Worth Watching: 'Terror: Infamy' and 'Lodge 49' on AMC, HBO's 'Our Boys,' 'Straight Up Steve Austin'
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
The Terror: Infamy (9/8c, AMC): Adding a creepy layer of supernatural shock to its re-creation of an actual historical horror, the second season of the provocative anthology series turns its focus to a shameful chapter of our not-so-distant past, when more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were sent to U.S. internment camps after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Infamy dramatizes the tragedy by compounding the indignities of racism and war-fueled hysteria with terrifying mysteries involving visions and lethal ghostly wraiths from the Old County. By weaving ancient terrors into its all-too-relevant story of prejudice and fear, The Terror feels as fresh and original as it is chilling.
Lodge 49 (10/9c, AMC): Surely one of the most offbeat series of last, this or any summer, the surreal and woozy Long Beach dramedy returns with carefree but debt-burdened Dud (Wyatt Russell) recovering from a shark attack, feeling reborn as he joins fellow Lodge member Blaise (David Pasquesi) on a new alchemic mission that's no doubt an "allegorical metaphor" for something. But Dud has one worry: Where's his beloved mentor, Ernie (Brent Jennings)? When you hear the answer — "All I want is to get my normal life back" — don't buy it. There's nothing normal about, or within the walls of, Lodge 49.
Our Boys (10/9c, HBO): With an authenticity and intensity recalling The Wire if it were set in the Middle East, this grim and riveting docudrama revisits a 2014 murder investigation that triggered an actual war in Gaza. Filmed in Israel with English subtitles, Our Boys opens with the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers, attributed to Hamas. In the backlash, a Palestinian teen is abducted, beaten and burned to death by unknown parties. Leading the investigation: pragmatic antiterrorism agent Simon (Shlomi Elkabetz), who solemnly pursues leads against a backdrop of street riots and political pressure.
Straight Up Steve Austin (11/10, USA): Not your typical talk show, but what would you expect from the retired WWE pro-wrestling legend — who's no longer "Stone Cold" but warm and funny as he mixes it up with celebrities and comedians in unusual settings. In the opener, the traditional couch is replaced by recliners on go-kart chassis as Austin races around the Cleveland Browns' stadium with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Inside Monday TV: In 16 selected markets, Fox stations will try out a new daytime talk/comedy show, Jerry O (check local listings), with a three-week preview. The ever-genial Jerry O'Connell, already well known to daytime talk fans for co-hosting with Kelly Ripa and subbing for Wendy Williams, takes center stage with a format of celebrity chat and comedy bits… Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman welcome nine junior bakers, ages 10 to 13, to a new season of Food Network's Kids Baking Championship with back-to-back episodes (8/7c and 9/8c), starting with a two-layer splatter cake challenge… The top 10 are now set on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (9/8c), and the finalists will perform for the first time together for the judges, and for America's vote… One last chapter for FX's trippy Legion (10/9c) with a series finale described as "the end of the end." Someone can explain it to me later.