Worth Watching: James Corden in London (With Michelle Obama), MTV Movie & TV Awards, ABC’s ‘Grand Hotel’
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
The Late Late Show with James Corden (12:37/11:37c, CBS): Fresh off his gig as Tony Awards host, the late-night comedian heads back to his home turf of London for a repeat visit, with special episodes through Thursday. On opening night, he’s joined by former First Lady Michelle Obama, who leads Team USA against Corden’s Team UK in an epic dodgeball game, featuring Melissa McCarthy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Harry Styles, Kate Hudson, Allison Janney, Mila Kunis, Lena Waithe, John Bradley and bandleader Reggie Watts. Another highlight of the week: a Les Miserables-inspired outing of “Crosswalk: The Musical.”
2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards (9/8c, MTV): Zachary “Chuck” Levi (Shazam!) hosts the irreverent awards show from the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, CA, with fantasy looming charge as Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame are among the leaders in nominations. New categories include Reality Royalty, Most Meme-able Moment and Best Real-Life Hero (contenders including Free Solo‘s Alex Honnold, Nanette’s Hannah Gadsby, WWE SmackDown’s Roman Reigns, Being Serena’s Serena Williams and my pick, RBG’s Ruth Bader Ginsberg).
Grand Hotel (10/9c, ABC): The definition of summer fluff, and about as guilty of trashy excess as a guilty pleasure gets, this Americanized and modern-day version of the Spanish soap-opera hit (streaming on Netflix) packs a lot of silly plot into its opening hour. Demian Bichir leads the cast as Santiago Mendoza, who owns Miami Beach’s struggling Riviera Grand hotel while presiding over an unhappily blended family. (Roselyn Sanchez is his scheming second wife.) Sex, lies, greed, a possible murder and an impending wedding keep the many characters on either side of the class spectrum busy. Just assume everyone has an agenda and you’ll fit right in with this nonsense.
From the Streaming World: Prepare to be charmed by Penelope Keith’s Village of the Year on Acorn TV, a competition series as sweet and affirming as The Great British Baking Show. Dame Penelope Keith, a familiar face to Anglophiles for her roles on To the Manor Born and The Good Life, has hosted previous travelogues set in British villages, and in this 24-part series (presented in six-episode blocks over four Mondays), she scours the countryside to find the perfect village. Will it be the one that hosts an epic custard-pie-throwing championship, or one where villagers hoist beer barrels up and down the mountainside?
Not to be confused with Wolfgang Petersen’s Oscar-nominated film of 1981, Hulu’s eight-episode import of the German-TV sequel Das Boot is set in 1942 occupied France, where the newly commissioned U-612 prepares for its maiden voyage under Capt. Klaus Hoffmann (Rick Okon). Above ground at the port of La Rochelle, interpreter Simone Strasser (Vicky Krieps) is torn between her German roots and the local Resistance. A second season has already been ordered.
Inside Monday TV: We still kind of miss James Holzhauer, but for the next two weeks, fans of Jeopardy! (syndicated, check local listings) can match wits with whiz kids (ages 14-17), when the annual Teen Tournament gets underway… Kyle Chandler narrates Golf Channel’s two-part biographical profile Hogan (9/8c, concludes Tuesday), about the remarkable career of 64-time PGA Tour winner Ben Hogan… PBS’s POV documentary series launches its 32nd season with Nancy Schwartzman’s acclaimed film Roll Red Roll (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), which recounts the notorious rape of a teenage girl by popular high-school football stars in Steubenville, Ohio, and the aftermath revealing a “rape culture” bolstered by social media.