Worth Watching: Acorn’s ‘Queens of Mystery,’ ‘Jesus’ as Seen by Judas and Pilate, ‘Hostile’ Ocean Life, the NCAA Championship

Hostile Planet
National Geographic

A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:

Queens of Mystery (streaming on Acorn TV): This light-hearted new British mystery series, premiering with three two-part movies (over three Mondays), is so fluffy it makes Acorn’s superior Agatha Raisin look like Law & Order. Juliet Stevenson delivers suitably wry narration for the campy exploits of newly promoted detective Matilda Stone (Olivia Vinall), who returns to solve crimes in her bucolic village of Wildemarsh, where she was raised by three meddling crime-novelist aunts: Beth (Sarah Woodward), Cat (Julie Graham) and Jane (Siobhan Redmond). The family is haunted by the disappearance of Matilda’s mother when the girl was just 3, a mystery looming over the season as Matilda and her aunts embark on Murder, They Wrote escapades. In the opener, “Murder in the Dark,” the death du jour has literary roots, when a fellow crime novelist is impaled by the very Golden Pick Axe Award he was about to receive.

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From its multiple perspectives to its non-religious appeal.

Jesus: His Life (8/7c, History): The fate of Jesus rests on the decisions of two men in new chapters of the series that examines the story of Jesus Christ from various historical figures’ viewpoints. First, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who ultimately betrays Jesus, as the series moves into Passover and depicts what will become known as the Last Supper. The second hour takes the perspective of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, who infamously washes his hands of responsibility for the controversial preacher when he sends Jesus to be crucified.

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The survival expert also reveals what makes the show so emotional.

Hostile Planet (9/8c, National Geographic): The most harrowing of nature series takes a deep dive into the world’s oceans, where climate change is just one of many challenges for underwater denizens. Among the conflicts caught on camera: seals fending off sharks, turtles risking everything to spawn a new generation and orca finding ingenious ways to survive.

Inside Monday TV: CBS Sports presents the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship (9/8c). Who will take the title when No. 1 seed Virginia goes up against Texas Tech?… By the end of a second night of duets on ABC’s American Idol (8/7c), the Top 20 will be whittled down to a more manageable 14. But first, the remaining 10 singers are paired with celebrity guests including Julia Michaels, Lukas Graham, lovelytheband, Ben Harper, Chris Isaak and Tony-winning powerhouse Cynthia Erivo… The Starz documentary White Boy (9/8c) investigates the facts behind the urban legend of Richard Wershe Jr., a teenage FBI informer who allegedly ran a sophisticated cocaine operation in inner-city Detroit. (He was the basis of the 2018 feature film White Boy Rick, starring Matthew McConaughey.)