Worth Watching: 'Chasing the Moon,' Aerosmith Encounters 'American Pickers,' a New 'Scream'
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Chasing the Moon (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): A highlight of TV's ongoing Space Race to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landing is a comprehensive three-night American Experience special from Roger Stone, airing through Wednesday. Chasing the Moon takes an engrossing broad view of the historical context in which NASA's space program operated in the 1960s, with politics and science as sometimes uneasy bedfellows. In the first part, "A Place Beyond the Sky," period footage recaptures the national hysteria that ensued in 1957 when the Soviet Union put the Sputnik satellite into space, lighting a fire within the U.S. government to catch up, leaning on German scientists like Wernher von Braun to develop the technology that would result in manned space flight. Among those interviewed (off camera): Sergei Khrushchev, son of then-Soviet premier Nikita,; and in a fascinating "Right Stuff" subplot, Ed Dwight, an African-American Air Force pilot singled out for training as America's first black astronaut, but ultimately not selected. We've come a long way, baby.
American Pickers (8/7c, History): All last season, fans of the Americana series watched as Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and their team worked to restore the tour van of iconic rock band Aerosmith. (The three episodes that depicted their preservation efforts can be seen starting at 5 pm/4c.) In a new episode, the collectibles team embarks on a cross-country road trip to reunite the musicians with their van in Las Vegas. Yes, it brings back memories, musical and otherwise.
Scream (9/8c, VH1): You can't keep a good Ghostface down, as the serial-killer thriller slashes its way through a new season, airing over three nights (concluding Wednesday). The latest incarnation of Scream is set in Atlanta, where a local star football player with a tragic past is haunted by a malevolent stalker with murderous intentions on his group of friends. The cast includes Mary J. Blige, Keke Palmer, Paris Jackson in a cameo and Teen Wolf's Tyler Posey.
Inside Monday TV: NBC's American Ninja Warrior (8/7c) heads to Cincinnati for the final City Qualifying Round, featuring new obstacles including the Sling Shot… It's time for ABC's The Bachelorette (8/7c) to make hometown visits to meet the remaining four suitors' families, taking Hannah from Westlake Village, CA, to Jupiter, FL, Gainesville, GA, and a recording session with Jed in Nashville… The world's going to hell on HBO's near-future drama Years and Years (9/8c). With financial institutions in collapse mode, financier Stephen (Rory Kinnear) turns to a gig economy to get by, and sister Rosie (Ruth Madeley) faces the prospect of losing her catering job to automation. Things are even hairier for young Bethany (Lydia West), whose attempt to go digital with an implant takes a scary turn, and for Daniel (Russell Tovey), whose deported boyfriend Viktor (Maxim Baldry) goes on the run in Kiev.