Worth Watching: ‘Gentleman Jack’ Finale, ‘Best Ever Trivia Show’ and ‘5th Grader’ Reboot
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Gentleman Jack (10/9c, HBO): That remarkable 19th-century force of nature Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) is in perpetual motion as the period drama finishes its delightful first season (having thankfully been renewed for a second). She takes Danish high society by storm, charming them with her eccentric ways as she barrels through life on her own terms — although the Queen’s birthday ball demands she trade her signature black frocks for a white gown. Too soon, she’s called back to her Fairfax estate to handle a family crisis and then a financial one. Little does she realize her beloved Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) is also making her own way back home, setting up what could be a gloriously romantic finale.
Best Ever Trivia Show (4 pm/3c, Game Show Network): Now that James Holzhauer is history on Jeopardy!, TV trivia buffs can reconnect with the even more legendary Ken Jennings, who’s part of a rotating panel of experts participating in this new game, hosted by Sherri Shepherd and airing Monday to Friday. The title is, as you’d expect, overselling it a bit. There aren’t enough questions for my taste: three per round (and multiple choice at that), with five in the final “Ultimate Trivia Challenge” round. The set-up pits three contestants against a different expert in each round, with double points awarded if the contestant correctly answers a question that the expert misses. The expert pool is drawn from veterans of Jeopardy!, Who Wants to Be A Millionare, other game shows and quiz championships — and if a contestant wins three games, he or she is eligible to enter the inner circle. How long before Holzhauer joins the club?
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (7/6c, Nickelodeon): Or you could match wits with elementary-school whiz kids in a reboot of the family-friendly game show, now hosted by John Cena. As in the original, but with a few tweaks, contestants lean on a rotating cast of 12 precocious fifth-graders to help them answer questions taken from elementary-school curricula in hopes of making it to the head of the class and winning up to $100,000.
Inside Monday TV: It doesn’t get much more exotic than Acorn TV’s latest import, Straight Forward, the first Danish/New Zealand co-production. It’s the story of a Danish con woman (Cecilie Stenspil) who flees Copenhagen after her father is murdered and her revenge payback goes awry. A master of disguise, she starts over in New Zealand, but when her family back home is in danger, how to protect them from so many miles away?… The NBA Finals continue (9/8c, ABC) for an all-important fifth game… Must we keep enabling reality-TV exhibitionists who are unable to stay out of the spotlight? In TLC’s Kate Plus Date (10/9c), single mother of eight Kate Gosselin re-enters the dating game, when matchmakers set her up on dates with 10 bachelors. How could this possibly not go well?