Worth Watching: The Early Days of MTV, ‘Star Trek’ Day, ‘Transplant’ Welcomes the New Doc
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
Biography: I Want My MTV (9/8c, A&E): The nostalgia is fierce in a colorful two-hour special looking back at the scrappy early years of the revolutionary cable channel that launched superstar careers — Madonna, Boy George, Cyndi Lauper — and revived the music industry in the 1980s. It was a time when a new music video could still become a watershed pop-culture moment, never more than when Michael Jackson — who challenged MTV’s shameful aversion to Black artists — galvanized the world with “Thriller.” If “Video Killed the Radio Star” (the first song to play on MTV), the Internet and YouTube killed the video star machine. But it was fun while it lasted.
Star Trek Day: Commemorating the fateful day when the original Star Trek launched on NBC in 1966, CBS All Access (home to current Star Trek spinoffs Discovery, Picard, Short Treks and the animated Lower Decks) presents a curated daylong marathon of episodes from eight Trek series, starting at 3 am/2c/12 PT. As a special treat, the streamer interrupts the marathon for three-and-a-half hours (at 3 pm/2c/12 PT) for a series of global virtual panels, hosted by Wil Wheaton and Mica Burton, bringing together stars and producers of past, present and future Trek series.
Or you could check out a marathon of Trek-related documentaries on Shout! Factory TV, starting at noon/11c/9 am PT with The Captains, in which William Shatner chats with five famous captains from the TV and movie franchises (followed by five episodes of the docuseries The Captains Close Up, with additional interview footage). Other titles include William Shatner’s Chaos on the Bridge, William Shatner’s Get a Life! and What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The lineup ends with a Backlot episode featuring the full 2019 Comic-Con panel in support of What We Left Behind.
Transplant (10/9c, NBC): Following the chaos of the pilot episode, Dr. Bash (Hamza Haq) joins the staff of York Memorial in the second week, working his way up from the bottom to learn the Canadian system. With triage skills honed in his native war-torn Syria, Bash becomes known as “Dr. Instinct,” but his seemingly reckless though effective methods don’t always endear him to his superiors. And then there’s the issue of his original transcripts, still under lock and key in Aleppo.
Inside Tuesday TV: Top-rated syndicated talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan (check local listings) reunites hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest in their New York studio, where they kick off the first of four “Live @ Home” themed weeks with a focus on home improvement… The CNBC special The Path Forward: Race and Opportunity in America (7/6c) lays out possible solutions to address the under-representation of Black workers and leaders in corporate America… NBC’s America’s Got Talent (8/7c) begins its semi-finals round, with 11 acts taking the stage for America’s votes… PBS’s Frontline (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org) looks at “Growing Up Poor in America,” examining child poverty during a time of pandemic and racial unrest, with the battleground state of Ohio as a backdrop… Followed by the new documentary Harbor from the Holocaust (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), telling the lesser-known story of 20,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe who found refuge during World War II in Shanghai, China.