Worth Watching: ‘The Watch,’ Call Mayim ‘Kat,’ ‘Last Man’s Last Stand, Glenda Jackson in ‘Elizabeth Is Missing,’ Jimmy Carter’s Rock Roots
A selective critical checklist of notable weekend TV:
The Watch (Sunday, 8/7c, BBC America): Somewhere in a distant secondhand dimension… So starts an irreverent fantasy caper, based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, about an ineffectual group known as the City Watch, which pretty much just sits back to watch mayhem unfold in the steampunk slums of Ankh-Morpork. A two-episode opener introduces this antic world where trolls, werewolves and dragons roam, criminal guilds are licensed and transgressions rarely enforced. Leading the team is grizzled Capt. Sam Vines (Game of Thrones‘ Richard Dormer), who boasts, “I’m more booze than blood,” but is finally roused to action when he spots a long-supposed-dead adversary plotting fiery disaster for the realm.
Call Me Kat (Sunday, 8/7c, Fox): The midseason kicks off with a full night of previews and premieres, starting with the launch of a new sitcom (inspired by BBC’s Miranda) starring The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik in the title role of Kat, a self-deprecating yet chipper owner of a Louisville cat café. Kat is mostly content with her single life‑more than her meddling mom (Swoosie Kurtz) is, anyway — until a former crush (Cheyenne Jackson) moves back to town to bartend across the street from her shop. Kat often breaks the fourth wall to let us in on how crazy she finds her life, and each episode ends with the cast taking a bow, reminding us that it’s all make-believe. (Episodes will air regularly on Thursdays at 9/8c starting Jan. 7.)
Sunday’s Fox lineup also includes a sneak peek of the new aminated comedy The Great North (8:30/7:30c), set in Alaska and featuring the voices of Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, Will Forte and Megan Mullally; an original episode of The Simpsons an hour late (9/8c); and the premiere of the ninth and final season of Last Man Standing (9:30/8:30c), which after a pandemic-set prologue jumps ahead in time to find Tim (Tim Allen) and Vanessa (Nancy Travis) with two new grandkids, and Mandy (Molly McCook) and Kyle’s (Christoph Sanders) daughter already a toddler, all still living under the same roof with the grandparents. Episodes resume Thursday at 9:30/8:30c.
Elizabeth Is Missing (Sunday, 9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): At 84, Glenda Jackson has lost of her power to astonish as a fearless actress with a range formidable enough to have collected Oscars, Tonys and Emmys. She won a BAFTA Award and an International Emmy for her emotionally affecting role in this disturbing Masterpiece drama as Maud, an independent widow struggling with early-stage Alzheimer’s. She becomes convinced her best friend Elizabeth (Maggie Steed) has mysteriously vanished, and her befuddled search for answers takes her back 70 years to her own sister’s unresolved disappearance.
Jimmy Carter: Rock ‘n’ Roll President (Sunday, 9/8c, CNN): Though rock ‘n’ roll is maybe not the image that first comes to mind when considering our most noble of Nobel Prize-winning ex-presidents, director Mary Wharton’s upbeat documentary focuses on President Carter’s deep affinity for rock and music icons including Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Rosanne Cash, Aretha Franklin and the Allman Brothers, some of whom are interviewed about the man who welcomed them into the White House. Carter’s connection to a still-popular culture of inclusion and activism helped propel his campaign and define his presidency, and he reflects on this legacy in an interview from his Plains, Georgia home.
The Rookie (Sunday, 10/9, ABC): Framed and betrayed by his mentor (Harold Perrineau) when last we saw him in May, LAPD Officer John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) is up to his badge in intrigue as the third season begins. The rookie may not have followed protocol along the way, but he deserves better than this, and we’re rooting for him to get his career back on track.
Inside Weekend TV: Nat Geo WILD’s The Incredible Dr. Pol (Saturday, 9/8c) marks his 50th year as a veterinarian with a new season, opening with the dilemma of pregnant cows who are overdue and how to protect their newborn from the winter freeze… Hallmark Channel moves on from the Christmas blitz with Taking a Shot at Love (Saturday, 9/8c), starring Alexa PenaVega as a retired dancer and ballet teacher who takes on an injured NHL star (Luke Macfarlane) as a client—and love interest… To tease Monday’s launch of the Discovery+ streaming service, Chip and Joanna Gaines also provide a preview of their own upcoming Magnolia Network with The Making of Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines (Sunday, 7/6c, Food Network, HGTV, Cooking Channel and DIY), in which the couple turns a grist mill into the setting for Joanna‘s new show, followed by two episodes on Food Network and Cooking Channel… HGTV launches a new season of Home Town (Sunday, 8/7c) with Ben and Erin Napier sprucing up homes in Laurel, Mississippi, including a starter property for just-married friends. (A spinoff, Home Town: Ben’s Workshop, will premiere Monday as a Discovery+ exclusive.)… The team on CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles (Sunday, 8:30/7:30c, 8/PT) vouches for Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) when grilled by feds about whether he’d make a good NCIS agent… Celebrity TV chef Carla Hall joins Chef Anne Burrell to lead new teams on th 21st-season premiere of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America (9/8c), followed at 10:30/9:30c by Worst Cooks in America: Dirty Dishes, a new series that gathers alums, celebs and comedians to replay some of the most calamitous moments from the series with quippy commentary.