Worth Watching: Celebrating Sammy Davis Jr., Back to School with McGee on ‘NCIS,’ Back ‘Home’ with Amy Sedaris
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): A sensational edition of American Masters revels in the musical achievements and private paradox of a groundbreaking and versatile entertainer. Davis crossed color lines as a charter member of the Rat Pack and challenged societal norms by converting to Judaism and marrying a white woman (Swedish actress May Britt), yet for all of his success, he never felt entirely accepted by any community. His talent (showcased in many stirring excerpts), however, can’t be denied.
NCIS (8/7c, CBS): In an episode rescheduled from the back-and-forth State of the Union, McGee (Sean Murray) goes into flashback mode when forced to make a reluctant return to his high school. Seems a computer password he used back then is connected to a Department of Defense contractor’s murder. Things get more urgent when someone breaks into his and Delilah’s (Margo Harshman) home looking for his old computer.
The Kids Are Alright (8:30/7:30c, ABC): Holy curveball! My favorite new TV family, the Clearys, is caught off-guard when longtime pastor Father Dunne (Paul Dooley) announces he’s giving up the cloth for his girlfriend — and Mike (Michael Cudlitz) and Peggy (Mary McCormack) have trouble adjusting to the new regime of associate pastor Father Abdi (Jojo Nwoko). Also freaking: obsequious Frank (scene stealer Sawyer Barth), when he loses the church keys.
At Home with Amy Sedaris (10/9c, truTV): The delirious send-up of domestic how-to shows returns for a second season of sublime silliness. You never know who’ll show up to play in the kitchen with Amy, and in the opener, Matthew Broderick drops by as a vacuous academic “expert” on adolescence who’s no help when Amy encounters an actual teenager.
Inside Tuesday TV: Genealogy is no laughing matter when comedians Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman explore their ancestral histories on PBS’s Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org)… Singer Michelle Williams channels Diana Ross on BET’s American Soul (9/8c), as Don Cornelius (Sinqua Walls) pursues the Motown diva to appear on Soul Train. Robert Townsend directs… National Geographic Channel’s Life Below Zero (9/8c) wraps its season with the Alaskan survivalists prepping for a brutal winter, and Sue Aikens building an arctic entryway to keep the deep freeze at bay… It’s not easy being The Rookie (10/9c, ABC), as the newbies learn when they become prime suspects after cash used for a drug bust goes missing… If they were British, they could turn to Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators (streaming on Britbox), a BBC mystery-comedy starring Jo Joyner and Mark Benton as partners solving crimes in Stratford-upon-Avon.