Worth Watching: ABC’s ‘Big Sky,’ ‘NCIS’ Returns, LEGO Does ‘Star Wars,’ Kevin Hart on Netflix, Oprah and Obama

Ryan Phillippe John Carrol Lynch Big Sky
ABC/Darko Sikman
Big Sky

A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:

Big Sky (10/9c, ABC): Like Psycho in the untamed West, this contemporary crime thriller (based on C.J. Bo’’s gripping The Highway series of page-turners) marks the network-TV comeback of David E. Kelley (The Practice, Boston Legal, Picket Fences) after several years in the premium-TV arena churning out hit dramas including Big Little Lies, HBO’s current The Undoing and Stephen King‘s Mr. Mercedes. Prepare yourself for some truly out-there plot twists when the emotionally fraught triangle of private detectives Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) and Cassie Dewell (Pitch‘s Kylie Bunbury) and Cody’s ex-cop wife, Jenny (VikingsKatheryn Winnick), team up to look for two teenage sisters (Natalie Alyn Lind and Jade Pettyjohn) who’ve gone missing while driving through a remote stretch of Montana. An unstable truck driver (Brian Geraghty) with mommy issues rivaling Norman Bates may be responsible, but the case has larger and deadlier implications. To its credit, Big Sky goes beyond women-in-peril clichés by showing its endangered and investigative heroines taking pro-active measures to survive and seek justice.

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Plus, see Ryan Phillippe, Kylie Bunbury, and Katheryn Winnick in the new key art.

NCIS (8/7c, CBS): With the return of TV’s top-rated procedural, TV is beginning to show welcome signs of normalcy. And so it is as NCIS opens its 18th season with business as usual, with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) teaming with his old buddy Fornell (Joe Spano) to take down the leader of a drug ring that was responsible for supplying Fornell’s daughter. Less typical is the mystery unfolding in the unit’s autopsy room when a cadaver goes missing.

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'It's a show that will throw you, shock you, make you laugh, make you cry,' the star says.

Followed on CBS by new episodes of FBI (9/8c) in its third season, welcoming a new team member in Katherine Renee Turner as Special Agent Tiffany Wallace; and FBI Most Wanted (10/9c) opening its second season with the search for gunmen who are taking out their COVID frustrations on the elites they feel are oppressing them. Lost‘s Terry O’Quinn begins a recurring guest role as Jess’s (Julian McMahon) wayward dad, Byron LaCroix.

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Does the new preview reveal how Gibbs gets that black eye?

This Is Us (9/8c, NBC): Ever wonder what it took to put “the big three” down for the night when they were babies? This episode looks back at Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as exhausted new parents, wondering how to deal with a squalling Kevin—who in later years would test his potential as a high-school football star (look for a familiar TV face as his coach) and then as a movie star, being challenged by a hotshot director. In other family news, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) invites adopted daughter Deja’s (Lyric Ross) boyfriend Malik (Asante Blackk) to shadow him at work for a civics project. What could possibly go wrong?

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Young Kevin on the NBC drama spills a little bit about what is in store for the athletic Pearson boy.

LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (streaming on Disney+): In honor of “Life Day,” the anniversary of 1978’s infamous Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS, comes this campy Star Wars homage through LEGO animation. Franchise stars including Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels and Kelly Marie Tran, plus Star Wars: The Clone Wars actors Matt Lanter, Tom Kane, James Arnold Taylor and Dee Bradley Baker lend their talents to a story that follows the action of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The storyline hurls Rey through multiple timelines when she visits a Jedi Temple to prepare for Life Day, encountering iconic characters from all nine of the Skywalker saga films. Who could resist?

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Baby Yoda, Luke Skywalker and more make appearances in this time-traversing feature.

Inside Tuesday TV: Barack Obama‘s TV book tour makes a stop with Oprah Winfrey for the Apple TV+ The Oprah Conversation, discussing his new memoir A Promised Land with observations on the triumphs and challenges of his presidency — the Sandy Hook tragedy was his hardest day, he reflects — and what’s to come for America… Filmed in September in Los Angeles, Kevin Hart returns to the stand-up stage in his latest Netflix special, whose title Kevin Hart: Zero F**ks Given should give you some clue as to its tone… Also on Netflix: the quirky docuseries We Are the Champions, which celebrates offbeat competitions including cheese rolling, chili eating, fantasy hairstyling, dog dancing, frog jumping and mastering the yo-yo.… NBC’s The Voice (8/7c) begins the “Knockouts Rounds,” where coaches can steal an ejected singer from an opposing team… PBS’s Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org) reveals ancestral histories of actors Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong’o, and chef Lidia Bastianich, with stories of families traversing the world to escape oppression… History’s spinoff Beyond Oak Island (10/9c) enlists The Curse of Oak Island treasure-hunters Rick and Marty Lagina to look into legendary quests of the past, including the hunt for pirate Jean Lafitte’s sunken silver in East Texas.