What’s Worth Watching: ‘Dancing With the Stars’, ‘The Secret Agent’, ‘Harry’ and more for Monday, September 12.
Dancing With the Stars (8/7c, ABC): This season’s cast has a little bit of everything: hero worship (Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez), schadenfreude (disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte), nostalgia (Maureen “Marcia-Marcia-Marcia” McCormick, Taxi‘s Marilu Henner) and a smattering of supposed stars who might just become one on the show, though maybe not. As in the better reality competitions, there’s just no telling how this will all play out. But at the very least, welcome back former pro champs Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
As this dancing contest begins, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation (8/7c) signs off this misbegotten experiment. If the show returns, let’s hope it goes back to its original formula.
The Secret Agent (New episodes streaming Monday through Wednesday, Acorn TV): A bleakly affecting three-part adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s famed thriller (also the basis for Hitchcock’s 1936 Sabotage, if you’re feeling some déjà vu) stars Toby Jones as doughy Anton Verloc, a seedy shop owner who doubles as a most unlikely spy working for the Russians in 1880s London. Tasked to give the government “a jolly good scare” by his cynical handler, Verloc tends to his explosive assignment with trepidation and self-pity, leading to heartrending tragedy. As his suspicious wife Winnie, Vicky McClure has an almost silent-film eloquence, and there’s also strong supporting work from Charlie Hamblett as Winnie’s childlike brother, Ian Hart as an egotistical anarchist and Stephen Graham as the Scotland Yard inspector who fears the worst,
Harry (Syndicated, check local listings): The best thing about the final seasons of American Idol, versatile musician-actor Harry Connick Jr. tries his hand at a daily talk show, leavening the formula with humor and music. His first guest is Sandra Bullock, with lots of star cameos by famous well-wishers who are clearly wild about him.
Inside Monday TV: Steven Spielberg presents one of Hollywood’s most honored film composers, and his frequent partner in setting a tone, with one of the industry’s top prizes in AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Williams (8/7c, TCM), followed by one of their most iconic masterpieces, 1975’s Jaws (9:15/8:15c), and a replay of AFI’s Master Class: The Art of Collaboration: Steven Spielberg and John Williams (11:30/10:30c). … Another nostalgia alert: ’70s comedy-variety classic The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour joins getTV’s Monday lineup (8/7c), starting with the 1971 premiere featuring the legendary Jimmy Durante as guest. Those were the days. … The inspirational documentary All the Difference, airing on PBS’s POV (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), follows two young African-American men from Chicago’s South Side over five years as they pursue a very specific American dream: the desire to earn a college diploma.