Worth Watching: ‘NCIS’ Reaches 400, Big Stars in ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ ‘Big Sky’ Minus One, Final ‘Tosh.0’
A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:
NCIS (8/7c, CBS): Hitting a milestone few TV shows ever hope to reach — and nearly doubling the output of the show that spawned it (JAG stopped at 227) — the top-rated procedural marks its 400th episode with a look backward. A body in the NCIS basement triggers memories from 40 years ago, when Gibbs (Mark Harmon) first met Ducky (David McCallum). Their younger selves are played by Sean Harmon (Mark’s son) and Adam Campbell, reprising their roles from previous flashbacks, and in their first adventure together, clashes with a ruthless crime family cause them to influence the course of each other’s careers and personal lives. They will go on to make beautiful TV ratings between them.
Hillbilly Elegy (streaming on Netflix): A-listers go decidedly down-market in director Ron Howard‘s heartfelt adaptation of J.D. Vance’s best-selling memoir about life amid poverty and addiction in the Appalachian region of southern Ohio. The adult Vance is played by Gabriel Basso, when the former Marine is called home from his Yale Law studies to reconnect with his hardscrabble addict mom, Bev (Amy Adams). The reunion brings back vivid memories of his upbringing with his fierce grandma, Mamaw (Glenn Close). As the title implies, this isn’t exactly Thanksgiving escapism.
Big Sky (10/9c, ABC): Now that the Big Twist has occurred, this Western crime drama shifts its focus to the two tough women in charge of the investigation: private investigator Cassie Dewell (Kylie Burbury) and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick). As they try to figure out where Cody (Ryan Phillippe) has vanished while searching for the kidnapped sisters, Cassie is seriously creeped out during her interview with patronizing State Trooper Legarski (John Carroll Lynch). And don’t underestimate the kidnap victims, especially the resourceful Grace (Jade Pettyjohn), though sister Danielle rightfully frets: “This is like my biggest nightmare: I’m gonna be on Dateline.”
Tosh.0 (10/9c, Comedy Central): Can it really be 12 years of wacky clips and biting commentary? All snarky things must come to an end, and so Daniel Tosh signs off of his signature clip show — though expect some surprises amid the viral videos as Tosh takes his final (for now) bow.
A Teacher (streaming on FX on Hulu): The midpoint is where everything changes in the provocative drama about a teacher’s (Kate Mara) passionate but unwise liaison with her student (Nick Robinson). His 18th birthday is the occasion for a secret getaway where their tryst is cushioned in lies: hers to her husband, his to his family. Their bliss is shadowed by the knowledge that it isn’t real and can’t last, and is dangerous to boot — a lesson the teacher will learn to her chagrin if she can’t keep her mouth shut.
Inside Tuesday TV: HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10/9c) reports on the use of psychedelic drugs by retired athletes and visits super-fans who’ve been kept out of stadiums and arenas by the pandemic this season… The series began with a bang, and NBC’s medical drama Transplant (10/9c) deals with another devastating explosion near the hospital. Naturally, Bash (Hamza Haq) rushes into danger, while the rest of the team handles other critically injured patients… The auditions go virtual in the 15th season of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team (10/9c, simulcast on MTV). More than 1,500 hopefuls sent in dance videos from 45 states and nine countries, which will be whittled down to 20 contenders, who’ll learn the moves that could put them on the squad while staying in a Texas resort.