Worth Watching: ‘Gentleman Jack’ on HBO, ‘Live Rescue’ vs. ‘9-1-1,’ ‘Neighborhood’ and ‘Queens’ Finales
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Gentleman Jack (10/9c, HBO): Weaker sex? Not a label one would apply to Anne Lister (Suranne Jones). With her pugnacious stride and masculine all-black wardrobe, this real-life intellectual landowner is like no other 19th-century heroine. Inspired by her actual diaries, this vivid and entertaining period drama from Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) explodes gender boundaries as the West Yorkshire free spirit — nicknamed “Jack” for her masculine demeanor — defies convention by reopening her family’s coal mines and wooing a neighboring heiress (Sophie Rundle) as ardently as any Poldark. Her pride in countering others’ prejudice is something to behold. Jane Austen, I bet, would be awed.
Live Rescue (9/8c, A&E): Watch out, 9-1-1. The producers of A&E’s hit Live PD are expanding the franchise with a new two-hour docu-series following first responders from across the country as they answer emergency rescue calls in real time. (For fans of Fox’s fictional 9-1-1, which airs in the same 9/8c time period, a new episode finds the crew attending to a crisis at a bank manager’s going-away party, and then being accused of pulling off a heist. Who will come to their rescue?)
The Neighborhood (8/7c, CBS): Renewed for a second season, CBS’s top new comedy closes its freshman year with Calvin (Cedric the Entertainer) once again getting neighbor Dave’s (Max Greenfield) hopes up for a lasting friendship when he’s invited to go golfing. But as usual, Calvin has ulterior motives. Not so their wives, Tina (Tichina Arnold) and Gemma (Beth Behrs), who team up to plan a surprise for their sons.
Queens of Mystery (streaming on Acorn TV): The twee British comedy-mystery wraps its first season with the two-part “Smoke and Mirrors,” in which detective Mattie Stone (Olivia Vinall) investigates a murder at the local community theater where an adaptation of one of her mystery-writing Aunt Jane’s (Siobhan Redmond) stories is being staged. Everyone’s a Jessica Fletcher in this lark.
Inside Monday TV: If you’ve been meaning to jump aboard ABC’s American Idol this season, a “Meet Your Finalists” special (8/7c) sounds like a good place to start. The two-hour episode goes deep into the remaining finalists’ personal history and journey, including favorite musical moments from the season and some unaired footage… In honor of Earth Day, National Geographic’s Hostile Planet (9/8c) takes its cameras into the world’s most dangerous — and endangered — jungles, with a spotlight on jaguars, orangutans, spectral tarsiers and even hummingbirds. All are trying to survive amid deforestation and increasingly unpredictable rains… Telemundo’s popular narco drama La Reina del Sur (10/9c), starring Kate del Castillo as exiled drug trafficker Teresa Mendoza, returns for a new season — and for the first time will be available with closed captioning in English.