Worth Watching: ‘Jeopardy! Greatest’ Tournament, ‘Zoey’ Preview, Ziva on ‘NCIS,’ ‘FBI’ Spinoff, Last Season of ‘Creek’
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time (8/7c, ABC): What is: My kind of stunt programming! In this special prime-time version of the hit syndicated quiz show, Alex Trebek brings back three all-time champions: Ken Jennings, whose 74-win streak still holds the record; Brad Rutter, the all-around highest-earning Jeopardy! player, who has yet to lose to a human; and James Holzhauer, whose 32-day streak last year, including multiple single-day earning records, made him an instant celebrity for his aggressive play. They’ll face off in special hourlong matches, airing nightly until someone wins three times, reaping a $1 million grand prize. (The runners-up will get $250,000.)
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (10/9c, NBC): If Ally McBeal had enjoyed Glee‘s music budget, the result could be something like this whimsical musical-fantasy dramedy, a gloriously original series getting a special preview (following a ton of promos during the Golden Globes), before settling into its regular Sunday time period on Feb. 16. (This episode will be repeated then, followed by a second episode.) Jane Levy (Suburgatory) stars as Zoey, a young San Francisco computer coder who (shades of Chuck) becomes a walking Spotify when all the Internet’s music is downloaded into her brain during an MRI gone awry. Suddenly she can hear everyone’s inner thoughts expressed in song—and sometimes elaborate production numbers — on the street, in the workplace and even at home with her family. Which is helpful, because her beloved dad (Peter Gallagher) has been rendered mute and catatonic by a neurological disease. The eclectic playlist in the premiere ranges from a power ballad (“All By Myself”), a group dance to the Beatles’ “Help,” an emo moment of reflection (“Mad World”), Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and a Partridge Family anthem. I think I love this show.
NCIS (8/7c, CBS): Cote de Pablo is back again as Ziva in the conclusion of a two-parter that left viewers hanging in mid-December, wondering how Gibbs (Mark Harmon) would break the news to admiring neighbor kid Phineas (Jack Fisher) that he had just shot and killed the boy’s mother Sarah (Louise Barnes), who was secretly the super-spy nemesis Sahar. He did it to save Ziva, but where does that leave the kid?
FBI: Most Wanted (10/9c, CBS): Otherwise, it’s business as usual at the Eye Network, which means spinning off a successful crime-drama franchise. Following a #MeToo episode of FBI (9/8c) comes the Most Wanted companion piece (which I’m not sure anyone really wanted, but that’s another story). This series follows the exploits of the bureau’s Fugitive Task Force, led by agent Jess LeCroix (Rescue Me‘s Julian McMahon), with a team including an ex-NYPD detective (Roxy Sternberg), a data-mining analyst (Whale Rider‘s Keisha Castle-Hughes), an Army intel vet (Kellan Lutz) and Jess’s brother-in-law (Nathaniel Arcand), a marksman with a law degree. In the opener, they’re on the hunt for a crooked doctor who just killed his wife.
Schitt’s Creek (9/8c, Pop TV): The quirky cult comedy, whose critical reputation and awards profile have grown exponentially since past seasons began streaming on Netflix, gears up for its sixth and lamentably final season. In happier news, David (Daniel Levy) begins scouting wedding venues for his upcoming nuptials with Patrick (Noah Reid), while Johnny (Eugene Levy) and Moira (Catherine O’Hara) try for a romantic picnic by the creek.
Inside Tuesday TV: It’s a busy night on PBS, which kicks off a new season of Finding Your Roots (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) with This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown, Late Show musician Jon Batiste and former Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata learning new truths about their ancestries… Followed by Dave Chappelle: The Mark Twain Prize (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org), in which the outspoken comedian is honored with the 22nd prize for American humor at the Kennedy Center. Among those paying tribute: Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, Bradley Cooper and the inimitable couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen… Fox’s The Resident (8/7c) is now jobless, with Conrad (Matt Czuchry) having been fired from Chastain. As he considers his future, he joins a patient on a zero-gravity outing… ABC’s mixed-ish (9/8c) finds the Johnsons reacting to the national tragedy of the Challenger explosion in January 1986… ABC’s engrossing thriller Emergence (10/9c) returns with a time jump of several months, as Jo (Allison Tolman) and agent Brooks (Enver Gjokaj) still looking for the missing Piper (Alexa Swinton) and possible turncoat Benny (Owain Yeoman)… Free Solo climber Alex Honnold heads to the Swiss Alps on National Geographic Channel’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls (10/9c), where he sees heights from a new angle when he skydives into the mountain range… As far as we know, there is no connection between Sunday’s incident in which a sports car crashed into Lisa Vanderpump‘s trendy West Hollywood eatery Pump and the premiere of an eighth season of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules (9/8c). Even a Real Housewife won’t go to such lengths for publicity.