Worth Watching: Recalling the ‘McCarthy’ Era, ‘Manifest’ Returns, Three Hours of ‘Bachelor’
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
McCarthy (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): The words still resonate some 65 years later: “Have you no sense of decency? At long last, have you no sense of decency?” With this statement, Joseph N. Welch, chief counsel for the U.S. Army, stood up to and ultimately deflated the bullying demagoguery of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in his reckless and unchecked anti-Communist crusade of the 1950s. Thus ended an especially dark chapter of American politics. A new two-hour American Experience biography is possibly too decorous in its depiction of McCarthy’s rise, but it provides a necessary cautionary tale of how ambition and hubris, inflamed by an eager media seizing on outrageous and often false claims (“McCarthy was good copy,” a historian notes), can destroy lives and threaten the very values of democracy. Let’s just be glad Twitter didn’t exist back then.
Manifest (10/9c, NBC): Off the air since last February, the supernatural thriller resumes with Ben (Josh Dallas) heading off to look for two missing passengers of mystery-shrouded Flight 282. Just as well, since wife Grace (Athena Karkanis) is still dealing with the ramifications of a pregnancy that appears to have been conceived while Ben was MIA.
The Bachelor (8/7c, ABC): Can airline pilot Peter Weber learn to fly on the wings of love? Yes, this show is that cheesy. As a new season begins, with a three-hour orgy of introductions, Peter greets 30 potential soulmates before cutting them down to 22 on the first night. There’s also a group and other romantic dates, said to be a first on a Bachelor premiere. Hearts, be still.
Inside Monday TV: 40 acts from around the world, and from past seasons, compete on a second round of NBC’s America’s Got Talent: The Champions (8/7c). Terry Crews hosts, with Simon Cowell judging alongside Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Britain’s Got Talent alum, Alesha Dixon… The CBS lineup is all new, including All Rise (9/8c), in which Judge Lola (Simone Missick) begins questioning her style of creative justice after her encounter with the Commission of Judicial Performance… Streaming highlight: Acorn TV launches a sixth season of feature-length episodes of New Zealand’s The Brokenwood Mysteries, starting with “The Power of Steam,” in which Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd (Neil Rea) and his team go inside a local Steampunk festival to solve a murder. Three more mysteries follow, on consecutive Mondays.