Worth Watching: 'Bachelor' Redux, Decades Revisits the 1918 Pandemic, Baking With Buddy & Duff, 'Creepshow' Finale
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever! (8/7c, ABC): Because social distancing would be a show-killer — do we really want to watch serial dating and kissing conducted behind masks? — there will be no new cycle of The Bachelor or Bachelorette this summer. Instead, a greatest-hits bonanza, with entire seasons condensed into a single three-hour orgy of staged romance each week. A rose is a rose, but will it smell as sweet the second time around? We'll find out as Chris Harrison revisits some of the most popular seasons, starting with Sean Lowe from 2013, the Texan heartthrob who broke the Guinness World Record for longest on-screen kiss with Lesley.
Pandemic Amnesia: Recovering the Memory of the 1918 Influenza Outbreak (9/8c, Decades): The nostalgia network gets serious with an original documentary looking back a century to the devastating flu pandemic that claimed tens of millions of lives. The special explores not only the impact of the deadly outbreak but the cultural forces that seemed to largely erase this tragedy from collective memory.
Big Time Bake (9/8c, Food Network): It's a race against the clock, with Cake Boss impresario Buddy Valastro and guest judges constantly lurking, as four bakers compete to create themed cookies, cupcakes and a show-stopping cake in six hours. Every two hours, Buddy and his fellow judges make an elimination, leaving only two bakers to present their cakes in the final round.
Followed by a new season of Duff Takes the Cake (10/9c), in which Buddy's friendly sometimes-rival Duff Goldman displays his own baking mastery as he and his team accept wild challenges. In the opener, they create a prehistoric Jurassic-themed cake with lava and smoke, to be delivered to two deserving kids at Universal Studios.
Creepshow (10/9c, AMC): The horror anthology, originally seen on Shudder, wraps its grisly first season with two unnerving vignettes, including "Skincrawlers," about an icky weight-loss program using a rare species of leech (you can picture the rest), and "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain," from the story by Joe Hill (NOS4A2) and directed by horror effects legend Tom Savini. This classic-style creature feature finds teens risking everything to hunt for a monster that lurks at the bottom of a local lake. What could possibly go wrong?
Inside Monday TV: Jeopardy! (syndicated, check local listings) is going on its summer break early, beginning its final week of original episodes that were produced before the pandemic shut everything down. I'll take "Separation Anxiety" for $2000, Alex!… In the penultimate episode of Acorn TV's macabre mystery-comedy Dead Still, memorial photographers Blennerhasset (Michael Smiley) and Molloy (Kerr Logan) worry they could become suspects in the latest murder when Detective Regan (Aidan O'Hare) discovers they attended a mysterious séance… Spectrum Originals' female buddy-cop drama L.A.'s Finest, the Bad Boys spinoff whose first season Fox will air in the fall, returns for a second, with Nancy (Jessica Alba) helping detective partner Syd (Gabrielle Union) search for a friend's killer, while the death of a Koreatown legend riles that community… Tony winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) drops in on NBC's Songland (10/9c) to sample the work of fledgling songwriters, one of whose songs he'll record. The more emo, the better.