including Comedy Central’s State of the Union 2019: Uncancelled (11/10c), CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (11:35/10:35c) and NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers (12:35/11:35c), while NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (11:35/10:35) will feature a monologue taped after the speech, with Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie joining Fallon for analysis.
Inside Tuesday TV: ABC’s American Housewife (8/7c) moves to a new night and time, with Katie (Katy Mixon) stepping up when husband Greg (Diedrich Bader) insists on doing the family’s taxes… Freeform’s Good Trouble (8/7c) exposes its spinoff roots when the moms from The Fosters, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum), pay a visit to Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez)… The lights went out in The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico (9/8c) when Max (Nathan Dean Powers) had another angst fit, and now he must save the town and yet somehow protect his alien identity when the blackout endangers patients at the local hospital… Engaging in the lowest form of royal gossip, TLC poses the question Kate v. Meghan: Princesses at War? (10/9c), a no-doubt-rhetorical title that will likely only deepen their contempt for tabloid media.