Worth Watching: A Canadian ‘Transplant’ for NBC, TCM Celebrates Women in Film, Stand-Up in Two Languages
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Transplant (10/9c, NBC): Imagine that: a new scripted drama on broadcast network TV. We won’t see new episodes of NBC’s New Amsterdam until 2021, but in the interim, this solid medical show, a hit in Canada, will fill the void for those thirsting for some hospital action. Don’t, however, tune in expecting organ transplants. (I’ve seen five episodes and have yet to witness one.) What Transplant is really about, and what makes it compelling, is the earnest struggle to implant a gifted Syrian refugee doctor, Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq) — he of the soulful dark eyes, empathetic bedside manner and mad war zone-honed triage skills — into the world of a bustling Toronto hospital. He’ll have to restart his career from the bottom, but Bash couldn’t ask for a more volatile introduction. Let’s just say the circumstances that bring him to York Memorial are as explosive as they are grueling.
Women Make Film: A New Road Through Movie Cinema (8/7c, Turner Classic Movies): Once again, TCM provides a bonanza for film buffs in a 14-part series, airing weekly on Tuesdays, that goes deep into the history, art and craft of filmmaking — with the focus on women directors. Director-writer Mark Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey) spent five years developing the series, which uses nearly 1,000 extracts, covering 13 decades over five continents. The first episode, a study of “Openings and Tone,” will be accompanied by screenings of films including 1932’s Merrily We Go to Hell (9:15/8:15c) from pioneering Hollywood director Dorothy Arzner; and overnight (3:30 am/2:30c), Lina Wertmüller’s 1975 classic Seven Beauties.
Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions and Malas Decisiones (streaming on Netflix): In a first, Netflix presents a stand-up special in two languages, English and Spanish, both released simultaneously. This speaks to the multicultural appeal of Felipe Esparza, 2010 winner of Last Comic Standing, who filmed this set in Santa Ana, California over two separate performances. Whatever the language, his edgy material — borrowing liberally from his childhood and adult life — gets laughs.
Also on Netflix: Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, a timely series of 12 five-minute shorts in which Black celebrities and artists read from children’s books by Black authors. The themes, reflecting the Black experience, deal with matters of identity, justice, respect and action — reminding us how literature can help put even the most troubling times in perspective.
Inside Tuesday TV: Beware, brats. Lifetime’s Supernanny (8/7c) returns with back-to-back episodes, with Jo Frost bringing her child-care expertise to stressed-out parents, including the Browns, who are dealing with unusual attachment issues with their sons because they’ve let the kids sleep with them in a giant bed they made by pushing two mattresses together… MTV acknowledges National Recovery Month with the gritty four-part docuseries 16 and Recovering (9/8c), which follows nine students at Northshore Recovery High School in Beverly, Mass., where they can deal with their addiction issues while earning a diploma… Streaming on BritBox: the odd-couple crime drama McDonald & Dodds, set in historic Bath, where the ambitious and aggressive Detective Chief Inspector Lauren McDonald (Tala Gouveia) is teamed with the mellower Detective Sergeant Dodds (Jason Watkins).