Worth Watching: Remembering Miles Davis, Facing the Truth on ‘This Is Us,’ Pete Davidson on Netflix

Miles Davis Birth of the Cool PBS
Courtesy of PBS
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (9/8, PBS, check local listings at pbs.orb): Nominated for a 2020 Grammy as Best Music Film, Stanley Nelson’s biography of the jazz superstar appropriately makes its PBS premiere under the American Masters banner. Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana and Clive Davis are just a few of the music-industry icons providing perspective on the mercurial man and the eclectic and versatile musical styles he pursued through his six-decade career.

This Is Us (9/8c, NBC): Now that Kevin (Justin Hartley) has become the last of the “Big Three” siblings to learn about his mother Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) “mild cognitive impairment,” he decides to seize the day and spend some time in her company, sparking yet another emotional workout of an episode. (The episode title, “Clouds,” suggests a memorable musical backdrop to the multiple storylines.) In other Pearson family news, Kate (Chrissy Metz) returns from the cabin getaway to make peace with husband Toby (Chris Sullivan), who has another grand romantic gesture up his sleeve. And Randall (Sterling K. Brown) tests his control-freak tendencies by visiting a therapist. (See if you can recognize the voice.)

Pete Davidson: Alive from New York (streaming on Netflix): The controversial Saturday Night Live comedian, who has often borrowed from his troubled personal life for material, opens up to an audience at New York’s Gramercy Theatre for his first Netflix stand-up special. Expect to be moved as well as entertained.

Inside Tuesday TV: Following last week’s contentious verbal boxing match, which seemed to have blindsided Michael Bloomberg, CBS hosts yet another Democratic Debate (8/7c), this time from Charleston, S.C. Yet another billionaire (Tom Steyer) rejoins the debate stage along with the front-runners and other contenders. Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King moderate, with more questioning from CBS News correspondents Margaret Brennan, Major Garrett and Bill Whitaker… Noel Fisher (Shameless) guests on ABC’s The Conners (8/7c) as Ed Jr., younger half-brother of Dan (John Goodman), who resents the advantages his dad’s namesake enjoyed. Also guesting: real-life couple Clark Gregg (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Dirty Dancing‘s Jennifer Grey, as a married couple who hit it off, perhaps too well, with Jackie (Laurie Metcalf)… Grodd the Gorilla is back on The CW’s The Flash (8/7c), and to Barry’s (Grant Gustin) surprise, the beast seeks his help. Just in time for the arrival of another villain: Solovar (voice of Keith David)… HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c) explores the increasingly deadly world of extreme mountain and rock climbing. The 2018 documentary Free Solo (spotlighting daredevil Alex Honnold) may have won an Oscar, but more than a dozen top climbers have been killed or seriously injured in the last three years while pursuing their passion.