Worth Watching: Social Unrest on ‘Neighborhood’ and ‘All Rise,’ ‘Dark Materials’ Returns
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
The Neighborhood (8/7c, CBS): There’s a Norman LearGood Times vibe at play in the third-season opener of the sitcom about suburban integration, which like many shows during this delayed fall season is grappling with new and disturbing societal realities — in this case, police misconduct that shakes the foundation of the Butler family. Railing against a “system [that’s] got us under-educated, over-incarcerated and out of the voting booth,” Calvin (Cedric the Entertainer) worries with Tina (Tichina Arnold) when their son Malcolm (Sheaun McKinney) goes off the grid during a night of protests. Stewing in liberal white guilt, well-meaning neighbor Dave (Max Greenfield) finds some comedy in woke culture, but can only be of so much help, since the only time he’s ever seen the inside of a police station was to register his bike.
All Rise (9/8c, CBS): The earnest legal drama opens its second season very much in the current moment, with social distancing in the reopened courthouse and social reckoning as Judge Lola (Simone Missick) flashes back several months to a night when she was detained by overzealous police while trying to intervene in a protest encounter. Will this affect her judgment on a potential hate-crime case prosecuted by newly promoted Mark (Wilson Bethel)? The incident has already led to a falling out between the judge and the D.A. New to the cast, and already offering her two cents: Samantha Marie Ware as Ness, a new law clerk who’s unafraid of overstepping.
Bob Hearts Abishola (8:30/7:30c, CBS): For those wanting to take a step back from the tensions of the day, the culture-clash rom-com is back for a second season with a more timeless concern: Bob’s (Billy Gardell) hunt for an engagement ring for Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku). She’s flattered, though worried that Nigerian customs and other complications will spoil the romance. “When have things ever been easy for us?” she declares. You know what they say about the course of true love … don’t give up.
His Dark Materials (9/8c, HBO): The lavish fantasy based on Philip Pullman’s book series returns for a second season, with young heroine Lyra (Dafne Keen) crossing a bridge into a new world. There, she teams with the pragmatic Will (Amir Wilson), a refugee from our world whose journey to reunite with his father is blocked by the warlike intrigues forever surrounding them. And through it all, the sinister Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) is looking for Lyra, desperate to bring the wayward girl home.
Inside Monday TV: After a long hiatus, CBS’s popular daytime game shows are back with new episodes of The Price Is Right (11 am/10c, 10/PT) and Let’s Make a Deal (check local listings)… Another double elimination looms in the penultimate episode of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (8/7c), with only six teams remaining. Go, Justina Machado!… No longer the new kid on the hospital block, ABC’s The Good Doctor (10/9c), aka Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), joins Claire (Antonia Thomas) and Alex (Will Yun Lee) in mentor a new group of potential first-year residents)… As CBS’s Bull (10/9c) contends with a virtual court system in the age of COVID-19, will Bull (Michael Weatherly) and his TAC team still to be able to work their magic remotely?… Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip isn’t about ego. The latest installment of PBS’s Independent Lens (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org) finds the the Property Brothers co-host, in his directorial debut, learning about renewable energy and who has access to it.