Worth Watching: A Triangle on ‘Conners,’ Ziva on ‘NCIS,’ Back to the Pool on ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Frontline’ Investigates Saudi Prince
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
The Conners (8/7c, ABC): He was only mentioned and not seen on the season opener, but The Big Bang Theory‘s Johnny Galecki returns in the flesh as David, Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert) ex, in a very funny episode that finds sardonic Darlene in a classic triangle, torn between the father of her children and her new love interest, Ben (Jay R. Ferguson). There’s little doubt where aunt Jackie’s (Laurie Metcalf) preferences lie — “Pick Ben!” — but first there’s a parental crisis when the school cracks down on Darlene and David’s son Mark’s (Ames McNamara) public display of affection with another boy, leading to some touching moments of affirmation and confusion. “Is liking someone always going to be this hard?” Mark wonders. (The answer: Yes.) In other parenting news, Becky (Lecy Goranson) struggles to care for her preemie daughter. Life’s never easy, though often funny, with The Conners.
NCIS (9/8c, CBS): Expect more revelations about the shadow life of former agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo) in the conclusion of her season-opening return. Now that she has located her target, Mira Sahar Azam (Mouzam Makkar), some of the team may begin to wonder which side the legendary Ziva is truly on. (Oh people of such little faith.)
This Is Us (9/8c, NBC): One of the best-remembered episodes from the breakout first season was the Pearson family’s excursion to the public pool, which revealed volumes about the relationships among the three siblings and their parents. The show returns to this scene several years later, with an end-of-summer “Pearson Family Fun Day” as the kids are about to enter seventh grade. They’ve grown further apart from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), as all kids do, and the anxiety of watching your children grow into new, independent people is a theme of the episode — echoed by Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) over-preparing their own kids for a new life in Philadelphia. But in present-day, little Jack is still very much an infant, and Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) have different ways of coping with the stress of raising a blind baby while worried family members hover. Including Kevin (Justin Hartley), who has to decide what’s best for his sobriety: staying busy with acting gigs or keeping close to family.
Frontline (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The subject of a tough interview on 60 Minutes this weekend, Mohammad bin Salman is the subject of a two-hour investigation, The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, led by longtime Frontline correspondent Martin Smith to launch the acclaimed news series’ 38th season. Airing on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a horrific crime for which MBS accepts responsibility while denying prior knowledge, Smith’s report looks back at the prince’s rise to power while exploring the facts of the Khashoggi murder, his crackdown on dissent within Saudi Arabia while promoting social reforms, and his relationship with the U.S. government and White House administration.
Inside Tuesday TV: The HBO sports documentary Diego Maradona (9/8c) borrows from more than 500 hours of personal footage from the infamous soccer star’s archive to tell his story of triumph, fame, scandal and comeback… Seems overdue, but when the parents cut Junior (Marcus Scribner) off on ABC’s black-ish (9:30/8:30c), the spoiled kid takes some drastic action… Bravo’s provocative new series In a Man’s World (10/9c) features women who transform through makeup and coaching into men as they go undercover in male-dominated worlds to expose gender bias. In the premiere, professional pool player Emily aims to show her chauvinistic peers that she deserves respect… From the streaming world: Facebook Watch launches a second season of the moving drama Sorry for Your Loss with three new episodes, starring Elizabeth Olsen as a young widow trying to move forward with her very messy life… The Netflix stand-up special Nikki Glaser: Bangin’ showcases the bawdy comedian joking about her favorite subject: sex.