Worth Watching: Saying Goodbye to ‘Kids’ & Other Finales, ‘Fosse/Verdon’ Does ‘Chicago,’ a ‘Voice’ Winner
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
The Kids Are Alright (8:30/7:30c, ABC): I’m still in some disbelief that ABC has dropped this terrific family comedy after just one season. Adding to the angst is the irony that the final episode is titled “Irish Goodbye,” referring to eldest son Lawrence’s (Sam Straley) decision to move out of the house to live with a girlfriend Peggy (Mary McCormack) hasn’t even met yet. While that domestic conflict plays out, show-biz wannabe Timmy (Jack Gore) — who as an adult (voiced by series creator Tim Doyle) narrates the show — goes in search of Knuckles, his missing ventriloquist dummy, and learns his scheming brother Joey (Christopher Paul Richards) has taken him without asking.
More ABC sitcom finales include a special musical episode of American Housewife (8/7c), which moves to Fridays in the fall, with four original songs by Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman) and Galavant’s Glenn Slater, and choreography by Ashley Wallen (La La Land, Showman), and the fifth-season finale of black-ish (9/8c), which finds Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) trying to convince Junior (Marcus Scribner) to go back to college despite getting a job offer of his dreams.
Fosse/Verdon (10/9c, FX): There’s more drama off than onstage as Broadway’s original production of Chicago becomes a reality in the penultimate episode of FX’s searing biographical series, with a brilliant Michelle Williams taking center stage as the Emcee (shades of Cabaret) in an impressionistic telling of Gwen Verdon’s own life story. Employing a similar cynically vaudevillian set-up as Chicago, Verdon promises “a story of greed, exploitation, adultery and treachery — all the things we hold near and dear to our hearts.” Written by The Americans‘ Joel Fields and Steven Levenson, and directed by Hamilton’s Thomas Kail, the episode threads the birthing pains of Chicago in 1975 with 1960s flashbacks to one of the more turbulent periods of Verdon’s relationship with an unfaithful Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and their desperate attempts to hold it together by starting a family. (Poor Nicole.) It builds to a histrionic blow-out in which Verdon’s bruised ego leads her to unload on Fosse when he makes a critical decision about Chicago’s ending that robs her of the solo spotlight — but, as was often the case with this troubled genius of a director, he was right.
The Voice (9/8c, NBC): It may be tough for the final four contestants to get a note in edgewise during the all-star season finale of the singing competition, which once again enlists superstars to upstage the newbies, rendering the choice between Maelyn Jarmon (Team John), Gyth Rigdon, Dexter Roberts and Andrew Sevener (all Team Blake) as almost an afterthought. On the guest roster: Taylor Swift featuring Brandon Urie, plus the Jonas Brothers, Halsey, BTS, OneRepublic, Hootie & the Blowfish and Khalid. Sounds more like a Grammys lineup.
Blood & Treasure (9/8c, CBS): For those still smarting over the cancellation of Whiskey Cavalier, another light adventure caper arrives featuring exotic locales and jokey sexual chemistry between the attractive leads. If Blood feels like a wan knockoff, featuring the exploits of an ex-FBI agent (smug Matt Barr) and a sexy art thief (Sofia Pernas) trying to stop a terrorist (Oded Fehr) from using stolen antiquities to fund his attacks, it might still work as a harmless and instantly forgettable summer-season lark.
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Inside Tuesday TV: On Wednesday, she’ll be stepping into the iconic shoes of Isabel Sanford, playing Louise Jefferson in ABC’s live-event recreation of The Jeffersons. But first, a Netflix stand-up comedy special, Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, in which the outspoken comic weighs in on politics and the culture at large… As CBS hit NCIS (8/7c) wraps its 16th season, Gibbs (Mark Harmon) wrestles with personal ghosts when FBI buddy Tobias Fornell (Joe Spano) asks him to help take down drug-dealing thugs in the wake of his daughter’s opiate OD… In a timely edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c), correspondent Bernard Goldberg looks into the rising death toll of race horses in the U.S… Even more topical, PBS’s Frontline offers a report from ace producer Michael Kirk titled “Supreme Revenge” (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), which examines the history of partisan battles over the Supreme Court, from Bork to Kavanaugh… ABC’s 1969 docuseries (10/9c) revisits two influential cultural events of 50 years ago: the Woodstock music festival and the Stonewall uprising, the latter credited with spurring the gay-rights movement.