Worth Watching: Remembering 'Pavarotti,' Catching Up on 'Manifest,' 'Alexa & Katie' Holiday Special
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Pavarotti (8/7c, Showtime): Even by holiday standards, this is a quiet night for TV. If you're looking for something new, Ron Howard's acclaimed documentary profile of the fabled opera star Luciano Pavarotti has its TV premiere. The film features many of the beloved tenor's greatest performances as well as rare footage, providing an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life talent.
Alexa & Katie (streaming on Netflix): A third season of the teen sitcom begins with a special holiday episode in which Alexa's (Paris Beralc) excitement over the return from college of her ex-boyfriend Dylan is tempered by her need to help another friend, Spencer, who has become distant after he starts losing his hair from chemo treatments for cancer. (Alexa can relate.) Her BFF Katie (Isabel May) is spending her holiday running a canned food drive, and risks getting all Grinch-y when work and good deeds become overwhelming.
Manifest (9/8c, NBC): The thing about series with shorter season durations: It can be hard to remember what happened when they return from a long break. As a public service to Manifest fans, before the show returns for a second season resuming its Monday time period on Jan. 6, NBC repeats the pilot episode (9/8c), which sets up the mystery of Montego Air Flight 828, whose passengers lost five-and-a-half years while in the air, though gaining some unusual powers in the process. Followed by the season finale cliffhanger (10/9c) from last February.
Inside Monday TV: ABC presents the broadcast-TV debut of 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming (8/7c), the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature Tom Halland as the web-slinger, co-starring Michael Keaton as the villainous Vulture. … Hulu will be the new exclusive home of former Fox sci-fi romp The Orville for its third season later this year, and to prepare audiences, the second season begins streaming today. … Nominated for a Best Documentary award at the IFP Gotham Awards, Midnight Traveler premieres on PBS's POV (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org). The film by Afghan director Hassan Fazili is a feature-length autobiographical account of his family's refugee journey across central and west Asia to Europe after the Taliban puts a bounty on the filmmaker's head.